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Inside LSU's nutrition program, an integral part of Brian Kelly's player development plan | LSU

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Inside the office, Matt Frakes turned to his computer screen. One of them had a spreadsheet filled with weight reports highlighted in green and red. Strength and Conditioning Figures gathered by members of his staff told him whether LSU athletes were within a prescribed weight range.

Another screen displayed hydration information and provided a guide on how much electrolytes players should consume based on their weight, which Frakes checks daily for data. Get an alert on your phone when a player falls below his 5% of the target weight range. He can then decide on a plan.

“Everyone’s weight fluctuates in some way,” says Frakes. “We have to put them back together so that we can be consistent for weeks at a time.”

The system helps Frakes, Assistant Athletic Director of Sports Nutrition at LSU, keep track of his entire football team. He has to make sure everyone is eating and drinking the right things to perform at their best, especially heading into the second half of the season when LSU faces the No. 7 Ole Miss on Saturday afternoon. .

Some teams will fade later this year, but the Tigers want to surge. It takes a lot to make it strong. LSU should make defensive adjustments and be more consistent.

But athletes can’t do that if they can’t do it themselves, their strength and conditioning departments, their athletic trainers, and their bodies, a year-round responsibility that rests on nutrition.

“We’re catching up now, but it’s important to hold up through the season,” said senior linebacker Myka Baskerville.

Brian Kelly focuses on all three areas in his approach to player development. This is key to the season and the future of LSU’s rebuilding program. LSU was already staffed by Beau Lowery, Director of Sports Medicine, when Kelly arrived, and he quickly hired Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Jake Flint. he went to Frakes.

Kelly was impressed with the nutrition center attached to the Football Operations Building when evaluating LSU. Executive In addition to his chef Michael his Johnson, Kelly wanted to have a dedicated nutritionist on staff to maximize the available resources.

He worked with Frakes, a former Bowling Green linebacker who earned a doctorate in nutrition and hospitality management last season.

“In some ways, he’s a unicorn in this field,” Kelly said. “His reliability, his knowledge and the need to develop players in the field are so great in the success I’ve had so far that I felt I needed to hire him.”

Frakes learned that Kelly was leaving Notre Dame the same day his wife was scheduled to have an induced labour. He attended team meetings and went to the hospital for the birth of her daughter. The next day, I got a call from Kelly. He blessed Frakes and his wife and offered them a job.

Frakes weighed proximity to opportunity when considering the position. A native of Columbus, Ohio, he loved living in the same area as his family after his father died of cancer a few years ago. His wife also had a family in Cleveland and his son attended good schools.

But Frakes thought he could make a difference. Additionally, LSU already had the necessary infrastructure in place.

“It’s all here,” said Frakes. “I had to sort it out.”

Frakes started by observing players. He wanted to know their past dietary pitfalls and preferences in order to shape the program around the culture of the team. At one point he sent out a survey to find out what foods they liked.

“I have to guide them in the habits I want them to develop,” Frakes said. I’m trying to change my habits and choices.”

Once he had enough information, Frakes set individual weekly target weight and body composition goals. He worked with Jack Marucci, Director of Performance His Innovation, to set the range based on the results of players in the same position at the NFL combine. A longtime member of his staff at LSU Athletic His Training, Marucci has been collecting data for years.

Players entered the program by seeing results on the field and looked at regular tests administered by LSU for lean muscle mass, body fat percentage and bone marrow density. To learn how to do that and meet Kelly’s expectations, I realized that I wasn’t always able to eat what I was eating before practice.

“I’ve found that doing it right makes my body look bigger,” Baskerville said. “If you don’t do it right, your body doesn’t look good. Do it his way and you’ll get good results.”

Cornerback Colby Richardson has undergone one of the team’s most significant transformations. After he arrived as a transfer from McNeath State University this summer at £167, Frakes helped Richardson plan to reach his £190 by the start of his preseason camp.

During training, Richardson had to increase his protein intake by 5 grams a week, starting at his weight and reaching 190 grams. He ate his four meals a day. A starting cornerback, his current weight is around 200 pounds.

“I tried to apply the blueprints they gave me to my life,” said Richardson. “done.”

Outside the office, Frakes stores the supplements players use every day. They take a baseline of 5,000 milligrams of vitamin D, 150 milligrams of magnesium, probiotics to maintain gut bacteria, vitamin K, and a standard multivitamin. Until you’re told what to eat, add supplements such as collagen if someone has a specific injury or has iron to address nutritional deficiencies.

To make it work, Frakes works closely with the strength and conditioning staff, athletic trainer, and Johnson. If they don’t communicate, the whole operation can go wrong. Frakes needs to know if his injury rehab can be aided by nutrition and what his training is going to be.

From there, Frakes and Johnson tailor the menu to meet the team’s needs. Midweek, Frakes calls for more foods with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants to help speed recovery from the last game. They are trying to embrace the flavors of Louisiana.

Frakes can’t monitor every player at once, so he uploads a mobile phone app with what to select within the nutrition center based on body composition goals. Players are supposed to record seven meals per week on the platform. There are also cards that direct you to local restaurants such as Frutta Bowls and Torchy’s Tacos.

“They can start to visually understand what it means to improve performance,” says Frakes. “They can pick and choose items because it can be informative. You have to tell them exactly what they need to eat.”

He also tells us when to eat. Typically, Frakes asks his team to have breakfast by 9:30 am, lunch by noon, and dinner by 7:30 pm. He wants his players’ energy to peak at the right time, and when someone loses weight, rescheduling is often the answer.

Recently, at the midpoint of the season, LSU conducted another test to assess players’ body composition. According to Frakes, the results will allow staff to re-evaluate next week’s release date to make sure the player hasn’t lost lean muscle mass between games and stretch to help prepare for his runs. increase.

“If so, we’ll see if they can address it and say, ‘You’re not eating enough and you’re not eating enough quality sources of protein. So you need to start backing up now.’ I need to start training again so I can stay healthy.”

The longer his nutrition program lasts, the more it becomes part of LSU’s routine. Frakes sees a space with machines, more staff, and a bachelor’s degree in sports nutrition. he has big plans.

For now, Frakes wants players to understand the importance of nutritional choices and being consistent in what they eat. LSU is looking to change the way it operates in Kelly’s first season. What they eat makes a difference.

Not only for the present, but also for the future.