The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

Got a tip? Have something you need to tell us? Contact us

Loading Recent Classifieds...

Eat to Win: The Diet of an Athlete


To an athlete, the body is a temple. The way they treat their bodies from the offseason to the regular season can be the deciding factor for a great year. No matter what sport they play, an athlete must dedicate their time to becoming a great player.

For many, that begins with what they eat. Many student athletes at CSUN have their own routines and habits to prepare for a season and maintain during it.

Kyle Frelow, a junior on the CSUN men’s basketball team, prioritizes his protein intake to prepare for the season. While there is not too much

Kyle Frelow, forward on the men’s basketball team. (Trisha Anas)

of a change in his diet, Frelow frequently eats chicken and steak for protein along with broccoli and asparagus to round out his meals. Eating a balanced diet with vegetables provides the body with antioxidants, which support recovery, according to a study of athletes’ nutrition for the journal Sports Medicine. Some of these meals also include pasta as a source of carbohydrates, but Frelow cuts back on certain foods in-season.

Frelow explains that he tends to gain weight fast, so when the season comes around, he watches what he eats.

“Eating healthy and having a good diet throughout the season, just making sure I don’t eat the fried food… just keeping myself consistent with that is what helps me the most in maintaining my weight,” Frelow said.

While Frelow is in the gym working to maintain his weight and build up, Jacqueline O’Neill, a junior tennis player, is keeping herself in competitive shape on the court.

Jacqueline O’Neill, junior on the women’s tennis team. (Trisha Anas)

O’Neill says there’s no real offseason for her because of the amount of matches she plays year-round. She believes that fitness and recovery are the keys to lasting a full year.

There is, however, one major change in her diet throughout the season.

“I consume a lot more carbs when I’m in-season. That’s mainly because of the amount of matches I play,” she said.

For O’Neill, carbohydrates are important for energy and recovery, especially for tennis players. Consuming carbohydrates after exercising can maximize recovery, which improves subsequent performance, according to a study from the University of Birmingham.

A typical meal before matches for O’Neill consists of only carbs and protein. She eats bread, pasta, rice, chicken, oatmeal and much more. However, the key to her quick recovery time is eating a little of all the food groups so that she has all the nutrients she needs come match day.

Overall, O’Neill believes the biggest difference between her playing in and out of season is the amount of food she eats.

“I’m consuming a lot more when I’m in-season just so I can feel normal,” she said.

Both Frelow and O’Neill face various challenges within themselves, depending on the time of the year. They sometimes eat their favorite fast foods, but as their seasons approach, they tend to cut back on processed foods. For Frelow, his in-season routine consists of taking in more protein and extra gym time, while O’Neill’s sport requires more carbs for optimal performance. It is true that not everyone is an athlete, but tips can be taken from their dietary habits to improve energy levels and recovery.

More to Discover