Weights. Class. Conditioning. Practice. Homework. Travel.
The daily schedule of a student-athlete is more complex than that of your typical college student. With so many different items on the to-do list, maintaining a healthy, nutritional diet while navigating a constantly busy lifestyle is a difficult task.
The Lipscomb University athletics department continues to show its commitment to the health, wellness, and overall experience for its student-athletes with the unveiling of the brand new Lipscomb Bisons fueling station.
“We are constantly looking for ways to help our student athletes train and compete at their absolute best,” Director of Athletics Philip Hutcheson said. “Over the past few years, Lipscomb Athletics has seen advances in the training and instructional work, video and statistical analysis, the strength and conditioning side and the mental and psychological approach. So, it's only natural that looking at the "fuel" that drives life and performance would have been an area of great interest, too.
“That conversation led to one with our Health Sciences leaders to discover what we might do to help our student athletes and to provide opportunities for students interested in this field to get hands-on experience working with top-flight athletes. The key players in this collaboration were: Ann Toy (Director of Sports Nutrition), Anne Lowery (Director, Dietetic Internship Program), Dr. Autumn Marshall (Chair, Nutrition and Kinesiology) and Dr. Roger Davis (Vice-Provost for Health Affairs). All of these people jumped in enthusiastically and worked to make this program the best it could be. Being an NCAA Division I school, we knew we were competing against top flight programs nationwide. Being a smaller school than many of our rivals, we knew we had to be creative in our planning and execution and the result has proven to be a model that a number of other schools have been interested in replicating.”
Already fully operational and quickly proving to be the most popular destination throughout the week, the fueling station has been specifically designed to educate Lipscomb student-athletes about nutrition and healthy eating habits while providing dietary and nutritional support at times and locations to meet their demanding schedules.
To accommodate for late night practices, early morning workouts, daily class and study hall attendance, and team travel, the space will be available 24 hours a day to student-athletes. The station will be centrally-located beside the training room in the south end of Allen Arena, which is the main hub area for the student-athletes, and utilizing a previously unused space.
DAY OF GIVING IMPACT
The fueling station was made possible by Lipscomb University’s first-ever Day of Giving. Taking place in March 2019, enough donations were raised to fully fund the state-of-the-art fueling station. With the second annual Day of Giving coming up on Feb. 20, 2020, potential donors will be presented with other opportunities to see that their contributions will provide tangible benefits for the entire athletic department.
“The final part of the puzzle was creating a space for Ann and her interns to do their work and to serve our student athletes,” Hutcheson said. “The Fueling Station location is ideal, as it is at the intersection of our training room entrance, the hallway where all of our locker rooms are and the stairs leading to all of our outdoor facilities.
“Through last year's "Day of Giving", we put the vision for this space out to our fans, friends and supporters and they came through to provide the resources needed to build it. Not only does it serve a very important, practical purpose, but also, it tells recruits, parents, coaches and friends of Lipscomb that we are committed to helping every student athlete perform at her or his very best.”
The fueling station is one of the few of its kind that is currently operational at the mid-major level, which includes a full-time and part-time dietetic staff led by Lipscomb’s Director of Sports Nutrition Ann Toy, a former Division I coach and college-athlete.
“We're expecting our athletes to train and compete at a very high level on a daily basis,” Toy said. “It often is the case that, in order for them to achieve certain performance goals, they need to be fueling above and beyond just a standard three meals a day.
“This fueling station allows us a devoted space for athletes to come and grab fuel before and/or after their training, ask questions, and gives us (Sports Nutrition team) an awesome platform for educating them about how the food they eat can support their performance and overall health.”
The fueling station will feature various every day foods such as fruit, bagels, PB&J sandwiches, string cheese, yogurt, trail mix, and granola bars among other options with the hope to add smoothies in the future.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF DIETETICS TEAM
Through the fueling station, Toy and her staff of six Dietitian interns are able to offer and carry out the following services to Lipscomb’s student-athletes and coaches on a daily basis:
- Individual consultations where they discuss weight/performance goals, food allergies, special dietary needs, injury recovery and help create meal plans.
- Menu planning and meal coordination where her staff plans and organizes the eating schedules for each team while traveling.
- They also help maintain the program’s budget while on the road by confirming the details of pre and post-game meals.
- Fueling for performance by providing game day and training nutrition, coordination of weight room post-workout shakes, supplements and travel snacks.
- Collaborating with athletic training staff and strength coaches to address the medical health concerns of each individual athlete (eating disorder protocol, injury recovery/rehabilitation, iron supplementation, etc.)
- Cooking classes and competitions, as well as team education sessions
- Body composition analysis
- Hydration testing
- Supplement safety and regulation
ANN TOY PROFILE
Ann Toy began her career as Lipscomb’s Director of Sports Nutrition in January 2015, but that isn’t the only role she fills on campus. Toy also acts as the Dietetic Internship Coordinator of Sports Nutrition and teaches undergrad classes on sports nutrition and food science.
“Bringing Ann on board in her role as Director of Sports Nutrition proved to be important for the athletic and academic sides of the house,” Hutcheson said. “As a former NCAA DI student athlete and coach, she knows first-hand what student athletes and coaches are looking for when it comes to competing, recruiting and recovery.
“As a Registered Dietitian, she has the knowledge and educational credentials to lead our programs and our interns in ways that help them grow and improve. Maybe more importantly than all of that, Ann's leadership and communication skills, along with her demonstrated care for the well-being and growth of our student athletes and interns, has helped to develop a program that has truly benefited the university as a whole.”
Toy has been a Bison since August 2013, when she began her three-year stint as an assistant coach with the Lipscomb volleyball team.
Prior to her time with the Bisons, Toy spent a year as an assistant volleyball coach at Transylvania University.
Toy competed collegiately in volleyball at the University of Kentucky, where she was named the 2011 Southeastern Conference Volleyball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She graduated in 2012 with a BS in Dietetics and an MS in Dietetic Administration.
“Sports Nutrition is still a new field in terms of what the university and professional teams are offering their athletes,” Toy said. “It's becoming mostly the norm at larger, Power 5 schools, but in terms of a mid-major institute, there are not many others that can compete with what we have now.
“I believe this space also helps our coaches and programs from a recruiting perspective - it's our way of demonstrating that we care about the health and wellbeing of our athletes and our intention is to provide them every possible opportunity for success, including nutrition.”
TIMELINE OF THE FUELING STATION
Fueling station proposal accepted and funds raised (Day of Giving)
Removal of storage and demolition of space
Cabinetry design and installation
Plumbing work and tile installation
Graphic work completed and installed
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Lennie Acuff – Men’s Basketball Head Coach
“We are extremely excited and thankful to have the new fueling station become another resource for all of the athletes at Lipscomb. To have a state-of-the-art nutritional center in our arena, anchored by Ann Toy and her staff, gives us another opportunity for growth for every Bison athlete. We are fortunate to serve at an institution that is committed to helping every student-athlete be the best they can be as we compete at the highest level.”
Kristin Ryman – Softball Head Coach
"Sports nutrition has always been important, but if you look across the country, there is an even greater emphasis right now on staffing this area and making it a bigger part of the collegiate athletics experience. Much like athletic training, weight lifting/conditioning, and academic support, sports nutrition is another major area of importance as we think about not only helping them excel and become the best they can be, but also helping them learn to take care of themselves & fuel for competition the way an elite athlete should. It's pretty simple...if an athlete does not fuel their body in a healthy way, the output will not consistently be as strong as it can. The fueling station is an incredibly important addition to our department as it will help our athletes gain both assistance & education in nutrition, and will help fuel them in a healthy way for both competition and recovery. The benefits of what their staff will provide will be a game-changer for our programs!"
Lauren Sumski – Women’s Basketball Head Coach
“I think the fueling station is an amazing concept to see come into fruition. It enables our athletes easy access to the energy and nutrients that they need to perform their best - whether it is on the way to class, on the way to weights or practices and games. I think that simply having the fueling station makes us more competitive, and we are thankful that the university made this investment to help support our athletes be the best they can possibly be!”
Autumn Marshall – Associate Professor and Academic Chair of Nutrition and Kinesiology
“Good nutrition is essential for fueling our athletes' performance. All of our undergraduate dietetics majors take a sports nutrition course, emphasizing the needs of each sport for appropriate fueling. The new fueling station will give us the opportunity for hands-on learning to benefit not only our athletes, but also our future dietitians as well. On the academic side, we now have the benefit of experiential learning through Ann Toy's work as both our Lipscomb sports dietitian and as a teacher of future sports nutrition professionals. The new fueling station is truly a win-win!”
Morgan Elmore – Volleyball
“The fueling station has been an amazing resource during my time as a college athlete, because it allowed me the opportunity to eat healthy amidst my busy daily schedule. It was a crucial tool that not only enhanced my performance, but also provided me with more knowledge of nutrition. I enjoyed receiving tips and advice from those who specialize in nutrition and health.”
Brian Ryman - Baseball Assistant Coach/Director of Operations, Project Manager