Just like professional athletes, student-athletes competing at a university like Cal Poly have to adapt to a strict routine to stay on top of their game during the season and offseason.
This includes maintaining firm sleep schedules, diet plans, workout plans and preserving a healthy mental state.
However, a few student-athletes are known to go above and beyond what is recommended by their respective team’s training staff.
During his five years playing for the program, Cal Poly Football defensive end Ryan Boehm said the team had established a strict schedule regarding workouts and lifting on every weekday except Wednesdays during the season.
As of recently, Boehm has been commuting to Santa Barbara every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday to get in some additional workouts at P3, where he said he trains with NFL pros, draft picks and other collegiate athletes.
“It’s definitely a different experience because I’ve never had that many people look at me while I’m working out,” Boehm said.
Boehm said his main goal is to grant himself the best chance possible to make the NFL as he will now be playing in the NCAA Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision level with the Fresno State Bulldogs starting fall 2021.
However, lifting weights alone is not sufficient enough to impact his performance on the field as he maintains a strict diet plan that consists of eating at least seven meals a day.
He starts each morning with light foods such as oatmeal, a half bagel, Greek yogurt, apples, almonds and a protein shake. Then, his daily lunch consists of six ounces of chicken along with brown rice and green beans. Every evening, dinner is the exact same plate as lunch, with the addition of a side salad and an avocado or two.
With the meal plan, Boehm said he receives “an extra hand on the competition” and physically feels the energy impact throughout his day.
“One thing a lot of people kind of overlook in collegiate sports is your diet,” Boehm said. “I definitely have seen improvement in my game from just eating cleaner and healthier.”
However, because of the flexibility of his schedule during the offseason, Boehm said this is the time where he hits his meal plan the hardest. During the season, he said long practices, lifting sessions and classes do not allow him to meal prep efficiently.
Other responsibilities like classes and early team workouts have also affected the amount of sleep he gets per night. Boehm said he tries to at least get in the recommended eight hours of sleep and typically goes to bed at 10 p.m.
“You can never get enough [sleep],” Boehm said.
Junior Cal Poly Baseball pitcher Andrew Alvarez also goes to sleep at around 10 p.m, but shoots for at least nine hours a night.
One thing both student-athletes share is the similar amount of meals consumed per day and the amount of protein intake in their diets. Alvarez said that during the offseason, when his schedule is also lighter, he aims to eat the same five meals every day consisting of about 2,700 to 3,000 calories.
He relies heavily on chicken, tuna, ground turkey and protein bars while working out five to six days per week compared to the three days per week during the season.
On top of that, Alvarez said swimming activities are included in his routine, surfing and completing pool workouts two times a week through recommendation of the program’s athletic trainer for improved arm care and longevity.
As a pitcher, Alvarez also spends numerous hours on various days of the week doing stretching routines to improve his range of motion.
“Making sure that my body’s doing right and that it’s moving the right way,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez also incorporates many different breathing patterns, meditation sessions and his strong religious beliefs into his routine.
Despite feeling a lack of motivation and energy on some days, Alvarez said that discipline is a key factor in how he maintains his routine in order to achieve personal goals.
“I’m in a constant battle every day with myself, trying to get myself better each and every day, stronger each and every day either mentally, physically, athletically on the field,” Alvarez said. “Staying disciplined along the course, I made it rooted inside of who I am and what my routine is, and it’s become who I am. I inherited this routine, so I don’t have any other way.”
Alvarez said that sticking to his patterns gives him more inner confidence that he is doing things correctly and that he is going in the right direction.
After college baseball, Alvarez has aspirations of playing professionally and hopes to make it into Major League Baseball down the road.
“I know that there’s so many baseball players on this planet and you really have to trust in yourself because these things are not going to come overnight and that’s really what I continue to remind myself,” Alvarez said.
Overall, consistency and determination are what drives these athletes to become the best version of themselves.
“Just staying consistent. A lot of guys will eat healthy or meal prep for a little bit, and when they don’t see results, they stop,” Boehm said. “It’s a bit of a grind.”