COLLEGE STATION --- Four Texas A&M student-athletes were named 2007 “Off-Season Warrior” winners after a semester-long challenge, A&M director of performance nutrition Amy Bragg announced on Thursday. Receiving “Off-Season Warrior” honors were Matt Featherston and Howard Morrow from the football team, Sarah Ammerman from volleyball and Amber Gnatzig from soccer.
Last January, Texas A&M off-season athletes were challenged to improve their body composition and nutrition habits through a healthy competition called Off-Season Warrior.
Football, soccer and volleyball athletes underwent body composition testing by Dual X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) prior to their off-season conditioning programs and met with Texas A&M’s registered dietitian to set body composition goals for the semester. As part of the challenge, Texas A&M Performance Nutrition offered group nutrition meetings, individual sessions and grocery shopping tours to help athletes reach their goals. Body composition testing was repeated to determine individual winners.
Featherston, a sophomore linebacker from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., was the football team’s Off-Season Warrior from the defensive side of the football, while Morrow, a sophomore wide receiver, was the offense’s honoree.
Since his arrival at Texas A&M, Featherston has shaved 15 pounds of body fat from his frame. This semester alone, Featherston dropped his body fat by four percent and added eight pounds of muscle.
Morrow added seven pounds of muscle while dropping 6.8 percent of body fat. This semester, he has dropped his body fat by three percent. Morrow loves fast food, but decided to enjoy it less often and found substitutions for breakfast he could make on his way out the door in the morning.
“What’s important for our male athletes to learn is that small changes on a daily basis compound over time to give great results,” Bragg stated. “The impact of breakfast is huge when you are training intensely and need extra fuel and protein.”
Other notable off-season achievements from football are offensive lineman Vince Williams (-2 percent body fat / +8 pounds of muscle); linebacker Anthony Lewis (+12 pounds of muscle); and offensive lineman Eric Pennington, who dropped five percent of body fat and increased muscle weight by nine pounds since the start of last season.
Ammerman, a freshman outside hitter from Parker, Colo., shattered prior expectations for volleyball off-season. She increased her muscle weight by five pounds and reduced her body fat by five percent.
Gnatzig, a freshman midfielder from Humble, Texas, achieved great results during her first soccer off-season. While rehabbing from an injury, Gnatzig added five pounts of lean mass and dropped her body fat by two percent.
Of the female honorees, Bragg said, “This is great feedback for our athletes who train so intensely in the off-season and see scale weight remain steady. To test body composition and find results like these is very motivating and rewarding for the athlete. Plus, it reinforces the significance of what we are doing this time of year—creating the optimal physical machine for competition in the fall.”