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Healthy diet crucial for athletic success

Jordyn Provence

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Photograph by Riley Mundia A good diet is crucial to success on the field, according to junior soccer player Cody Levar. Here, he is shown heading a ball with a banana in one hand while balancing an orange on his foot.

Photograph by Riley Mundia
A good diet is crucial to success on the field, according to junior soccer player Cody Levar. Here, he is shown heading a ball with a banana in one hand while balancing an orange on his foot.

The decisions an athlete makes in the kitchen are just as important as the actions they take on the field. Without a healthy diet, Chico State’s athletes can’t perform at their highest levels.

Cody Levar, a junior health administration major, leads a very healthy lifestyle to bolster his soccer career at Chico State.

“We, as humans, do not make our own energy,” Levar said. “We need to properly hydrate and eat before every game and practice.”

Keeping a balance of calories, protein, fat and carbohydrates is a very important part of fueling the body. Athletes keep their energy levels high by eating a variety of lean meats, Greek yogurt, cheese and legumes for protein and vegetables and fruits for simple carbohydrates.

Eating the right foods helps boost athletic ability, said Jessica Varela, a junior nutrition major and runner on the cross-country and track teams.

“My nutritious lifestyle helps me perform my best because it provides me with the proper nutrients my body needs,” Varela said. “Eating the right foods also helps my body fight off fatigue, inflammation and prevents the breakdown of muscles. It also increases lean muscle, fights off sickness and increases energy levels.”

A strict diet is important for the performance of junior volleyball player Kristyn Casalino, who is an exercise physiology major.

“Nutrition really affects physical and mental activity,” she said. “It is very important to pay attention to what you eat while playing at this level. Our bodies are under serious physical stress and the best way to take care of it is by fueling it with beneficial foods.”

Along with eating balanced meals, caloric intake is important in keeping up endurance and energy level. Depending on the size of the athlete and the sport, caloric intake can vary between 1,700 to 3,000 calories per day. If one does not eat enough of the right foods, they are bound to burn out much faster than those who are well-nourished by proper nutrition habits and practices.

Without a healthy diet, practicing effectively would be impossible, said Gail Bassett, a senior women’s soccer player and nutrition major.

“If I don’t eat properly, my body doesn’t have enough energy and I will burn out within 15 minutes of warmups,” Bassett said. “There’s no way I’m going to be able to play a full 90-minute soccer game, which I’m expected to do, unless I fuel my body like an endurance athlete, sprint athlete and strength athlete would.”

Nutrition is key to the success and longevity of collegiate level athletes, Varela said.

“Eating healthy is a way of life,” she said. “I like to put the best quality foods in my body. It makes me feel good when I’m eating nutritious foods that are helping me fuel my body and overall they help me perform at my best level.”

 

Jordyn Provence can be reached at [email protected] or @jordyprov on Twitter.

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Healthy diet crucial for athletic success