When Jordan Mazur graduated from Suffield High School in 2008, he knew he had an interest in health, nutrition and working out. A typical college freshman-not knowing exactly what he wanted to do-he thought he would explore this area at UConn. He may not have foreseen the opportunities and experiences this decision would open up for him. Now, as the Coordinator of Nutrition for the San Francisco 49ers, Jordan is wrapping up his fourth season overseeing the nutrition for the entire team and football operations – advising coaches and coordinating dietary needs for the special teams and players like QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
Jordan Mazur has always had confidence and prides himself on setting goals and working hard to accomplish them. By the time Jordan was 26, he was working in the NFL. Reaching this point takes a plan and lots of hard work. After graduating from UConn, Jordan went off to Florida State University (FSU) to get his Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and Sports Nutrition as well as to pursue a dietetic internship to become a Registered Dietitian (RD). Jordan recalls, “After I graduated from FSU, things just took off, I got a fellowship right away working in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles for a season. After that I got the first Director of Sports Nutrition for Cal Athletics at UC Berkeley. After just under a year there, I got a call to be hired as the first full time sports dietitian with the San Francisco 49ers .”
There is no typical day working in the NFL. The hours are anything but 9 to 5, particularly during the regular season. The regular season begins with training camp at the end of July. From that point on, Jordan is on duty planning menus, sourcing food items served throughout the day and recalibrating dietary needs for players training, working out and recovering from injury. A unique tie to Jordan’s own Suffield roots, Jordan works with the 49er’s team chef on where they source all of their food from including produce and proteins to making sure they are of the highest nutrient quality – meaning they eat as local, fresh, and organic as possible. Seven days a week, 12+ hours at times. each day brings a variety of nutritional challenges. Jordan explains, “ I work alongside our strength and conditioning coaches to ensure athletes are performing well in the weight room and on the field with pre-workout and post-workout nutrition. I work closely with our sports medicine staff on all injured athletes, both short term and long term, to utilize specific nutrition and supplements to help the healing process and speed their return to the playing field. In addition I plan all the food on our road trips from what we serve on the plane to the hotel food to postgame food and everything in between. It’s definitely a challenge to manage so many athletes’ and coaches’ food preferences and to accommodate everyone. Finally, I work with individual athletes on specific nutrition and meal plans to meet their goals. Some players need to lose weight, some need to gain weight, some need extra calories throughout the day, and I also help guide all athletes on supplements as that can often be a confusing and dangerous area for them. When I do have any time in my schedule, I work with our community outreach team in any way I can to help our community with nutrition education efforts.”
You might think that game day preparation is all about watching film of last week’s game and reviewing plays. For Jordan, his game preparations start 24 hours before the game, making certain the players are well fed and hydrated to be ready for kick-off. In fact, a pregame meal is always served 3-4 hours before the game for the players. Some players who prefer not to eat a big meal on game day are looking for quick, energy boosting carbohydrates that can be easily digested. Jordan plans quick snack options to keep players ready to get on the field.
Once the kick-off is underway, you can spot Jordan on the sidelines hydrating players. Depending on the weather, cramping and proper hydration are a concern for players. “I help to make sure guys are fueled and hydrated through the first two quarters. Half-time is then a time to refuel with quick carbohydrates such as bananas, energy chews and gels, and I use a variety of sports supplements and caffeine for the guys to give them the extra fuel to finish out the second half of the game. Recovery begins right after the game as I’ll cater in a post-game meal and have protein shakes and supplements immediately following the game to kick start recovery,” Jordan said.
In addition to the satisfaction that comes with working with some of the best athletes in the game, Jordan accompanied the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2020. When asked what it was like to be at the Super Bowl, Jordan recalls, “The most powerful memory from the Super Bowl just had to be the National Anthem before the game. The stadium was full of energy and, at that moment, it was quiet as the anthem played. It all really sank in that we were playing in the Super Bowl. Unfortunately we didn’t get the outcome we wanted, but it’s an experience I’ll never forget and hope to be back soon.” (Readers may recall the 49ers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 31-20.)
Suffield High graduate Jordan Mazur exemplifies how you can explore your interests, then study and work hard to build a career that is rewarding and unique. “No day is the same. I don’t have a desk job or a 9-5 job which can be challenging. Sometimes during the season, I am working 12+ hour days and on holidays (which might be my least favorite part of my job) but I love what I do. I work with some of the best athletes in the world at the top of their game to be their very best. I also love the challenge of it all. Nutrition isn’t a one-size fits all approach. Each individual is unique and their needs are different as well. The old cliché “if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life” holds true for me.” We can’t wait to see what is next for Suffield native Jordan and his healthy, well-nourished football players.