Sports Nutrition


The mission of AU Sports Nutrition is to provide a multidisciplinary approach for Ashland University student-athletes to enhance and maximize athletic performance, while reducing risk for injuries and fueling strength, power, and endurance with nutrition.


*All student-athletes scheduled for an individual counseling session should complete the forms listed below prior to your appointment.*


Performance Team

Sports Nutrition Performance Team is comprised of Athletic Trainers, Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists, and Certified Strength and Conditioning Coaches. These disciplines will work together to identify needs among student-athletes and provide specific preventative and treatment plans to meet performance goals.

Individualized Nutrition Counseling

Appointments can be made through the Athletic Training Department, Strength and Conditioning Specialists, or by contacting the Director of Sports Nutrition directly.

Individual nutrition counseling will target concerns including areas such as:

  • Athletic performance, muscle recovery & strength
  • Injury prevention and treatment
  • Poor appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Digestive issues
  • Food allergies/sensitivities
  • Macronutrient or micronutrient needs
  • Nutritional management of diagnosed diseases that may impact the ability of a student-athlete to compete, such as diabetes or celiac disease 

Team Education/Presentations

Presentations will be tailored for each specific sport and may include the following topics:

  • Recovery nutrition
  • Hydration
  • Macronutrients & micronutrients
  • Safe and effective use of supplements
  • Injury prevention and treatment

Nutrition On-The-Road

Evaluations and recommendations related to nutrition while traveling, including packed meals, hotel offerings, as well as menus from restaurants near overnight accommodations can be provided.

Individualized Tours of Student Dining Facility

Ashland University dietetics students will be available to provide quality personalized nutrition tours that meet the sport-specific needs of student-athletes in Ashland University's dining facility.


David Vanata, Ph.D., RDN, CSSD, is Board Certified in Sports Nutrition/Dietetics and serves as Director of Sports Nutrition at Ashland University. Dr. Vanata has been counseling athletes from all types of athletic teams for over 25 years, focusing on nutritional concerns related to dietary intake for pre, during, and post-events, as well as improving athletic performance through increased muscular strength, growth and recovery.  He also works with athletes recovering from chronic or acute injuries and/or surgeries, to assist them in returning to their pre-injury state.  Additionally, he counsels athlete on the appropriate forms, types, and amounts of dietary supplementation associated with athletic performance within the guidelines of the NCAA.



Denise Reed, MS, RDN, LD is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Ashland University. She joined Ashland University after 14 years as a critical care dietitian and clinical nutrition manager at a Level II trauma center. Denise’s expertise is providing individualized nutrition therapy care for management of diseases. Today she continues to provide nutrition therapy care in a variety of health care settings as well as through nutrition education programs within North Central Ohio communities. In the realm of sports nutrition Denise works with athletes to optimize performance through nutritional management of diseases such as diabetes, celiac disease, and eating disorders.