Sports Nutrition

Soggy spring workouts

Soggy spring workouts

Well it is finally here – Spring, that is, and let us all go outside and enjoy those long walks, trails runs, swimming in the lake (brrr)…. Oh wait, yeah, it is raining again.  As I know many people love to get outside and enjoy the great state of Maine, the weather does not always cooperate. Thunder showers are fun to watch from inside and down pours are not inviting however those days that are not so extreme give you options, and as I see it you have two of them. First break out the raincoat, smart wool socks and layer up and keep with the plan. Numerous times, I have said no to going out because of the rain, and most of those times I could have gone but opted for the easier route, saying guess this is my off day or I will get on a treadmill. However, the times when I have stayed with the plan to go out always seem like the best workouts, most beautiful days, or I see the most wildlife. I encourage everyone this spring to not be afraid of a little mud, water, or cooler weather, be a big kid and go jump in the puddles. Get out and enjoy – run a little slower, walk a little less far, but you will be thankful you got outside. The second option is for those total wash out days, they happen and complete downpours are not fun to be outside in. Have plan for these days, many gyms, YMCA’s, Rock Climbing Clubs, and swimming pools have drop in Fees. $10-15 for a drop in fee is not the most cost efficient but if it is only once a month then it can be a great deal and offer you the chance to try something new or get your work out in. In addition, if you are looking for those great, efficient indoor workouts looks up some fitness classes. Again, most Gyms and YMCA’s have them or maybe a friend has DVD set of works outs you can do together. Just ’cause the sun is not shining does not mean it needs to rain on your parade. Have your rain day plan set in advance then it will not seem like a chore to find something to do when they do come. I have at least four alternative workout plans that I can use at any time. At the end of the day whether you go outside or stay in, the most important part is to enjoy your choice and not feel guilty about it.  Tomorrow is another day and the sun will come out this spring (right? It will, right?) In addition, we will all have the chance for new adventures or to continue old traditions. If you want, some great advice about making those memories be sure to read Jennifer Stevens Jones Blog from last...

Read More

Life Mantras

Life Mantras

By Jennifer Stevens Jones, sponsored member of the Maine Dairy Promotion Board’s Moo Squad I feel that I live a pretty ordinary life. I am married, have two kids and two dogs, work full time, and enjoy staying active.  Over the last couple months, I have focused on finding a balance that works best for our life right now. I have come up with some catch phrases that have helped me when I need a reality check on my life. Make Memories – This as a reminder to simply do things. Having two small children usually makes things difficult, but that’s not an excuse because life is not always easy. Keith and I have tried to remain as active as we can with our girls. We go hiking, camping, fishing, out to dinner, shopping, and lot of other things, however it is all slightly different. We have learned to adapt to having the girls for our adventures. For example, we schedule most of our activities around naps because our girls are terrors if they don’t get naps. Adventures filled with joy and laughter are my favorite, but adventures that don’t turn out exactly as planned won’t be forgotten. When we have (what feels like) a horrible experience, I remind myself that we are making memories. All our memories are not going to be picture perfect or Pinterest worthy and that is okay. Sometimes the ‘horror adventures’ make the best stories. Keith and I are fortunate to have some great friends enjoying life with us that don’t shy away from making memories too – such as ice fishing on Moosehead Lake in February … with 5 kids under 3.     Life Goes in Phases – This is a reminder that what life is like today may not be applicable in 5 years, 2 months, or even tomorrow. I have learned that it is important to remember that life is going to keep moving, time doesn’t stop. When life is difficult, whether it be a tough day at work or cranky and stubborn children, I remind myself that everyday isn’t going to be that way. With 2 kids under 3, Keith and I are in the “young children” phase of my life; our schedule is pretty predicable and we spend more Saturday nights at home on our couch than we do out. I know that before long we will be chasing the kids around from place to place. We have decided to embrace this phase of life, and joined the minivan club!   Pick Your Battles – this is a reminder to let the small things slide, and not get upset about all the little things. There are so many things that we can dwell on or go crazy trying to micro manage, but I have found that most things don’t deserve that much attention. Right now I am trying to focus my attention and energy on things that matter most for me. For example, I want my girls to eat well balanced meals, but I refrain from getting worked up if they don’t eat all their vegetables at dinner because I know that tomorrow we can try again. I also want to be consistent with my workouts, but I don’t beat myself up if I stop and walk during my training runs because I know that some days are harder than others. I hope that you’re able to relate to one (or all) of these catch phrases and they help you as much as they have me.   As the weather starts to warm and the family is looking...

Read More

Put Your Best Fork Forward

Put Your Best Fork Forward

By Anne L’Heureux, Registered Dietitian and sponsored Moo Squad athlete.  Ah March, a wonderful time of year. We are over the hump of winter, the days are getting longer, and I’m fully gearing up for race season. As a Dietitian, March also means it’s National Nutrition Month. Nutrition is important every month of the year, but in March, Dietitians all across the country rev up their campaigns of why good nutrition is so important. I am lucky enough to be a newly sponsored athlete of the Moo Squad and couldn’t think of a better way to kick things off. This year’s theme for NNM is “Put Your Best Fork Forward”. Whenever I have told someone to put their best foot forward, I am encouraging them to be their best self, show me what they’ve got, leave it all out there! This is the approach I take for every race I compete in. If this approach helps us perform better, get a better job, be a better spouse or parent, then can’t it help us with better nutrition too? Of course it can. So let’s all put our best fork forward! Sticking with the fork theme (forks having four prongs) I have decided to give you four ways in which I put my best fork forward every day. Plan: The successes that I have had comes with much planning. I plan my race season. I plan my weekly workouts. I break those weekly workouts down and plan them into my days. I plan my meal timing around work and training. And I plan what I eat around getting the right foods, in the right amounts, all day long. As a result, I have improved my race times, improved my body composition, and decreased the number of days when I am unable to eat nutritiously. Am I asking you to be this fanatic about it? (Of course I would love if everyone did!) The reality is that planning isn’t that hard. It just takes time and consistency in order to build habits. I started by planning my meals, because as a Dietitian that’s just what I do. So I stopped leaving meals and snacks up to chance, and began packing my food for the day, every day of the week. Each day I look at my schedule, figure out how long I will be away from home, and pack enough good foods to get through. Breakfast at home, yogurt & fruit mid-morning, a hearty salad with a side of cottage cheese for lunch, a pre workout smoothie made with milk, and post workout chocolate (or sometimes coffee flavored) milk, and a sensible dinner. If it has been a particularly active day, I’ll have a delicious evening snack of cinnamon sprinkled cherries atop some greek yogurt. As long as I’ve planned my food appropriately, I am full of energy all day long. As a result, staying focused at work and still having energy for training is easy! Be consistent: The plan above is great, but if it’s sporadic, then so are my results. And I can’t have that. Being consistent is how actions that used to feel like chores (planning, prepping, timing) turn into habits. And when something is habit, it’s easy. You do it without thinking. Once you do it without thinking, you start to see results. If I could pick one thing that has truly contributed to my long term success, it is my consistency. Eat for nutrition: As a Dietitian, I see a lot of clients. Many of them want to improve their performance, lose weight, or both. Our...

Read More

How to tackle a Snow Day

How to tackle a Snow Day

February 9th started out like most post birthdays, and basically like every day. Wake up Cooper for breakfast cereal with whole milk. Does anyone drink the other stuff anymore? Kept an eye out for the impending Snowmageddon and saw a beautiful sunrise. Took Cooper to daycare and headed out to Quarry Road Recreation area in Waterville. If you are a local and have not checked this place out, I highly recommend it. Over 15k of trails, from rolling hills to steep climbs, and flat track for those speed work outs – truly all you need to train with the added bonus of not being on pavement. In the winter it is groomed for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Truly amazing. I strapped on my snowshoes, looking for an hour long run. As the miles passed, I could see the fast approaching dark gray clouds, and the sun was gone as I headed home to get ready for work. After returning home I showered and got ready, and I swear it took me less than 15 minutes, and when I came outside, snow had not just begun falling, full whiteout conditions had set in. I went to work, tackling a few staffing items and preparing Intramurals for the evening with the assumption that Thomas College would close at noon, and it did. I ate my usual lunch of blended yogurt and other goodies (see my other blog posts for recipe), texted with Mandy and headed home around 12:30 p.m., parked the truck in the garage, and shoveled a path for Cooper and Mandy to the garage for their arrival home shortly after. We all huddled together on the couch with the propane fire stove on, for that extra warmth we all like. We settled in for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and the occasional running of a 5-year-old who refused to wear anything but his underwear. As the movie ended, Mandy and I had decided on burgers and macaroni and cheese for dinner.  This would not be your normal macaroni and cheese though.  Two cups of cheddar and half and half in the cast iron skillet and roasted veggies for good measure, the macaroni and cheese was ready.  See recipe. Then came the fun, with Mandy grilling in the snowstorm  and many posts on social media of snow Burpees AKA Snurpees. Cooper and I set out for some of our own. Of course I did them in shorts and a T-shirt, it was cold.   After that we settled down for dinner (photo) an epic game of Uno which as usual I lost. One last check of the weather and deciding to wait until the morning to snow blow, we got Cooper cleaned up and ready for bed (still in his undies), read him some Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and off to bed he went.  Now to relax and crash as 5:15a.m. snow blowing will come early.  Could not think of a better way to approach a snow day, got my work out in, cuddled with my family, ate great food, and got to be a crazy monkey in the snow with Cooper.  Makes for a happy...

Read More

New Year, New Goals…Looking Forward to 2017

New Year, New Goals…Looking Forward to 2017

By Ashley Sears, Esq., sponsored athlete of the Maine Dairy Promotion Board’s Moo Squad. As 2016 comes to a close, we all begin to reflect on the past year’s events and look forward to the coming year. The year undoubtedly had its share of highs and lows for us all and was a year of many changes, both in our personal lives and for the nation as a whole. We set out our goals from the previous year with the hopes of accomplishing them in twelve months. Whether we met all of our proposed goals or not, we can all be thankful for our family, friends, and animals, careers, our health, and the opportunity to have another year to work towards the goals we have not yet achieved. It was a memorable year for me in many respects, but also a year that included the loss of loved ones, challenges, and change. I got engaged in May to a fellow cow-loving guy, ran my first trail race, trademarked my first program, performed pro bono legal work, and learned how to fish for the first time! All of these moments were memorable and special to me in different ways. At the same time, my dog Spirit passed away after spending more than two-thirds of my life with him, fellow friends and family lost loved ones, and the challenge of budgeting, financing, and planning a wedding in another state has become a part of daily conversations. Each of these moments/events has taught me something about myself though, and as an optimist, I’ve been able to find good in each situation. These events and memories have also helped to shape my goals for the coming year. Here are my top 5 goals for the New Year: 1.) Celebrate and appreciate my family, friends, and four-legged friends more. It’s easy to take for granted the great family, friends, and pets/livestock that we have in our lives. It’s also easy to forget that life can change at any moment and we may not have gotten to say or do what we wanted to before we had the chance. Moving to Maine from Massachusetts has made me appreciate my family, friends, and livestock to a greater degree. While I’m only a three hour drive away, a phone call every few days with my family or a picture sent of our dogs or cows makes me appreciate the little things. It also makes the time that much more special when I am home and getting to see friends I don’t see as often, helping with chores at the barn, or getting to cuddle with a furry, feisty pug. 2.) Train for my second marathon. I ran my first marathon in May of 2014 and found it exciting, exhausting, and exhilarating all at the same time. I overcame calf cramps and dehydration at mile 18 to finish, but did not meet my time goal. I loved the process and goal-setting of training for the race. I also learned that I was a lot tougher than I thought I was and to push myself beyond my self-imposed limits. I want to feel those emotions again and reach my time goal, while training smarter. 3.) Enjoy the process of wedding planning. If there’s anything you should know about me, it’s that I’m a planner. From my meals for the week to what I’m going to wear to work, I like to plan. Getting engaged in May, Nick and I set a wedding date of October 2017 because Fall in New England is amazing. Plenty of time to plan and...

Read More

Family traditions

Family traditions

By Jennifer Stevens Jones, Moo Squad sponsored athlete Family traditions help shape our memories, and also help shape our futures. People have traditions in their day to day life, but holidays are typically the most memorable traditions. Some holiday traditions continue from generation to generation, but often traditions have to change to fit different phases of life. Our family is currently trying to find the holiday traditions that fit our life right now. With two small children, we are trying to combine family traditions and determine which ones we want to carry on with our girls.  Over the last couple of years, the holidays seem to revolve around family and lots of food. Don’t get me wrong, the food is amazing and the company is great, but I have been trying to find a way to make the holidays include some type of physical activity or time outside together. Last Thanksgiving, my sisters and I started one tradition that I hope to carry on year after year; a Thanksgiving morning 5k.  There is a local 5k, The Greely Hockey 5k in Cumberland, that holds a 5k every year (this was the 9th annual) on Thanksgiving morning.  We held Thanksgiving at our house last year, so we put the turkey in the oven before the race and finished everything else when we got back. We all felt like it was a great start to the morning, and really made us feel better as we prepared to eat more food than we actually needed. This Thanksgiving (last week), we were traveling to our parent’s dairy farm (about a 1 hour – 15 mins away), but I still wanted to keep the tradition going, so Keith, Cami, Lauren, and I all ran the 5k as a family.  We bundled the girls up, but it wasn’t actually that bad out for us.   While Keith doesn’t really enjoy running (i.e. – he hates it), he was a champ, and pushed both girls in the double stroller! Keith finished a couple of minutes ahead of me, so I decided to ‘grab’ the girls have them finish with me.  I tried to get Cami to run the last little bit of the race with me, but she was not impressed with that idea (as you can see in the pictures).   After we finished, we headed north to enjoy the day with our family. I am hoping that we continue to run a 5k on Thanksgiving Day, and with any luck I can get Keith, Cami, or Lauren to join me every year…maybe they will finish with a smile one day too. J...

Read More