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UCAN Celebrate Dad

UCAN Celebrate Dad
On Father's Day, we take a moment to celebrate dad! Fathers are a powerful force in a child's life, helping to provide stability, encouragement, and discipline for kids. We asked 5 dads in the UCAN family how they were influenced by their fathers, how they encourage their own kids to be active, and how they fuel with UCAN. Here's our rockstar crew of UCAN dads:
  • Meb Keflezighi - father of 3, 4x U.S. Olympian, Boston & NYC Marathon champion
  • Dathan Ritzenhein - father of 2, 3x U.S. Olympian
  • Luke Childers - father of 1, rock-climber, Retail Sales Manager for UCAN
  • Matt Bach - father of 2, triathlete, Director of Triathlon Business for UCAN
  • Will Lawrence - father of 1, obstacle course racer, Field Marketing Manager in Texas for UCAN

1) How did your father have an influence on your interest in sports/fitness/being active?

MEB: My dad introduced sports to all of his kids. Being an immigrant from Eritrea and him being separated from us for 5 years, he just wanted to take his kids to the park and play soccer. I remember going to the park in Italy and we would do jumping jacks, drills, and jog laps around the field.

DATHAN: My dad got really into running. He had a total lifestyle change and went on a health kick. He was a smoker and a drinker, but he quit those things and started going to a local running club and I just started toting along. Before long, I started running myself and slowly got absorbed into it. We started doing 5ks and triathlons on the weekends and by 12 years old I was training hours a day!


LUKE: My father was a huge inspiration and greatly influenced my love of climbing and the outdoors. When I was a kid he’d take our family camping and hiking in Colorado, I was hooked on the outdoors immediately. In my early teens, we began rock climbing and pursued this passion together for the better part of two decades! I love my father and owe him everything I am today. MATT: My dad has always been a very active guy. He'd run on trails around the lake as his usual route, which included a steep, rocky hill that he called Heartattack Hill, and I'd go with him sometimes. When my brother and I were kids, he'd chase us around the yard in a game we called "Roars" because he'd make crazy bear noises while he ran after us. Being active was just part of life, and he encouraged my brother and me to play golf, tennis, run (I was on the XC and Track teams), baseball, or whatever else we were interested in. I did all of it! About 10 years ago, I did my first triathlon with my wife, Lauren, and the next year he joined us! We did it in honor of my brother, Justin, who died of cancer in 2008. My dad has done several triathlons, rides his road bike quite a bit, and has four dogs that he and my mom go on long hikes with. He came to Kona in 2013 to support me at the Ironman World Championship that year. All of these things he's done has had a big impact on my own views of athletics. WILL: My father always supported any activities I wanted to try, as long as I gave 100% effort and I had all A's at school!

2) How do you encourage your kids to be active?

MEB: As Olympians, we’ve been at the highest level there is. We don’t know if our kids will make it like that, but we want them to have fun and feel the benefit of exercise. There’s no pressure. If they ask me to go for a run, I’ll do it, but we definitely try to expose them to outdoor things instead of phones and electronics.

DATHAN: I was a young parent so my kids grew up with running. All they knew was going to the track. They know who Meb is, they know who Kipchoge is. These guys are heroes and idols to them, especially my son. We just try to keep our kids active without making it too structured.

LUKE: Simple for me really, I just take Mazzi outside every waking second I get. Good weather, bad weather, doesn’t matter. It’s always been important to me to ensure my girl got to see beyond the iGear that everyone is glued to. We all need more fitness in our lives. Climbing and the outdoors became a natural progression for her. Now we love to go climbing together. My father started a climber legacy in our family. It’s pretty cool!

MATT: I try not to be too much of a helicopter parent, and let them make mistakes. I don't ever want them to get hurt, of course, but little scrapes and bruises are all part of the process of failing so you learn quickly. Summer and David are adventurous kiddos! And they're pretty strong and coordinated for their age. My dad and I secretly hope they will both love golf, play in college (and go on a scholarship! $$), and play with us for many years. Ultimately, we'll let them choose what they're most interested in...but...cough...running! golf! triathlon! tennis! cough. WILL: Always being at events doesn't give Ridge a lot of options to not be active. We are always on the go! I support any physical activities he wants to try but don't force him. Also, my house is an electronics-free zone. No cable or wi-fi so we have to find fun activities other than zoning out in front of a screen. Our backyard looks like a sporting goods store exploded in it! 

3) What are the primary benefits you've experience fueling with UCAN?

MEB: UCAN Energy + Protein is the first thing that goes into my system immediately after a hard workout. It has been a game changer for me in terms of recovery. I don’t feel the soreness or aches and pains after a long run and I still have energy 2 or 3 hours later. When I’m on the go and making a lot of appearances, I eat the UCAN bars to curb my cravings for sweets! DATHAN: I like using UCAN before a big workout to get fueled without a heavy stomach. I have the UCAN bars at the end of workouts to curb my carbohydrate cravings and the UCAN Hydrate for electrolytes in my day-to-day training. UCAN is part of my plan to change my metabolism before race day and become better at burning fat. LUKE: I find UCAN helps fortify my adventures into the mountains and keeps me even on long days of climbing. To me, UCAN is a benchmark, foundational carbohydrate that adds stability to the feel of my workouts. Never too high, never too low. Just solid energy! MATT: For me, the fact that UCAN is so easy on the stomach is what has helped me most. I had all sorts of stomach issues during my Ironman races until I found UCAN, and I haven't had any issues since! We're talking about fatherhood, so I should mention that my kids love the UCAN bars! It's great to have something all-natural (LIVSTEADY was created for kids and babies after all) that is so tasty they'll actually enjoy eating it!

WILL: I've now been fueling with UCAN for 3 years and my son Ridge has for 2. I have dropped from 7.5 % body fat to 5.5% in those 3 years. My energy is more consistent and I sleep better. Ridge, being a 10-year-old, is more steady and focused with UCAN, both in school and in sports. He is a 26 minute 5Ker and straight-A student. UCAN is part of our lifestyle, not just our athletics.

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