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Deion "Coach Prime" Sanders said he didn't think about nutrition as an elite athlete.
As a coach, his players have access to nutritionists, trainers, and meal plans.
Sanders said he follows a healthy diet and morning routine to stay energized.
Deion Sanders was a multi-sport superstar even before he built his reputation as Coach Prime, one of the most talked-about leaders in college football.
But unlike today's sports stars that swear by strict diets and obsess over nutritional details,
Sanders said he didn't think much about nutrition during his "Prime Time" years.
"Back then, we used to eat soul food and then go to practice like it wasn't nothing," he told Insider in an interview about his partnership with California Almonds.
In contrast, the young athletes he trains as head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes, a Division 1 school with a 4-5 record so far this season, have a comprehensive support system for their diet as well as the rest of their training.
"Now you have a nutritionist, you have dietary people, you have strength and conditioning guys," Sanders said. "There are so many resources that you have. These kids have meal plans, they have everything, we didn't have all that stuff. We were so happy just to have three square meals a day."
The tradeoff, he said, is that today's up-and-coming athletes are also expected to commit much more time to their sport.
"Now you're one sport all year-round. It's hard to have an off-season," said Sanders, who built his legacy in both football and baseball.
With his playing days behind him, he said he's since learned to better fuel his body and mind to stay sharp for his continued ambitions as a coach, commentator, and all-around sports icon.
"At this age and stage in life, I'm not searching to find out who I am, I know that," Sanders said. "I don't fluctuate from that. I'm focused, I'm determined, I know what I want out of life, and I'm gonna go get it.'
Coach's Prime's diet and morning routine
Now, Sanders, age 56, said he prioritizes a healthy lifestyle, aims to get enough protein and veggies, drinks plenty of water, and generally avoids fried food and candy.
"I eat pretty good, and I don't cheat too much on the diet," he said. "Because I want a certain look, I want a certain feel about myself."
His current routine involves waking up at 5 am so he can hit the gym before practice, followed by a handful of almonds. Recent research suggests snacking on almonds post-workout may improve muscle recovery.
Then he has a banana-strawberry smoothie and grits for breakfast so he's energized for the 8 a.m. practice.
Sanders said if he could give his early self some advice, it would be to eat healthier.
"I probably would have taken care of my body a lot more," he said. "We weren't as health conscious as we are now, as I am right now putting in the proper work, getting the proper rest, eating the proper things with the right diet and enough water."
Read the original article on Insider