The diet factor: young athletes and their favourite cheat meals

Art by Ina Jacobe

As much as we glorify summer as a time of rest, it’s not so for quite a number of friends and acquaintances. Based on personal experience, summer can be hell for some athletes. It meant twice-a-days, and intensive weight training. It meant some semblance of a dietary plan, and gruelling training sessions. Rest it was not.

Such routines definitely yield personal and physical growth, but only if you’re able to cope with the pressure,. This is where customs such as the cheat meal comes in. As tough as they are, athletes are still human. We humans need relief from the pressure to keep living under it. A friendly cheeseburger (or siomai, or Coke) or two go long ways to helping with that.

But what kinds of relief exactly do these meals give? We ask a few of UAAP student-athletes to help us shed light on the topic, by sharing their favourite cheat meals, interesting diet stories, and how exactly their use of cheat meals help them cope with their routines and excel at their various sports.

Arielle Estranero (@ariellestranero), 20, volleyball player

“My favourite cheat meal isn’t exactly a ‘cheat meal,’ to be completely honest. It’s more of a personal comfort food. My go-to meal when I’m stressed or down is siomai and rice, because it tastes good, it’s cheap, and it’s filling. It’s the perfect food for particularly tough school days — from daily three hour training sessions to papers and everything in between — because it’s a comforting no brainer. I don’t know how beneficial it is exactly for me in my sport, but it gives me life.”

Kathy Bersola (@KB08_), 21, volleyball player

“I don’t really restrict myself from eating anything. As a sports science major who’s taken up various sports nutrition courses, I try not to restrict myself to any one diet. I do avoid pork and soft drinks though, so I guess my ideal cheat” meal would be pork ribs and unli-rice with Coke. Oh, and I can also never give up chocolate. It’s my pre-game and all-nighter go-to. Thankfully, coach doesn’t restrict us from eating anything as long as we keep up with our weight and performance too, which makes constructing eating habits a lot easier.”

Erica Dee (@ericatheresedee), 19, dancer

“Rice is something I can’t ever sacrifice. My logic behind my intake is that as long as I work out and burn the same amount of calories I consume, then I generally don’t have to hold back. Dance practices are no joke after all. I mean, they usually end at midnight for me, and that doesn’t even count the school work I need to do after. I do however limit my intake of soft drinks and fast food. And I really enjoy sweets and random street food when I’m not in school and on vacation — especially abroad — so take that as you will!”

Yla Trinidad (@eelatrinz), 19, softball player

“My favorite cheat meal would have to be fried chicken. I love how crispy the skin is, and how flavourful the gravy that comes with it is. I could go on and on about how good it is, honestly. I’m not exactly sure how it keeps me physically or mentally fit, but it’s just something that can put a smile on my face every day without fail, even after games and training sessions. Because I love it so much, I have begun to use it as a form of motivation as well. I’ll set goals for myself in training and in games, and if I reached them, then I’ll treat myself to the meal as a reward. It’s something to look forward to, given my rough training schedule.”

Tags:
#food #sports

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