As of Wednesday, February 28, 2018
INDEPENDENCE — A Gatorade representative came to Central High School Wednesday afternoon to speak to Central’s athletes and interested students about sports nutrition and diet.
Blake Hartsook travels to high schools throughout the Vancouver, Portland and Salem areas to offer education on specific nutrition and recovery for athletes through a program called G Force.
“Schools haven’t had the ability to provide sports nutrition products for athletes, but recently Gatorade has started providing subsidized kit packages so athletic departments can purchase product/equipment for around 80 percent off,” Hartsook said.
That way it’s available for everybody, he said.
During his presentation, Hartsook talked about different ways athletes can obtain the nutrition they need for peak performance.
He listed different proteins, such as chicken, fish, and steak, as well as ways to get carbohydrates, like bananas.
There is a short window of time after a workout that your muscles need fuel to properly recover and repair themselves, he said.
Nutrition bars was one way they could get that nutrition in that specific window of time, instead of having a whole chicken waiting out in the car for them after practice.
Hartsook emphasized that it can be difficult for student athletes to get nutrition when they’re always on the go — to class, to practice, etc. — which is why programs like G Force travels around and gives the athletes options for how to eat well.
G Force has been around for five or six years and just recently opened up the Portland market about a year and a half ago.
“We are really trying to educate the athletes on what they should be putting in their bodies before and how they should be recovering after,” Hartsook said.
Part of the challenge with high school athletes not fueling their bodies properly is due to a lack of resources, Hartsook said.
“If you look in a vending machine at any school, you’re gonna find reduced fat Cheez-its or Pop Tarts or something like that,” Hartsook said, “and when you’re asking a 200-pound football player to get a snack before practice, or maybe they’ve just had a two-hour practice, and they worked their butts off, there’s nothing really for them to recover their muscles in such a short window of time. So basically, Gatorade gives schools the option to bring that stuff in, on an after-school hours basis.”