Eat to Win

Welcome to the Health Talks NOW podcast, a Baptist Health production committed to bringing you the facts you need to help keep you and your family well.  We are so excited to be back for the third season of the show. Today, we’re kicking off a special mini-series of the show! Baptist Health serves as the team physicians for both the men’s and women’s professional soccer teams here in Louisville, Louisville City FC and Racing Louisville. We’ll team up with members of each team for this special series we’re calling Like A Pro

Today, we’re joined by Tyler Gibson. Tyler is a midfielder for Louisville City FC and is extremely passionate about nutrition and how it affects overall health and performance. To begin, he shares that nutrition has always been a huge part of his career. Little things like feeling sluggish, brain fog and acne led him to play around with his nutrition and eliminate different food groups as experimentation. Since he has made some big changes in the last two years, he has noticed a difference in how he feels and his overall energy levels.

Though he is on the smaller side, Tyler reveals that he actually eats more than anyone on the team. He is very habitual in the morning. First, he’ll have a glass of lemon water, then drink celery juice, then have a fruit smoothie. His favorite food is potatoes, and he shares that he eats them almost every day. He played around with being vegan, but now just tries to cut down on meat, dairy and gluten. He believes this has helped with his energy levels and not feeling tired after a meal. With carbs like potatoes, fruit and rice, he never feels sluggish on the field.

Tyler says that hydration is a key element for promoting recovery before and after a game. He finds that drinks like coconut water help him stay hydrated more than just drinking water. He finds it’s also important to replace the carbohydrates you have depleted. When he is hydrated and nourished, Tyler is less likely to cramp and notices he has much more energy to give to games and training.

Finally, Tyler participates in a lightning question round so that listeners can get to know him a little better. Hear about his guilty pleasure meal, which position he would most like to play, his favorite restaurant in Louisville and more!

Key Takeaways:

  • [0:49] Introduction to today’s guest, Tyler Gibson.
  • [1:30] Tyler’s personal approach to nutrition.
  • [3:33] Tyler’s nutritional habits
  • [6:03] Tyler’s thoughts surrounding carbs
  • [8:07] Tyler’s go-to snacks to boost recovery
  • [10:20] Difference in athletic ability depending on his nutrition
  • [12:21] Lightning round of questions

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View Transcript

Speaker 1: Welcome back to HealthTalks NOW, a podcast brought to you by Baptist Health, where I ask the experts the health and wellness questions that matter most. Today, we’re kicking off a special miniseries of the show and I am so excited, I almost can’t stand it. Baptist Health serves as the team physicians for both the men’s and women’s professional soccer teams here in Louisville, Louisville City FC, and Racing Louisville. We’re teaming up with members of each team to bring you special episodes that we’re calling Like a Pro. Over the next couple weeks, we’re going to be hearing from pro athletes on topics like nutrition, rest and mental health. Well, today we’re joined by Tyler Gibson.

Tyler is a midfielder for Louisville City FC, and he’s in his second season here in Louisville, and is extremely passionate about nutrition and how that affects overall health and performance. Listen in as we talk with Tyler, and get some of his nutrition tips that help him continue performing like a pro. Tyler, thank you so much for taking some time out of your day today, to chat with us about all things nutrition. We’re looking forward to talking about it.

Tyler Gibson: Yeah, thanks for having me on. I’m excited to be on here. Take it kind of serious, so I’m excited.

Speaker 1: Well, we’re excited to learn from you. So let’s start with the basics. Just generally speaking, you could argue that nutrition is maybe the most important aspect of overall health and wellness. Good or poor nutrition can impact everything from just the quality of your sleep to muscle recovery and energy levels. So talk to us a little bit about your personal approach to nutrition. Do you follow a specific plan? Has your approach changed over your career or have there been times where you’ve struggled with nutrition, and how did that impact your performance on and off the field?

Tyler Gibson: Yeah, nutrition has always been a big part of my career and wanting to be the best growing up. And it definitely has changed as I’ve gotten older. I thought growing up, in college, I thought I was being super healthy and everything, and just that has adapted as I’ve gotten older and tried different things and it kind of adapted with not necessarily on-the-field stuff, but I would start to feel a little bit sluggish and brain foggy and stuff. And then just little things like acne, I was just trying to figure out, if I had acne and stuff, and it couldn’t clear it up, tried going to dermatologist and everything. So that was one of those factors. Just playing around with nutrition and different things and different studies, and cutting out different things from my diet. So what I thought was super healthy has really adapted and changed, and now I feel like I’ve gotten it down more that I’m starting to feel, in the past two years, I’ve started to dial in better and started to see noticeable differences in everything, with not only acne, but how I recover, how I feel, the energy levels.

Speaker 1: It’s such a good reminder too, that what you eat, it impacts so many body systems. I mean, from, like you said, just your brain fog or your energy, all the way down to your skin, or how you’re sleeping at night. It has such a wide range of impact on so many aspects of your life. So are you on a plan? Do you track macros? Do you feel comfortable sharing with us what your approach to nutrition is, now that you’ve evolved in how you look at it?

Tyler Gibson: Yeah, of course. So you wouldn’t know by how big I am and stuff, I’m smaller and everything, but I probably eat more than anybody on our team, and everybody always gives me a hard time with that. But not in a bad way, I think.

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Tyler Gibson: So I think I’ve just adapted. It’s not necessarily a plan. I don’t know if you’ve heard of there’s stuff with the medical medium, I took a lot of stuff from that and noticed big differences. So for example, my morning, I’m very habitual in the morning about what I do, in terms of hydration and breakfast and stuff like that. So I’ll wake up, have a glass of lemon water. And then I got a juicer a couple years ago, so I do celery juice, and after that, and then I make a smoothie with bananas and blueberries and orange juice. So I’ll do that and then get into the training center here and we’ll have breakfast. And so I’ll usually have roasted potatoes and some fruit and oatmeal. For the most part, I eat a lot of potatoes.

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Tyler Gibson: I’m a big fan of potatoes.

Speaker 1: Who isn’t?

Tyler Gibson: Sweet potatoes. So yeah, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and a lot of fruits. And I played around a little bit with cutting out meat and kind of doing that. I don’t know if you saw the… What’s that documentary that came out that was…

Speaker 1: Rotten?

Tyler Gibson: No, there was another one about the sports.

Speaker 1: Oh.

Tyler Gibson: And being vegan and stuff like that.

Speaker 1: I haven’t seen that one.

Tyler Gibson: It was a big one that the sports came out with, and it was a documentary, I think, on Netflix.

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Tyler Gibson:  But I played around a little bit with that, but now I just cut down on the amount of meats that I eat.

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Tyler Gibson: I try to cut out gluten, dairy, cut down on the meats, different oils. And I’ve just noticed like a huge difference in how I feel like. Sometimes you’ll eat and feel really tired after.

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Tyler Gibson: And I feel like cutting out those things has really kept you on a stable basis. And I’m not one to necessarily drink coffee every day or anything like that. So I just feel like it’s really helped with energy levels and stuff like that.

Speaker 1: You had talked about some pretty carb heavy options in the past several years, fad low-carb diets, like keto, have exploded in popularity. And there may be some scenarios where those types of eating plans are beneficial, but we know, I mean, athletes get the majority of their energy from carbs. That doesn’t mean you’re sitting around eating Doritos or bread, but there are lots of ways to get nutrient-dense carbs. So do you carb load before or after games, and maybe give us some of your top favorite carb heavy foods that are always on your grocery list?

Tyler Gibson: Yeah, so I definitely do. I’ve kind of cut out pasta and I feel a lot better. Sometimes I’ll get the gluten-free pasta, like chickpea or lentil, or something like that. But for the most part, honestly, because it’s just me, I live by myself. And so maybe if I was cooking for somebody else, I’d switch it up a lot more. But it’s just I enjoy it, and I almost eat the same thing, for the most part, every night. And so I’ll either roast potatoes, sweet potatoes, and then some vegetables, like broccoli, onion, garlic with either beans or a meat. But I feel like in terms of carbs, I eat probably four potatoes, roasted, smaller potatoes. And then that’s a big carb that I will load up on for sure. And a lot of fruits, and sometimes a little bit of rice for the most part. It’s a lot of potatoes and sweet potatoes and fruits. And I just feel like those give me a lot of energy and sustainable energy. And I don’t feel heavy with them, which is important for being able to run around.

Speaker 1: Right. I mean, you don’t want to go out onto the field having that sluggish, overindulged feeling, or have that big carb crash that comes, a lot of times, if you eat real sugary carbs. So I think that makes total sense. So we know that nutrition is key to recovery as well. So do you eat recovery foods after a tough practice or a long game? What are some of your go-to snacks that maybe help boost and recover your energy while staying on track with your nutrition goals?

Tyler Gibson: I think a big part is hydration in terms of recovery. And preparing before training or a game. And then afterward, I feel like hydration is key, so different things with that, the lemon water and celery juice. And I’ll sometimes I’ll make different juices. I’ll juice a cucumber and apple and then coconut water, have all been really good, that I’ve noticed really help. And I notice that water, you can drink so much water and still not feel hydrated.

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Tyler Gibson: But I feel like I can drink way less water by doing those kind of things, like coconut water or all of those things, I feel like help me stay hydrated more. And I feel like way more recovered if you’re hydrated. I mean, it’s kind of the same thing, if you drink a bunch of alcohol, that you’re going to have a hangover. And the main thing of that is, I feel like, you’re dehydrated.

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Tyler Gibson: So it’s just same thing. After a game, you’re dehydrated after training. So I feel like the hydration factor is important, and then replacing those carbohydrates as well. So potatoes, fruits, I’ll eat a bunch of fruits or make a smoothie, a lot of times. And then, as well as dates and figs, dried dates and figs. I really enjoy those, especially as a snack.

Speaker 1: Mm-hmm.

Tyler Gibson: Basically those things. I snack on a bunch of fruits and I eat a lot of bananas.

Speaker 1: There you go. Those are some good tips though.

Tyler Gibson: Yeah.

Speaker 1: Because I feel like we all know we’re supposed to drink so much water, half your body weight, some people say, or more, in water, in ounces. And I think a lot of people find that difficult to do because they feel like they’re just chugging down just water after water. But those are really good tips on how to make it feel less like a chore, and maybe incorporate some of those juices or some of those different techniques, like you mentioned, the lemon water, that could help keep that goal in mind, but make it feel a little more attainable and less like work. So I mean, we all know this stuff is great just for keeping your body well, for taking good care of yourself, for your overall health, but what do you notice on the field in terms of your performance as an athlete, when you are really just killing this, and you’re doing great with your nutrition and these changes that you’ve made, or when you might slack off a little bit, how do you notice that affects you as an athlete?

Tyler Gibson: I think definitely, especially when it gets warmer out and everything, I think those hydration factors are key, to be able to last the whole training with cramping. Doing these things and drinking coconut water or the juices have really cut down on the amount of cramping that happens with me personally. I definitely feel like I recover quicker after sessions also feel like I have more energy during sessions, when I’m doing these things, and feel properly fueled with the foods and drinks and everything. And then I feel like it definitely plays a role in injuries. I think with the recovery because obviously it’s like a car. If you put crap fuel or something in your car, it’s going to break down quicker than if you keep putting the right stuff and taking care of it. And I feel like those are big things just because I don’t know, I think when you’re properly hydrated and eating the right things, then your blood is thinner and not so gunky. And so it’s just able to move through your body better, and get all the nutrients that it needs to different areas better.

Speaker 1: That’s a really good analogy. I actually talked to one of our doctors here a while back about men’s health, and he made the same car analogy. He said it’s kind of like if you don’t take care of your car now, or your body now, you’re just deferring the maintenance til later. But if you do it now, then you’re going to keep running at a higher level for longer. So I love that you mentioned that. Before we let you go, are you up for a quick little Q&A lightning round, so that we can get to know you a little bit?

Tyler Gibson: Yeah, let’s do it.

Speaker 1: Okay. Well, you kind of already answered number one for us. So what do you eat for breakfast?

Tyler Gibson: Yeah, so the lemon water, celery juice, a smoothie, and then either oatmeal, if I eat at home, I’ll have oatmeal with cut up dates and figs, and some kind of berries or apples. And then if I’m here, I’ll eat some potatoes, fruit and oatmeal.

Speaker 1: Love it. What is your favorite guilty pleasure food if you’re going to have a cheat meal?

Tyler Gibson: Ooh, okay. I love French fries.

Speaker 1: Who doesn’t?

Tyler Gibson: A hamburger and a French fries, I can always do.

Speaker 1: Pure classic, yes.

Tyler Gibson: And then, you know at Trader Joe’s?

Speaker 1: Love Trader Joe’s.

Tyler Gibson: The dark chocolate peanut butter cups.

Speaker 1: Ooh, you’re going to get me onto something.

Tyler Gibson: [inaudible 00:13:17], then you need to get them, and even try one outside of the fridge, but then put them in the fridge and try those as well.

Speaker 1: Okay. If you could play any position other than what you play right now, what would it be?

Tyler Gibson: I’d say either center back because I think it’s the less running.

Speaker 1: There you go. All right. What is your favorite restaurant in Louisville?

Tyler Gibson: Ooh, okay. So right now, I’d say… That’s a tough one, there’s a new one that just came out, but La Bodeguita.

Speaker 1: So good.

Tyler Gibson: You know that one?

Speaker 1: I just went there that one last week.

Tyler Gibson: Yeah, that one’s top. I love the food and the atmosphere, they got the music going. I like all the vibrant colors and like the food is so good. And then, I don’t know, have you tried the place in the back, the Señora Arepas?

Speaker 1: Yes, of course I have.

Tyler Gibson: That’s a cool place, that’s a cool place as well.

Speaker 1: It is, it’s very good.

Tyler Gibson: But there’s a new one that just opened, Guacamole.

Speaker 1: Yes, I know.

Tyler Gibson: I know that’s been there, but that one is nice.

Speaker 1: And it is very cool inside. Have you seen, they have these hanging chairs that hang from the ceiling? Very cool.

Tyler Gibson: Yeah, that’s cool. I’m waiting for that rooftop area to open.

Speaker 1: That’s going to be nice this summer.

Tyler Gibson: Yeah.

Speaker 1: Well, thank you so much for taking some time to talk to us today. We are excited for the season, we look forward to coming out and supporting you, and watching you on the field.

Tyler Gibson: Awesome. Thanks for having me on.

Speaker 1: Thanks, we’ll talk to you later. Thanks so much for tuning in today. As always, if you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a review wherever you’re listening or share it with a friend. We’ll include links to the Louisville City FC website in the show notes of this podcast, so that you can go check out more about the players, view the season schedule and maybe even catch a game. As always, for all of your health and wellness needs you can visit baptisthealth.com. We’ll catch you next time. On another special episode of Health Talks NOW: Like a Pro. Stay well.


Next Steps and Useful Resources:

Coconut Water – Nature’s Sports Drink?
Heat, Headaches & H2O
How Does Nutrition Affect Sleep? 

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