Lewis Training Table Provides Nutrition and Education for All Nebraska Athletes | Sports

For junior soccer player Kate Leachman, stepping into the Lewis practice table was a time of relaxation and relaxation with friends over a meal.

She knew that when she walked in she could confidently walk to the various catering stations and get enough of the food she needed. She knew the food was carefully prepared with the best ingredients and that she could ask the nutrition staff for advice on what to buy.

This was the reality for all student-athletes in Nebraska until the Lewis training table, like many other people and programs within Nebraska athletics, was phased out due to COVID-19.

The Lewis Practice Table, the athlete-only dining facility, was suspended after the football season was initially postponed in August due to budget cuts from COVID-19 and the sports department. Last month, the practice table reopened for the soccer team when they are expected to compete from October 24.

The training table is an important aspect of the student-athlete experience and was the primary source of food and nutrition for most student-athletes. Now, a majority of student-athletes stay healthy on their own.

“Having a practice table during the season was essential for our performance. When we got it, I had breakfast, lunch and dinner there, ”Leachman said. “This is how I ate more of my meals, so it took over all the food for me, I didn’t really use anything else.”

Senior Theresa Pujado, a multi-role soccer player, enjoyed the practice table because she knew what she was eating was healthy.

“You didn’t have to wonder what ingredients were in the food, or whether it was baked or fried, they knew that,” Pujado said. “We also got a good amount of each food group, like carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, so it was easy to eat a balanced diet.”

Another aspect that many athletes thought had been lost was the social part of the practice table. The opportunity to meet not only members of the same team, which has already happened in training and matches, but also members of different Husker sports teams.

Being able to talk with athletes from different sports also allows people to understand the similarities and differences between their experiences.

“Most of the time we all arrived at the same time so it was like a team dinner. It was good because you never really ate on your own, ”Pujado said. “We would also sit down with gymnasts, wrestlers and softball players and just talk to them and ask them how they were doing. The practice table was when I got to talk to people outside of my sport.

However, despite the lack of a practice table for almost all sports, the nutrition staff have still implemented various ways to continue to support their athletes. This includes the continued supply of nutrition and supplements for all student-athletes during training sessions. These were distributed to “satellite nutrition zones” by the nutrition service.

Additionally, student-athletes also continue to receive $ 10 from Husker Bucks for weekend meals, and nutrition staff continue to work directly with student-athletes from all sports to educate them on healthy eating.

Although, like most athletes, Leachman and Pujado miss the practice table, both feel that the nutrition staff, especially Lisa Kopecky, deputy director of nutrition, have been a valuable resource in the absence of the training table. In fact, Pujado and Leachman found some bright spots in the situation, including the ability to learn to cook more and become more independent.

“[Kopecky] is absolutely awesome, ”Leachman said. “She taught us how to cook some things, how to shop on a budget, make a meal plan, they review and give us commercials for the grocery store and give us recipes based on that and go over it. review the amount you need depending on how much you are making that day. They did a lot more to teach us to be more independent because we never really had to do it before. ”

Pujado said cooking for herself also taught her to consciously think about where she gets all of her nutrients. This forces her to pay more attention to what she puts in her body. She said that while she missed the convenience of the workout table and had never gone shopping before it closed, she is happy to learn some valuable life skills.

Both Leachman and Pujado have benefited greatly from the training table and benefit more from his education around the kitchen.

“My nutrition has definitely changed,” Leachman said. “I’m always mindful of eating healthy foods, but sometimes it’s a lot harder to eat as much as I should. Personally, I’m not always hungry after training so if I don’t want to prepare food I won’t, whereas with the training table it was easier to get eaten because I knew I needed food.

Yet despite these hurdles, the two know they have great staff to lean on.

“Our nutrition staff are the best in the country. They do so much for us and they are all so amazing. I am very grateful to have them, ”Pujado said. “I really believe they are doing their best to make sure we can play to the best of our ability now, and will continue to do so when we return to play.”

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