App to help athletes make healthy choices

By Anja Rosales

The sports nutrition department has announced a project to create a nutrition app for Baylor athletes.

The app will give athletes the best choice of meal to order at a restaurant depending on the athlete’s personal nutritional goals. Annie Hogan, the director of sports nutrition for Baylor Athletics, said the app would feature all chain restaurants in Waco, including places like Chuy’s, Cheddar’s and Chili’s as well as fast food chains such as Raising Cane’s.

The staff working on the project consists of Hogan; Dwight Allison, the assistant director of sports nutrition; two interns; and five graduate student volunteers. The team hopes to have the project done when football reports for training in June.

Senior right tackle Troy Baker said it is crucial that the football team members take care of their bodies during summer training.

“Summer workouts for our football team are an eight-week grind where the strength coaches really break us down to build as much strength and endurance as possible,” Baker said. “When you are waking up at 5:30 four times a week to work out for three hours, your body must recover properly or else you will fall apart.”

Candice Walls, assistant director of olympic sports at Baylor, oversees women’s soccer, track, acrobatics and tumbling and softball. As a strength coach for the football team, Walls said nutrition is key to an athlete’s performance.

“I think this project is the next step to taking our athletes from good to great,” Walls said.

Jacob Puente, the assistant athletic trainer for football, said summer is a time when the football players have little tweaks, such as soft tissue injuries or muscle cramps, from not nourishing their bodies correctly.

“It is extremely hot and they are working very hard so there is no hiding from not taking care of your body,” Puente said.

Junior left tackle Spencer Drango said it is important for linemen to maintain their weight during the summer because the amount of cardio they do could lead to quick weight-loss.

“Its crucial that us linemen reach and maintain the weight we need to in the healthiest way,” Drango said.

The sports nutritionists are helping athletes throughout the athletic department set personal goals that range from incorporating more fruits and vegetables in their diet to dropping or gaining weight.

Hogan said no matter what an athlete’s specific nutritional goal is, the app will provide athletes with the healthiest choice at restaurants in order to reach their personal nutritional goal. When an athlete is at a particular restaurant and they need a meal that provides them with the nourishment their body needs to meet their goal, they will click on the app, choose the restaurant they are at, and find the meal they should eat. Each meal will contain the nutritional value and explain how it will affect their body and whether or not it will help them towards reaching their goal.

“We want athletes to know you can always find a healthy choice anywhere,” Hogan said. “We know athletes go out to dinner and eat out on the weekends so we want to help them make the best choice when they do.”

Baker said there have been times he has gone out to eat with teammates and spent the entire time before ordering his food texting a strength coach and asking them what the best meal was for him to order.

“You do not want to annoy your coaches every time you go out to eat and sometimes you simply don’t think about asking,” Baker said.

Drango has faced problems as well when going out to eat.
“At restaurants, you think you are doing well, but you really don’t know what’s in a meal,” Drango said. “The app will definitely add an extra dynamic that serves as an added resource that allows us to enjoy staying healthy.”

Hogan said it would be easy to find the nutritional value of meals from chain restaurants, but finding the same information for privately owned, smaller restaurants is not as easy. In order to still allow the athletes to find the best meal at a local restaurant that is not a chain, Hogan said the app would give generic options for such places.

Senior quarterback Bryce Petty said the app would give him more of an edge over his competition in the Big 12.

“In the Big 12, everyone is good so you have to do the extra to separate yourself from the rest,” Petty said. “Nutrition is that next level to ensure that I am allowing my body to perform and operate to the best of its ability which in return helps me produce for my team.”