We are excited to welcome Bob Seebohar to the HumanN community. Bob will be a featured contributor for us this year and brings a wealth of experience and expertise. He is an athlete, a coach, and a sports dietitian. He is a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, the former Director of Sports Nutrition for the University of Florida and most recently served as a sport dietitian for the US Olympic Committee. He also traveled to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games as a sport dietitian for the US Olympic Team and the personal sport dietitian for the Olympic Triathlon Team. If you’re interested in Bob’s full bio, you can learn more here.
Let’s start fast! What’s your hometown, hobbies, favorite quote, and favorite trip of all time?
Hometown: I grew up in the mountains of Colorado and currently reside on the front range of Colorado. Specifically, in the foothills of southwest Littleton.
Hobbies: I thoroughly enjoy working on bicycles. It calms me. I also enjoy reading books about different aspects of my career that I have not formally studied.
Favorite Quote: “If you don’t push yourself to the limit, how do you know where the limit is?”
Favorite Trip: I have traveled to many places and each has had a special meaning. However, in 1996 I participated in the World Duathlon Championships in Ferrara, Italy as part of Team USA. My girlfriend, at the time, and I traveled to Italy and toured the northern part before the race. Why was it my favorite trip? Because my girlfriend became my fiancee and later my wife!
Most people know you as a coach, an athlete, or a dietitian. Who is the real Bob?
The real Bob is a mix of all three! I feel that my unique background as an athlete, a coach, and a dietitian provides me with the experience and credibility needed to work with clients across all skill levels. It gives me a chance to connect on a personal level with those that I work with because I’ve been there before.
What initially inspired you to become a Sport Dietitian?
I played soccer and basketball growing up and was always curious about how the body worked. I did my first triathlon when I was a sophomore in my undergraduate work at Colorado State University and from there, my interest in training and nutrition exploded. The shift from a team sport athlete to an endurance athlete was puzzling but I was determined to figure things out. I read everything I could about coaching, training and nutrition for endurance athletes and ultimately gained more education in my college studies. Combining degrees in exercise science and nutrition was a crucial point in becoming a sport dietitian and being able to improve not only my performance but other athletes as well. My personal nutrition failures sparked my interest in sports nutrition and the desire to help other athletes.
Can you tell us about what you are up to these days?
I have owned a coaching and sports nutrition business since 2001. eNRG Performance was an effort to bring all of my specialties and talents under one roof: sports nutrition, physiological testing and endurance coaching. Currently, I am focused on furthering the testing side of sports nutrition through metabolic efficiency testing, sweat sodium concentration testing and sports genomic testing. The sports genomic testing is of particular interest because of the types of innovation it can drive. We are also working to at developing better metabolic efficiency testing protocols to cater more to CrossFit and obstacle course athletes.
Do you typically only work with Olympic athletes?
No, currently, most of my clients are actually recreational endurance athletes. These could range from beginners to competitive age-groupers. I also work with a few professional endurance athletes and consult with a few Olympians from time to time. I am one of the few sport dietitians who specializes in working with young athletes of all sports as I thoroughly enjoy teaching them and their parents.
You’re an expert in metabolic efficiency and nutrition periodization. Tell us more about what you’re working on right now related to these two fields.
More and more people and media outlets are starting to talk about Nitric Oxide. Is there any connection between your work and Nitric Oxide?
The easy answer is yes in terms of health since that should be observed 365 days per year. From a performance perspective, you could probably assume, under the Nutrition Periodization concept, that the strategic use of N-O would be most beneficial during the preparatory (preseason) and build/competition (in season) training cycles for most athletes. The off season would be less important for performance but more important for health.
What is your perspective on the role Nitric Oxide plays for an athlete?
For me, it is definitely positive. I always begin my discussion with any athlete about nitric oxide from a health perspective regarding cardiovascular health. It is then extremely easy to transition to a discussion about performance benefits. However, I always want athletes to understand that improving health must precede improving performance, especially as they age.
I do not think many athletes have done enough research into the benefits of nitric oxide beyond body building/strength training, and I do feel that more individuals should begin to understand the health benefits first followed by what it can then do for them during a workout.
How do you typically start a discussion about Nitric Oxide with your clients?
My clients are athletes so I start any discussion with them related to how their performances have been (or training). They usually say that they can do better or are not very pleased with one aspect or another of their training/performance so I then ask them if they are doing everything nutritionally that they can to change this. The typical response is no, so I then take the opportunity to discuss oxygen and nutrient delivery to muscles and how that can be improved…then enter in N-O!
I discussed this with one of my female Ironman athletes (above 60 years old) and she understood the oxygen and nutrient delivery to muscles but was pleasantly shocked when I told her about N-O, the benefits, the food sources and the fact that eating foods with NO is great but would not provide enough to boost athletic performance.