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  • Hugh O’Connor (left) and Nick Plummer rely on protein bars to fuel them through long practices.
    Photo by John Kiser
    Hugh O’Connor (left) and Nick Plummer rely on protein bars to fuel them through long practices.

How Diets Affect Athletes Of Different Sports At Severna Park High

John Kiser
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February 6, 2018

For most athletes, their diet offseason enables them to perform at their peak in season and feel their best throughout their training.

Some sports require athletes to stick to certain foods more than others would – for example, the diet of a wrestler would vary from that of a cross country runner.

“Offseason diet is more of a bulking-type, high-protein diet,” said Ron Schilpp, a junior on the wrestling team. “It impacts my in-season performance by keeping my body lean, but it also allows you to lean down easier for in-season.”

“My diet in general is pretty similar during the season and the offseason,” said Hugh O’Connor, a senior track and cross country runner. “I eat a lot of carbs like bagels and pasta and put some kind of fatty thing on them, like olive oil on pasta.”

Managing what goes in your body is especially crucial for athletes who want to maintain consistency in their sport. By having that consistency in their diet, they are able to compete at their highest level and keep improving.

For some sports, athletes require more calories than those of others, and it depends on the individual and how much they are doing physically. “As athletes on the cross country and track and field teams year-round, it is of the most importance that we ensure that we are eating enough, given the high amount of calories that we burn off on a regular basis,” observed senior cross country and track runner Nick Plummer.

“I’d say the most important thing I’ve learned since running is to get enough calories in me daily,” O’Connor added.

As teenagers, students also have a habit of grabbing the wuick and convenient meal or whatever looks good either right before practice or following several hours of hard work. Carbs are mainly the type of foods they eat on the go or the night before a race or game. “I tend to stick to eating a lot of carbs during training, and I like to stay away from fast food as much as I can,” said Keaton Bathras, a senior on the soccer team.

Carbs are considered a staple in the sports world. Everyone seems to gravitate toward them, given all the benefits they possess. “If I eat fast food the day before a game, I’ll be cramping and sluggish compared to eating pasta and lots of carbs, where I’ll play with a lot of energy and give myself a better chance of playing well,” Bathras said.

Keeping up with practice on a day-to-day basis and, moreover, on the weekends gives athletes an incentive to find healthy choices in foods so they can perform and feel their best. “My dietary choices make me feel healthy. The carbs and fats give me the energy I need, and the protein helps with recovery and muscle building,” said O’Connor.

Not every high school athlete has the perfect balanced diet to correspond with his or her respective sport, but getting all the nutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables should be at the top of the list, regardless of the athletic activity.


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