Playing sports requires a certain understanding of nutrition management, especially during preseason and regular season. I would say that it's definitely an art if a person can master the idea of in-season eating, something that I don't quite think I have mastered myself. Playing volleyball in college and planning my own meals out every day has thrown me for a loop so far this year. There are many things that I have discovered so far this year that I hope can help my fellow college athletes. 

1. Preseason eating 

pasta, penne, macaroni, basil, vegetable, sauce, spaghetti, tomato
Lily Allen

Upon first arriving at Sewanee, I was immediately thrown into practice since volleyball is a fall sport. My schedule consisted of two practices every day for two weeks with workouts every other day during the week. Being a freshman, these first two weeks were tiring and exciting at the same time.

Many meals consisted of high amounts of protein and carbs to fuel me through the workouts, and I could afford grabbing a piece of fudge pie or a cookie. With preseason, it's important to remember to fuel your body enough depending on the amount of exercise and exertion that you are partaking in, and then you can treat yourself with a little something.

2. In-Season Eating

salad, vegetable, lettuce, broccoli
Torey Walsh

Now that I am in regular season and classes have started, I've realized that my eating style has to change a little bit. I now only have one practice a day and workouts maybe once a week, which means I cannot eat as luxuriously as I did in preseason. I have to cut out some carbs, keep protein, and trade dessert for a salad.

I can honestly say that I have failed somewhat at doing so, but as the days go on I've figured out a little more about meal routine and planning. My suggestion is to think of making your plate as colorful as possible so you can incorporate all of the good aspects of food needed for your day.

3. Pre-game meals

sweet, potato, vegetable
Aakanksha Joshi
A very important factor of game day is the pre-game meal, which creates the fuel for the game. Many people eat pre-game meals differently; some prefer to eat a little while others like to load up. Personally, I prefer to eat a little before a game so I don't feel weighed down by food while I play. I try to stick to cereal and fruit for most of my pre-game meals, but sometimes I mix in a bagel to get some carbs. 

4. Hydration is Key

milk, yogurt, vinegar, cream
Kirsten Kumar
Staying hydrated throughout the day is crucial to the well-being of your body. In the beginning of the season I had trouble drinking a ton of water because I would grab Powerade instead. Of course, Powerade is not entirely bad for you, but water really hydrates. Water is probably the most natural thing you could put into your body, so take advantage of that and sip, sip, sip!

5. Time Management

Constance Connolly

Planning time to eat and making sure that you eat is extremely important during the season. With practices, classes, workouts, and traveling time, the time may slip away from you. You also need to try to find times in the day when it is best for you to eat snacks.

It's important to have small snacks in between meals in order to keep energy in your body so you don't overeat at your meals. Finding a schedule for your meals takes a week or two to figure out, but once you find it, stick to it and keep it consistent so your body has time for refueling.