Sep 30, 2016
Duke Ups Its Game

Student athletes from all 26 varsity sports at Duke University are enjoying the school’s first buffet-style training table. Located in the Blue Devil Tower, the training table gives an option for student-athletes to eat without using their campus dining plans.

“Now they have access to more food. You might say why does that make a difference? Because a lot of the athletes would come in here and I would talk to them, and they would be out of [food] points,” Franca Alphin, Duke’s director of nutrition services for student health told the Duke Chronicle. “They’d have no points, they would literally rely on friends to order food for them and I’d be educating them on how they should eat and what they should eat, and they’re like, ‘I have no money.’ That’s really hard to do sports nutrition education.”

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Along with the training table, Alphin has another resource to help her educate student-athletes about nutrition. One of Duke’s student-athletes has launched a startup called “Brainbuild” that matches users’ schedules, on-campus food options, and dietitian recommendations with ideal timing and choices for eating.

“You can use your Jawbone [app], you can use your MyFitnessPal app, you’re still not going to know every calorie,” Alphin told the Duke Chronicle. “Most of you eat the bulk of your food from 5 o’clock on but you’re most active from when you get up during the day. We wonder why we gain weight. Because we’re eating a ton of calories when we’re sedentary rather than eating the calories when we need them.”

Alphin also relays several tips to further help student-athletes with fueling. She suggests consuming fewer starches when you are not exercising as much, and using protein to help with recovery, noting that whole grains can be anti-inflammatory. For recovering from concussions, Alphin recommends consuming omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in nuts, eggs, and salmon.

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