USA Field Hockey

Fueling a National Team Athlete

March 03, 2014, 11:48 a.m. (ET)

As part of the U.S. Men's #NoOffDays campaign, athlete Mohan Gandhi (Ventura, Cali.)
sheds light on what it takes to fuel a national team player.

Food.

Fodder. 

Fuel.

Whatever you call it, we eat it. We aren’t fussy when it comes to the calorie count. It's less about how much you eat and more about how nutritious it is. Nothing is more nutritious or delicious than my mother’s spaghetti bolognese. Picture this: You’ve spent the last two hours pumping iron like it’s your job; because really when it comes down to it, that’s mine. You’re in agony, your joints hurt, your muscles ache, your legs are cramping a
nd

 for the last 20 minutes your body has simply been saying ‘No’. Having saturated the machines in sweat (sorry for the visual) you grab water before heading home for the night. And what do you come home to? 


Little Italy.  Sweeeet!

Those were the days, eh? Simpler times. Well the picture isn’t as rosy anymore. I’m at university now and no matter how much I try I still can’t cook spag bol… well. It’s edible and after a hard days training the only thing I really care about is appeasing the little tyrant in my stomach I affectionately call ‘my belly.’ Of course my culinary abilities extend further than Italy. Chilli con carne is a huge hit, and nothing beats lean steaks. Kangaroo or venison will do nicely (True story, kangaroo steaks are 98 percent lean and cheap as chips). So you get the picture.

Carbs (rice, potatoes or pasta)
Protein (lean meat and fish )  
Semi-homemade sauce loaded with vegetables

For me nothing washes it down better than a large glass of whole milk. Buon Appetito!

Breakfast is a more leisurely affair. Two minute microwaveable oatmeal served with a pinch of brown sugar and honey. Had you asked me to eat oatmeal 4 years ago I'd have stormed out of the kitchen screaming 'For shame! For shame!' but Mikey Barminski showed me the light on the Australia tour last year and I haven’t looked back! Comfort food has never been so healthy. Shout out to Mikey if he’s reading this! Slow release energy to give your day the hearty start it needs.

Not too long before the little tyrant resurfaces in search of another dish to conquer. Cereal bars are usually the unsuspecting victim. Caramel, chocolate or peanut butter - he doesn’t discriminate. Fruit and nuts frequently find themselves on the menu too. I do enjoy the challenge of opening pistachios. It's like a scene out of The Planet of The Apes. Primal man working for every little scrap of food. You know you've found a great food source when you're burning almost as many calories as you're consuming.

So there it is, the diet of a sport scholar. I'm afraid that's all from me. I'm going to disconnect my email now before my nutritionist chastises me for not keeping track of the calorie count. But seriously, who has time to count 4000 calories?

Yours truly,

Mohan Gandhi #26

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