There has been a lot of talk lately about the re-forged physiques of John Timu and Keith Price and their weight room efforts. Quarterback Price bulked up to 202 pounds, adding mass to shield his body better during Saturdays, while Timu moved up to 238 pounds to prepare for a move to middle linebacker, the quarterback of the defense. A 200 plus pound captain in the middle of each side of the ball for the Huskies makes this year’s team even stronger.
These physical recalibrations weren’t just solo efforts though. The mass gain was a plotted and executed team effort involving the coaching staff, the strength staff, and the athletic trainers. Rachel Hall, an athletic trainer with Husky Football, heads the team’s high-powered nutritional offense.
“The lifting program is meant for them to gain weight. [The] problem is you can’t gain weight unless you’re eating right. That’s how everything came together for Timu and Keith,” said Hall.
Hall and the other trainers make sure that the players never go hungry, providing them with an endless supply of bagels, nuts, and fruit. She explained that it is all a part of maintaining players’ metabolisms.
“We have our nutrition bar set up so that they can come at any point in the day,” said Hall. “Whether it’s at 6:30 in the mornings or 6:30 at night when they’re going to meetings, they constantly have food available to them so they can keep that fire burning.”
Even outside of the provided foods and training table meals, Hall and the athletic trainers work to influence the players’ eating habits, steering players to foods fit for Division I athletes, and away from junk foods. Hall took that even further, directing an intern to turn words of wisdom into a physical learning device. And their design leaves an impact on student-athletes.
In the back entrance of the training room there is now a 4 foot by 3 foot poster board that looks fresh from a high school science fair, posted with warnings about soft drinks and other beverages that students in a fast paced world normally turn to quench thirst and boost energy. But, attached to these beverages are bags of granulated sugar with the exact amount of sugar contained in each can or bottle. Hall hopes to also attach a negative connotation to these energy boosters.
“You’re in Seattle and you see everyone with a coffee in their hand or a soda, it’s just society today, so then we were talking about sugar with the guys, and so the bulletin board came about to physically show them what you’re putting in your body,” said Hall.
The strength and conditioning staff of Ivan Lewis works to put the players’ bodies in top athletic shape. However, as Hall referenced, it all begins with how you provide the body with the nutrition and energy it needs to excel in a football environment.
“I relate it to your car being empty. You have to put gas in it and after practice, these guys burn over 1000 calories so now they have to fill their tanks back up,” said Hall.
“I make sure I sit down with Ivan and discuss when we should get them food, whether it be before workouts, after workouts or during workouts. These guys are starting to eat during practice, because most of them can’t go 20 minutes without being hungry, let alone during an activity like a football practice. Therefore, we’re getting our players food constantly and you’ll see it during games and they keep that blood sugar up and that helps keep their energy levels up.”