UB student-athletes eat to compete

UB's athletes discuss their various eating habits


There is one thing a student-athlete shouldn’t overlook: a balanced diet.

Every student-athlete is different and so is what he or she eats. Wrapped around their aspirations for success are daily practices and conditioning, mixed with a healthy plate.

Nick Mouyeos, head football athletic trainer, along with his staff, has made an effort to teach students in the football program the path to a balanced diet. Other programs make the same efforts.

Mouyeos said the staff is taking tips from Dr. Peter Horvath, a UB associate professor of exercise and nutrition science.

“Now, we’re learning some of the details of eating,” Mouyeos said of his work with Horvath. “Now, we’re teaching our student athletes when to eat, what to eat and what not to eat. We show them how to read labels and hold them more accountable for their health.”

Each athlete tends to craft his or her diet to reflect what her or she needs to succeed on the court. From track runners to football players, many of UB’s athletes are paying attention to what they pack on their plates.

Junior track and field athlete Mike Morgan makes sure to remain energized for most of the day. Morgan grew up eating healthy food so he understands not only the importance of eating for energy, but also for recovery from track and field.

“Growing up, my parents made a ton of healthy food, so I took that and brought it here with me to Buffalo,” Morgan said. “I always try to get protein and carbs in all of my meals. For energy before practice, I try to grab a power bar, a banana or apple.”

Morgan said he also prepares an effective post-game meal. His meal after a meet usually consists of quinoa, or different types of grains, as well as vegetables and lean meat. Morgan said all food groups must be included in to successfully finish his eating cycle.

Junior offensive lineman John Kling’s diet varies from Morgan. As a lineman on the football team, Kling’s calorie intake is larger than Morgan’s, allowing him to maintain weight to keep opposing defenders off of the quarterback.

“I need a lot of food,” Kling said. “I try to eat close to 5,000 calories a day, but being at school, it’s kind of tough to do that. However, I do what whatever I can to maintain, usually with getting more smaller snacks throughout the day.”

With his 6-foot-7, 324-pound frame, Kling’s daily regime involves a ton of carbs.

“Today, I had yogurt and oatmeal, a couple strips of bacon and turkey sausage,” Kling said. “Tonight, I’ll probably have some chicken breast, maybe two, with a side of broccoli. Then, I’ll have a small snack. Usually, I’ll grab some more yogurt. All of that stuff allows me to maintain good weight in and out of football season.”

The diets of freshman basketball guard Christian Pino and junior forward Raheem Johnson vary even though they play the same sport. Pino, who is 5-foot-7, has similar eating habits to Morgan, while the taller but leaner Johnson has a diet similar to Kling. Both receive diet tips from the training staff.

“We get meals after practice,” Pino said. “Every once in a while, we’ll look in the locker room and see some bread, peanut butter and jelly, fruit – oranges and bananas, things like that – usually for us to regain some energy after.”

The 6-foot-10, 235-pound forward requires more than the daily snacks in the locker room to maintain his daily calorie intake.

“I eat a bit more than my teammates,” Johnson said. “Before practice, I like to head down to Student Union and grab a sub, usually with some chicken in it. After practice, like Pino said, we get some stuff in the locker room. I love to eat fruit. Mangos, pineapples and the fruit that comes in the fruit cups.”

Pino enjoys meals like pasta, salad and chicken and Chipotle every now and again. As for Johnson, a sub or wrap from Student Union “gets the job done,” but he, too, has a soft spot for popular Mexican chain Chipotle.

In an effort to balance classes, sports and conditioning, these four athletes have found success in getting a balanced meal necessary to thrive on the track, field or on the court.

email: sports@ubspectrum.com