Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

In high performance sport, athletes and coaches recognise that optimal nutrition is critical to sporting success. Sports nutrition links food with physical performance, providing the fuel for exercise and recovery, and the essential elements for tissue growth, maintenance and repair. This unit will address contemporary scientific and applied aspects of nutrition for sports performance. The composition, amount and timing of food intake for different sports and activities are explored, given the influence that these and others factors have on athletic performance. The aim of the unit is to provide specialist knowledge, understanding and skills for critically evaluating dietary practices for sports performance, and for communicating and delivering general nutritional advice to athletes, coaches and other support staff, within appropriate scope of practice and referral pathways. These outcomes are consistent with the professional standards of several accreditation bodies.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Communicate the role of the sports dietitian in providing sound nutritional advice to athletes (GA2, GA5)

LO2 - Assess the nutritional demands of athletic performance in a variety of sports (GA4)

LO3 - Critique contemporary issues in sports nutrition (GA4, GA6)

LO4 - Appraise the role of nutritional factors and environmental factors affecting physical performance (GA5)

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account


Topics will include: 

  • The evolution of sports nutrition  
  • Carbohydrate, protein and fat requirements for fuelling, recovery & physique 
  • Fluid and electrolyte needs during exercise 
  • Supplements and sports food  
  • Body composition and physique 
  • Nutrition challenges for weight making sports 
  • Adolescent sports nutrition 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

ACU Online

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding, application and engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to best enable students to achieve unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. A range of assessment strategies have been purposefully designed for the assessment of learning outcomes reflecting the principles of authentic assessment design and include:

  • Assessment Task 1: a written critique to assess the critical thinking skills associated with the acquisition and communication of evidenced-based theory and practice relevant to performance nutrition. Given this is the first task of the unit, designed to develop critical thinking skills, a weighting of 40% is attached. 
  • Assessment Task 2: a case study task is then delivered to assess the application of the knowledge and understanding of unit content and skills developed in the first assessment task. Given the breadth of this final assessment task, a weighting of 60% is attached. 

Students must achieve a cumulative grade of at least 50% across all assessments.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1


Requires students to critique scientific literature to determine its 

strengths, weaknesses and overall applicability to practical sports nutrition


LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA6

Assessment Task 2

Case study:  

Requires students to undertake a case study review of an athlete undertaking a sporting event and compare their nutrition plans with current sports nutrition guidelines. 


LO1, LO2, LO4

GA2, GA4, GA5

Representative texts and references

Belski, Forsyth, A., & Mantzioris, E. (2019). Nutrition for sport, exercise and performance : a practical guide for students, sports enthusiasts and professionals. A&u Academic.

Burke, Minehan, M., & Deakin, V. (2021). Clinical sports nutrition (6th Edition.). McGraw Hill Education Australia.

Jeukendrup, & Gleeson, M. (2019). Sport nutrition (3rd Edition.). Human Kinetics.

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