In-season Eating Habits. Part 1 – Nutritional Basics

In-season Eating Habits: Easier than you think.

Part 1 – Nutritional Basics

I’m sure you have heard too many recommendations about what to eat before games, after games, before bed, what to (or not to) eat to lean down, what to eat to gain weight, and the list goes on… Well let me summarize and condense all of this information into several easy to follow strategies.

Instead of cramming all of the info into one long article, where let’s face it you probably won’t read the entire thing. I’m going to make it into a more bearable 3 part series; Nutritional Basics, What To Eat, and Supplements.

What you need to know:

Whether you’re an athlete, or an average Joe / Jill, your eating requirements do not really vary all that much. What you need to understand is that the best type of ‘meal’ you can have is derived from whole actual food.  Although there are supplements, and bars, and all kinds of other garbage out there saying things like; ‘it’ll keeping you hydrated’ and, ‘build lean muscle mass’, the best type of nutrients you can provide your body is through WHOLE UNPROCESSED FOOD. I’m not saying you need to get on a diet to lose or gain weight. I’m saying you need to change your nutritional lifestyle choices for the better. I despise the word diet because it implies that you will deprive yourself of something you want for a while, achieve temporary positive feedback, and then go back to having that something again. Oh ya, and gain all that weight you lost back plus some extra.

I almost feel that I shouldn’t need to say this, however, fruit and fruit juice…not at all the same thing. Having fat in your diet will not make you fat. Whether you’re an athlete or not, starchy carbs should not be consumed with every meal (think potatoes, breads, pastas…). Which do you think is better for you, fried or grilled chicken? I think you know the answer. Best beverage for you to drink? Water. Simple stuff huh? I’m sure you could have figured out most if not all of those yourself.

Try and think of it this way. If it comes in a pre-packaged bag or wrapper… chances are it’s not the best option. When choosing one product over another, look for food products made with the least amount of ingredients and then the order that they’re listed. The ingredients are always listed in descending order from the most abundant to the least.

A small example how less is more. Pay attention to the order that the ingredients are listed. You think those 'extra' ingredients are good for you? Guess again. Keep It Simple!

The in-season is long and tough on the bodies, a HUGE factor that can get you through those rough times are the positive eating habits that you employ. Although it doesn’t seem like one big-mac will harm you (…it will), the continual nutrient deficient meals you consume will play a large negative role on your energy systems and bodily functions down the road.


We all know the best way to obtain a goal is to plan ahead. That being said, the best strategy is to prepare your meals beforehand. If this is not an option, you can schedule when you’re going to make that trip down to the cafeteria to eat.

The Typical schedule of the average college athlete looks like:

Monday-Thursday                        Friday                       Saturday

Class: 8am-12pm
                    Study Hall: 9-10am         Game: 7-10pm

Training/Practice: 3-6pm          Game: 7-10pm

  Because I’m such a nice guy, I’ve made things even easier for you. Here is a layout of when you should be eating.

Monday – Thursday

          Breakfast: 7:30am

Class: 8am-12pm

Lunch: 12:15pm

Pre-Practice/Training Meal: 2:15pm

Training/Practice: 3-6pm

Post-Practice/Training Meal: 6:15pm

Dinner: 7pm

Snack: 9pm


Breakfast: 8am

Study Hall: 9-10am

Lunch: 11am

Pre-Game Meal: 3pm

Pre-Game Snack: 4:45pm

Game: 7-9:30pm

Post-Game Snack/Meal: 9:30pm

Post-Game Meal: 10pm**


Breakfast: 9am

Lunch: 12pm

Pre-Game Meal: 3pm

Pre-Game Snack: 4:45pm

Game: 7-9:30pm

Post-Game Snack/Meal: 9:30pm

Post-Game Meal: 10pm**


Breakfast: 9-10am

Lunch: 12:30pm

Snack: 3pm

Dinner: 6pm

Snack: 9pm

 **= Have a meal if you only ate a snack right after the game.

 I hope by now you get the idea that it’s important to constantly supply your body with quality nutrients around the same times every day.

You’re in college, you go out, we get it. When you go out and have a few, or a few too many, make it a habit to take down a glass of water for every glass of beer. It’ll help keep you hydrated. Ever hear that McDonalds is anti-hangover food?…It’s a myth. The most efficient strategy you can employ is to consume some good quality food and water before you hit the sack and when you wake up you should be good to go!

Every once in a while it’s ok to sleep in, you probably need the rest and recovery anyways. That being said, a lot of players make the mistake of sleeping until 1pm, doing nothing for a couple hours, then grabbing a pre-game meal around 2pm on Saturdays, or some pizza for the 4pm football games on Sundays. These are the ones that either lose a lot of weight throughout the season, get fatter, and feel run down. If you do the math and follow the eating schedule provided above. This means that they’d skip about 4-5 eating opportunities EVERY weekend. Sound beneficial to you? …Not to me! The better choice would be to get your ass out of bed, grab a quick omelette, hang out for an hour, and then take a nap mid-day if you’re still wiped.

Omelete, Asparagus, avocado, arugula, nuts. 'Pretty easy' to make - Even easier to eat!

Don’t Forget:

Eat around the same time everyday! By eating at appropriate intervals and during key times throughout the day (e.g. pre- and post-practice/training) it will help you perform and feel better throughout the season. Now isn’t that what you like it hear?

To your success,

Rich Thaw


One response to “In-season Eating Habits. Part 1 – Nutritional Basics

  1. Pingback: (Additional) Supplements for Success | RT Strength & Conditioning·

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