The Orion

You are what you eat

Nicholas Woodard

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Tracy Berman knows nutrition. Now, thanks to her, so do Chico State athletes.

Berman, a nutrition teacher, has taught at Chico State for the past 23 years and is leading a sports nutrition program that is changing the way Wildcat athletes go about their diets.

Berman graduated from Chico State with a bachelor’s degree in physical education with a certificate in exercise physiology. She later earned her master’s from Chico State in the same field. But it wasn’t until five years ago that she started teaching a sports nutrition class.

She redesigned an advanced nutrition class to configure it around sports performance.

“It’s more like performance nutrition,” Berman said. “It’s specifically geared for nutrition in sports.”

Berman’s influence on the diets of Chico State athletics grew as time went on. She began meeting with teams and discussing how to improve their nutrition.

“Most college athletes don’t know any more than anyone else about nutrition,” Berman said. “The athletes that know how to fuel their bodies will be the ones that win.”

Berman works with athletes on understanding food labels and takes them on grocery store tours. There she explains to them how most grocery stores are laid out. The perimeter is where most of the good foods are, and unhealthy foods are concentrated in the middle.

Knowing about nutrition is crucial for athletes and is often the difference between winning and losing, Berman said. For athletes, eating right can be the difference between having a good day and a very bad day.

This year, Berman has a team of sports nutrition interns meeting with teams and giving presentations on nutrition.

Adrienne Beaudreau, a senior nutrition major and intern, works with Chico State’s men’s and women’s basketball teams. Berman made a huge influence on her choice to go into sports nutrition, Beaudreau said.

“She was the reason I switched my major,” Beaudreau said. “I’ve learned a lot from her and from doing presentations with the teams.”

The interns design their own presentations and Berman looks them over to make sure the right information is being relayed to the teams, Beaudreau said. The interns also have meetings with Berman every other week to make sure they are staying on top of their work.

Beaudreau is also the captain of the women’s water polo team. This year she will emphasize the importance of nutrition, she said.

“It’s my main push as captain this year,” she said. “I’m going to be more on top of my teammates. To be better they need to fuel themselves better.”

Beaudreau is also working to develop a Wildcat nutrition handbook that will be available later in the school year.

Berman is also working on projects of her own. She was recently certified by the International Society of Sports Nutrition and hopes to become a fellow of that organization in the next four years.

As the sports nutrition program continues to grow, Berman will remain focused on helping athletes eat better, she said.

“On the college stage, where all other factors are equal, nutrition is where athletes will get their edge,” Berman said.

 

Nick Woodard can be reached at [email protected] or @nwoodard25 on Twitter.

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You are what you eat