Athletes maximize health in game plan

Dom Dellos, Reporter

Junior Sean Bieski doesn’t own a Ferrari. If he did, he would fill the tank with the highest quality fuel to maximize its performance. The same goes for his body.

As a guard on the MAC Champion Men’s basketball team, Bieski keep himself vigorous for games and practices by choosing to eat healthy foods at the Metz dining hall.

“If you’re a high quality athlete, you have to put in high quality things in order to compete and to recover,” Bieski said.

The ding hall has been under criticism for a soon-t-be-enacted schedule changes via their Facebook wall, but students complaints quickly turned toward what they called ‘sub par” food for Equiv meals.

With 13 different sports at the NCAA Division III level, athletes say it is necessary to have the nutritious food in the dining hall so they can perform at their peak.

“There’s a variety of options,” says Chris Gray, strength and conditioning coach and offensive line coach for the university’s new Football team. “The main entrée usually provides your protein. There’s always a vegetable, and there’s a deli and a salad bar where you can create something healthy.”

In a nutrition packet Gray distributes to players, he informs athletes that they should aim for meals consisting of 55-65% complex carbohydrates, 25-30% protein, and 10-15% fat.

Gray said quality meals are available in the dining hall.

“It takes more time, effort, and discipline,” Gray says. “People just want to point fingers. It’s really easy to walk up to that grille, but, it’s up to you.”

Men’s soccer player Junior Nick Ferguson said J. Clarke’s Grille is a choice to avoid for healthy food.

“Most of the time it’s really greasy,” Ferguson says. “The food there could improve.”

Bieski says, “I try to eat salads, wraps, and a meat, vegetable or pasta from the entrée. You can make it work.”

Baseball pitcher junior Mike Pena said he eats at J. Clarke’s Grille despite other options.

“Not everyone can eat what they want,” Pena says. “But you can be selective and know how much is good for your body.”

Perfect nutrition is difficult to obtain at any level of sports, let alone in college, but Coach Gray encourages athletes and non-athletes alike to stay aware of their health.

“It is vital to be cognizant of what you are putting into your body,” Gray says. ““To maximize your sports performance there are a lot of things that need to be done from the likes of film study, technique work, strength training, conditioning, and practice time. One component often overlooked is nutrition.”

Gray, whose uncle was strength and conditioning coach for the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League, has been a useful resource among all athletes since his addition to the football program’s staff. His tailor-made workouts help a variety of teams in addition to football.

“Different sports require different skills,” Gray says. “My goal is to just help athletes understand how to do things the right way. Knowledge equals power.”

Chances are if you spot a sports team working out in the weight room, they’re performing a workout made by Gray.

“We’ve been doing things in the weight room with high pace and tempo, our circuit workouts are created to build stamina, speed, and strength,” Ferguson says.

According to Ferguson, eating properly leads to the best physical results.

“The main factor in my workout performance is proper nutrition,” Ferguson says. “Without it you won’t have the energy to do what you want. If you don’t eat right it will show.”

With the basketball team in season, Bieski says it is important to stay strong, but not overdo it

“It’s important to just stay using your body weight, doing things like push-ups or sit-ups,” Bieski says. “Stay away from heavy weights to just keep the same strength. You want to be agile when you practice and have stamina when going through a season.”

Pena engages in a unique lifting regimen for pitchers, which balances rest periods with pitching outings. Pena has worked with Gray to perfect his training.

“Pitchers are a lot different from even position players in baseball,” Pena says. “When we don’t pitch we may do squats or other things to keep our legs strong. In season we do a lot of high repetition, low weight in order to keep the muscle memory in our arms.”

Pena said hydration is also important for peak performance because baseball players battle high temperatures in the later months of the season.

“Hydration can help avoid muscle injury with such explosive sprints and movements required in baseball,” Pena says.

Gray said the key to optimum results is to stay on the program.

“If you make an effort to do things right, and you do it long enough, you will see results,” Gray says. “Everything is a progression.”