Athletes stress nutrition

Before baseball season started The Shield sat down with three members of the baseball team to discuss their nutrition habits. While the stands are filled with burgers, pretzels and nachos, the players on the field often keep steady nutrition in mind.

Shawn Williamson said nutrition is important to him, but he still enjoys a country fried steak from time to time.

The junior redshirt baseball player said when the team plays two games on Saturday or Sunday, he gets up at 7 a.m. and goes to Cross-Eyed Cricket.

“I usually like to get a sausage egg biscuit, something that’s kind of filling but not heavy on your stomach,” Williamson said. “So that way you’re not out on the field feeling bloated, but still have the energy to get through the day.”

He said he also tries to eat a protein bar right before the game or during. The team also tends to get a cater plate from Subway, with turkey and cheese or ham and cheese sandwiches.

“We are so active with what we do at practice and the way we train and everything. If we eat something bad we are probably going to burn it off,” Williamson said. “So (coaches) try to direct us to eat something healthy, but there are days where we are like, ‘OK, we have to pig out. We have been going at this for months on end now.’’

Williamson said protein drinks can be beneficial as long as they aren’t used as a meal replacement.

“There’s a couple of guys and people that swear by them. They’ll drink like two, three, four a day. I was on that for a while starting out my freshman year,” Williamson said. “And then I realized I can see the same results from food instead of spending all this money on supplements and protein shakes.”

The redshirt junior said Gatorade can also be good when used with water. However, it has a lot of sugar and is bad if you consume too much.

“Don’t just rely on water and don’t just rely on Gatorade,” Williamson said. “If you interchange it, I think you’ll see more benefits from it.”

Zachary Webster said being from Canada he was put into hockey at a young age.

At age 7, Webster found an empty summer his father wanted to fill with baseball.

Webster said baseball is a lifestyle and he always tries to get in a really big meal before going to the field.

“I try to eat as many carbs as possible, so either pasta or oatmeal,” Webster said. “If it’s breakfast, it’s usually eggs, oatmeal and coffee, which are some good choices in the morning.”

The senior business administration major said he feels pasta is a popular food for not just baseball players, but all athletes. He said it is important to get a carb-based meal to fuel throughout the game.

“Ever since I came to college, I got really into nutrition and health and fitness,” Webster said. “I feel like whenever I eat well I feel better, so as easy as it sounds, I think nutrition is a big part of being an athlete for sure.”

Webster said he tries to get in eggs, oatmeal, chicken, rice and sweet potatoes everyday. He said even though he knows fruits and vegetables are good for the body, he finds it hard to get them in.

But when it comes to fan food, Webster said, he tends to indulge. Because he exercises and attends workouts, he finds he can allow more calories.

“The Toronto Blue Jays serve ice cream in a little batting helmet,” Webster said, “which is kind of a big thing I would always get when me and my dad would go to games.”

Jason Quarles said nutrition has impacted his life since he joined the baseball team. After finding his love for baseball at the age of three, he knew he would have to start eating like an athlete.

Quarles, a senior sports management major, said as a child he never wanted to eat before a game because it would make him feel nauseated, until he found the healthy choice for him.

“I noticed that if you don’t eat, you’re not energized,” Quarles said. “Every year, from high school to college, I wouldn’t say I ate a lot before a game, but I would have to eat something that would be pasta or salad so it would give me energy throughout the game.”

When Quarles is looking for a snack, he tends to go for a candy bar, such as a Pay Day or a Snickers. However, meal wise, he is a fan of a Subway melt with lots of spinach.

“It’s very easy for me to eat healthy on campus,” Quarles said. “I live on campus and everything is really convenient for me to go and grab. I try and stay away from Burger King because it’s a lot of fatty foods.

The senior said his favorite foods to get when at The Loft include pasta, veggies and a trip to the salad bar.

Quarles said although fan food at the games is tempting, thinking about his overall health helps sway him to the healthier choice.

“I would say (during a game) we are thinking a hot dog does sound good and popcorn, he said, “but for us to eat that, that could put us a few steps back in gaining.”

When it comes to protein drinks, Quarles said he stands by them. He personally enjoys a mass gainer from GNC, he said. It is important to adjust the servings for the circumstance, and for him personally, he has to cut the serving in half.

“I wouldn’t just suggest (protein shakes) for athletes,” Quarles said. “but for everybody to seriously take a protein shake because it’s considered a meal replacement.”