Running Races and Winning (Ultra-distances) for Women Over 60

Running Races and Winning (Ultra-distances) for Women Over 60

Linda Quirk wants to see how far she can go to demonstrate the vitality of over-60 women in ultrarunning. Quirk, 62, ran the L.A. Marathon, GOPR0047her first, when she was 35 with no prior experience in 5K or 10K. She was hooked and ran many more marathons including Big Sur and Alaska’s Midnight Sun Marathon. At the age of 45, she took up Ironman, with help from a coach, on a challenge from her oldest son.

“I fell in love with Ironman and participated all the way through qualifying for Kona,” says Quirk, who recovered from a biking accident and qualified for Kona in 2008 at Lanzarote in the Canary Islands when the first-place finisher declined the spot.

“Things fell into place for me,” she says. “It was obviously meant for me to go to Kona. “Having reached the pinnacle of my triathlon career at Kona, I hung up the bike. It was time for me to plant my feet back on the ground.”

my feet back on the ground

12932762In 2010, she completed a plan to run a marathon on every continent, then took up the challenge of becoming the first woman to complete RacingThePlanet’s 4 Deserts Race Series (Editor’s note: 2015 races include the Gobi, Sahara, Atacama and The Last Desert [Antarctica]). The races are the world’s leading rough-country endurance footraces, each taking place over seven days and 250 kilometers (over 150 miles) in the largest and most forbidding deserts on the planet. Competitors must carry all their food, clothing and gear on their back while the organizers provide water and a multi-person tent at night. Quirk and two other women completed the series. Samantha Gash from Australia took first woman and youngest; Quirk took second, becoming the first American woman and oldest person ever to complete the series; and Lucy Rivers-Buckley placed third, becoming the first woman from the United Kingdom. At the time, Quirk was 57 and Gash was 27.

“I did take the first American woman to ever do it and the oldest person to have done it,” says Quirk, who still holds that record. “That was a great experience. I loved every desert. They were difficult and challenging but beautiful places to be.”

She discovered The Right Stuff in the Gobi Desert, the second race in the series, after losing track of her salt pills in the first race. She placed sixth among women overall.

“I said I need something I can just put in my water and drink and not have to think about how many tablets I take,” she recalls. “I’m telling you, it was amazing for me. I took about four ounces every 20 minutes or so.”

I don’t go without it (The Right Stuff) because it works so well

Since then, she’s depended on The Right Stuff in training as well as ultramarathons, including the Brazil 135, the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, and Badwater, where she holds the 60-to-69 record. 071713-1689-virginia-photographer-runwell-badwater“I don’t go without it because it works so well,” she says. “I don’t have to think about what I’m putting in my body or how much. It replaces a lot of what’s depleted.”

Quirk, who ran in this year’s Brazil 175 but stopped at 100 miles because the 60-hour limit was out of reach, says she aims to keep up her participation. While some men older than 60 have continued to run ultramarathons, few women have blazed such a trail.

“I enjoy pushing and seeing how far I can go,” she says, adding that she has paid close attention to nutrition in recent years to sustain the effort. “I hope to show that women don’t have to stop. I try to push the envelope as long as my body is allowing me to.”

World Champion San Francisco Giants Count on The Right Stuff to Keep Their Ballplayers Well Hydrated

World Champion San Francisco Giants Count on The Right Stuff to Keep Their Ballplayers Well Hydrated

The MLB (Major League Baseball) Defending World Champion San Francisco Giants, with a strong emphasis on nutrition and hydration, turn to The Right Stuff® when players need an electrolyte boost, says Carl Kochan, the team’s head Strength and Conditioning coach. carl-kochanThe World Champions, who adopted the NASA-developed product, as an important part of their hydration program more than two years ago, consumed as much of The Right Stuff in this year’s Spring Training as all last year’s regular season as players became more familiar with its benefits.

The Importance of Hydration

“Hydration is a huge component of performance as well as recovery,” Kochan says.

MLB Logo SF Giants BallIn addition to the challenges of practice and games, the Giants need regular hydration for their long flights to East Coast and Midwest opponents. They are among the most-traveled MLB team, and hours in dry airplane air require regular moisture replenishment.

“There’s evidence-based research out there that not just athletes but everyday people flying can need eight ounces of water for every hour in the air,” Kochan says. “With our rigorous travel schedule, some guys are not doing the best of their ability to eat properly as pertains to performance.”

Players can turn to The Right Stuff before, during, and after the practice or game for that extra boost.

Sweaty destinations, especially during the summer months, also can remove more water and nutrients than players restore with ordinary eating and drinking. Players can turn to The Right Stuff before, during, and after practice or games for that extra boost. The product is available to the whole team, and individuals choose when to use it.

“It changes each day because guys’ hydration levels change each day,” Kochan says “The ultimate goal is to educate each player. You do your best as part of a medical staff to educate players so they can make a good performance nutrition decisions. They need to get their electrolytes balanced for the best performance on the field. If they’ve thought about that, we’ve done our job.”

As part of a comprehensive nutrition and hydration program, The Right Stuff helps players feel well-prepared for play rather than sluggish and lethargic, Kochan says.

[Editors Note: The Right Stuff is not another sports drink, it is serious hydration for serious athletes™.  The company participates in the NSF Certified for Sport program, so every batch is independently tested and cleared not to contain any banned substances, heavy metals or other adulterants.]

Pro Hockey Coach and Firefighter Preaches the Importance of Hydration

Pro Hockey Coach and Firefighter Preaches the Importance of Hydration

Kevin Ziegler Kevin Zieglerknows fire and ice. Ziegler is a member of Minnesota Task Force 1 in the Minneapolis Fire Department, which he joined 14 years ago. He is also a Strength and Conditioning Coach for hockey players, a childhood interest that led to his role as Global Director of Sports Performance for Octagon Hockey.

“I was into hockey as a young kid,” Ziegler says. “I figured out that hockey wasn’t going to pay for my education but football was.” He attended Iowa State University on a football scholarship, earning a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and Physiology and a master’s degree in Physiology. He also holds certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the American College of Sports Medicine.

Ziegler’s hockey career includes work as Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League and consulting with other teams, including the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers. In 1990, he opened his pioneer sports training center exclusively for enhancing academic performance. Clients have won World Championships, World Series Championships, National Championships, and the Stanley Cup.

Although he has received offers to coach NHL teams, Ziegler remained committed to his native Minnesota and his firefighter work for Minneapolis. He was directing strength and conditioning for a hockey team of 16- to 20-year-olds when a nutritionist friend introduced him to The Right Stuff®. kiwi-packet-group2    Now he recommends it to hockey players and keeps it on hand for his firefighting job.

Hydration for Athletes

“We had talked about hydration for athletes. It’s one of the biggest issues,” he says, citing a Yale University study of hockey players that confirmed that those in pads sweat more than those without pads. “It’s something that’s really well known in hockey. Hydration is hugely important, especially for goaltenders.”

Our recovery for our team was much faster for the players that were using The Right Stuff than for the players that weren’t using it.

The Right Stuff is the solution. “Our recovery for our team is much faster for the players that use it than for the players that weren’t using it,” he says.” For the goaltenders, it gave them an advantage. They recovered quicker. They didn’t cramp. It made our travel that much better because our players weren’t getting dehydrated. Once you get dehydrated, it’s very hard to catch up. I found it was very beneficial. From there I started using it in our pro camps in Octagon. I’ve used it with our diabetic athletes to keep them hydrated. We’ve had great results.” [Editor Note: The Right Stuff does not contain any sugars or carbohydrates]

In addition to the benefits during workouts and games, Ziegler notes, The Right Stuff eases the dehydration of air travel that contributes to jet lag for teams flying cross-country.

“I think it would be a great product where you’re put in a situation where you can get dehydrated – flying or playing at altitude,” he says. “For an athlete who has to play the next day, jet lag is something you want to avoid.”

Ziegler drinks The Right Stuff for his own hydration at work. “I use it personally in the firefighting,” he says. “Especially if it’s a hot day, I keep The Right Stuff with me when I’m on the fire truck.”

Athletic Excellence in College Depends on Optimal Sports Nutrition

Randy Bird started a biology major at Virginia Tech because he planned to go to medical school, maybe becoming an orthopedic surgeon so he could stay connected to athletes in the sports that he loved. When prospects of a medical career lost their luster, he Randy Bird Hd Shotswitched to human nutrition, foods and exercise science to achieve the same goal.

Bird is Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of Virginia as well as the president of the 800+ member Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association (learn more about CPSDA at sportsrd.org), that serves colleges, pro teams, military and others.

“Back when I was starting at University of Kansas, in 2005, there were only 10 schools that had a full-time sports dietitian,” he says. “In the last nine years, we’ve gone from 10 to 45 schools, maybe close to 50 now,” including several schools with multiple staff members.

NCAA Lifted Food Restrictions at Universities

That growth likely will accelerate because the NCAA has lifted restrictions on food that universities can provide to athletes, scrapping regulations that once permitted bagels but not cream cheese or peanut butter.

That rule change should spark even more job growth because you need somebody who knows what they’re doing managing that food,” Bird says. “The profession was already growing. That new rule, or the removal of the old rule, really drives us forward even more.”

Some athletes imagined that the change would turn college into a cruise ship, with lavish buffets at every turn, but the reality involves strategic fueling that will be implemented differently at different colleges.

Randy Bird by BodPod“It’s going to be up to the school what they can afford to do and what’s best for their athletes,” Bird says. “In some situations, a school might be able to do a breakfast and lunch set up for athletes. For us, that’s not a viable option,” because of the logistics of classroom and practice locations.

“The athletes still have a meal plan, but we’re going to be using it more to provide the additional calories that our athletes need to make them whole, to repair the damage they’ve done from their workouts and to maintain their health.”  Improvements in nutrition can improve safety as well as health for the athletes.

“A big majority of injuries happen when the athletes are fatigued,” Bird says. “If they’re underfueled, they’re going to be spending a lot more of their games and practices in that fatigued state. If they’re underfueled, they’re not recovering as well so you’re going to be having more muscle injuries.

Fuel starts with food but includes appropriate supplementation, such as shakes to replenish calories and vitamins, and The Right Stuff to sustain hydration.

That’s where The Right Stuff comes in – to aid in hydration and replace the electrolytes during practice and games.

“We want to provide food as the baseline,” Bird says. “Food needs to be the majority of what our athletes are getting. However, there’s plenty of room still for supplementation too. That’s where The Right Stuff comes in – to aid in hydration and pre-loading and replacement of electrolytes lost during practice and games.”

Hydration is Critical for Collegiate Athletes’ Performance

Bird, who heard of The Right Stuff through the CPSDA, started using it at Kansas and brought it to Virginia, first for football, where the NASA-developed formula has eliminated the need for IVs during game halftimes and drastically reduced the number needed for practices.

“It has cut down on the amount of IVs we have to give,” Bird says. “To me, that’s tremendous. When I started working here, the first summer during training camp, we had IVs that we had to do just to make sure guys were hydrated when they were going out to that second practice.

“We’ve developed a strategy to help them hydrate. If they can come into the game hydrated and then maintain these hydration practices during the game, there’s no need for an IV. They’re not losing as much, and they’re replacing what they lose.”

Other sports, including lacrosse, soccer, and tennis, are also using The Right Stuff and have reported excellent results too, he says.

Each packet has nearly 1.8 grams of sodium in it, which is critical for those marathon runners and triathletes.  “A typical tennis player could easily sweat out five or six pounds of fluid,” Bird says, losing at least 2-3  grams of sodium. “Using The Right Stuff is an easy way to stay up with that electrolyte loss.”

Is a 100 Mile Run a Long Enough Race to Really Challenge?

Phile-Rosenstein-BadwaterPhil Rosenstein decided he wanted to do an Ironman triathlon in 2004, before he even knew the length of the race.

“I ran cross-country in high school – the longest race was five miles or something,” he recalls. “I somehow got it into my head that I wanted to do an Ironman triathlon. Later that year, I ran my first marathon and six months later did the first Ironman.”

Then Rosenstein joined an Endurance List e-mail group and discovered ultrarunning when the first post was “At what point in a race do you sleep?” – which he first assumed was a mistranslation by an international runner.

Going Farther

“I didn’t know that stuff even existed or people could even do that,” he says. “These guys are elite professional athletes. There’s no way I could possible do this – could I? Maybe. Maybe if I really focused hard and trained hard. You get carried away. That’s what happens with a lot of us. A marathon’s not far enough. We’ve got to go farther than that.”

Phil-Rosenstein-Finishing-1

Rosenstein ran his first 100-mile race in Vermont in 2005, months after his first Marathon. He did two more that year, then five 100s, three 50s, two Ironman and one double Ironman in 2006.

In 2007, he tied with another runner for the most races 100 miles or more – nine 100s and three 150s.

“It became a lifestyle for me for a while,” says Rosenstein, who left his international pharmaceutical marketing job to become an animal control officer, then took a domestic pharmaceutical job where he often gave Monday presentations after a weekend of running. When that company was sold in late 2007, his severance supported him for a year.

“For a while, I was a professional runner,” he says. “It was the central part of my life really right up until 2010 or 2011. It was what I focused my life around. For three or four years, all I was doing was running races, giving speeches to running clubs about running, volunteering, pacing, coaching,”

In 2008, Rosenstein ran the Badwater 135 (from Death Valley up Mt. Whitney) just months after lung surgery because of complications from pneumonia. Doctors said his powerful cardiovascular system saved his life.

Three weeks later he started a 3,300-mile run across the country – Los Angeles to Chicago to Atlantic City, N.J, in 92 days, pushing a cart with his sleeping bag, clothes, and water. I just refused to give up

“I still don’t really look at it as I’m superhuman,” he says. “It’s just because I wouldn’t quit. I was like a robot bouncing against a wall until either the robot breaks or the wall breaks. I just refused to give up.”

Rosenstein found The Right Stuff about four years ago, a research-based product that improved on the trial-and-error attempts at physical care he had done in the past.          (Editor’s Note: Published studies show the formula is significantly better for fighting dehydration symptoms, protecting the body from overheating and increasing athletic endurance by over 20% more than any other NASA-tested formula).

“I used to joke that I put lotion on my feet that is made for cows and sold to farmers,” he says. “I used Pedialyte for kids, Ensure for old people. At the time it was ‘whatever works for you.’ This NASA-developed product was actually designed for this. A lot of time, money and energy was spent developing this and it’s what we found works. The Right Stuff works really well as far as giving your body the electrolytes it needs.” He takes a serving in every other water bottle during the day, every third bottle at night. “That’s what seems to work best for me. My legs always feel fresher at the end.”

Rosenstein, 44, married Karla, whom he met when she was a novice runner at a race in Leadville, Colo., several years ago. He lives in Colorado and works in inventory management. He last ran a 100-mile race in November 2012 because he is recovering from a fifth bout with pneumonia.

“I miss it,” he says. “It’s a culture all by itself. When I started doing these crazy races, there were 25 races in the country and probably 1,000 finishers a year – 75 to 100 people who would do more than one. It’s a small community. The sport’s grown a lot, but I do miss the people, the friendships, the places. You’re always running these races in beautiful parks – and the camaraderie you have! It’s 2 a.m., you’re at mile 75 or 80, it’s pouring rain, it’s 45 degrees. Whoever you come across on the trail is now your best friend in the world.”

How to Overcome Exercise-Caused Dizziness? Olympian and Ironman Champ Shares How

JZ-Wins-Half-MarathonJoanna Zeiger, who had been swimming from age 7 through college, got hooked on triathlons when she won her age group in her first race in 1994.

“I was looking for a new challenge,” she recalls. “Once I did my first race, I got hooked. I knew early on I had some talent for triathlon. When I first started running I didn’t like it much. It took several years before my running legs really came under me. I took to cycling pretty quickly. When you come from a swim background, you’re going to have an advantage in the swim over people who start later in life. I came to balance out my bike and run as well.”

Zeiger turned pro in 1998, after winning her age group at the Hawaii Ironman. She raced 10 to 12 triathlons a year, placing fourth in the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and 5 weeks later placed 5th in the Hawaii Ironman, making her the first person to compete in the Olympics and the Hawaii Ironman in the same year. Zeiger’s diversity led her to national championships in three distances: Olympic in 2001, Ironman in 2005, and 70.3 in 2008. In 2008, Joanna won the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in world record time.

I’ve been able to manage the dizziness better with the product (The Right Stuff).

Zeiger had experienced ongoing light-headedness and dizziness during races which peaked in 2009 during a triathlon in Boulder, Colorado.  She passed out and was taken to the hospital.  She found and researched the NASA-developed formula and began using The Right Stuff to solve the chronic racing-induced dizziness. “I was looking for some different sources to get more sodium intake,” she says. “I knew that increasing my sodium intake helped with the dizziness.  She tested it twice before implementing it into her race regimens.

The first time she used The Right Stuff was while training for a triathlon during a five and a half hour bike ride plus an 8-mile run.  She said she felt great!

The second test was a 100-mile bike ride with 1000’s of feet of climbing. It really solved her issue and she still uses it regularly. I’ve been able to manage the dizziness much better with The Right Stuff. I recommend it to the people that I coach; most of them end up doing better when they use The Right Stuff to help increase their sodium intake.”

Joanna retired from triathlons in 2010 after an injury during the 70.3 World Championship but continues to run – setting a Colorado state half-marathon record in her age group at the Revel Rockies Half Marathon in 2014. JZ-Run-cropped

Meanwhile, Zeiger, who has coached since 2003, established Race Ready Coaching (www.racereadycoaching.com) two years ago.

“We coach athletes of all ages and all abilities for all distances,” she says. “All my years of experience have made the coaching fun. It’s fun not only to work on your own goals but to see other people achieve their goals.”

Collegiate Sports Dietitians: Improving Sports Performance and Building Nutrition Awareness Across All Sports

Aaron CarbuhnAfter Aaron Carbuhn earned his master’s degrees in nutrition in 2008 and sport physiology in 2009 at Texas A&M, he moved to Houston and volunteered for 10 months at the University of Houston as a football assistant Strength and Conditioning coach and Sports Dietitian. A month after he took the job as sports nutritionist at the University of Kansas, Houston joined the fast-growing list of universities creating such positions.

“When I came out of school trying to find a collegiate Sports RD position, there were only 20 schools with a full-timer on staff,” he says, adding that the number has more than tripled. “My roles and responsibilities include assisting all of our sports teams with a multitude of nutrition needs – education, counseling, creating diet plans, team menu planning, and body composition testing.”

Carbuhn says, Athletes as well as schools are increasingly aware of nutrition’s key role in their academic, athletic, and personal lives.

Nutrition Awareness

“What’s the one thing that can affect all those parameters? Nutrition,” he says. “That needs to be addressed and improved in more collegiate athletic departments. When I was assisting as a Strength and Conditioning coach at the University of Houston, many athletes would ask questions about nutrition frequently.  I was definitely seeing that the need is there. There seems to be a lot of growth moving forward in the field of collegiate sports nutrition.”

Carbuhn first learned about The Right Stuff while volunteering as a Sports RD at Texas A&M under Amy Bragg. When he arrived at Kansas, The Right Stuff had already been introduced by his predecessor and current CPSDA (Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association) President Randy Bird. He set out to expand its use among more sport teams at Kansas.

The Right Stuff (hydration formula developed by NASA) is a vital thing

“It’s a vital thing,” he says. “You can’t just pound back a lot of salty foods in the middle of a practice or workout to help restore your electrolyte balance. I don’t believe that is going to sit too well in your stomach. The Right Stuff is available to all 16 sports. As a team approach, we use it primarily with our football and men’s and women’s basketball programs. For our remaining sports, we look provide it to particular athletes with difficulties in keeping a proper electrolyte balance, that can cause things like cramps, during training and competitive play.”

Carbuhn maintains his personal passion for strength training partly through lunchtime sessions in the weight room with coworkers.

“My love is in the weight room,” he says. “I still have the desire to improve my own athletic performance. To have the opportunity to use my knowledge in strength and conditioning as well as nutrition. I have been able to continue to physically develop further than I thought was possible at this stage of my life. I still love to write training programs and try different training modalities to keep it interesting and, of course, fun.”

From Attempted Suicide to Ironman is a Tough, But Rewarding Road

Shane Niemeyer Shane Niemeyerwas running to catch up when he became an Iron Man competitor. Niemeyer had spent much of his youth drinking, overdosing on drugs, getting arrested, spending time in prison, and barely graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi when he was homeless after getting kicked out of a long-term treatment center.

His story, told in the recently-published The Hurt Artist: My Journey from Suicidal Junkie to Iron Man, turned when he tried to hang Shane Niemeyer Book Coverhimself after a few days in prison – when the withdrawal symptoms were bearing down – and the extension cord snapped.

Achieving Your Goal

“I had never been able to quit or tone it down,” he says. “I didn’t want to live. I needed something to latch on to.” He read about Ironman in an Outside magazine in his cell and made a championship at Kona his goal. “It was the seeds that would grow into an ideal, a vision for myself,” Niemeyer says. “It helped me pull my life together as a person, not only as an athlete. It helped me start healing myself.”

In the decade since, Niemeyer, 38, made progress despite injuries and his body’s reluctance – “you start trying to compete at a very high level with people who were competing when you were getting drunk and doing drugs,” he says – and qualified four years in a row for Kona. He has won races as an amateur and found himself in the top 10 among hundreds of competitors in some contests.

Cramping Solution

One surprise as he began to compete was the debilitating effect of cramping – sometimes engulfing his body, including neck and face.

I was completely unaware that cramping could be so severe,” Niemeyer says. “The longer the event is, the more important nutrition and hydration and food levels become.

Not paying attention to details you don’t know about, coming into these things late in life, it became more and more clear that I needed something.” I don’t have to worry about taking pills. The Right Stuff is a liquid concentrate that goes easily into your water bottle. The Right Stuff was the solution. “I don’t have to worry about taking pills,” he says. “It’s concentrated and it takes you a lot further. You don’t need to focus on it. I need about 1800 milligrams of sodium an hour, so two bottles, two-and-a-half bottles will get me through the bike portion of an Ironman. That’s what works for me.”

Shane Niemeyer and wife Mandy McLaneNiemeyer, who married professional triathlete Mandy McLane two years ago and lives in Boulder, Colo., coaches other triathletes while he keeps pursuing his vision of a championship.

“You’re going to get out of a thing whatever you put into it,” he says. “The goal from here forward is to try to win a world championship as an amateur, a couple of Ironman championships.”

The 6 Fundamentals of Athlete Fueling for Optimal Performance

The sports nutrition movement is accelerating so rapidly that Tiffany Byrd, Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of Oklahoma, considers herself a second-generation beneficiary of Tiffany Byrdpioneers like James Harris III, currently at the Philadelphia Eagles with prior stops at University of Nebraska and University of Oregon, and Amy Bragg at the University of Alabama.

Byrd, who won a national title as a gymnast at Alabama, transferred to Nebraska where she was on the receiving end of Harris’s cutting-edge sports nutrition program. “He had such an impact on my life – not only as an athlete,” she says. “Food was his tool, but he was about life – setting me up to make my impact on the world.”

When Byrd went back to Alabama to earn a master’s degree in sports nutrition, Harris, who had moved to the University of Oregon hired her as a summer intern. During this time, Alabama hired Bragg as its first Sports RD, and Byrd became her first intern when her summer stint ended at Oregon. After she attended the annual Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association (CPSDA) conference, she landed a job as Baylor University’s first full-time sports dietitian in 2012, then moved to launch the Oklahoma program in 2013.

[wpvideo f8U86t7C] (click to view)

Hands-On Approach

“We opened the dining hall my first year,” she says. “If you are able to have a training table, you might as well use it as an education tool. It’s education to the athletes, the coaches, and even the administration. Day to day operations include providing a hands-on approach in working with athletes, with coaches, with administration, housing and food services, and even includes doing administrative tasks. It’s consistently being a presence and emphasizing to our athletes, coaches, and staff the importance of how to use food as fuel to gain a performance advantage.”

The learning curve involves top-tier athletes who may have eaten mostly fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, bacon, and pizza. Byrd emphasizes the importance of fueling for performance – using food as a tool to gain a benefit in performance by incorporating fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, while maintaining adequate hydration.

We strive daily to encourage our athletes to become not only better athletes, but healthier people.

“Food is very personal,” she says. “Most of the time we adopt our food habits from our parents or whoever raised us. Getting someone to change some of these behaviors can be challenging. We strive daily to encourage our athletes to become not only better athletes, but healthier people. It sets them up for life. OU is a three-, four-, five-year stop for them in this journey of life. You don’t ever get away from food. We hope that upon leaving Oklahoma, they have a good understanding and relationship with food. In doing so, we equip them to impact their families and future generations for the better long after their playing days are over.”

B.O.O.M.E.R.

Already, OU’s program reaches beyond the athletes. Other students and staff members in the athletics department can utilize Wagner Dining and benefit from the educational experiences. Byrd incorporated an acronym to help remind athletes of the fundamentals of nutrition while at OU: B.O.O.M.E.R.

  • Begin with Breakfast – emphasizes the most important meal of the day
  • Own your Protein – encourages adequate protein intake for muscle growth and development
  • Optimize Hydration – Hydration is vital, especially in the hot Oklahoma climate. “That’s where The Right Stuff comes into play,” she says. “It really helps us with hydration and it has been a huge asset for us here at OU.”
  • Must have fruits and vegetables – strive for all five colors daily for nutrients, vitamins, and minerals
  • Eat often – ideally every two or three hours
  • Rest and recover – “Nutrition plays a huge role,” Byrd says. “There’s a 30-minute window for recovering with carbohydrates and proteins to help replenish what was lost, to repair muscles broken down during practice and training.”

Her position has given Byrd a platform for providing nutrition education across the campus and beyond, including speaking engagements across the state, as well as an appreciated role with the athletes. She even has her own student interns, a reminder of her early start in the expanding profession.

“I pride myself on being the athlete’s OU mom,” she says. “Because of the support and encouragement provided to me by our Athletics Director Joe Castiglione and Head Football Coach (Coach Stoops), I’ve had opportunities to speak at different conventions in the state to help with the health in Oklahoma. It’s remarkable that this position has provided a platform that goes beyond our athletes and the University of Oklahoma but extends throughout the community, the state, into our OU alumni, and hopefully onto a national level.”

NFL Lineman Shares His Secret for Fighting Chronic Cramps

Chance Warmack, the All-American guard on Alabama’s national championship team and first-round draft pick for the Tennessee Titans, Chance Warmack - Combine croppedknew he was a heavy sweater ever since his family moved from Detroit to Atlanta and he started playing youth football.

“I was aware that I used to sweat a lot when I was younger, but it wasn’t to the point that I needed to add electrolytes in my system,” he says. “I began to see a change in my body because I was doing a lot more activity at the high school level.”

He first felt the pain of intense cramps during his sophomore year.  “It was really hot, and I began to start cramping for the first time,” Warmack recalls. “I didn’t know what was causing them, how I could prevent them, or why they were happening to me. I began to understand what to do to prevent the problem of cramping. Back then, I didn’t know what I needed to put in my body to avoid those things.

Pedialyte®, formulated for children who have lost nutrients, helped more than other products, so he would stock up before practice on a hot Georgia day. Pedialyte was my saving grace at the time, but even that sometimes it didn’t come through for me,” Warmack says. “I would have days when I would be close to full body cramps. My body was locking up on me and I didn’t know what to do.”

 

Fighting the Cramps

In his senior year in High School, his grandfather, a physician, recommended a concoction that helped enough for Warmack to win a scholarship to the University of Alabama, but trainers there balked at depending on the time-consuming mix.

“I put that solution down,” he says. “I was introduced to salt tablets at that time in my life. I was 17 years old. Alabama’s training camps are very hard. I would leave training camp practice soaked with sweat. Salt tablets can only do so much. My body was taking so much sodium, and I couldn’t store it all. I would have to take 50 tablets at a time every day.”

It was convenient, it was efficient, and it was easy to use. The Right Stuff literally helped me get through college.

Finally, in his junior year at Alabama, his Nutritionist introduced Warmack to The Right Stuff. He took six packets a day, 2-3 times as much as other teammates. “There was nobody on the team that sweated as much as me,” he explains. “It was convenient, it was efficient, and it was easy to use. The Right Stuff literally helped me get through college. I’ve done everything – salt tablets, pickle juice, mustard, Gatorade, you name it. The Right Stuff gave me the opportunity to play and not worry about cramping. I could focus on football, not how much sodium I had taken.”

Chance Warmack - Titans helmet onWhen he went to the NFL with the Tennessee Titans, he was the only one who was taking The Right Stuff. “Every trainer has the way they want you to hydrate,” says Warmack, who “pre-games” with The Right Stuff and has two in his system when he steps onto the field. “I didn’t want to change what I was doing because it works so well for me. When you know what works for you, you don’t want to change it, especially when you’ve got proof that it works.”

“They tell me when you sweat you lose a lot of minerals. You’re burning fuel. When you use The Right Stuff, it’s putting everything back. You feel like it’s a boost for you. I’m happy I was able to be introduced to it. It was a blessing in my life. I can be the best player I can be.”