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1st-time experiment: Hamilton football players learn healthy eating

For the first-time, Hamilton High School football players had to tackle something new during their pre-season training — nutrition.

The healthy game plan devised by varsity football coach Chad Murphy is to help the teens better understand they can’t block or hit at their peak condition unless their bodies are fueled by the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that come with a healthy diet.

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“The benefit this has been for these guys after practice and before practice, I’ve just been amazed,” said Murphy from inside the high school’s cafeteria.

It’s early but the coach said he is already seeing changes in his players.

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“I see guys who are fresher at practice and we’ve had some weight gains and muscle because of the extra carbohydrates and protein we’re eating on a daily basis. It’s just unreal,” he said.

The new pre-season program saw dozens of Big Blue football players taking in a lecture from a local nutritional expert and then getting hands-on experience in mixing their own healthy, juice-based drinks.

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Members of Hamilton High School’s football squad are trying a new addition to their pre-season workouts. Besides learning their team’s plays and strategies, the teens are also learning about the importance of nutrition. Players pictured help themselves to healthy snacks while listening to a lecture by a nutritional expert. (MICHAEL D. CLARK/STAFF)

They learned the importance of hydrating with good, old-fashioned water as compared to trendy sports drinks and what types of foods are best for recovering from a hard day’s practice and building muscle.

Senior defensive end Ryan Ponder said he and his teammates appreciate the unusual addition to their usual pre-season training.

“It’s a really good thing for us football players because the biggest thing we forget is we go home with a lot of friends and we forget to eat because we’re having fun. And we forget to put nutrition in our bodies and we come back the next day and our bodies are beat down,” said Ponder.

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“It’s great for the football team,” he said.

The lessons, which included handouts, are designed to make the teenagers healthy not just on the gridiron but later in life after their prep sports careers are a distant memory.

“We are preparing our kids for life after football and life after high school,” said Murphy.

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