On a typical Tuesday in Berkeley, California, there are many places you can find Cal’s starting goalkeeper, Emily Boyd.
The classroom. The soccer field. Even on Instagram.
The app is a popular forum, of course, for posting photos of daily life. But Boyd has found a different use for it, through her account, @eboydsfood: To help others live a healthier lifestyle through food and fitness.
The senior at Cal, who also has helped the No. 11 Bears off to a 8-1-0 start to the 2017 season, began her Instagram page more than a year ago and has gained over 1,000 followers.
It all started with a major diet change she undertook after her sophomore season.
After her first year of college, Boyd wanted more. She wanted to improve her play with hopes to someday play for the U.S. Women’s National Team.
When she asked her coaches and trainers what she could do to improve, the answer was simple: Get fit. That included changing her body composition by achieving a lower body-fat percentage and striving for a lean body mass.
“I said ‘OK, how do I do that?’ And they said I needed to eat better.”
Boyd became committed to what she now calls her "journey." At first, she began posting photos of her new meals and recipes on Snapchat, but some friends became annoyed that food was all she posted. So she moved to Instagram, creating a single account, posting captions that explained what she was eating and how she cooked it. She also included exercise tips. In addition, the account provides personal anecdotes about the whole process.
“I think it’s exciting sharing recipes, fitness stories and learning how to better myself while helping other people,” Boyd said. “The whole goal of my food page is that I am out here trying to better myself and make me the best athlete I can be, the best teammate, but as I am doing that I am learning so much. So I want to share that with as many people as I can. If they can learn through my mistakes, they don’t have to make them themselves.”
Some of the most eye-opening nutrition lessons she has learned: the importance of quality food and portion control.
“When I hear that people want to change their own lives by seeing what I am doing with my life and what I am doing every day is what inspires me to keep posting and sharing," she said. "I like knowing that what I am doing is helping other athletes and other people who are going through what I went through.”
Although Boyd’s original intention was not to be a resource for others, she said that has been one of the most rewarding parts, along with making new friendships and connections through the account.
To reach her fitness goals, Boyd talked to her nutritionist and trainer to get the right balance of calorie intake to how many calories she was burning per day. She wanted to reach her body mass goal but make sure she would have enough energy to perform and not lose muscle. Finding that sweet spot, she said, is different for everyone.
The first time she saw a big difference in her game was the next season. Midway through March of her sophomore year, Boyd said she could move differently in-goal, getting saves that she may have missed before.
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“It takes a while to really see change, which is the hardest part of getting someone to change the their lifestyle, because it takes patience and it takes a lot of hard work before you get to see any results. It took four months till I could really tell a difference,” she said.
Boyd is an American Studies major, but hew newfound passion has steered her into taking two nutrition courses that she enjoys. And her new fitness lifestyle is almost certainly helping her on the field.
Last Sunday, she became the eighth player in Pac-12 soccer history to reach 30 career shutouts. She doesn’t want to stop there.
“I want to beat everybody in front of me,” Boyd said. “I know the leader is [at] 55 games, and I don’t even have enough games to get there. But being No. 2 is my goal now because I think that our team is the team that could do it. With nine more, our team would be No. 2 with 39. The end goal is zero goals, then it’s easy. You only have to score one.”
Boyd added that the team’s new formation has set them up to be successful. She thinks the strong play from the centerbacks has made the team’s defense better organized and, in turn, Boyd hasn’t had to make too many saves this season.
With the season in full swing, Boyd’s Instagram account also stays in action. The account shows pictures of her usual lunch, stir fry veggies with brown rice and protein. She looks forward to a new recipe at dinner on Tuesday night: cauliflower pizza. She has even enlisted some of her teammates to be part of her new routine, taste-testing and participating in her healthy eating habits.
Boyd encourages people to follow her on Instagram and reach out with any questions. She just hopes her message continues to spread.
“Throughout your journey you have to be positive,” Boyd said. “I am a believer that muscles are beautiful. Putting the message out there that you want to be strong and muscular, that is good. You hear a lot of girls say, ‘Oh I don’t want to bulk up, it’s not pretty,’ Well, it is pretty. It’s awesome because you are showing your hard work through your body.”