MANILA, Philippines — Discipline comes hand-in-hand with maintaining the proper weight for high performance in sports and licensed nutritionist Jeaneth Aro, who looks after seven of the country’s 19 Olympians in Tokyo, said yesterday everyone under her care is on track. Aro, 40, is tasked to manage the weight of rower Cris Nievarez, taekwondo’s Kurt Barbosa, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and boxers Eumir Marcial, Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam and Irish Magno.
Aro arrived in Tokyo early this week and makes it a point to be with her athletes at the Dining Hall in the Olympic Village every day. “At first, kasama ko si Hidilyn, together with her whole team,” said Aro. “I get her food with appropriate portions. Tinutulugan ako ng mga coaches ni Hidilyn to attend to her needs. Once mabigay ko ang food niya, I go to see Kurt na sinusundan din niya yung portions na binibigay ko. Then, during dinner time, I also check on the status of our boxers and Cris. Good thing may mga slight differences sa meal times nila. I also get their weights daily, once or twice a day and adjust their meal plans accordingly as needed. So far, so good, weights are on track with our targets for all our weight classes.”
At the Dining Hall, Aro said the food is categorized by type or cuisine – Japanese, grilled or steamed, Asian, pizza and pasta, halal, gluten free, bread, cereals, dairy, refreshments, salads and whole fruits. “Wala ng hahanapin,” she said. “Food is very good, a lot of options. It’s just a matter of knowing when to eat specific food items to achieve goals of weight loss versus performance or both. Approach should be strategic. Good thing is super disciplined sila which is expected because they’re Olympians.”
Aro, an Olympic Solidarity scholar of the IOC Sports Nutrition Development program, said the athletes are allowed daily portions of rice or bread, chicken or fish, vegetables, fruits and dairy. The stiffest challenge is on boxers who weigh in on the morning of each fight. “After ng laban, pag mag-advance sila, they can’t over-eat,” she said. “We have to be wise with their food options to maximize recovery and performance while maintaining fighting weight.”
Overall, Aro said the athletes are on weight. “Hidilyn is doing great and is on track (55 kilogram division),” she noted. “Walang pressure sa dieting. Everything is all good, walang problem sa weight with all our athletes. At this point, yung optimum performance na ang binabantayan kasi may training pa sila. Weight-making is already one stressor taken away from the performance equation. Matagal na kami lahat nag-start sa programs and they submit weight measures regularly, some daily, some every three days. Malaking tulong yung coordination na ginagawa ng mga partner coaches so bawa’t athlete dahil mas napapagaan din ang trabaho ko.”