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UCAN Celebrate Mom

UCAN Celebrate Mom
On Mother's Day, we take a moment to celebrate mom! Mothers are counted on to do it all, and fitting in training or making the right nutrition choices can be a challenge. We asked 6 supermoms in the UCAN family how they make time to workout and fuel the right way with all of the responsibilities that come with being a mom. Here's our rockstar crew of UCAN moms:
  • Carrie Tollefson - mother of 3, U.S. Olympian in Track & Field (2004) and broadcaster.
  • Anita Perez - mother of 2, elementary school teacher and 2x Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier
  • Tanya Lerch: mother of 2, long-time runner, and teacher
  • Nichole Porath - mother of 1, marathoner and running coach
  • Susan Loken - mother of 3, grandmother of 4, marathoner and running coach
  • Tina Muir - mother of 1, marathoner, podcaster

1) What is the most gratifying thing for you about being a mother?

ANITA: The most gratifying thing about being a mother is watching my kids grow and learn new things every day that they didn’t know before, like seeing the excitement on my son's face when he tells me about his 91 on his Biology exam or my daughter telling me she ran 100 laps on her pacer test. But the absolute best part is knowing that they love me unconditionally.

CARRIE: I love the way my kids love me. I can feel it in every snuggle, every "please and thank you", and every time I walk in the door. I love when my daughter asks me to paint her nails. I know she just likes the quiet conversation that takes place. Or when my oldest boy asks me to pitch to him. He likes the one-on-one time. Or when my youngest will throw a little tantrum just so I will hold him. It is the best feeling knowing that no matter how hard it is at times to be a parent and even when they see or hear your frustration, they still come back for more. At least at this young age!

TINA: Knowing that I have an opportunity to make the world a better place by doing my part to show this generation that there is a lot of good in this world and that my daughter can be a part of it. I love watching her learn things and seeing it click in her mind. It teaches you perspective and appreciation for what you have.

SUSAN: I get so much satisfaction watching my three boys become amazing young men. It makes me proud to see the importance of fitness in each of their lives, as well as how lovingly they treat their own young families. Now that I’m done raising my children, I get to be not only their mom but also their friend and their go-to source for life advice. Of course, becoming a grandma is one of the best secondary benefits of being a mom. Thank goodness I have UCAN to give me the sustained energy I need to keep up with my four grandkids!

NICHOLE: Two things 1) Seeing the wonder and love they have for everything; seeing the first robin, holidays, going for a bike ride, birthdays! 2) After a tough 5k two weekends ago, I moved to sit down and I was almost immediately bowled over by my 4 and 2-year-old girls wanting to give me giant hugs. They were so excited! Seeing their smiles after a race or training run, no matter how it goes, is really priceless.

TANYA: I used to think I was most productive when I was able to multitask. After having kids I have realized trying to do too many things at once causes burnout and feelings of guilt. Instead I've learned how to be an expert at "focusing" and then pivoting throughout the day. So when I'm running, that's my focus. When I'm teaching and working, my energy is directed towards being the best educator as can be. When I'm with my kids, I try to keep my phone out of reach and just be a mom and play with them. After they're asleep my husband and I chill and relax together. It helps to schedule/plan things out in advance, and have a routine. I make my breakfasts and lunches ahead of time for the week. I keep my hard days hard, so those days I'm doing something like a track workout at 5:30am, pivoting to quickly shower, teaching, doing strength work during a free block, doing an easy double with my daughter in the jogging stroller, etc. My easy days are much less mentally taxing - usually a 65 minute easy trail run where I can zone out and listen to a podcast- which really gives me a chance to re-charge. I used to have most days in that "kinda-hard gray zone" which was much less efficient or productive athletically!

2) What is one training tip you've incorporated that's helped you stay active as a mom?

ANITA: One thing that has kept me active as a mom is including my kids in training. Now that my kids are older, I have them jog with me from time to time. When I was doing doubles, my daughter Jadeyn rode her bike alongside me. Just recently, my son Marc approached me and asked if we could start lifting weights together. I love spending active quality time with my kids.

CARRIE: The 20-minute run is a wonderful thing. I do these probably 3 times a week and it helps me get out the door, hurry back, and get the rush that a long workout would give me as well. It is better than nothing and I still see so many benefits from it. Don't let yourself get into the habit of not going cause you don't have enough time. 20 minutes is doable any day of the week!

TINA: Ask for help. As mothers, we often feel we have to just quietly get on with it and not show struggle, especially if you have a working husband. We may feel we should not ask for anything as “all” you have to do is look after your baby, but it is a lot and we all need help. Friends, family, and especially your partner/spouse are more than willing to watch your baby let you get out there and do something for yourself. They WANT to help. You just have to be brave enough to ask.

SUSAN: As a single mom with young kids, I had to figure out how to raise my boys while running at a competitive level. I quickly learned that I didn’t have time to waste thinking about how I was going to get my run in—I just had to get it done! I worked the clock backward and stuck to a routine. If I had a 90-minute workout and had to be home by 7 am to get the kids off to school, then I made darn sure I was out the door running before 5:30 am. I knocked out my workout each morning before the kids woke up and before I had time to make excuses. As a grandma, my top training goal (and tip to others) is to stay healthy and active for as long as possible. I love being able to play with, race and create special memories with my grandkids, and it’s important for me to set a positive example for them around health, fitness and big dreams.

NICHOLE: Prioritize your workout and be creative! It is way too easy to let life get in the way or to feel guilty about by leaving the kids and the house for a workout. I plan out my weeks and days ahead of time and try to be as efficient and creative as I can, while also trying to maximize sleep. I do a fair amount of stroller running (although it's getting harder by the week!) and we will do a longer run and end at a park. Or we will run 5 miles to church and 5 miles back home. I'm telling you, maximum prioritization and maximum creativity! One thing I've also done is to be picked up along the way to an event. Hear me out: I'll start a run 45 minutes (or however long!) before we were planning to leave the house for an event (birthday party, for example). I'll stash a change of clothes and a towel or wipe in the car and Nathan, my husband will pick me up along the way. The girls find it fun to look out the car to find mom finishing up her run, and I got my run in for the day and don't have to feel bad about missing too much of the day!

TANYA: I used to think I was most productive when I was able to multitask. After having kids I have realized trying to do too many things at once causes burnout and feelings of guilt. Instead I've learned how to be an expert at "focusing" and then pivoting throughout the day. So when I'm running, that's my focus. When I'm teaching and working, my energy is directed towards being the best educator as can be. When I'm with my kids, I try to keep my phone out of reach and just be a mom and play with them. After they're asleep my husband and I chill and relax together. It helps to schedule/plan things out in advance, and have a routine. I make my breakfasts and lunches ahead of time for the week. I keep my hard days hard, so those days I'm doing something like a track workout at 5:30am, pivoting to quickly shower, teaching, doing strength work during a free block, doing an easy double with my daughter in the jogging stroller, etc. My easy days are much less mentally taxing - usually a 65 minute easy trail run where I can zone out and listen to a podcast- which really gives me a chance to re-charge. I used to have most days in that "kinda-hard gray zone" which was much less efficient or productive athletically! 

3) How have you incorporated UCAN into your workout routine since being a mom?

ANITA: Well I’ve been a mom for 15 years now! Wow! :) As my kids have gotten older and have entered the competitive sports realm, it’s just been a natural transition for them to start using UCAN as well. My son takes UCAN before his high school cross country and track races. My daughter Jadeyn eats the UCAN bars in between games at her basketball tournaments. Not only do we share our love for sports, but we also share our love for UCAN!

CARRIE: I use UCAN in many different ways, but I am one to forget to hydrate during the day and so my workouts really suffer. The Hydrate electrolyte replacement has really saved me. I get a little sick of water, so this gives me something to look forward to, it keeps me hydrated, and I know the product is good for me so it makes me feel better about using it. I also use the UCAN + Protein for fuel. I have a tendency to end my day with most of my calories, and before UCAN I would have a little crash in the middle of the day, so the UCAN Energy shake is a mid-afternoon routine for me and my middle child and it has saved both of us from being hangry!

TINA: I honestly don’t know what I would do without my UCAN bars. I have one every single morning first thing when I wake up, because sometimes breakfast for yourself just has to wait. That way I have something in my body that sits well, whether I get the chance to run minutes later or hours later. I also grab the bars often when I am rushing out of the house since they are easy on the go.

SUSAN: I started using UCAN after my boys were older but after hearing me talk about what a game-changer it was for me, they now use it for their cross-fit, golfing, skydiving and gym workouts. Along with using it for training, I now like to supplement with UCAN before spending time with my grandkids to help me keep up with them! UCAN comes on all our family vacations and even my granddaughters enjoy snacking on the energy bars.

NICHOLE: I have a really hard time leaning down for a big race, believe me! This is especially true now that I don't carve out much time to plan out my meals and snacks (or their timing!). By having a UCAN shake each morning before a run, I am able to keep my body in a fat-burning mode and slowly lose extra weight over the course of a training cycle. As I've gotten older my stomach is also a little more particular about what I take in during training and racing, so I am so thankful I know that UCAN sits so well with me.

TANYA: I've been a UCAN user long before being a mom, but I used to mainly use it for long/hard efforts. Now, I am so much more educated on how important it is as an endurance athlete to replenish my carbs and protein and keep a steady stream of energy to support training, working and momming. A lot of my runs are super early in the morning and I love that I can gulp down a pre-prepared scoop of the energy mix with water as I'm literally getting out of bed, and by the time I'm out the door 15 minutes later it has digested easily and won't upset my stomach. After my runs I always have some Ucan with protein ready to drink while I drive or shower to make sure I'm recovering properly. On days I do a double run or lift session, I have a bar to top things off. At work I keep a stash of bagels that I often have for breakfast (or snack!) with the Ucan Almond butter and ucan granola sprinkled on top. I love that I can feel confident I'm doing a good job getting my carbs and recovery nutrients in a way that takes practically zero time to prepare! 

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