Everyone knows that food and nutrition are essential for life, but have you ever wondered how NFL players eat? Have you ever wondered what your favorite 49ers eat? My name is Jordan Mazur and I'm the Coordinator of Nutrition for the 49ers. I'm a registered dietitian (RD) and entering my fourth season with the 49ers leading all aspects of nutrition. My main role is to work directly with players, coaches, staff and our food service to ensure our players are getting all the nutrients and energy they need for performance, recovery and health. So here's a look at the five main areas that I work with to make this happen:
The foundation of our program is providing high quality nutrition with access to clean and nutrient dense foods at all times for our athletes. This starts with our cafeteria, where I work every week on curating menus and recipes to provide the best food options available to our players. These menus are thoughtfully put together by myself and our Executive Chef Chris Young. The menus will reflect the goals of the team. Certain days have certain goals. For example, on recovery days there will be more of a focus on fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Another area we focus is where ingredients are coming from. We know exactly what farms our produce and proteins are coming from and try to source as local and fresh as possible to provide optimal nutrient, vitamin and mineral content to help our players run efficiently. Being in California, we're lucky to be able to source many ingredients locally and the majority of the food we provide is within a 100 mile radius of the 49ers facility.
The role that nutrition plays in injury prevention, as well as injury recovery, is often overlooked. The 49ers have a top tier rehabilitation and sports medicine program. My role is to support all of our athletes to help them prevent and recover from injuries. Football is a contact sport and sometimes injuries are inevitable. But our goal is always to get those players the best medical care so they can get back on the field as quickly and safely as possible. The human body is amazing in its ability to heal itself, but we need to also provide it with the right nutrients to do so. I work individually with athletes from the moment of injury and all the way through the rehab process. The goal is always to provide adequate calories, protein and specific nutrients to help the body heal. If you don't provide these essential nutrients, the recovery process is delayed. There is also a focus on foods and nutrients that help strengthen muscles, ligaments and tendons to hopefully reduce the soft tissue injury risk as much as possible.
Performance/Strength & Conditioning
When it comes to performance, food fuels what these athletes do on a daily basis, including gameday. My role is to make sure that our players are adequately fueled and hydrated to maximize their performance. On the other side of things, we need to make sure to utilize those same tools to optimize recovery so that they can be ready for the next practice or game. I help to support each player's body weight and body composition goals through food and nutrition using individualized plans where needed. My role is to support what our strength and conditioning coaches strategically plan for each individual player that they can maximize their training effect. This may include specific meal plans breaking down calories and macronutrients per meal or just a plan for pre-workout, intra-workout and post-workout strategies to give players the energy to perform and repair.
We aim to mimic our nutrition program as much as we can when we travel. This includes working with our travel and logistics team on what we have available on our planes when we fly, what menus and food options we have at the hotels when we get there, and what we fuel with pre-game, halftime and post-game. Many athletes are creatures of habit and when it comes to nutrition. We never want to change it up or make foods that are unfamiliar or low quality when we are away from our facility. This can present challenges sometimes, but working with different chefs at hotels around the country has provided a unique learning and teaching experience for myself while ensuring our players are getting everything they need.
Our community outreach team does an amazing job at engaging those in the around us. I'm always a resource to help education efforts for nutrition among our community. I believe that one of the areas that our youth can benefit from is more nutrition education. Whether it's a talk with our youth athletes at our 49ers PREP football camps or creating community education material for elementary and middle school aged kids, we're always looking to help in nutrition efforts whenever we can.