In the fall of 2015, the HBU Athletics Department teamed with the Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute in developing a program to educate student-athletes about their nutrition and its effect on performance.
In addition to his role at IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute, Brett Singer has been appointed as Head Sports Dietician for HBU Athletics.
“My primary role has been one-on-one consulting, but this is a totally different dynamic and I love working with college athletes, because they are right between the pros and high school,” Singer said. “Pros are kind of set in their ways and high school athletes are not mature enough yet to grasp what we are trying to teach them. College athletes are really interested, with many on their own for the first time, so they are willing to listen.”
The importance of good nutrition can be understated and difficult for anyone, especially college-aged individuals who often stay up late, do not have much time between classes, and also have a job, homework, practice and competition. The program is designed to teach student-athletes how to make better choices and help them balance their busy lives.
“Our thought is that the body is like an automobile and our student-athlete’s bodies are like racing cars – they need the proper fuel to perform optimally,” director of Athletics Steve Moniaci said. “A lot of our student-athletes had no idea what that meant and were making really poor nutritional choices.”
“We were training them to perform, but then they were putting bad fuel in their bodies. We decided that we needed to do something about it, so we reached out to our medical partners, Memorial Hermann Healthcare Systems, who put us in touch with their IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute and Brett Singer. Brett has done a fantastic job with the student-athletes in the first year of this program and we owe him and Memorial Hermann a huge thank you!”
Singer first conducted a seminar with each team, including the coaching staff and athletic trainers. Then, he visited the cafeteria with each team to answer questions and have each student-athlete demonstrate what they had learned.
Since those sessions, Singer has produced handouts and infographics, which were posted in the Baugh, HBU’s student cafeteria, and the athletic training rooms to reinforce the material. A new social media account has also been created for consistent interaction and reinforcement with HBU’s student-athletes and has already generated more than 73,000 views in less than a year.
During the spring, Singer demonstrated a post-practice nutritional workout recovery program, which included all student-athletes and was open to the entire student body.
“We’ve received really positive feedback from the student-athletes and talking to Steve and the athletic training staff, the response has been positive to them as well,” Singer said. “You can tell most of them are really happy to have this resource and someone they can ask questions.”
“It’s nice being with a population driven to be their best, and they can realize how well they can do if they start making better decisions regarding their health. It’s like turning on a light switch when they really get it.”
HBU Athletics will continue to partner with Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute to expand and move the program forward. The HBU Sports Nutrition program can be followed on Twitter @HBUNutrition.