Vandy's food coach shares tips in new book

BY foxsports • September 27, 2012

He's simply known as Magic, Vanderbilt's food coach renowned for his skills with the Commodores' training table and his work with athletes needing to gain or shed weight.

Many people ask him for suggestions, including how to deal with teenagers and supplements, so Majid Noori finally just wrote them down.

His new book titled ''Eating to Win with America's (hash)1 Food Coach'' explains how anyone from the budding athlete to the weekend warrior can create a personal training table using food already in the house. He details his concept of FREE: Food, Rest, Exercise and Education.

''We believe it's a very useful training tool,'' Noori said. ''It's not a cookbook. It's not a nutrition book. It's a combination of a training table, how I started and all the right stuff is in there. Kids can use it as a training tool.''

Noori put together Vanderbilt's first training table back in 1990. He's consulted with other Southeastern Conference schools on building their own training tables and has more than 20 years of experience using these principles to help about 300 athletes from 16 teams once a day on campus.

''Kids don't really take it serious, especially the athlete,'' Noori said. ''They want to do the shortcut. They don't accept the fact gaining weight, losing weight, you want to be in shape. (It's) a process that's not going to happen overnight. It's like weightlifting. Some people reach goals in two months, six months. They need to be patient.''

A wrestler and swimmer growing up in Iran, Noori moved to Nashville in 1978 where he worked as a chef. With a degree in nutrition and sports science, he was hired by the Vanderbilt athletic department.

Football coach Watson Brown requested fried chicken at his first training table meal, and Noori quickly got rid of the soda machine. He's since introduced athletes' taste buds to healthier baked and grilled dishes, salads and vegetables and smoothies.

Noori has worked with Vanderbilt athletes Jay Cutler, now quarterback with the Chicago Bears, current FedEx Cup champion golfer Brandt Snedeker and pitcher David Price with the Tampa Bay Rays. Snedeker considers Noori one of the best chefs in the country who cares about people enough to provide a personal touch.

''Some training rooms, they're just huge. ... If you told him, `Man, I don't like chicken,' he'd say, `I'll make you something up. Just give me 10 minutes,''' Snedeker said.

Price said Noori's training table was one of the reasons he chose to attend Vanderbilt. Cornerback Myron Lewis, now in his third season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, said Noori took care of each athlete no matter what the nutritional plan. Lewis said Vanderbilt is where he learned how to eat.

''I never thought about certain things you eat and whether they will help or break you on the field,'' Lewis said. ''As I got older and grew, I figured out that putting the right thing in your body helps you out on the field, helps you out in life in general. They taught us how to eat healthy and eat right.''

Noori worked with the Titans in devising their training table menu the week leading up to the 2000 Super Bowl, including their pregame meal, and helped plan the training camp menu. He also worked individually with Eddie George and defensive end Jevon Kearse, who added a much-needed 15 pounds in six weeks with Noori delivering him meals, during their NFL playing days.

Eating the right food and implementing a plan is a big part of the message Noori shares in his book, co-written with Skip Anderson and Fred DuBose. He details how to figure out how many calories a person needs each day, noting consistency and planning are important no matter what the goal.

He says everyone can put together meals without buying high-price, specialized food. His trick for gaining weight is simply plan a few more snacks or spoon peanut butter into a smoothie or shake to avoid buying supplements that can feature questionable additives.

''They need to think about it the same way they think, `Tomorrow I have a practice. Jersey clean, everything ready, be on time,''' Noori said. ''Hey, breakfast. `I'm going to have this for lunch ... Put something in the backpack. It can be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.''

Ever the competitor, Noori has no plans to leave because he wants to help the Commodores win by feeding them well. They get the same advice he shares in the book.

''Just eat something. Don't miss a meal,'' Noori said. ''That's the worst kind that can happen whether gaining weight or losing weight, you must have your three meals.''


AP Sports Writers Fred Goodall in Tampa, Fla., and Nancy Armour in Medinah, Ill., contributed to this report.



''Eating to Win''