Every person, regardless of fitness level, depends on the fuel that food provides in order to function. However, Division I athletes exert their bodies far more than the average person and therefore they must take special consideration to the food they consume in order to preform their best in practices and in games.
In season, a Colgate athlete practices for about two hours a day between five and six days a week, depending on if they have a game that week. In addition, athletes weight train twice a week for approximately one hour per session. That adds up to about 14 hours of exercise a week, which a very conservative number considering that most athletes dedicate extra time to improving their fitness and skills outside of official practice and game time.
Since athletes train so much in season, many Colgate athletes claim that their eating habits change in and out of season. Soccer player junior Sophie Lederer, states, “In season I eat a lot more because I’m working out so much.” Whitney Jones, a junior field hockey player, agrees, and attributes her increased appetite to her busy practice and travel schedule and feeling like she needs more energy to preform well in her games.
However, basketball player junior Andrew Bargmann disagrees, stating that his schedule both in and out of season keeps his meals consistent and notes the importance for him to always eat enough calories so that he doesn’t
One thing that all three athletes agree on is the importance the role that food plays in their performances. “When I eat well, I feel like I have more energy and don’t get stomach pains while I play… I also feel more agile, and light on my feet,” Lederer said. Bargmann agrees, stating that he feels “a lot more energized and ready to practice” after a healthy meal.
Lederer claims that she can always feel the effects of the food she eats before she workouts, so pays particular attention to getting an adequate carb and protein intake. Jones also makes sure she gets enough protein before and after practices and games and is especially conscious of what she eats the day before games.
Most Colgate sports teams get a team pregame meal, which football player Alex Campbell cites as the biggest difference between his in season and out of season eating. A typical pregame meal for junior Katie Conners before field hockey games consists of a bowl of oatmeal, eggs, toast and a piece of fruit. And before track meets, Keane Sanders like to keep his meals light, eating only a few bananas and drinking water to stay hydrated.
On days that Colgate doesn’t provide pregame meals, most athletes get their food from Frank Dining Hall, the Coop, their respective Greek letter houses or by cooking for themselves. Colgate also provides athletes with Gatorade, protein bars and protein shakes in the locker rooms.
Although Colgate does not provide athletes with a nutritionist, Lederer thinks the school does a good job with nutritional assistance. There are usually signs around campus and emails about setting up appointments with the dietician. However, Lederer would like Colgate to provide informational sessions specifically for athletes that would be required for every team and thinks it would be beneficial nutrition specific to pre and post workouts and in and out of season. Bargmann would love a nutritionist on campus who could make athletes specific food plans because he spends a lot of time figuring out what to eat and what nutrients his diet is lacking.