By Nikki Colonna
Being a successful athlete involves more than just practice; in fact, much of it does not take place on a court, on a field or in a pool.
Besides workouts and a good sleep schedule, one of the most important parts of being a successful athlete involves diet and food choices. Healthy dieting does not mean eating less; it means being conscious of proper food intake. For athletes, what and when they eat can make a stark difference in their performance.
“My pregame meal of choice is an omelet consisting of ham, sausage, cheese, tomato, spinach and onions with orange juice and chocolate milk,” said DJ Daniels, senior baseball player. “I have a side of grapes that I keep as a snack. I think the meal I eat is balanced enough, and I feel energized throughout my entire pregame and game.”
According to many Lynn athletes, breakfast should include a dairy, such as milk or cheese, a protein and a fruit option. For many, foods with high protein are recommended because they are best for long-term productivity.
Food selection is vital because the wrong choice can determine the athlete’s physical output. Some foods can give a false burst of energy and actually cause the athlete to crash and burn. Sugar is the worst culprit because it will eventually cause cramps, sluggish movement and poor reactions after a brief rush of adrenalin.
“I made the mistake of eating a piece of candy, thinking it would give me energy before a game,” explained Ariana Rodriguez, sophomore volleyball player. “It was a mistake and resulted in me having a sugar high for five minutes until my energy crashed.”
Many Lynn athletes agree that drinking a good amount of water and staying away from processed foods are smart practices in everyday diets. Planning what to eat after a sporting event is also very helpful, as recovery intake can be just as important as a pregame meal.
“I would say pasta and chicken are neutral to eat after [my game],” said Ryan Peterson, basketball player. “It is a good idea to get some good carbs as well as some protein to re-energize the body.”
Most Lynn athletes understand that their diet choices affect their athletic performance as much as any other physical or mental preparation. They are good examples that smart and consistent choices pay off in the short and long term.