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What’s fueling World Champion athletes? Food of course!
“Three days prior to competition is when nutrition becomes most important,” says Pittsburgh Steelers assistant strength and conditioning coach Marcel Pastoor. “Our standard practice is to have the athletes cut their caffeine intake to zero, absolutely no alcohol and increase the amount of water and Gatorade they drink.”
Pastoor, who is in his fourth year with the Steelers, credits nutrition as the key to the Steelers’ success.
During the season, all Pittsburgh athletes follow a strict dietary regimen, which they kick into high gear before games, especially the Super Bowl. “Sixty percent of an athlete’s diet, especially before competition, should be carbohydrates. Good complex carbs. The rest should be filled up good fats and proteins like lean meats,” Pastoor says.
The Steelers have chef-prepared meals closely monitored by Pastoor and head strength and conditioning coach Garrett Giemont. But how can a young, developing athlete eat like a professional?
“It’s all about making good choices," Pastoor says. "Like if you want to have pancakes for breakfast, that’s fine, but make sure you limit the butter and syrup. Don’t load up on unhealthy foods. And stay hydrated.”
Pastoor stresses one final point to Steeler players about to play in the Super Bowl—and to all athletes around the world while in training. “You are not eating to please yourself, you are eating for your game.”
Samantha Jones is a guest reporter from the University of Alabama. She is embedded with the Steelers as they look to take home their record-setting seventh Super Bowl championship.