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Fueling Athletics

September 16, 2020
person in facemask leaning on a box
Director of Sports Nutrition Colby Wolf works with UW’s Olympic sport athletes.

UW’s athletic nutrition program helps Cowboys and Cowgirls achieve peak performance.

 

By Micaela Myers 

When it comes to cuisine and nutrition, University of Wyoming athletes enjoy nothing but the best overseen by an Olympic nutritionist and French-trained chef.

 

You Are What You Eat

Colby Wolf earned her bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics at the University of Rhode Island and her master’s degree in sports nutrition at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. She became certified in ISAK skin folds at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs before interning with special forces and working with Virginia Tech student-athletes. Wolf joined UW in August 2019 as the director of sports nutrition for Olympic sports, where she works with all Olympic sport teams.

At UW, she oversees the athlete Refueling Station, helps with Training Table menu creation, and works with teams and individual athletes.

“A main focus of my job is educating the athletes about how nutrition can optimize their performance,” she says. “I give team talks that can be about anything from pre-practice snack ideas, to foods that reduce exercise-induced inflammation, to building an athlete’s plate.”

The Training Table provides breakfast, lunch and dinner for the student-athletes as well as specialty pregame meals. Wolf also offers cooking classes and conducts body composition testing to help track athletes’ progress and keep them healthy. Along with the athletes’ doctors and trainers, Wolf helps access biochemical data, including iron and vitamin D levels.

“I provide one-on-one counseling for student-athletes,” she says. “This allows me to help athletes with specific individual nutrition goals. This can include energy needs, gastrointestinal issues, supplementation, surgery and recovery, specific diets, or simply providing recipes for athletes who are living on their own for the first time.”

The Refueling Station provides fuel for athletes before or after exercise. It offers many to-go snacks, fruit, sandwich materials, granola bars and a smoothie bar.

Wolf is an athlete herself. Growing up, she swam and played volleyball. “I swam a 10k open water swim in Fort Collins when I was 15, and I swam an 11-mile open water in July 2017,” she says. “I love to spend my free time hiking, backpacking, camping, snowboarding, rock climbing—really anything outside.”

Her future goals include developing an even stronger bridge between the nutrition department and coaches to help optimize the athletes’ performance. Wolf says, “Nutrition can play a vital role in training and recovery as well as give the athletes a competitive edge over other teams.”

 

people on either side of a hot-serving area
Training Table Assistant Director Ivy Hung in the High Altitude Performance Center.

Bon Appetit

High Altitude Performance Center Training Table Assistant Director Ivy Hung attended The French Culinary Institute in New York City and has worked in fine dining kitchens across the country, at destination resorts and in high-volume university campus dining. At UW, her primary roles include menu planning, recipe development, nutritionally focused menu creation, health and food safety, and training and development of culinary staff.

“The Training Table serves student-athletes who participate in a wide spectrum of sports and have vastly different nutritional focuses throughout the competition seasons,” Hung says. “There are needs for calorie-heavy, protein-focused dishes, as well as lean options that fuel endurance.”

She enjoys introducing students to new flavor profiles and cuisine from around the world. “Bringing excitement to old routines and helping student-athletes go past their comfort zone in their culinary preference and experience are something I find rewarding—and, coincidentally, very much in line with the mindset and attitude you need to succeed in your athletic training and competition.”

For example, her spring carrot dish features gremolata with lemon zest, pine nuts for crunch and fresh herbs for a burst of flavor. 

“I enjoy creating menus and recipes that accommodate a variety of dietary preferences and restrictions,” Hung says. “I am a lover of seasonal cooking. I love hearty vegetables in winter like roasted Brussels sprouts, fingerling potatoes, and rainbow beets, and incorporating fresh berries and stone fruits as flavor components in savory dishes. I get equally excited about a great cut of beef or lamb or pork, fresh seafood, and plant-based proteins such as a creative quinoa bake, garbanzo salad or boldly spiced grilled tofu.”

Hung says: “Feeding student-athletes is almost like gardening to me, in the sense that you see their physiques transformed right in front of your eyes over the course of the training seasons—like watching plants growing strong in the garden you tend to. And that is immensely satisfying.”

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