I have been a college student-athlete for almost a full year now, and I still don't think I have the true in's and out's of athlete nutrition. Luckily, my great school and athletic program has provided me with information on what is best for my success. Last week a former Sewanee soccer player, Mary Pate Bennett, gave a presentation to us on an athlete's nutrition and ways to do better in health in order to be successful on the court. She covered multiple topics, including some sure-fire tips on an athlete's nutrition.

1. Plate portions

salad, chicken breast, tomato, chicken, asparagus
Jackie Kuczynski

The best way to know what to eat is to know when you are eating it. Your plate should look different depending on the intensity of a workout or whether or not you are working out at all. For light training, aim to have half a plate of veggies and fruit as well as a quarter of the plate as lean protein. Don't forget the good teaspoon of fats which can be found in foods like nuts, cheese, or butter. For moderate training in season, aim to construct plates a third whole grains, quarter lean protein, and half veggies and fruit. For the hard training, aim to have half grains, quarter protein, and quarter veggies. An athlete can't train on an empty stomach!

2. Hydration

ice, alcohol, milk, coffee
Alex Tom

You cannot perform well unless you are hydrated. Some symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, shakiness, dizziness and shortage of breath. On top of drinking regularly throughout the day, you need to add another 6 to 20 ounces of water prior to exercise. Also, during exercise, you should drink 6 ounces about every 15 to 25 minutes. During exercise, a good way to bump up electrolytes is with Powerade or Gatorade. Drinking Powerade or Gatorade after practice or exercise is very good for recovery. So, remind your coaches that water breaks are important!

3. Sleep

date, coffee
Rebecca Block

Sleep is so important to a busy athlete's schedule. Sleeping 7 to 8 hours is best right now for college athletes. Effects of sleep deprivation can interfere with athletic ability. Cognitive performance, metabolism, healing, and recovery are all slowed when you do not get enough sleep. In order to get better sleep, make the room dark, quiet, and calm. In addition, avoid eating heavy meals 3 hours before bedtime. Lastly, do not get on your phone or watch a movie an hour prior before going to bed.

Remember you need to stay on top of nutrition and health if you want a winning season! If you would like some more information you can check out this website