Huge emphasis placed on nutrition inside TBT bubble

 

By: Gabe Maturo


Nutirion becomes even more vital when stuck in a bubble

There were many firsts in basketball’s inaugural bubble and meals were no exception.

An important aspect to every hooper’s performance is what they put in their body. Diet and nutrition play a key role in fueling players before games and helping them to recover after.

More importantly, having access to the foods you need for your diet is essential.

Now imagine you’re in a bubble due to a worldwide pandemic and you can’t just walk down the street to get some of your favorite foods.

This was the case for every single player at TBT. While in the tournament’s bubble, players had to rely on the food that was provided to them.

The first day that players arrived at the hotel for the required 24-hour quarantine, their meals were brought up to their rooms by TBT staff and placed outside their doors.

After quarantine, meals were served in the lobby three times a day for a 2-hour span during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

“For the three meals you had a two hour time period to get the food from trays where they kept it warm,” said House of ‘Paign big man Michael Finke. “They kept the food warm for you after practice so that was really nice.”

“The GM would send a text out to your team and say when the meal times are,” added Big X guard Jamel Morris. “If you weren’t able to get to dinner in time, they had extras in the lobby for you. Or if you wanted more food, they would give you the extras they had in the lobby too.”

In spite of meals being served in a bubble, there were still a variety of options available for players to choose from.

“I think every day was something different,” said Golden Eagles forward Jarvis Williams. “Some days were hot foods, some days were Chick-Fil-A. It was a mixture of things. They gave us a variety of different things. I liked the variety of foods and it was healthy too.”

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It may come as a surprise to some, but participants in TBT were well fueled to compete in their practices and competitions. Nutritional needs were a priority throughout the tournament’s entirety. 

“My nutrition has been a big part of what I do in my life,” said Finke. “It was something I tried to focus on in the bubble.”

“Personally, I just tried to stick to my routine of what I normally eat,” added Williams. “For the most part I stuck to my normal routine and got my protein and stuff in.”

Most of the meals that were distributed contained some sort of protein (including vegan options), fruit, carbs, and vegetables to suit a player’s dietary needs.

“They gave you what you needed,” said Morris. “They didn’t give you junk food. You always had a fruit, a vegetable, or a meat. They handled it pretty well honestly. I think they did a good job of giving you the right things you needed.”

If the options presented were not ideal for a player’s diet, they were able to use carry-out services such as Grubhub, Doordash, Uber Eats, or Instacart to get the food that they needed to maintain their diet.

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In addition, if players were still hungry after practices or games, they could go to the lobby to get leftovers from the previous meal served.

“They had a lot of extra food downstairs,” said Morris. “I feel like a lot of players definitely did not go to bed hungry.”

Like every long trip that many of the players participating in TBT are accustomed to, bringing snacks to make it through is key.

Heading into the bubble, many players brought some of their vital go-to munchies to help them endure their stay.

“As a team we all stopped at the grocery store and got stuff to put in the refrigerator,” said Williams. “We all hit the store individually and got what we wanted and got food that was suited for us. Whether it was your protein bars, your beef jerky, peanut butter and jelly, whatever you liked.”

“I brought some granola bars, bread, and peanut butter," added Finke, "and I also used Instacart with my teammates to get groceries."