Athletes and fans tend to eat very different diets

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By: Steve Krah
skrah@elkharttruth.com

Scott Bauer/USDA

If you want to eat like a South Bend Silver Hawks fan, there are plenty of choices, including burgers, hot dogs and barbecue nachos.

But if you want to eat like a Silver Hawk, the menu will look a lot different.

Minor league baseball players try to consume healthy foods to fuel them through workouts, games and a grueling season that runs from March until September.

David Lasnier, strength and conditioning coach for the Silver Hawks, asks players to consume plenty of lean protein.

“It helps with recovery,” Lasnier said.

Along with a variety of fruits and vegetables, protein is provided in the clubhouse at pre- and post-game meals in the form of lunch meats and supplements.

“It’s not too fancy,” Lasnier said. “We’ll have sandwiches with deli meat that is as lean as possible. Guys like to do protein shakes on the road because it’s very convenient.”

Lasnier said all supplements are NSF-certified to be safe.

So how many grams of protein is best?

Lasnier prefers to give general guidelines since each player has different needs. He talks in general terms about nutrition unless an athlete asks for an individual recommendation.

“We let the guys be pretty independent most of the time in terms of diet,” Lasnier said. “We give them guidelines and try to let them do their own thing.”

The basic guideline for calorie intake is the same for athletes and non-athletes.

“It’s a very simple equation,” Lasnier said. “If you eat more calories than you burn, you are going to gain weight. If you eat less, you are going to lose weight.”

Since these are ballplayers and not calorie counters, it’s weight that Lasnier tracks.

He weighs the Hawks on a monthly basis, but many players step on the scale daily or at least weekly to gauge what is best for their bodies.

With all the daily activity, most players have a tendency to lose weight during the season.

Lasnier’s aim is to have his athletes maintain their weight as well as their strength and conditioning and to prevent breaking down.

“It’s hard to gain anything in terms of strength during the season without affecting the performance on the field. Otherwise, they would be too tired.”

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