Athlete and Sports Dietitian Practices and Lives What She Preaches

Athlete and Sports Dietitian Practices and Lives What She Preaches

Sandy, Utah native Heidi Strickler was planning to major in Physical Therapy when she went to Seattle Pacific University on a soccer scholarship, but she took her first nutrition class her freshman year and found her calling.

“I kind of knew from the get-go that sports nutrition was my No. 1 focus,” says Strickler, who graduated in 2012 with a double major in Dietetics and Nutrition In Sports & Exercise and a minor in Exercise Science. “Being a competitive athlete, I got to see firsthand how what I ate affected how I felt when I was playing.”  “It was a great leaning process – I honed a lot of irreplaceable skills, but I knew it wasn’t where I wanted to be ultimately,” she says. “One of the things that intrigued me most is the versatility of being a dietitian.

seattle-logoYou can work anywhere. Our society is really starting to value the idea of preventative health. There are so many venues you can plug yourself into,” including professional, college, or high school sports teams; teaching; corporate wellness; food service; culinary work; or hospitals, among other things. “I love education, and I love being an educator.”  The move also expanded her interest in the culinary side of nutrition.

The Culinary Side of Nutrition

“It fostered a love in me for cooking, I’m a total foodie” she says. “Growing up, I didn’t do a lot of it. That has been something I’ve really enjoyed as a side piece – delving into the food chemistry, the culinary side of things, and being able to hone in more of that with my nutrition counseling. I love teaching clients how to turn whole, raw foods into something delicious on their kitchen table … connecting the dots from seed to plate”

Strickler also became a serious Cross Country/Track & Field runner her Junior year at SPU after transitioning from soccer. She “ran away” with this newfound passion for the duration of her college career, and carried it into her post-college years, competing as a high-level trail runner in Utah and Washington. After graduation, she completed the year-long Dietetic Internship at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Ill., then spent 3 months at home in Salt Lake City playing in the mountains before returning to Seattle for potential work. Her first job was in an eating disorder and mental health recovery clinic.

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Strickler went to work for Experience Momentum Inc. in January 2015, about the same time she started a two-year online program through the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to earn a sports nutrition diploma. At Experience Momentum, she teaches fitness classes and works with individual clients, from 17-year-old high school athletes to 71-year-old triathletes, including professionals, Olympic competitors, recreational runners, and those who want to lose weight, manage diabetes, and overcome eating disorders or cancer. She also holds monthly seminars and leads grocery store tours for clients and others on a weekly basis.

Active & Healthy Living

“At Experience Momentum, I’m constantly submerged in an environment conducive to active, healthy living; I am surrounded by co-workers who are stoked on life, training hard, being passionate about their clients’ health and their own,” says Strickler, who takes advantage of the classes and facilities before and after work and at lunchtime.

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Her career at Experience Momentum has also led her to compete in triathalons, “Being an endurance junkie, it was bound to happen. I am training with 3 coworkers now for Victoria 70.3.”

Last year, Strickler was directing Experience Momentum’s sponsored multisport team when she asked coworkers to recommend products that would benefit the group. One co-worker introduced her to The Right Stuff, which he had used with athletes in the past and uses personally to head off illness at the first sign of trouble.right-stuff

“I absolutely love it,” she says. “I use it mostly for recovery after a long run or ride, to optimize that rehydration afterwards. If you drink just water after a long event, your body is not going to absorb what it needs and you’re going to end up peeing out most of the fluid. The Right Stuff really helps with my hydration and maintains that electrolyte balance.” Picking up her coworker’s habit, any time she starts feeling sick, she drinks a glass of The Right Stuff with extra vitamin C powder. “It kicks it in the butt,” she says.

I absolutely love it (The Right Stuff), especially for recovery

Strickler has also shared the product with clients, including an IronMan triathlete who suffered high sweat losses and severe cramping while training for Kona (World Championship) last summer until he tried The Right Stuff.

“I’ve seen it work for my clients as well as enjoying it myself,” she says. “As an athlete and a Dietitian, I get to practice and live what I preach, and see it unfold in my life and in others’ lives. It’s pretty cool.”

Ultra-Runner Shares How She Wins at Everything!

Ultra-Runner Shares How She Wins at Everything!

meredith-dolhare-badwaterAfter a stellar career in high school and college tennis, a busy married life with two young children, a newspaper column on fitness and a career in PR and advertising, a business as a certified personal trainer, and extensive volunteer work, Meredith Dolhare found herself sidelined with a second badly broken foot in 2007. Her husband Walter suggested she set a goal, and she picked Iron Man – although she didn’t own a bicycle. Dolhare started spinning classes while she was still wearing a cast and competed in her first Iron Man in 2008.

Finding Her Outlet

“I realized I had the bandwidth for it,” she says. “I ran a marathon right before it in Prague. I realized that I liked the long stuff and I had a real knack for the bike. I found my outlet for competitiveness.” She ran 12 Iron Mans in three years, Ironman colored logoincluding three on consecutive weekends in the Alps followed a month later by an Ultraman in the United Kingdom – 6.2 miles swimming, 261.4 miles biking, and 52.4 miles running.

After spinal surgery in 2012, Dolhare returned to run a 100-kilometer race and a 135-mile race. She struggled with nausea – vomiting frequently during races when she ate solid food or too many calories.

The Right Stuff has made a huge, huge difference. The first race I used, it I won

“I have a lot of trouble with electrolyte imbalance,” she says. “The Right Stuff has made a huge, huge difference. The first race I used it, I won” – two hours ahead of the second-place woman in a 50-mile race that was training for the 135-Badwater 135mile Badwater in Death Valley, with temperatures up to 130 degrees. The next weekend, she finished a double marathon in San Francisco even faster, and she placed third among women in Badwater, where she took a bottle of The Right Stuff every 2½ hours. Months later, she finished the companion 508-mile Death Valley Cup – the sixth woman ever to complete both races in the same calendar year.

“I used The Right Stuff also during the bike race,” she says. “I couldn’t have done it without it. That product really works for me. I use it sometimes before I run, during the run, after the run. I drink it during the day.” Her 14-year-old son and some others on his cross-country team that she coaches also use The Right Stuff.

Athletic Participation is a Longtime Focus

Athletic participation is a longtime focus for Dolhare, who grew up in Memphis and was the 9th-ranked U.S. tennis player when she graduated from high school. She went to UCLA on a scholarship but transferred after her freshman year to Vanderbilt University, where she was captain of a team that rose from 72nd in the country to eighth by the time she graduated with honors. “It was a great experience,” she says. “I loved it.” But her extensive play – singles and doubles, fall and spring – left her overused shoulder too damaged to pursue a professional tennis career.

Non-Profit Engages People Through Running

After the NCAA tournament her senior year, she married Walter, a star tennis player at the University of Notre Dame who had gone into banking. She started work in advertising and public relations, as well as her “Get off the couch” newspaper column. The couple moved from Memphis to Charlotte soon after their first son was born, and she started volunteering and fundraising. In 2012, she founded RunningWorks, a non-profit running program that engages people in running to foster teamwork, discipline, confidence, self-respect, and respect for others.

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.”

The Secret to Ironman Success!

The Secret to Ironman Success!

The day after another disappointing, cramp-hampered Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, George Robb was walking down Mauna Lani Drive when he noticed an empty packet labeled The Right Stuff that someone had tossed on the ground. Intrigued, he conducted some online research and discovered that the NASA-developed formula contained sodium citrate which might solve his decade-long frustration where high-quantity consumption of salt pills had failed.pouch on road 5in

“My Achilles Heel has always been cramping in the marathon of the Iron Man,” says Robb, 54, who has qualified for the Ironman championship since 2006. “I always got a cramp in my quad and I thought it was fatigue from cycling. I would get myself into incredible cycle shape and it would still happen 10 miles in to the marathon – I can remember the spot in Hawaii where it always happened. I’m pretty competitive. I would have been top three in my age group if I had not been ground to a halt by debilitating pain.”

The Right Stuff solved his cramping problem, which also shored up in his swimming, and energized his cycling. “I was talking about having to quit swim practice or slow down because of these cramps,” he says. “All of a sudden that’s gone. We’d go on these long bike rides and I’d take bottles of water with one packed of The Right Stuff in each water bottle on these long rides and I wouldn’t need as much nutrition or carbohydrates. What I thought was the depletion of calories was actually the onset of dehydration. I don’t have to eat like a horse on these long rides.”

What I thought was the depletion of calories was actually the onset of dehydration.

Robb and his wife, Linda Neary, a multiple champion triathlete herself, both recommend The Right Stuff at their Tri Bike Run store on US1 in Juno Beach, Fla., and customers come back for more. George is competing in two Ironmans this year, hoping to qualify for Kona again now that he’s solved his cramping problem with The Right Stuff. “There’s nothing like it,” he says. “I’m a heavy sweater, and I lose a lot of water when I work out. Anyone who is a super sweater should definitely use this. That stuff really works.”

This Sports Dietitian handles all those college athletes and still finds time to compete in Triathlons and Marathons

John TanguayMassachusetts native Jonathan Tanguay was in Colorado, waiting tables, hiking, and trying to figure out what to do with his undergraduate degree in zoology from Connecticut College, when he took a biochemistry course that bonded his various interests. He graduated from the master’s program in nutritional science at the University of New Hampshire, moved to Texas for a dietetic internship at the University of Houston, and found his dream during a month-long rotation at Texas A&M.

“I loved it,” Tanguay says. “That was what I wanted to do. That was the application of all the sports nutrition I had and the love of sport I had and getting involved in something with structure. Every day is unique.”

Tanguay, who was named Texas A&M’s Director of Performance Nutrition in 2010, has a full-time assistant who focuses on Olympic sports while he hands mostly football, baseball and basketball.

“My office is our football weight room,” he says. Four days a week, he works with football players in training, taking their weight, talking to them about fueling and nutrition, and making sure they get recovery smoothies after their workouts. In the afternoons, he works with baseball and basketball players before practice across campus, then returns for football practice and dinner in the new R.C. Slocum Nutrition Center, a dining hall for athletes.

Focus on Sports Nutrition in College

The NCAA’s recent announcement that it is lifting limits on food that schools can provide to athletes, effective Aug. 1, will accelerate a focus on sports nutrition that has swept through leading colleges in recent years, including most members of the Southeastern Conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big 12, Big 10 and others, Tanguay says.

“In the long run, it’s going to be something that’s really great for the student-athlete,” he says. “They’re bigger, they’re stronger, they’re burning a lot more calories, they’re working out and practicing – that requires more fuel. We were only allowed to feed the team as a team one meal a day outside of competition.”

The old rules left students using a scholarship stipend to buy campus meal plans, off-campus meals, or food to prepare in their apartments – with less-than-optimal attention to nutrition.

“This will allow us to provide them the food that will meet their unique nutritional needs, to help them develop as healthy athletes, and be good for their overall health,” Tanguay says, adding that the students come from a wide spectrum of food experience in their backgrounds.

“It’s definitely challenging,” he says. “You get kids from all walks of life. We’ve got Sports Dietitians here that can really help to be hands-on with the student-athletes and work to educate them about making better choices.” The education includes cooking demonstrations at the Nutrition Education Center and trips to the grocery to learn how to select, store, prepare, and cook food. “Some don’t get it at first, but for someone who’s trying to gain weight or lose weight or reduce their risk for injury, they start coming to me and taking advantage of these resources,” Tanguay says.

Not every approach works with every athlete, but The Right Stuff is a great tool we have from a hydration standpoint.

The Right Stuff is one of the resources. “We use it as part of our hydration protocol” he says. “It’s another tool we have in our belts. There’s a number of sports nutrition products on the market and a number of different approaches. Not every approach works with every athlete, but The Right Stuff is a great tool we have from a hydration standpoint. We use it with a number of different sports.”

Tanguay participates in Iron Mans, half-Iron Mans, and marathons – he set a personal record (PR) at this year’s Boston Marathon – and includes The Right Stuff in his personal regimen. “I start to build my carbohydrate and electrolyte intake a week before the race,” he says. “I’ve got a pre-race routine. For me, it’s been trial and error. I’ve come up with something that works for me. The Right Stuff is part of that.

“I’ve never really had an issue with cramping or GI issues during a race. I like The Right Stuff because it gives you everything you need in one package. Before it came out, we had been looking for something that fit the criteria, and it wasn’t on the market. It’s the volume of electrolytes in a small volume of fluid. This is a small, convenient way to get everything you need that we’ve found works.”