Summer is no break for Longhorns
Three Texas student-athletes share their summer nutrition and workout regimens
Cameron Rupp plants his feet, ready to swing.
Then he leaps his 6-foot-2, 235-pound frame onto jungle gym monkey bars to begin his summer workout routine.
Weight room training can become monotonous, so the Texas catcher likes to change things up a bit in the summer by hitting an elementary school playground.
After grueling seasons filled with championships and upsets, 6 a.m. practices and two-a-days, summer "break" is when University of Texas student-athletes continue conditioning so they don't lose skill or stamina come preseason. Nutrition plans and modified workouts help them rest up while staying in shape for their upcoming seasons.
Rupp was a crucial member of Texas baseball's College World Series runner-up squad, as he led the team in RBIs (46), home runs (11) and heroic plays (too many to count). Once the Longhorns lost their final CWS game in Omaha, Neb., Rupp went straight to work playing for the Cape Cod Baseball League's Cotuit Kettleers in Cotuit, Mass.
Though he plays baseball every day, Rupp still has workout assignments to complete, compliments of the UT coaching staff.
"Our strength coach gives us a workout plan, and we have to do it three to four days a week for about an hour and a half," the incoming junior said. "Just go to the weight room and move some weight around -- legs, arms, chest, back, every part of the body."
With the majority of the Texas baseball team participating in summer leagues away from Austin, the coaches trust the athletes will complete their workouts.
"They'll call and check up and make sure there are no injuries and see how things are going," Rupp said. "But they expect us to be responsible and mature enough to handle the workouts on our own."
Lucky for Rupp, his Texas teammate and roommate Kevin Keyes plays for the Kettleers as well.
"Keyes and I work out together," Rupp said. "We want to work as hard as we can to get to where we were this year and try to win a national championship."
Unlike Rupp, whose workouts call for an order of weights and are light on the running, Patrick Todd, a rising sophomore on the Longhorns' cross country and track and field teams, receives workouts caked with running.
Toward the end of the 2009 outdoor track and field season, tendinitis flared up in Todd's left ankle, and he eventually broke his left foot in the 1,500-meter run at the Big 12 championships. Heading into summer, Todd was going to have to modify his workouts. Texas coaches suggested that Todd spend the summer cross-training, which would be easy for him to do while working for 25 days as a counselor at a camp at the foothills of Arkansas' Ozark Mountains.
"We do all outdoorsy things, like swimming, biking, water-skiing, football, basketball," Todd said. "And all of those things keep you in shape."
After seven weeks without running, Todd's foot was healthier and ready to start cross country workouts.
"The coaches started me with 20-minute runs a day," Todd said. "You don't want the body to go into shock or anything because my foot isn't all the way better yet. I started with 20 minutes a day the first week, 25 minutes a day the second week, and now I can go between 20 and 40 minutes a day."
In addition to running, Todd is given nutritional suggestions to stay lean.
"No fast food or greasy stuff," Todd said. "The more natural stuff, the better, like veggies and fruit."
The problem Todd has discovered with a runner's diet is the absence of sugar.
"I have a sweet tooth, so that's kind of an issue," Todd said jokingly. "But basically what it comes down to is, you like ice cream, but do you like running more? Yes."
Soccer players have to watch what they eat in the summer as well. Emily Anderson, a soon-to-be senior forward on the Longhorns' soccer team, has decided to alter her diet this summer.
"I've been going to the farmers market a lot lately," Anderson said with a laugh. "I'm trying to go all organic and eat tons of vegetables, and a steak meal at least once a week."
Throughout the summer, Anderson plays in a coed soccer league on the weekends and follows the UT trainers' workout packet during the week.
Her summer workouts consist of a short aerobic warm-up; weight training; lunges; squat jumps; and other explosive activities, abdominal exercises and running.
"The first day of running is endurance, like [400-meter runs] around a track," she said. "Throughout the summer we start with one or two and work up to four. We start off doing them at about 90 seconds and work our way down to about 80 seconds."
Other running activities include one- to two-mile runs and short sprints -- all of which Anderson is supposed to do in an allotted amount of time (15 minutes for two miles, for example).
Although Anderson plays soccer on the weekends, she must still practice skills and get as many touches on the ball as possible throughout the week.
"Our coaches made a skills video for us," Anderson said. "It shows all the moves, and it only takes 15 minutes to sit there and play with the ball. Nothing too stringent."
Longhorn athletes will return to campus soon to start practices, which promise to be more intense than their summer regimens. But these top-crop athletes can handle it.
Laken Litman is an ESPN Campus Connection student representative from the University of Texas. Check out the College Sports page for more Campus Connection stories and videos.