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(EXSC118 Nutrition and Exercise OR NUTR101 Introduction to Nutrition ) AND (EXSC198 Physiological Bases of Exercise OR EXSC225 Physiological Bases of Exercise OR BIOL234 Nutritional Physiology )

Unit rationale, description and aim

Sports nutrition links food with physical performance. It refers to the nutritional needs of all active people, including athletes. Nutrition provides the fuel for exercise and the essential elements for growth, maintenance and repair of the body’s tissues. In sporting contexts, athletes and coaches recognise that sound nutrition is critical to sporting success, with the composition, amount and timing of food intake profoundly affecting performance. This unit will address both the scientific and applied aspects of nutrition for sports performance by examining the nutritional guidelines proposed to optimise exercise performance and the principles underpinning these recommendations. The aim of the unit is to provide the knowledge, understanding and skills for critically evaluating nutritional practices for sports performance and for communicating and delivering general nutritional advice to athletes, within appropriate scope of practice and referral pathways, consistent with the professional standards for Exercise Scientists.

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.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Appraise the role of nutritional factors and environmental factors affecting physical performanceGC2, GC11
LO2Assess the nutritional demands of athletic performance in a variety of sportsGC2, GC7, GC11
LO3Critique the scientific evidence supporting advocated nutritional practicesGC2, GC3, GC7, GC9, GC11
LO4Provide nutritional advice within scope of practice, with an understanding of the role of the sports dietitian and appropriate referral practicesGC2, GC7, GC9, GC11


Topics will include: 

  • The role of the dietitian and sports nutrition in supporting performance 
  • The training and competition diet 
  • Eating to optimize recovery 
  • Training-nutrient interactions: effects on cell metabolism and performance  
  • Supplements and sports food  
  • Nutrition, body composition and physique 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies include active learning, web-based learning, case-based learning, and reflective/critical thinking activities, delivered online over 12 weeks. This range of strategies will provide students with appropriate access to required knowledge and understanding of unit content. These strategies will allow students to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit, as well as professional practice standards. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group activities.  

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 are used including: an examination to assess student learning of unit content; a written task to assess student’s ability to critically appraise relevant scientific literature; and a case study task to assess evidence-based decision making and the application of accumulated learning through the unit. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes


Enables students to demonstrate their comprehension of the unit’s delivered material. 


LO1, LO2

Written critique 

Enables students to critically assess scientific literature underpinning contemporary evidence-based practice. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

Case study 

Enables students to demonstrate critical thinking skills and evidence-based decision making in applying their knowledge and skills developed during the unit. 


LO2, LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references

Burke, L., & Deakin, V. (2015) Clinical Sports Nutrition. Sydney: McGraw-Hill. 

Jeukendrup, A., & Gleeson, M. (2010) Sport Nutrition. Champaign IL: Human Kinetics. 

Kern, M. (2005) CRC Desk Reference on Sports Nutrition. Boca Raton FLA: CRC Press. 

Maughan, R.J. (Ed). (2004). Food, Nutrition and Sports Performance II: The International Olympic Committee Consensus on Sports Nutrition. London: Routledge. 

Maughan, R.J. (Ed). (2000). Nutrition in Sport: The Encyclopaedia of Sports Medicine. Oxford: Blackwell Sciences. 

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