2010 and 2012 NCAA Football Champion University of Alabama: Nutrition is Critical to Athlete Success!

2010 and 2012 NCAA Football Champion University of Alabama: Nutrition is Critical to Athlete Success!

Amy BraggAmy Bragg was the eighth full-time college sports dietitian in the entire US when she was hired at Texas A&M in 2004, a position created when the Athletic Director came from the pioneer athletic-nutrition focused University of Nebraska. As the profession has mushroomed in the past decade, Bragg, who moved to the University of Alabama Alabama Univ ofin 2010 (Editors Note: In 2011 & 2012 Alabama was the College Football Champion), hopes to see nutrition awareness expand into other fields.

Nutrition is a big, broad concept, beyond sports nutrition,” she says. “It affects every person. It’s something I would like to see grow.”

Bragg credits her interest to a nutrition and foods course she took as a high school senior, taught by a dietitian who was ahead of her time on the subjects of herbs, recipes, and sustainability in the 1990s. “Nobody was really thinking of sustainability in the food supply back then,” Bragg recalls.

Bragg earned a degree in Finance from the University of Texas, where she supported the athletic program as a football hostess, and went on to earn a nutrition and foods degree at the University of Houston. She became a Clinical Dietitian at the Texas Medical Center in Houston in 2001 and also started consulting with athletes about nutrition before she joined Texas A&M. Bragg, one of the founders and past-president of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association (CPSDA), witnessed the early days of the athletic nutrition movement.

Athletic Nutrition Movement

“Back then we were just getting connected, creating a listserv, starting to talk, about a dozen of us networking, going to meetings, running into each other and sharing ideas, how to navigate challenges,” she recalls. “It was slow initially. The growth has really happened, I think, in the last three years. It’s really evolved.”

…when you manage the food supply you get better outcomes, when you manage nutrition rather than just react to it or treat issues medically. You get a much greater benefit for the athletes’ development and their long-term health.

“Those of us who have worked with Athletic Trainers and Strength Coaches for a while have been able to show…when you manage the food supply you get better outcomes, when you manage nutrition rather than just react to it or treat issues medically. You get a much greater benefit for the athletes’ development and their long-term health. It’s an important partnership with the other support staff. Parents and athletes value it. They value nutrition when you talk about it in a recruiting scenario and they value it when they come on campus.”

Athletes often overlook the importance of what they eat for their performance, Bragg says.

“Athletes don’t respond to lectures, and they don’t want to be forced to see a nutritionist,” she says. “They can’t see that they’ll get anything from it because they don’t have a weight problem. It shouldn’t be punitive. For every athlete, it should be about performance, it should be about health. They typically don’t eat well. Getting them to eat better keeps them on the field. You have to get them at the right time. Sometimes it’s when they’re injured. Sometimes they’re doing a rehab and you can affect them more – they’re more responsive. But really it’s for everyone.”

The nutrition plan includes The Right Stuff when needed to protect athletes’ hydration.

“There are occasions and specific athlete needs that require higher sodium intake,” Bragg says. “The Right Stuff is an effective add-on to whatever you’re doing for hydration. In the food plan, for some athletes, The Right Stuff becomes essential for them to perform well throughout an entire game. If you’ve ever had a full-body cramp, you’re responsive to anything that will keep that from happening again.  The Right Stuff is a powerful aid in prevention of cramps. [Editors Note: Studies show the formula also improves core thermoregulation, protecting the body from overheating and increases athletic endurance]

If you’ve ever had a full-body cramp, you’re responsive to anything that will keep that from happening again.

We try to have a full arsenal of things to get athletes through every situation, and The Right Stuff is an important part of that for us.”

Bragg hopes that the athletes’ nutrition education will impact the rest of their lives. “It’s part of their development and their performance and their lifelong health,” she says. “Athletes are going to go on and become parents, and they’re going to develop their children’s nutrition. We’re talking about the big picture.”

To learn more visit www.TheRightStuff-USA.com

NFL Lineman Shares His Secret for Fighting Chronic Cramps

Chance Warmack, the All-American guard on Alabama’s national championship team and first-round draft pick for the Tennessee Titans, Chance Warmack - Combine croppedknew he was a heavy sweater ever since his family moved from Detroit to Atlanta and he started playing youth football.

“I was aware that I used to sweat a lot when I was younger, but it wasn’t to the point that I needed to add electrolytes in my system,” he says. “I began to see a change in my body because I was doing a lot more activity at the high school level.”

He first felt the pain of intense cramps during his sophomore year.  “It was really hot, and I began to start cramping for the first time,” Warmack recalls. “I didn’t know what was causing them, how I could prevent them, or why they were happening to me. I began to understand what to do to prevent the problem of cramping. Back then, I didn’t know what I needed to put in my body to avoid those things.

Pedialyte®, formulated for children who have lost nutrients, helped more than other products, so he would stock up before practice on a hot Georgia day. Pedialyte was my saving grace at the time, but even that sometimes it didn’t come through for me,” Warmack says. “I would have days when I would be close to full body cramps. My body was locking up on me and I didn’t know what to do.”

 

Fighting the Cramps

In his senior year in High School, his grandfather, a physician, recommended a concoction that helped enough for Warmack to win a scholarship to the University of Alabama, but trainers there balked at depending on the time-consuming mix.

“I put that solution down,” he says. “I was introduced to salt tablets at that time in my life. I was 17 years old. Alabama’s training camps are very hard. I would leave training camp practice soaked with sweat. Salt tablets can only do so much. My body was taking so much sodium, and I couldn’t store it all. I would have to take 50 tablets at a time every day.”

It was convenient, it was efficient, and it was easy to use. The Right Stuff literally helped me get through college.

Finally, in his junior year at Alabama, his Nutritionist introduced Warmack to The Right Stuff. He took six packets a day, 2-3 times as much as other teammates. “There was nobody on the team that sweated as much as me,” he explains. “It was convenient, it was efficient, and it was easy to use. The Right Stuff literally helped me get through college. I’ve done everything – salt tablets, pickle juice, mustard, Gatorade, you name it. The Right Stuff gave me the opportunity to play and not worry about cramping. I could focus on football, not how much sodium I had taken.”

Chance Warmack - Titans helmet onWhen he went to the NFL with the Tennessee Titans, he was the only one who was taking The Right Stuff. “Every trainer has the way they want you to hydrate,” says Warmack, who “pre-games” with The Right Stuff and has two in his system when he steps onto the field. “I didn’t want to change what I was doing because it works so well for me. When you know what works for you, you don’t want to change it, especially when you’ve got proof that it works.”

“They tell me when you sweat you lose a lot of minerals. You’re burning fuel. When you use The Right Stuff, it’s putting everything back. You feel like it’s a boost for you. I’m happy I was able to be introduced to it. It was a blessing in my life. I can be the best player I can be.”