Imagine preparing nutritious meal plans for the entire University of Texas Athletics program, and making sure that all teams are fully nourished and hydrated. Amy Culp, the assistant athletics director/sports dietitian, does that and more for the student athletes at UT. Her goal is to make sure the athletes are the best fueled when going against their opponent, and they learn how to make healthy lifestyle choices along the way. This is all a part of her grand plan she formulated a year ago when she started the position and had a clear vision, mission and purpose for UT Athletics:
Vision: Develop a state of the art performance nutrition program, becoming the benchmark that others look to for success.
Mission: Provide world class performance nutrition expertise and care for student athletes, resulting in improved sports performance, decreased illness/injury, and optimal long-term health.
Purpose: Fuel athletes to win at sports and life. #FueltoWin
Read our interview with Amy below to learn more about her role with the UT Athletics program!
Q: What does an assistant athletics director/sports dietitian do? Please describe your job position.
Amy: A brief description of my job is that I am responsible for managing all aspects of fueling for all of the Texas Longhorn teams. This includes pre/post workout fueling, Longhorn Dining Hall, game day, and travel. I manage our fueling stations at all of our workout facilities and provide individual and group nutrition education (or food coaching). I have a group of undergraduate and graduate nutrition students that help me to achieve this. I am at most football practices, and always have trained nutrition student volunteers helping me. I attend all football games (home and away) to attend to my fueling responsibilities for the team. I do go to practices with other teams as well to ensure the fueling plan is established and being followed – the same with games.
Q: What does a typical day in the office look like?
Amy: Every day is different, which is part of what makes my job fun, but here’s one typical day:
Arrive around 5:30 a.m. to ensure pre-workout fuel is available and taken for a morning workout. Provide coaching pre/post workout. Oversee nutrition volunteers making post-workout smoothies & shakes. Office work until around 9 a.m., then begin individual nutrition consultations until around lunch time. Go to Longhorn Dining Hall to ensure quality, variety, meeting menu goals pre-set. Provide fuel coaching, answer questions, and tweet good choices at the dining hall (@LonghornFuel). Back to office to ensure receipt and correct storage of nutritional supplements – coordinate with nutrition student volunteers on delivery of fuel to different locations. Complete more individual consultations. Attend football practice, ensure nutrition student volunteers have adequate practice fuel and have post-practice fuel set up. Help to hydrate and provide fuel during breaks. Fuel coaching post practice, clean up, go home (around 6-7 p.m.) and do my other awesome job of being a mommy!
Q. What do you enjoy most about your job?
Amy: I am 100% confident that I am doing the work that I was made to do, and have a great passion for doing it. I love helping the SAs (student athletes) feel better during and after workouts, I love helping them to develop healthy eating habits that last a lifetime. I love being a part of something bigger than me – the student athletes, coaches, and staff inspire me every day to work harder and be better. My co-workers function as a true team, are very supportive, and keep the work environment fun. Working for Texas Athletics is a true blessing.
Q. What challenges (if any) do you face in your job?
Amy: I have a big vision and passion for the program I’m building, so the biggest challenge is being patient in the process!
Q. Could you elaborate on your communication style with the student athletes or share a success story?
Amy: Meet them where they are and get to know their story. You can’t expect everyone to be motivated to eat better, so you have to find out what’s important to them, and then tie in nutrition to that. Once they start to feel results, they buy in.
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