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Fluid Intake Recommendations
Men should consume 125 oz. (3.7 liters) and women should consume 91 oz. (2.7 liters) of fluid per day. (source: Institute of Medicine, 2004)

Advanced Sports Nutrition, 3rd ed.

Author: Benardot D
Category: Sports Nutrition
Audience: Elite Athlete
Length: 517 pages
Publisher: Human Kinetics
  Year Published: 2021
List Price: $34.95® Rating: Excellent!

Advanced Sports Nutrition, 3rd ed. is a thorough, evidence-based resource on sports nutrition. The 2nd ed. was published in 2012. The 1st ed. was published in 2006.

Recommended for: Trainers, coaches, serious athletes, and weekend warriors. This text can also be used in college classes on sports nutrition.


Dan Benardot, PhD, RD, FACSM certainly has the credentials to author a book on sports nutrition. Currently, he is a professor in the Center for the Study of Human Health at Emory University. Previously, he was a professor of nutrition and kinesiology at Georgia State University. He received his PhD in nutritional sciences from Cornell University. He is also a Registered Dietitian. He was the team nutritionist for the women's USA gymnastics Olympics team, and for USA marathoners at the 2004 Athens Olympics. He also was a nutritionist for USA Figure Skating and for the Atlanta Falcons NFL team.


This 517-page book is organized as follows:


  • Chapter 1: Energy Nutrients
  • Chapter 2: Vitamins and Minerals
  • Chapter 3: Fluids and Electrolytes
  • Chapter 4: Ergogenic Aids


  • Chapter 5: Athlete GI Function and Energy Delivery
  • Chapter 6: Nutrient and Fluid Timing


  • Chapter 7: Travel
  • Chapter 8: High Altitude
  • Chapter 9: Gender and Age
  • Chapter 10: Body Composition and Weight


  • Chapter 11: The Power Athlete
  • Chapter 12: The Endurance Athlete
  • Chapter 13: The Power and Endurance Athlete


  • Appendix A: Dietary Reference Intakes and Tolerable Upper Intake Levels
  • Appendix B: Food Sources of Key Nutrients
  • Appendix C: Practical Nutrition Guides


The 2nd edition was 411 pages; this 3rd edition is now 517 pages. What changed?

Chapters 7 and 8 in the previous edition -- "Oxygen Transport and Utilization" and "Strategies for Anti-Inflammation and Muscular Health" -- have now been folded into Chapter 2. The final 3 chapters in the 2nd edition are gone. This content has been folded into Chapters 11-13.

New for this 3rd edition are numerous side bars titled "Q&A." They address practical issues, which is a nice compliment to the mostly academic/research style of the rest of the material. Some chapters have 4 or 5, other chapters have none.

• Chapters 1 and 2: The first 2 chapters review carbs, fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. The information in these chapters is detailed and thorough. By necessity, a lot of biochemistry is discussed. Thus, this is not "light" reading. It's nearly impossible to discuss sports nutrition without explaining general nutrition concepts. Indeed, much of these 2 chapters is general nutrition concepts, but the author makes a dedicated effort to relate many of these principles to the athlete. Throughout the Protein discussion, the author recommends a range of 1.2-2.0 g/kg/day. However, in one other instance, he writes "...up to 2.4 g/kg/day." The difference between 2.0 and 2.4 g/kg/day is likely inconsequential, but because so many athletes don't know the optimum daily protein requirement, a consistent range should be mentioned. The summaries of vitamins and minerals sometimes goes too deep into medical nutrition, I feel.

As mentioned above, 2 chapters from the 2nd edition now appear in Chapter 2. Since Chapter 2 is titled "Vitamins and Minerals," I think those 2 chapters should have remained as separate chapters. For example, in the section "Strategies for Anti-Inflammation and Muscular Health," the author discusses protein, branched-chain amino acids, and omega-3 fatty acids...these nutrients aren't vitamins or minerals. Also, Chapter 2 is the longest chapter (57 pages) and it has over 300 reference citations. Notwithstanding that, the discussion of omega-3s is useful because most people don't consume enough of these nutrients. And, some athletes will appreciate learning that cherry juice and pomegranate juice might be a natural replacement for NSAID drugs for post-exercise muscle soreness.

• Chapter 3: This chapter (20 pages) discusses Fluids and Electrolytes. There is good information here. Regarding sports drinks, the author appropriately discusses sweat rates, how to estimate fluid needs based on pre- and post-exercise weight, and how the formulation of a sports drink can affect how fast it is absorbed. He does not relate the formulation of sports drinks to stomach cramps. Throughout, a carbohydrate percentage of 6-7% is recommended. Personally, I sometimes get stomach cramps after drinking original Gatorade ("Thirst Quencher"), which has a carb concentration of 5.8%. It would have been revealing to list what endurance athletes -- marathoners, Tour de France cyclists, Ironman competitors -- actually drink and what percentage of these athletes experience stomach cramps depending on the type/brand of sports drink they consume. Nevertheless, all athletes will appreciate the information and recommendations in this chapter.

• Chapter 4: This chapter should have been titled "Nutritional Ergogenic Aids" because, as the author points out on p. 145, ergogenic aids fall into 5 different categories. It's always challenging to decide what dietary supplements to include and exclude in a book like this, but the author does a good job of reviewing some of the major ones: beta-alanine, caffeine, creatine, glycerol, sodium bicarbonate and others. The inclusion of quercetin and resveratrol seem unusual: Do athletes routinely use these dietary supplements to enhance performance or recovery? This chapter contains useful information.

• Chapter 5: This chapter -- "Athlete GI Function..." -- contains some really unique and useful content. Many athletes will appreciate this information. It includes another short section on Sports Drinks, but again, I was disappointed to not see some details on what types/brands of sports drinks athletes use and how often those specific beverages have been associated with GI distress.

• Chapter 6: Chapter 6 is titled "Nutrient and Fluid Timing," however it mainly addresses the 7 days leading up to and including competition day. This discussion is very detailed. "Recovery" nutrition is discussed in Appendix C. Also, the discussion of recovery nutrition is very short compared to pre-competition nutrition. This chapter could be improved by moving recovery nutrition here and expanding it.

• Chapters 7 and 8: These 2 chapters also contain content that is fairly unique for a sports nutrition book: "Travel" and "High Altitude". It's not only interesting information, but some athletes will definitely benefit from it.

• Chapter 9: Here, the author addresses sports nutrition in terms of age and gender. Nutritional issues pertinent to young athletes and older athletes are discussed. There is good information in this chapter.

• Chapter 10: This chapter discusses body composition. It's very detailed and very academic. I suspect coaches and trainers will find this chapter more useful than athletes will.

• Chapters 11, 12, and 13: Part IV contains chapters that provide nutritional plans for 3 types of athletes: power athletes (football, speedskating, wrestling), endurance athletes (distance running, cross-country skiing, triathlon), and power-endurance athletes (basketball, soccer, tennis). Each chapter begins by reviewing exercise physiology pathways. Then, the author discusses specific sports. At the end of each chapter, 4 to 7 nutrition "plans" are provided. These are very specific and very detailed. Some athletes will likely regard these chapters as the most useful.

Other details:

Photos & Illustrations: Several black-and-white photos and several diagrammatic figures appear throughout. These enhance the reading.

Tables & Graphs: A ton of tables are included. These provide a wealth of information. A handful of graphs are also provided. These enhance the reading.

Documentation / Accuracy: This is clearly a science-based book: the list of References at the end is 64 pages long. Each chapter cites anywhere from 60 to 160 research papers. Chapter 2 cites over 300!

What I Liked About This Book:

This book is very thorough and detailed. It is also solidly science-based.

What Could Be Better:

Perhaps in an attempt to be thorough, the author discusses some topics in multiple chapters. For example, glycerol as a hyper-hydrating agent is discussed in Chapters 1, 3, and 4. Sports drinks are discussed in Chapters 3 and 5. Nutrient timing is discussed briefly in Chapter 5 even though that's the focus of Chapter 6. Chapter 6 is titled "Nutrient Timing," but recovery nutrition is found in Appendix C. Chapter 4 covers ergogenic supplements, but the author discusses them again in Chapter 11. This book has a good Index, but reading efficiency could be enhanced by limiting topics to just one location.


Advanced Sports Nutrition, 3rd ed. is very thorough and detailed. It is solidly science-based. It could easily be a reference text for college-level classes on sports nutrition. Coaches/trainers and elite athletes could also benefit from this book, though it is not "light" reading. Rather, complex exercise physiology concepts are discussed. Many will regard this text as a definitive resource on sports nutrition. I know I will. I can highly recommend this book.


The 2nd edition of "Advanced Sports Nutrition" was published in 2012:

Reviewed by: Stan Reents, PharmD 1/21/2021 10:01:53 AM

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