Food for Fuel

In this post we are going to be discussing the importance of nutrition and diet for college athletes and what we do to ensure we are fueled for our best performance!

So as we discussed in our last post, being a college athlete means you constantly have a busy schedule. Cooking a healthy meal is the last thing on our minds after a busy day or hard practice. But maintaining a healthy diet is necessary for all college athletes to be successful and is something we always have to be aware of. Many college athletes aren’t properly educated on what to eat and when to eat it.

Water also plays a huge role in being a healthy college athlete. While this seems obvious, many athletes are not drinking enough water to keep their bodies’ fully hydrated during practices and games.

As a dancer (Kelsey), I have always had to be aware of watching what I ate and maintaining a healthy diet. My coaches have sat us down on multiple occasions and informed us of the importance of nutrition and has brought in nutritionists to give us ideas and the proper information on eating to benefit our bodies. Figuring out what to eat and when to eat it depends on the day. We have met one on one with our trainer and he discussed the necessary steps each of us needs to take to maintain a healthy, fit body that will get us through everything from games to the rigorous competition season.

On a typical day, I make sure I limit my intake of unnecessary sugars and fats. For breakfast I typically have egg whites  and a piece of toast (and coffee of course!). For lunch I try to switch it up and will have anything from yogurt with granola and fruit to a salad or a smoothie. For dinner I will have some grilled chicken, rice, and vegetables.

Game days or competition days are a little different and we all need to load up on carbs and protein to make sure we have enough energy for the day.

As a Lacrosse player (Alexa), Nutrition plays a HUGE role in my life. Not enough fuel or not the right kind of fuel can really alter my performance. For example, when we have practice and conditioning early in the morning it is very crucial that I eat something even though my body doesn’t feel hungry. Food fuels our body and without fuel you simply can not perform to your fullest potential.

Here is a list of my favorite meals

Click here and read the top 10 nutrition facts that everyone agrees about!

On a typical day, I wake up and have a bowl of Oatmeal and frozen blueberries. After my conditioning and lift, before practice I eat a Lara Bar (Currently can not get enough of the pecan pie flavor!). After practice I go straight to class so I do not have much time to eat. I usually pack a bag of carrots or an apple. Something easy to grab and eat on the go. Once I finish class I go home and make myself a balanced lunch and dinner! I love seafood and meats, so I tend to go for salmon, shrimp, or steak (If my bank account permits 🙂 ) but if I am on a budget or more of a vegetarian kick, I love making  Stuffed Peppers and Spaghetti Squash Lasagna. Currently my two favorite dishes to make at the time! (You could say I’m slightly obsessed!)

As a college athlete, it is difficult to prepare a solid healthy meal because we are always in a rush. What I have been taught to do is prepare the meals ahead of time so when I wake up all you have to do is pull it out of the fridge and head to practice. Although it can be frustrating to make all at one time, it pays off when you don’t have time and need to grab something quickly.

This past summer I followed a nutrition plan. It was more so focused on fixing your metabolism and lifestyle change than your actual diet. I found that is was very helpful and gave me insight on new ways to eat.  It is very important to stay in tune with ingredients you are feeding your body. As most of you have heard, “you are what you eat!”

Eat well, feel well, perform well.

A&K

eat well
Eat well, Feel better

No time for that!

This post will be dedicated to schedules and ways we manage our time as a student athlete. If you haven’t already heard, time management in college is very important whether you are an athlete or not. There is no one there to tell you “do your work”, therefore it is your responsibility to stay accountable for yourself. Trust us it is easier said then done, we both still struggle with this and are working on it! 🙂

As a lacrosse player (Alexa) our season is in the spring. Therefore all of our workouts and practices are in the mornings. When season comes around our schedule flip flops and we practice later in the day. Having practice in the morning is convenient at times and inconvenient at others. In the fall the alarm clock is my best friend. I am not a morning person so this aspect is very hard for me! I love my sleep and getting out of bed is the last thing I want to do when my alarm goes oimagesff at 6 am. This is where flexibility comes in. Being a college athlete you have to be flexible and adjust to things you are not used to.

Because of our morning workouts, we as a team, schedule our classes in the afternoon. So after our workouts/ practice we shower (if we have time.. don’t judge!) and head to class. This is where the caffeine comes in. For me it is hard to concentrate if I transition fast from practice to class and I usually need a little energy boost (coffee or some food) to help me focus. After class I go home and either run some errands (grocery shop) or relax for a little before I start to make myself dinner. Sometimes in the evening I have plans, but my favorite days are the days I get to go home and “veg out”. Also like every other college student, we get homework which also takes up a good chunk of our night. So pretty much there is not much time to be social. If I want to do something fun or go out to dinner that is something I usually have to plan days in advance.

team

ALEXA’S daily Lacrosse ROUTINE:

Monday-Friday: 7:45-9am – lift and condition

Tuesdays: 9:30- 10:30 small groups ( 3-4 girls practice w/ the coaches)

Weekends: usually free or have community service events but have three (on your own) 25 minute runs

Growing up as a competitive dancer (Kelsey), I have always been used to having a hectic schedule. I’m extremely lucky to have amazing, supportive parents who did everything they could to help me out whenever I needed. Like any high schooler, I was used to having my parents make me food when I got home from practice late and wash my uniforms last minute when I needed them the next day. So coming to college and not having their constant help was a definite change.

Dance Team basically has a never ending season. Once we start in July we don’t have a significant amount of time off again until the school year is over in May. During fall semester, our main focus is performing at football games and also starting our routines for competition. Spring semester is the peak of competition season along with basketball season. An average week for a dance team member consists of struggling to wake up for class everyday after a late practice the night before. We practice during the week from 8pm to 11pm and Sundays from 5pm to 9pm. So while we usually have the whole day to go to class, do homework, run errands, and do whatever we need to do to get our lives together before practice, it is always stressful to prioritize and get everything done. Besides being at all football and basketball games, we almost always also have at minimum three other events or appearances during the week. This can consist of walking through campus with the band to promote this week’s game, performing and working at community events, and even just posing for pictures. Sometimes it takes us longer to get ready for an event than the time we are actually there! Any place that needs Aztec spirit and entertainment, we are there.

Dance Team performing on campus welcoming students back during the first week of school.
Dance Team performing on campus welcoming students back during the first week of school.

Once competition season gets started, our schedule gets even crazier, sometimes with extra or longer practices. We have to make sure we are prepared for every event, performance, game, and competition; all while acting like we have it all under control, when most of the time we don’t! We always say you have to fake it ’til you make it.

Sometimes I look at my schedule for the week and get stressed and overwhelmed. I have to prioritize on assignments and make sure I plan a specific time to get everything done. I always try to squeeze in some time where I can relax or have some fun with friends. I have friends who look at my calendar and wonder how I get everything done. While it can be super stressful at times, I wouldn’t change it for anything! Working under pressure makes me more productive because I know I have no time to procrastinate.

Dance Team practicing for their performances at the first Football Game.
Dance Team practicing for their performances at the first Football Game.

Check back soon for an update on how we stay healthy and eat right as college athletes!

A&K

Preparation

Our first post will be dedicated to PREPARATION when becoming a college athlete.

We are going to talk about ways to physically, mentally, and emotionally get prepared for the greatest and hardest four years of your life as well as our journeys in becoming athletes here at San Diego State.

We are not going to sugar coat things, this will be a difficult journey but in the midst of the difficulty you will have so many rewards and accomplishments that it will be well worth it! Just be prepared to WORK!

In high school I (Alexa) was on my varsity lacrosse team since I was a freshman and our league was not enough to get me scouted by college coaches, so I decided to joined a club team my freshman year as well. The club team I played for was called T3, based out of New Jersey where we practiced a couple times a week and had tournaments up and down the east coast over summer. It was very enjoyable and I made a bunch of friends through it as well. This program was what inevitably got me into SDSU, which I am forever grateful to the coaching staff and program. After coming on an official visit to SDSU, I knew I wanted to be a part of this great program and I committed to SDSU during one of our home football games. From then on I was an Aztec for life. It was crazy yet empowering going back to high school the next week already knowing what was in store. This is where the preparation comes into play. I knew I had to train and prepare myself for the next level of play. College sports, as most of you know, are much more fast pace than high school sports. In high school you are used to being the superstar of the team, but once you get to college everyone on the team was their high school’s superstar, It was a little challenging coming in knowing everyone was on your level or better.

I (Kelsey) took my first dance class at the age of 4 and fell in love. From then on I grew up in the dance studio, taking classes sometimes up to 30 hours a week and competing every weekend. I earned at spot on my high school’s dance team starting my freshman year and continued on the team until my senior year, where I was captain of the team. During high school I also continued to dance and compete with a studio, which is how I feel I was able to grow to my fullest potential and continue to be pushed. Towards the end of my senior year, I knew it could possibly be my last year dancing, and with all my years of work and accomplishments, I knew I didn’t want it to come to an end. With the support of my coaches, I decided I should take the next step and try out for collegiate dance teams. After following SDSU’s Dance Team online, I tried out for the team and was thrilled to earn a spot after competing with almost 100 other girls. After making the team I had to work to be sure I was at the same level as the returning members of the team. This includes matching their style, mastering new tricks, and of course staying in shape. Like Alexa, coming from a team where you were the star, to a team where everyone is the best is eye opening and definitely pushes you to work harder than you ever have.

Step 1. Physical: Continue to stay in shape! Work out and follow the regiment. If your coach gives you a packet to prepare you better follow it! This is probably the most important aspect of being a college athlete. It is almost an unspoken rule that you come in ready to work!

Step 2. Mental: Being mentally tough is very difficult. It is easy to sike yourself out if things start to get rocky. Self positive talk is very important and proves to your coaches that you are a well rounded player. They want to know that when things get tough you are in it no matter what. More often then not in life we are our own worst enemy. There are little things that can help you such as positive notes or quotes where you can read them and remind yourself that you are here for a reason and are mentally tough and will get through it. Also it is good to have someone that keeps you accountable and lifts you up. If they see that you are struggling it is there job to pick you up and give you some positive talk.

Step 3. Emotional: College is hard! Yes it is fun, but with fun also comes responsibility, hard work, and stress. Many tears will be shed but it is what you do after that matters most. Like we said before have someone that you can go to who will pick you back up and be there for you when you are struggling. Being on a team you have an instant couple dozen friends that will be there for you. Do not be afraid to ask for some support. On a side note, if things get too serious seek professional help, do not be embarrassed because it is better to catch these feelings early then let them overpower you.

We hope this post helps prepare you and if you have any input or comments you would like to make please feel free to comment below!

Stay tuned for our next post where we will be focusing on the daily and weekly lives of athletes at SDSU. The life of a college athlete is busy and stressful, so we are going to provide you with all the details on how we manage our time and how we make sure everything gets done for school, our teams, and personal lives. Talk soon! 🙂

A&K

Welcome!

Hi! We are two girls blogging about our SDSU college athletic experiences and giving tips we think will better your experience as a college athlete. We will be posting about many different topics such as our weekly schedules, nutrition plans to follow, and even some simple inspirational quotes and personal stories from inside the SDSU athletes. We are happy that you are following our journey and are always open to feedback so please comment below if you have any input. 🙂

Quote of the day: “Work hard in silence and let success make the noise”

A&K