Nutrition plays major part in athletes’ lives


Rob Le Cates

Brittany Steven, a senior exercise science, snacks on string cheese while studying in Booth Library Monday afternoon. Stevens said string cheese is her favorite healthy snack.

Kate Stevens, Assistant Sports Editor

Nutrition and exercise are key factors in the everyday lives of student-athletes here at Eastern during the season and out of season.  

Brittany Steven, a senior tennis player, has an everyday routine that keeps her mind and body ready for her life as a student-athlete.  

“I’m a very routine person, so in-season and preseason I lift every morning on my own,” Steven said. “I also like to eat the same things for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I always cook the same foods and I know that those foods fuel me well for the day.”  

Camille Klopfleisch, the sports nutrition coordinator here at EIU, meets with the athletes as a team as well as meeting them one-on-one as they see fit.  

“In the preseason, in season, and postseason, nutritional needs vary. They vary depending on sport, gender, goals, and individual athlete,” Klopfleisch said. 

“I meet with athletes to help them achieve their specific nutritional needs that are being recommended by either their coaches or themselves.” 

Both Steven and Klopfleisch emphasized that each individual athlete’s needs are different but are important.  

They both also noted that while nutrition varies from athlete based on gender and what type of sport they play, it is all important to help them in their daily lives and to boost performance in their sports.  

“For men and women, I educate them relatively the same on the importance of nutrition for the student athlete,” Klopfleisch said. 

“When athletes come to see me one-on-one, I educate them on how to fuel their bodies in a healthy way based off of their needs. Sometimes the needs for a male runner can be the same for the female runner, and sometimes they are completely different. Nutritional needs vary for each individual.” 

“I think regarding nutrition, a lot of people don’t know what to eat and so they copy other people and think that there is only one way you should eat,” Steven said. 

“But that’s not really the case, everybody’s body is different, and you will see different results on different people even if you’re eating the same thing. So, I would just say experiment to find what works best for you and stick to that.”  

Klopfleisch expressed that the athletes she has encountered at Eastern care very much about what they do, and they want to make themselves better in every way, and nutrition is a big part of that.  

“EIU fans might not know that the athletes are so smart and disciplined. These athletes burn so many calories in games, practices, meets, lifts, et cetera. 

They need to refuel their bodies by getting those calories back in their diets,” Klopfleisch said.  

Steven is a representation of what Klopfleisch said about players being disciplined and getting their bodies right whether it is in season or out of season.  

As noted earlier, Steven sticks to her routine in and out of season to keep her body and mind right as a student athlete.  

“I will go lift at 6 a.m. and then workout with the team, then eat my breakfast. Always eggs, sausage, and toast,” Steven said. “I bring a snack with me to class or as I study in the library. [It is] usually string cheese, protein bar, and/or pistachios. Then I’ll eat lunch a bit before practice, like a meal with chicken and rice for lunch. Then I have practice and after I’ll eat dinner, [which is] ground meat or turkey with noodles or some other carb.” 

Steven also stresses the importance of things that go hand-in-hand with nutrition for athletes. 

“An athlete can have good nutrition but it’s nothing without hydration and good sleep,” Steven said.  

Kate Stevens can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]