Filling in the Gaps: Supporting Youth Athletes Where They Need It Most – Part 2

By Jill Lane, Pro-Athlete Health and Nutrition Expert

You Don’t Know if You Don’t Ask.

As a nutrition, fitness and health coach for sports minded families and Pro Athletes, the scope of my efforts encompass food intake and training oversight. But when diet and training are maximized and the results are not as expected – what do I do next?

We are concluding this series of posts on youth athletes with the less glamorous, but certainly valuable, review of what I call the “hidden hurdles.”

Hurdles lined up on a track, fading focus.The “hidden hurdles” are lack of sleep and/or sleep disruption, stomach upset, stress, fatigue, and loss of focus. Any one of these are enough to take down an adult; so imagine one or more of these hurdles confronting a youth athlete who is being expected to excel in school and sports, all while still growing!

As a recap from our last blog, sports nutrition for youth (and for any athlete at any level for that matter) should have three main components:

  1. Appropriate Macronutrient Intake (Some would also add timing)
  2. Hydration and Recovery Strategies
  3. Prevention of the negatively impactful obstacles that can be so disruptive to young athletes, such as digestive distress, lack of sleep or sleep disturbance, less than optimum brain health, and nutrient shortages.

We covered the first two components in my last blog.

Now it’s time to drill down on the certainly less glamorous, but equally important issue of preventing digestive distress, poor sleep quantity and quality, less than optimum brain health, and insufficient nutrient needs in youth athletes.

I’ll challenge you with this formula:


You Don’t Know if You Don’t Ask: SleepBlue Question

Are you tracking how much your youth athlete sleeps and asking if they feel rested? A recent study in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics found that when youth athletes (grades 7-12) get less than eight hours of sleep a night, their risk of injury increases and this risk worsens as the young athlete gets older.1

Why does sleep matter? To state the obvious it’s when the body rests. If the rest is deep enough and long enough, then an adequate level of human growth hormone is produced and, “since HGH helps build and repair muscle mass, tissue, and cells, imagine how simply getting 60-120 minutes more of quality sleep could improve performance.”2

Losing two hours of sleep each night (sleeping six hours instead of eight, or 8 instead of 10 in the case of youth) can significantly impair performance, attention, working memory, long-term memory, and decision making.3

Poor sleep, or lack of sleep, impairs cognitive function and makes it difficult to perform simple tasks and remember familiar things.

There is a link between sleep deprivation and numerous psychological disorders, including depression (Taylor, et al. 2005; Colten & Altevogt 2006).

Multiple studies in college age athletes have found that “sleep extension” (encouraging athletes to sleep longer) to 10 hours per night in athletes whose sport ranged from football to swimming measurably improved performance and reaction time.4

Get your youth athletes (and yourself!) to sleep. Proper sleep room temperature (a bit on the cool side), a dark and quiet sleeping environment, preceded by a 60-minute “power down time” with no exposure to electronic light from mobile phones, tablets, and computer screens all lend to a deep, thorough night’s sleep that aids in recovery, potentially decreases injury, and improves overall health and performance.

For more on a winning sleep game plan check out my latest #SportsFamilyRevolution tips and tools for greater success!

Green Question You Don’t Know if You Don’t Ask: Digestion

You either love to talk about it or you avoid it at all costs. Either way, digestive health is the gateway to overall health. Overuse of antibiotics, poor dietary intake, overtraining, and excessive pain medications can disrupt the fragile, yet critical digestive terrain in young athletes or anyone for that matter.

Set the stage for investigation. How often do you ask about digestion? I set the stage in the first visit with some ice-breaking lines and a key question that goes something like this: “I’m going to ask you about your gas and your poop. I have three small kids, so I’m knee deep in both depending on the day! You are learning and working really hard at getting great fuel into your body, and what we need to know is how well your body is doing digesting and absorbing it. How much gas you have and what your bowel habits are will tell us that. Are you okay talking to me about that?”

The ice is now broken and now you can investigate. Why is digestion important? Besides digesting and absorbing our food, our digestive system is the second barrier (after our skin) against the outside world. If that barrier is compromised in any way (antibiotics, pain medications, chronic overtraining, or infection/pathogen exposure) an often times not-so-silent health revolt can start from the inside, out. This revolt is not specific to sport, gender, or age – it can happen in the youngest of athletes and children, so be on the lookout.

Over half of the student athletes I work with have some level of digestive distress. Most of their parents have no idea, because they had never asked, or if they did ask, an eye-roll was the answer. There is often a simple solution to gut health that my favorite sports supplement brand can remedy! Many of these young athletes can be adequately supported by simply adding a science backed Probiotic.

Others need consult with their primary care practitioner as they might have something more extensive going on, like yeast, SIBO, or a parasite infection. I’ve see all of these infections in young female athletes who present with fatigue and gas. A hint is that the symptoms are not improved in 1-2 weeks after dietary upgrades and probiotic addition. Know your scope of expertise and align yourself with a functional medicine practitioner or nutritionist when that expertise is needed in these cases. This “discovery” can be a life-changing experience for a teenage athlete.

You Don’t Know if You Don’t Ask: Stress and FatigueOrange Question

They’re kids, what do they have to be stressed about? I found this conclusion in a 2011 issue of Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine: “When scheduling youth sporting events, potential activity volume and intensity over any 48-hour period, recovery time between all training and competition bouts, and potential between-day sleep time (≥ 7 hours) should be considered to optimize safety. An overscheduling injury can be defined as an injury related to excessive planned physical activity without adequate time for rest and recovery, including between training sessions/competitions and consecutive days.”5

Ninety-five percent of the student athletes I work with are “over scheduled,” not just with their sport but with life, and lack of sleep is the norm. Fatigue and the physiological effects of stress, such as cortisol levels, should be monitored, especially in student athletes competing at a high level.

We can get into the entire story on adrenal gland health, but for this population the key remedies are sleep, hydration, proper fueling, and knowing the signs of over training. Fatigue can also stem from iron deficiency and digestive distress. So keep on asking!

Purple QuestionYou Don’t Know if You Don’t Ask: Brain Health

Brain health is of particular interest in sports where head trauma/injury is more probable (football, soccer, hockey). Outside of this area, brain health and the support of brain health should be considered a high priority simply because of the rate of ADD in the youth population.

Nutrition, as we covered it in Part 1 of this blog, should be the foundation, with special emphasis on investigating food sensitivities, especially when ADD or a similar condition exists. Because the gut is like our “second brain,” keeping the gut in stellar health is beneficial for the brain as well.

Proper fatty acid intake also plays a critical role in brain health. This is an easy place to start with youth athletes and their family because adding healthy food is sometimes an easier place to start versus reducing or eliminating food. Many young people and sport minded families, athletes or not, simply aren’t consuming enough omega-3 rich foods like cold-water fish, raw walnuts, and pumpkin seeds. Again, an easy place to start!

Interesting clinical data has shown that having optimal levels of omega-3 fats in the body before a head trauma can have a positive effect on the outcome and recovery. A simple solution is to add omega-3 rich foods to their diet, as well as a clean, pure, fish oil supplement like Omega-3 gelcaps or Omega-3 liquid, for both brain protection and brain health.

You Don’t Know if You Don’t Ask: Nutrient StoresRed Question

There are many ways to assess nutrient needs. I’m all for testing, not guessing! For many families these tools are not always available. So how do you assess when a youth athlete should be supplementing? Without testing this is what I assess: how much food variance are they getting in their diet each week (are they eating the same seven things over and over again?); what’s their gut health like; how’s their brain power/focus/attention; are they eating adequate protein; has their pediatrician or primary care practitioner tested their iron and Vitamin D3 levels? This last one we’ve covered in-house for you – here is your access to nutrient deficiency testing.

After all that has been assessed, here is a basic supplement protocol and where I can support you and your young athlete (pre-teen to college age and beyond):

  1. Probiotics
  2. Omega-3 Gelcaps or Liquid
  3. Whey Isolate or Vegan Protein Powders
  4. Vitamins D + K and/or Iron (If testing shows the need)

Please share this blog and my game planning tools with any sports families you know, or anyone who works with youth athletes and sports families. Together we can make a difference!



1. Chronic lack of sleep is associated with increased sports injuries in adolescent athletes. J Pediatr Orthop 2014 Mar;34(2):129-133.

2. IDEA Fitness Journal, Mike Bracko, Editor, November-December 2013.

3. Alhola P, Polo Kantola, P. Sleep deprivation: Impact on cognitive performance, Neuropsychiatrie Disease and Treatment 2007;3(5):553-567.

4. Mah C, Mah K, Dement C. Extended sleep and the effects on mood and athletic performance in collegiate swimmers. Sleep 2008;384:128-131. Mah C, et al. The effects of sleep extension on the athletic performance of collegiate basketball players. Sleep 2011;34(7):943-950. Via Reference #2

5. Sports-related injuries in youth athletes: is overscheduling a risk factor? Clin J Sport Med 2011 Jul;21(4):307-314.


© 2015 Lane Consulting,

Filling in the Gaps: Supporting Youth Athletes Where They Need It Most – Part 1

By Jill Lane, Pro-Athlete Health and Nutrition Expert

They are grasping at straws (pun intended). Sports drinks or not? Energy drinks or not? Carb loading or not? Protein shake or not?

With varying sources reporting between 6.5-7.5 million high school athletes in the United States, we have a huge population ripe for empowerment through accurate health knowledge. The alternative is vast confusion brought about by the powerful marketing arms of large food companies and advice from untrained but well-meaning, friends, coaches, and family members.

“What can my child TAKE to get bigger…stronger…faster…?” This is the question I’m asked most often by the parents of student athletes.

While I always reframe that question to what should the student athlete be EATING, and how they should train, and how much should they sleep – it is worth examining a short list of items that student athletes can safely and effectively TAKE to fill nutritional gaps and potentially improve their performance in their sport and in the classroom. We’ll get to that in Part 2 of this post.

Sports nutrition for youth (and for any athlete at any level for that matter) should have three main components:

1.  Appropriate Macronutrient Intake

2.  Hydration and Recovery Strategies

3.  Investigation: The less glamorous but most negatively impactful obstacles young athletes can be challenged with, such as digestive distress, lack of sleep or sleep disturbance, brain health, and nutrient shortages.

Macronutrient Intake

The idea that student athletes are healthy, well, because they’re athletes, is not always the case. Being over-weight or obese might not be the student athletes’ statistical downfall, but they do fall within the national head counts that are on the rise of youth with allergies, asthma, ADD, or ADHD.

Although there may be some variations based on the sport and the weight of a child, one source says, “Macronutrient needs for child athletes are higher than their sedentary counterparts mainly because of the increased energy demands of their sports. However, the macronutrient makeup of their diet is basically the same with the possible exception of protein.”1 In my experience that is an accurate statement based on the fact that their sedentary counterparts are eating more carbohydrates than a sedentary kid possibly should, which is a discussion for another day!

Another guideline recommends that, “During times of high physical activity, energy and macronutrient needs – especially carbohydrate and protein intake – must be met in order to maintain body weight, replenish glycogen stores, and provide adequate protein for building and repairing of tissue. Fat intake should be adequate to provide the essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins, as well as to help provide adequate energy for weight maintenance.”2

This statement is more in line with the needs of youth athletes simply because in addition to those “normal” effects of proper fueling on athletes listed above (body weight management, glycogen replenishment, and provision of materials for rebuilding and repairing tissues), the student or youth athlete is also still GROWING, making how much of what food they eat even more important.

iStock_000010436961SmallWhere do you start in developing a plan for the youth athletes you train or have in your family or neighborhood?

Get their weight . . . after that it’s math and being mindful of the specific needs and health status of the young athlete you are working with.

Additionally, I loved this line: “Appetite is not a reliable indication of energy and macronutrient needs.”1

Start with these simple ratios, adjust for max energy output, focus, recovery, and body weight management:

  • Protein, 1.5g/kg/day
  • Carbohydrates, 2.0-3.0g/kg/day
  • Fats, there’s no hard and fast rule here. I’ll give the scientific answer by saying get a healthy source at each meal and snack because the amount varies depending on the weight of the athlete, the length of the training or competition (are we talking a cross country runner or a hurdle jumper?), and total caloric load of the above macronutrients. Many advanced and “in the know” nutrition performance strategists know the asset that “good” fats can be to an athlete’s performance and health (see my colleague’s blog on this here:

I was particularly happy to see this commentary in a joint position between ACSM, ADA, and Dieticians of Canada: “Overall, diets should provide moderate amounts of energy from fat (20-25% of energy); however, there appears to be no health or performance benefit to consuming a diet containing less than 15% of energy from fat.”2 Finally, a slight nod to the less-fat-is-not-better commentary.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and pasta tend to have their own macronutrient category for some reason within sports nutrition, so let’s do a quick review of optimal macronutrient food sources. True Story: The director of team nutrition for an NFL team recently spoke about his philosophy toward designing meals for his players. It consisted of two servings of protein, one serving of vegetables, one serving of starch, and two servings of pasta. I hope I’m not the only one who had a shake-my-head-and-chuckle moment after seeing the status that pasta has earned – a food group all for itself! To his credit, it is simple and I’ll go out on a limb and say (not really as I see it first-hand in my own business) that student athletes and their families are busier than most pro athletes – so whatever makes fueling simple is often what rules.

Last month I shared some basic Game Plan Tools for setting up your kitchen and shopping for snacks to fuel energy and success throughout the day. This month I’m sharing some details on what to avoid to have a Peak Performers Pantry and giving you 11 Insider Tips (thanks to my chef husband) on how to prep tasty food in less time!

Optimal Protein Sources

Animal Sources: These are preferential because they provide heme-iron sources along with the necessary complete amino acid profiles for recovery and growth.5 Chicken, turkey, organic eggs, fish, shell fish, bison, and grass-fed beef, as well as a clean, artificial-ingredient-free protein powder like Thorne FX’s Whey Protein Isolate in chocolate or vanilla are best in this category.

Plant Sources: Clean, artificial-ingredient-free, plant-based protein powders like my personal favorite VeganPro Complex and potentially a few combinations (to mimic the amino acid profile of animal-based proteins) of nuts and seeds with bean and legumes.

Optimal Carbohydrate Sources

Vegetables (everything from leafy greens to root vegetables like sweet potatoes and cooked carrots), fruits, dried fruits, beans, legumes, whole grains like brown and wild rice, oatmeal, and lastly, high-fiber, artificial-ingredient-free versions of bread, crackers, and pasta if needed.

Let’s all admit, there are very few youth athletes and families (that’s you) who are going to go processed-food-free right off the bat, so let’s meet in the middle with the above list (use the Peak Performers Pantry Tool to help guide you in the transition). If you are interested in the conversation around gluten and if there are potential advantages for athletes, even without a sensitivity, to be gluten free then check out this previous blog of mine on Gluten Free…Hype or Hope:

Optimal Fat Sources

Cold-water fish (salmon, sardines, cod, halibut), olive oil for low-heat cooking and homemade dressings, coconut oil, unsweetened coconut shreds, raw nuts and seeds, nut butters, and avocado and/or guacamole should be in rotation at all meals.

In my experience, student athletes are generally over-tired, under-nourished, and improperly hydrated. Besides the negative effects this can have in school and on sport performance, the health risks are even greater (see my colleagues blog at Using the above ratios as a foundation can go a long way toward correcting those needs and possibly the epidemic of health issues kids face today.

Hydration and Recovery

We tackled hydration in our last blog. Although using the tried and true test of urine color is helpful, most parents of athletes are not following their children to the bathroom for inspection, but this can be taught to high school and collegiate athletes with the hope they will pay attention. A better strategy might be the “weight test.”4 I encourage all my athlete clients to weigh themselves before and after both practice and competition with each season or training intensity change. Weight lost is mostly hydration and electrolytes. For every pound of weight lost, an average of 16 ounces of hydration needs to be slowly consumed in the hours after the training or competition. Or based on sweat rate and salty sweat accumulation observation, if loss of weight is greater than two percent of body weight, then additional electrolytes and water consumption is encouraged.4 This can be water or water plus a well-balanced artificial-ingredient-free electrolyte blend like Catalyte

In my next blog we’ll discuss recovery and the less glamorous, but equally important investigation of gut health, sleep quantity and quality, brain health, and nutrient needs in youth athletes.

See you there!



  1. Spano. “Special Needs of Youth, Women and the Elderly” and Eberle “Nuritional Needs of Endurance Athletes” In Antonio, Kalman, Stout, Greenwood, Willoughby and Haff (Ed.), Essentials of Sports Nutrition and Supplements, pp. 342, 395-399: Humana Press (2008)
  2. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2000 Dec;32(12):2130-2145. Joint Position Statement: nutrition and athletic performance. American College of Sports Medicine, American Dietetic Association, and Dietitians of Canada.
  3. J Athl Train 2009 Jan-Feb; 44(1):53-57. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-44.1.53


© 2015 Lane Consulting,

Do You Have a Winning Game Plan?

By Jill Lane, Pro-Athlete Health and Nutrition Expert

Time to PlanThere is a great quote by business guru Jim Rome (no, not the same as sports television guru Jim Rhome!) that goes something like this “You are the average of the 5 people you hang around most.” I love that quote. I check in on my circle from time to time to see how I’m doing and I find that it is pretty accurate!

I’d also like to say that I think we become the average of where we hang out the most as well.

That’s why I kicked off 2015 with the intention to share all that I’ve seen it takes, from any and all angles possible, to be successful on and off the sporting field. I’m calling this initiative the #SportsFamilyRevolution.

This month I’m sharing resources. It’s easier to move forward with a game plan if you have…well…a game plan!

I’ve created a special place for your game plan tools The list of tools will grow throughout the year. The locations we game plan for will change based on the fact that where we are changes (home, school, work, car, locker room, tournament, road trip etc).

This month’s game plan starts at home, as it should. What you’ll find at this month is:

1) My Kitchen Set Up ListMagic Bullet Image

On this list I highlight both gadgets and basics from a tools point of view that you’ll need (or would be handy to have) going forward as well as a few essentials to always have on hand in your pantry, freezer and refrigerator.

2) My Peak Performers Snack Listwalnuts

I think I get asked about snacks, or more importantly ‘healthy, energy producing’ snacks more then any other food question. So I’m giving you my list of snacks for peak performance both on and off the field.

These tools will help you to set up your foundational game plan for success at home and will help jump start you to a successful game plan when on the road.

If you grab one of these lists and find it helpful or if you have any questions, jump on Facebook ( or Twitter (@JillLaneCNC) and shoot me a note with #SportsFamilyRevolution. I’d love to know how they’re helping to improve your game plan.

Until then, Repetition = Results!


© 2015 Lane Consulting,

My 2015 Quest

By Jill Lane, Pro-Athlete Health and Nutrition Expert

I may be biased, I believe educated athletes make amazing leaders.*

I’m concerned. With a record total of almost 7.8 million high school athletes in the US[1] and with the number of kids taking ADHD meds or digestive support meds on the rise[2]…I’m afraid that we are fleecing our pool of future leaders for this country.

I’m seeing strange ‘trends’, student athletes taking acid blocking medications, gobbling medications to help them focus, and popping medications to help them deal with pain way too often…I’m not convinced this is a winning game plan.

We run to the doctor for aid for these ‘ailments’ with little to no consult/direction from our trusted primary care physicians on food, sleep and over scheduling being the root cause of some of these ‘conditions’.**

The pharm companies are fat and happy, literally, with these choices. I am not.

So, this year I am heading back out to lecture halls, church youth groups and maybe a podcast near you to ‘retrain’ our brains on dealing with the root cause, the foundation of ‘needs’ our student athletes and busy sports families require and hopefully start to demand.


You with me!?!!

If so, share this blog, tell a neighbor or grab a teammate and join me in creating a #SportsFamilyRevolution




Don’t worry I’m not going to get all ‘no sugar-no medication-no pizza-ever’ on you.

Since having my own kids, I’ve been brought back into the ‘real world’ and I understand that pizza happens; there’s a middle ground, not a secluded island, I’d like to lead you to what’s sustainable, powerful and not all that hard to find!

I want to help shape the next generation of leaders within junior high and high schools around the country, and this effort starts with you, at home, on the practice field, at church and wherever we all gather to support each other as Sports Families.

Female High School Basketball Team Having Team TalkSo who’s with me!?!!

Tweet or Facebook post “I’m in” or “We’re In” with #SportFamilyRevolution, let’s see how big we can make this team!

My posts this year will all be dedicated to this mission…hope to see you there!

*Disclosure #1: This information is for athletes of any age, skill level and sport (along with their parents if students, families and coaches) who want to up their game and health.

**Disclaimer #2: I love physicians, they save people everyday – God bless them! I have many trusted super smart nutrition and lifestyle minded physicians; we just need way more of them; the kind that will ask the hard questions like “how much do you sleep” and “don’t you think you are just way to busy?” before writing a script for the latest and greatest focus med or indigestion pill.


  1. High School Participation Increases for 25th Consecutive Year, NFHS News, October 30, 2014,
  2. ADHD Data and Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,


© 2014 Lane Consulting,

3 Hidden Hurdles to Peak Athletic Performance

By Jill Lane, Pro-Athlete Health and Nutrition Expert

Going Beyond the Obvious…

As an athlete, you know the basics to become lean and toned. Eat plenty of protein, high-fiber foods, and healthy fat. Get the nutrients your body demands for peak performance. Incorporate the right exercise and constantly mix things up so you don’t stagnate, or increase your chance of injury.

What many sports minded families and athletes often overlook, however, can seriously stall their game both on and off the field. Over my years working with both student and adult athletes (as well as non-athletes), I’ve pinpointed several hurdles that can be the deciding factor between not just first and second place, but more importantly energy, recovery and for student athletes, optimal performance in school; even when you’re doing everything else correctly. If you’re pushing yourself hard yet not making the gains (or losses) you’d like, consider these three hurdles as suspect:

Hurdle #1: Insufficient Sleep

Hurdles lined up on a track, fading focus.Recovery is a vital yet undervalued aspect of peak performance. Nowhere does that factor in more than with sleep to allow your body to repair, facilitate optimal protein synthesis, and maintain your hard-earned muscle. A good night’s sleep is like charging your iPhone to 100%. If you only charge it halfway, the battery probably won’t hold up the following day.

You’ve likely suffered the after-effects of a bad night’s sleep in school, during practice, at work or at the gym the following morning.

That sleep-deprived grogginess is hard to recover from throughout the day. You can barely get through a ‘normal’ gym or on the field training session, you snap at a friend or family member, simple chores become nightmarish obstacles, and/or you find yourself craving foods you don’t normally indulge in like caffeine-loaded drinks, sugary sweets or endless handfuls of chips. The body is smart! It knows how to get a quick pick-me-up when asked to perform even when tired, it drives you towards sugar and caffeine to get a quick spike of energy…but this energy generally doesn’t last long…so back for more junk you go…unless you get what the body really needs – REST.

Many of these miseries stem from out-of-whack hormones. Studies show, for instance, that lack of sleep can create insulin resistance leading to diabetes and obesity [1]. Or more specifically, in the short term for athletes, this could mean the inability to use and store fuel appropriately.

Insulin stores glucose (sugar) as glycogen in your muscle cells after a workout. Except over time, when you don’t sleep, those muscle cells become more insulin resistant, unable to heed this hormones call so that excess sugar gets stored as fat.

Other hormones follow suit. Leptin, for instance, tells your brain to stop eating. Inadequate sleep means your brain doesn’t always get the message (also called leptin resistance), so a few tablespoons of almond butter become half the jar. Too little sleep also increases your hunger hormone ghrelin. That’s one reason you find yourself eating more after a terrible night’s sleep.

Then there’s growth hormone, the beloved fountain-of-youth hormone that among its duties boosts muscle and aids in recovery and healing while keeping you lean and energetic. Your body makes the most growth hormone during deep sleep. Light sleepers and people who aren’t sleeping enough probably aren’t making sufficient amounts of this crucial hormone.

I could continue with other hormones, but you get the point: Even one night of bad sleep (you don’t fall asleep quickly, you toss and turn and get up to use the restroom and you don’t wake up feeling rested) can knock you out of balance, stalling performance so you don’t get the results you work so hard to attain.

Hurdle #2: Stress

Hurdles lined up on a track, fading focus.You’re probably familiar with anxiety and butterflies in your stomach with pre-game jitters. Or maybe you hit a stressful point during the game. These acute stressors can actually become beneficial as you get a powerful adrenal surge that keeps you hyper-focused.

Back in the day – going way back – adrenal hormones like adrenaline and cortisol “turned on” when a saber-tooth tiger wanted you for lunch. You ran like heck to save your life. Same deal today when you’re driving on the freeway and someone swerves in your lane. Hormones kick in, you go into hyper-alert, and you prevent what could have been a terrible accident.

Problem is, these hormones weren’t always meant to be “on.” Your body doesn’t know the difference between perceived and real threats, so for some people it keeps those adrenal hormones jacked up when they should be in the “off” position. Permanently amped-up adrenal glands lead to adrenal burnout, fatigue, compromised immunity, injuries, and other problems that stall your game.

So while, say, cortisol can give you that extra boost during your game, keeping it elevated all day breaks down muscle, can store fat and leave you feeling like you never can get enough rest and recovery.

Modern-day school, workplace and home stressors can keep stress hormones chronically elevated. What about training and competition? Over-training in general and chronic endurance training, in particular, can create the perfect storm of physiologic stress, a surefire recipe for overuse injury, fatigue and burnout.

Hurdle #3: Digestive Problems

Hurdles lined up on a track, fading focus.You likely know someone with a peanut or maybe tree nut allergy. One bite can send that person into anaphylactic shock and potentially even kill them.

Food intolerances creep in more subtly: They won’t kill you, but they can inflict misery and totally wreck your game. Take gluten. I’m thrilled to see more athletes, such as Dana Vollmer, who won her first gold medal and set a new world record for the 100-meter butterfly at the 2012 London Olympics, come out as gluten-free [2].

Other food intolerances include soy, corn, and as many of my clients discover dairy and eggs. The same foods many people see as healthy ironically put your immune system on hyper-alert and trigger inflammation, leading to pain and achiness that is every athlete’s nightmare.

As your gut wall takes a hit (from over training, antibiotic use and exposure to infections), the normally super tight gut wall barrier becomes a bit ‘leaky’. Food is not digested down to its smallest components; food particles ‘leak’ outside of the digestion system in larger than normal pieces and the body (in an attempt to protect itself from this ‘foreigner’) attacks via the immune system. It’s not ‘normal’ to have an immune response to the food you are eating unless it’s highly contaminated with bacteria. Repeat this reaction daily, even multiple times per day and you’ve got the makings of feeling like you are sick…achy, sore, rashy, bloated, heavy, unclear…and tired! Not a recipe for success in school, at work or on the training field.

Highly reactive foods like soy and gluten can create leaky gut and other gut issues. So can pain medications, over-use of antibiotics, chronic stress, and over-training as mentioned above.

Common symptoms of food intolerances include bloating, fatigue, headaches, mental fogginess, and moodiness. Gas, running to the bathroom and other uncomfortable issues after a meal are not normal, nor are they always innocuous. They could be red flags for serious digestive issues.

How to Clear the Hurdles

Let’s be clear up front. There are no quick fixes for these issues, especially if you’ve struggled for years. Getting optimal sleep, reducing stress and healing your gut take time. If you suspect any of these issues are stalling your performance, taking the time to correct them will repay dividends down the road.

If you struggle with insomnia or a severely compromised gut, I would suggest working with an integrative practitioner (like myself) to relieve these symptoms, since correcting them could sometimes require trial and error, and a professional can guide you in the right direction and actually save you money in the long run.

I spend a few months working with my clients with these three issues. Among my strategies for them included:

  • Power Down and Aim for 8+ Hours of Sleep Every Night                                     I say aim because life happens. Slowly add 15-30 minutes sleep to the evening or morning time to work towards getting 8 (kids and teens need more like 10); to restore hormonal levels and optimize recovery and repair. Power down – turn off laptops, cell phones, tablets at least an hour before bed. The blue light emitted from these devices keeps the brain stimulated…so does checking emails and watching movies. If you are still having trouble falling asleep consider adding Magnesium in a chelated form before bed (I use Thorne Research Magnesium Citramate). You can also consider GABA (I like Thorne Research PharmaGABA 250) if you feel you have trouble turning your brain off at bedtime.
  • Balance ‘Stress’                                                                                                         This is often easier said then done especially for an athlete that has to train 2+ hours per day for his/her sport in addition to working or going to school for 8 hours per day. Sleep is often the only stress antidote athletes and students may have. I challenge my clients to think about what is ‘fun’ to them, what takes their mind off things that might be stressful to them. We work to schedule a couple of these fun things in weekly. It could be going to a movie, hanging out with a particular friend of family member that makes them laugh, having quiet time alone to read, taking a bath, getting a message. Whatever it is, the body needs some down time for hormonal recovery and general well being. Find your ‘happy place’ and go there often to help with stress.
  • Pull the Highly Reactive Foods                                                                                 While a food intolerance test can pinpoint specific sensitivities, I’ve found that pulling the “biggies” – dairy, soy, eggs and gluten – benefit nearly everyone. Most people eat these foods at every meal, removing requires planning for replacements, so do it one at a time. You will generally notice within a week or two improvements in energy, clarity, pain levels, sleep, digestive health and/or weight maintenance if you are reacting to one or more of these foods. Here are some swaps to consider if you plan to pull one or more of these foods:                       Swap dairy for unsweetened coconut and almond milk products, vinaigrette instead of creamy dressings, coconut yogurt instead of cows yogurt and broth soups instead of creamy soups*                                                                                 Swap eggs for turkey sausage or bacon at breakfast or any other protein source     Swap gluten for veggies like sweet potatoes and gluten free grain like brown rice, quinoa and/or gluten free pasta if necessary.                                                     Swap soy milk for the dairy suggestions above. Remove all fake soy foods like soy burgers etc. and use real nuts instead of soy nuts. Also don’t be afraid of soy lecithin, this is generally not an issue for those with a soy sensitivity.                         * For those who choose to go dairy free long term, be mindful of eating other calcium rich food sources (salmon, sardines, almonds, broccoli etc.) daily in addition to taking a well absorbed calcium vitamin source is prudent.



[1] Sleep loss: a novel risk factor for insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes



© 2014 Lane Consulting

Shoelaces, Spirals and Spinach: Why Teaching Your Child to Cook is as Important as Teaching Them to Tie Their Shoe, or Throw a Spiral

By Jill Lane, Pro-Athlete Health and Nutrition Expert

How else are they (your kiddos) going to be healthy unless they learn to both identify healthy food and then prepare it for themselves and eventually for their family and friends?

I was nodding my head in agreement reading a Time Magazine article just recently entitled How To Eat Now with the tag line “Bestselling food writer Mark Bittman wants you to stay in and eat at home because it’s good for you, it’s good for your family – and it’s far easier than you think.” (1) All I could say was Amen!

In this article Mark showcases the multiple food channels we have running 24/7 with celebrity chefs making beautiful, photo worthy entrees, side dishes and beverages…they even teach us how to make these things step by step…but as a whole, he argues, we are not cooking more. Full disclosure, my 7 year old stumbled upon the YouTube show Nerdy Nummies and now knows exactly what free range eggs are – so there are some positive effects of watching cooking shows…just don’t buy takeout more often than not and settle in to The Food Network…seems like an oxymoron?

Family in the kitchenMeal prep as a family affair not only teaches kids about cooking, it equips them with valuable skills, promoting lifelong health and self-sufficiency. What’s more, eating together strengthens communication and tightens bonds. According to a study by Columbia’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, teens who eat with their families 5 or more times per week claim to enjoy better relationships with their parents and are less likely to drink and do drugs.“ (2)

I don’t know many parents of teens (athlete or not) who wouldn’t welcome a hearty, conflict free conversation over a family meal in which most of the family was part of the prep.

What if you (the parent) don’t know how to cook? Well if you don’t want to learn then send your kiddo to the house of someone you know and trust that does like to cook (aunt, cousin, grandparent, fellow teammate or neighbor) and ask them to help. Most of us know someone who loves to cook, is good at it and would love to share their love. You’d get them a coach or tutor to learn a skill they were not mastering, why treat cooking with any less importance?

I’ve seen first hand in group classes I’ve taught that once armed with some simple instructions and guidance, children (teen athletes especially) take the reigns on meals, especially ones they are preparing for themselves, like at breakfast or lunch.

Benefits of learning to cook are many; confidence, bonding, health, improved performance in sport and school (if what is being prepared is ‘healthy’).

WebMD had this list of benefits to share… (3)

Some Short-Term Benefits:

  • It encourages kids to try healthy foods.
  • Kids feel like they are accomplishing something and contributing to the family.
  • Kids are more likely to sit down to a family meal when they helped prepare it.
  • Parents get to spend quality time with their kids.
  • Kids aren’t spending time in front of the TV or computer while they’re cooking.
  • Kids generally aren’t eating junk food when they’re cooking a meal at home.

Some Long-Term Benefits:

  • Learning to cook is a skill your children can use for the rest of their lives.
  • Kids who learn to eat well may be more likely to eat healthfully as adults.
  • Positive cooking experiences can help build self-confidence.
  • Kids who cook with their parents may even be less likely to abuse drugs.

So when/how should you start? Here’s another great list from the same WebMD article titled “Why it’s so important to spend time in the kitchen with your children — and how you can get started” (3)

Under 5 Years Old:

  • Scrub, dip, tear, break, and snap (for example, snapping the ends off green beans)
  • Shake, spread, and cut with a cookie or biscuit cutter
  • Peel (some items), roll, juice, and mash
  • Remove husks from corn
  • Wash vegetables in a colander
  • Measure and pour some ingredients
  • Hand mix

8-10 Year Olds:

Everything listed above, plus some more advanced duties, such as…

  • Cracking and separating eggs (I started this one much earlier)
  • Reading some recipes by themselves
  • Inventing their own easy-to-fix recipes
  • Using the electric mixer (with adult supervision if needed)
  • Stirring food over the stove (with adult supervision if needed)
  • Using and reading a candy thermometer (with adult supervision if needed)
  • Operating a can opener or food processor with safety features
  • Grating cheese
  • Cutting vegetables, fruits, etc. (using a plastic knife or dinner knife)

According to a British Study “Children who learn to cook before the age of eight are 50% more likely to have healthy diet.” (4)

The Children’s Food Trust carried out a study by surveying children aged up to 16 years old and looked into the long-term effects of learning to cook from a young age. Rob Rees, of the Children’s Food Trust, said: “There has never been a more critical time to focus on getting kids cooking. It’s vital we equip future generations with the skills and knowledge to make good nutritional choices and this begins with getting them cooking”

The authors of this article mentioned how children couldn’t identify certain vegetables from one another and were a bit competitive in their comparisons of their children with those of others European neighbors stating, “British children begin acquiring culinary skills much later than youngsters from around Europe. Children in countries like France and Germany tend to start experimenting with cooking at the age of 7 – 2 years before those from the UK.”  I wonder where the United States would stack up?

These are some items I’m working on teaching my 2 oldest children (ages 5 and 7):

  • Cracking an egg (they’ve got this down from an all out smash to the delicate tap and pull open)
  • Washing veggies
  • Cutting veggies (reserved for my 7 year old right now)
  • Pouring and adding measured ingredients to recipes (olive oil, flour, oatmeal, rice)

How about this week you think of 3 ways that you and your children can be involved in the kitchen (microwave cooking does not count). Maybe it’s just some food identification. Could your child identify spinach from lettuce or Avocado from squash? Can they slice an avocado with a butter knife or can they start this week by washing the spinach in the colander to help with dinner prep? It can start with those easy tasks, with an effect spanning their lifetime.

Healthy Cooking_35294476


  1. Time Magazine October 20, 2014 VOL 184, NO. 15 2014 Page 50


© 2014 Lane Consulting,

Immune Health: Do You Have a Good Game Plan?

By Jill Lane, Pro-Athlete Health and Nutrition Expert – See more at:

Our immune system has ‘game’ as long as we provide the best possible playing field for it to execute its game plan on. To tell you the truth, we can be doing a cruddy job of taking care of ourselves and our immune system will still go to bat for us! Lucky us! But will its effort still be 100% is the question?


Immune Function 101 Time to Plan

This is by far not a complete overview, but it’s enough to understand what’s going on and who’s doing what.

We have 2 basic ‘sides’ to our immune system: innate and acquired.

Innate (natural) immunity is so named because it is present at birth and does not have to be learned through exposure to an invader. It thus provides an immediate response to foreign invaders.(1) Some of our innate immunity is passed from mom to baby during the first 3 months of nursing – making those first 3 months critical for immune health establishment in a baby.

Acquired immunity, is just that. Once you’ve been exposed to an invader for the first time (think chicken pox), your body creates a defense against it and then has the capability to ‘remember’ chicken pox (acquires a memory) or that invader so that if exposed again, your chance of falling to infection/illness because of that invader is greatly reduced or even eliminated.

The white blood cells involved in innate immunity (all with different functions) are: (1)

  • Monocytes (which develop into macrophages)
  • Neutrophils
  • Eosinophils
  • Basophils
  • T Cells (mature in thymus gland)
  • B Cells (mature in bone marrow)
  • Natural Killer Cells (also called NK or K cells)
  • There are also dendritic cells and the complement system – that’s a big army!

I’m going to highlight a few:

NK Cells – This we should know. These are our cancer fighters. NK cells are also critical for the control of certain infections, particularly viral infections.

T Cells – Remember/recognize germs (by their surface antigens) from the past and attack them if exposed again, help with identity, produce cytokines (inflammatory markers) to alert rest of system or takes out invader all together.

B Cells – Produce antibodies which attach to outside (antigen) part of invader and call attention from other parts of the immune system.

Phagocytes/Macrophages – Engulf (surround and dissolve) foreign invaders.


Could You be Doing Something to Diminish the Effect of Your Immune System?

Let’s take a role call of habits or conditions which could be effecting your immune system negatively:

* Lack of Restful, Complete Sleep

* Food Sensitivities (An immune system stressor itself within the digestive track)

* Exposure to Daily Toxins (Especially in work place/home)

* Inflammation from Fat Cells and Other Chronic Conditions

* Chronic Stress

* Over-Training/Exercising

Uh-oh, now what? Install the…

7 Step Immune Game Plan  

1) EAT: Veges_3192459The following foods should be eaten regularly for the specific compounds within them: Fresh raw garlic, spices like turmeric and cinnamon, veggies (all and rotate through the colors), high color fruits like berries, high Vit C foods (organic bell peppers, citrus fruits…), clean lean protein, kale (worth singling out), coconut oil (MCTs and lauric acid), mushrooms (betaglucans within may help support NK cells), non-farmed raised fish, raw nuts and seeds, healthy high fiber carbs as they keep glucose in check and help fuel immune cells (esp for those who train/exrcise often and for kids/teens). Limit simple sugar intake – some research shows that simple sugar intake (sodas, juices, crackers, breads, deserts, candy) reduces phagocyte activity 30min-5 hours after ingestion.

2) REDUCE STRESS: Chronic stress can have a negative impact on immunity, according to a 2004 review of 293 studies with a total of 18,941 participants. The review suggests that while short-term exposure to stressors can rev up your immune defense, prolonged stress may wear down the immune system and increase your vulnerability to illness.(3)

3) DRINK: Water (Dehydration has many negative effects on the body including fatigue and overeating), unsweetened green tea and tulsi tea (holy basil, great to help combat stress), green juice (with little to no fruits and lite on the carrots).

4) SLEEP: You may have noticed that you’re more likely to catch a cold or other infection when you’re not getting enough sleep. A lab experiment bears this out: When students at the University of Chicago were limited to only 4 hours of sleep a night for 6 nights and then given a flu vaccine, their immune systems made only half the normal number of antibodies. Not getting enough sleep can lead to higher levels of a stress hormone (which by itself is bad for fat loss, athletic performance, heart health and brain power). Although researchers aren’t exactly sure how sleep boosts the immune system (it’s most likely from the connection to cortisol), it’s clear that getting enough – usually 7 to 9 hours for an adult (and 9-12 for children and teens) – is key for good health.

5) EXERCISE: Moderate exercise benefits the immune system(4) whereas overtraining can reduce immune cell function. Overtraining generally only occurs in those training for more then 90 minutes per day and/or in combination with incomplete, interrupted sleep; if you train at higher intensity and duration, be aware of the signs and symptoms of overtraining one of which is illness/repeated illness.

6) PREPARE: What’s that saying…if you fail to plan you plan to fail? Be proactive in putting a few things in your home, set up your natural medicine cabinet backup plan. These items either nourish particular cells or aspects of the body that help with immune function OR have been show to when taken at first sign of illness to reduce both severity and or duration of that infection.

* Vitamin C: Boosts innate iiStock_000020276263Largemmunity activity. Dose can range from 2grams to 10grams, whatever your digestive track can tolerate. Spread throughout the day. I like 2-3 grams every 3-4 hours.

Dr. Linus Pauling discovered that Vitamin C is needed by white blood cells to engulf and absorb viruses and bacteria. In fact, a white blood cell has to contain 50 times the concentration of vitamin C as would normally be found in the blood around it.(2)

* Vitamin D3: If you haven’t had your level checked by your health care practitioner, it’s time! Vitamin D3 deficiency is problematic for many areas of health, immune health being just one. Most people need a minimum of 2000-3000IU per day, many need much more than that. While fighting infection you can increase your dose (try doubling) until you are better.

* Probiotic: Because much of your immune health is either strengthened, taxed or diminished by your digestive health, keeping digestive function in tip-top shape is important. Look for dairy free, shelf stable multi strain versions of probiotics (but not too many strains as we don’t always know what all of those strains are actually doing!) You can find the probiotic I use, Probiotic Complex, here or by clicking the ThorneFX banner on this page.

* Zinc: You should be getting between 15-20mg in your daily multivitamin. You can take an additional 15-30mg while you are ill or healing. You can find the multi I use here

* Echinacea/Astragalus: At first sign of ‘the crud’, get these two bad boys down the hatch, if it’s from a good quality product you should notice that you don’t get the ‘crud’ as bad as your friends or colleagues. I use a product called Phytogen by Thorne Research.

* Panax or Siberian Ginseng: These herbs possibly have some positive effect on NK cells, but more importantly help the body handle chronic stress. If you think you’re too busy to take it, then you most likely need it!

7. HYGIENE: Goes without saying right? Wash hands, wash hands, wash hands. Go easy on the hand sanitizer, use it only when hand washing is not available and only use brands that do not have triclosan in them! When someone is sick, and after they are better, thoroughly wash all their belongings. Trash their tooth brush and replace with a new one. If toys can’t be washed, double bag in Ziploc freezer bag and freeze for 1-2 days.

Honorable Mention: Laugh often! Chiropractic! (find a good chiropractor and go at first sign of feeling bad), elderberry (for coughs), real local honey (in tea to sooth sore throat and raspy cough), olive leaf (to combat infection), Saccharomyces Boulardii (a probiotic brilliant for battling ‘tummy bugs’), oil of oregano (also great for ‘tummy bugs’ and food poisoning), berberine (wards of infection of all kinds), glutamine (for those who seem to always be getting sick, this can help to start to build up the ecosystem from the digestive track out).

Kid Specific: If you have a child that can not swallow vitamins, here are my favorite products: Thorne Research Vit D/K2 liquid, Designs for Health ImmunoBerry liquid, Thorne Research Sacro B (open cap and mix in faux milk or applesauce for tummy bugs).

Lastly our immune system fights cancer cells on a daily basis, how does it eventually evade the system and proliferate? There are many schools of thought to why this happens: Perfect storm of bad diet, toxin exposure, inflammation, stress, genetics, lack of spiritual connection? Could be any combination, and/or others not listed. One way cancer cells evade our immune system is by putting a ‘protective’ coating around themselves to prevent either identification from our immune system (NK cells) or attachment of our immune cells (T cells in particular) which then signal attack. Tricky, very, very tricky. There is one compound that has been researched to potentially reduce this effect; it’s called fermented wheat germ extract.

If you or someone in your family seems to ‘always be sick’ or always catch something if around a sick person, take inventory of the above items. Sometimes it’s an underlying digestive health issue, sometimes it’s malnutrition, and others it’s just plain stress and lack of sleep, all of which we can correct for making this cold and flu season victorious for you and or your family!

Worth Mentioning: There is such a thing as having an overactive immune system. Auto-Immune diseases are just that. Our immune system starts attacking us in some way shape or form (our thyroid, nerve tissue, joints and other tissues or glands). Almost all of the above game plan is ‘do-able’ for someone with auto-immunity. There are some additions and subtractions, like gluten and dairy and curcumin and other nutrients. See a functional medicine trained practitioner for guidance if you have or suspect an auto-immune condition.



  3. Suzanne C. Segerstrom and Gregory E. Miller. “Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquiry.” Psychological Bulletin 2004 130(4): 601–630
  4. Chubak J, McTiernan A, Sorensen B, Wener MH, Yasui Y, Velasquez M, Wood B, Rajan KB, Wetmore CM, Potter JD, Ulrich CM. “Moderate-intensity exercise reduces the incidence of colds among postmenopausal women.” American Journal of Medicine 2006 119(11):937-42.


The #1 Thing My Most Successful Clients Have In Common – A Game Plan

By Jill Lane, Pro-Athlete Health and Nutrition Expert

Summer. Is. Over. Well at least that’s what they say when all the kids go back to school, which should almost be the case by the time you read this blog! It’s been hovering around 100 degrees here in Dallas, so while the kids are in school, the school zone lights are forcing me to slow down and the school buses are lining up, it still feels like Summer will be in full force for a much longer!

Summer is my time. I have a bit more childcare and no rush to meet a school start deadline, so I wake up and get to workout on my own time clock. Aahhh summer! The kids back to school actually forces me to get creative. My time is not my own in the morning. There are 3 kids to wake, feed, dress and get to school on time…so the early morning workout is now just a summer memory. This used to really throw me off my game! My routine was officially busted!

It’s taken me a few years to figure this out. At first I was discouraged that my summer momentum was ‘disrupted’ by a (school) schedule that I didn’t create but I soon realized, excuses don’t = success. I had to game plan accordingly.


1.    Set Your Non-Negotiables  

This is a lifesaver for me and something I taught to a client this past week and have taught over the holiday season for many years…I find with 3 small kids I have to just live with 2-3 non-negotiables at all times. What’s that mean? It means that if your routine is busted, your perfect game plan dissected by ‘life’ you, NO MATTER WHAT, adhere for 2-3 actions that you know keep you as close to feeling your best as possible.

For a client recently in my office the following non-negotiables were set 1) Get 4 workouts in a week 2) Only two drinks, two nights per week of alcohol and 3) Get at least 7 hours of sleep (any less and cravings and mood related issues cropped up and there were then more problems to deal with).

Mine are 1) Exercise 2) Exercise 3) Exercise. Exercise always seems to be the ‘thing’ that gets dumped when my life game plan is blown, it’s taken me too long in my life journey to figure this out. I think I’ve finally figured it out – no matter what I’ll get my exercise one way or another when life throws it’s best at me.

WHAT NON-NEGOTALBES can you set to help survive a busted routine or blown game plan?

2.     Have a Go-To Emergency Dinner Always in the Freezer:  

This is a MUST FOR ME! Good food decisions never occur when there is less then 15 minutes before dinner time, you’re rushing in the door and everyone is cranky from hunger. What healthy thing could you possibly whip up in 15-20 minutes that you know your family likes and that you’ll feel good, not guilty about?

Here’s my families EMERGENCY DINNER meal: Brown a pound and a half of either ground bison, ground turkey or grass-fed beef, heat up a jar of no sugar added organic marinara sauce, sauté a bag of frozen veggies in olive oil with salt and pepper and boil up some gluten free pasta. My kids put each in a separate bowl and ‘create’ their own concoction from the separate ingredients. This takes max 20 minutes to prep. I always have this around.

What can you keep around in case of emergency?

3.     Don’t Throw in the Towel:  

Make it Happen_34298600If you’re anything like I used to be the fact that you might lose control of your planned out schedule is enough to make you want to throw in the towel and scrap the whole day…or week! This mindset is not only the fast track to mental and physical health DESTRUCTION, it’s super stressful on the rest of your family as well. If your game plan is blown and that killer workout you were planning doesn’t happen at the scheduled time you’d been dreaming about…instead of throwing a tantrum…eating waaayy to much chocolate (yes, I’ve been there too) or both, just go to plan B. What’s Plan B…I don’t know make it up on the spot.

I recently was on my way out the door for my morning workout outside alone, it’s my sanity time both mentally and physically. 2 of my 3 kiddos begged to go with me. Don’t get me wrong I love them, but this was MY time. There was no talking them out of it and well, it was an opportunity for them to see a little of what I do when I go exercise, and why I do it. Problem was, they didn’t want to go to the soccer field and run sprints with me, they wanted to stay on the playground. Battle lost and Game Plan busted, I went to Plan B on the fly which included step ups, push ups, planks and jump squats on the playground equipment (yes there were other adults there). We all felt good when we got home – mission accomplished.

Truth is, life happens. It’s not a matter of if something is going to happen to throw you off your perfect health plan…it’s just a matter of when. In my 14+ years as a nutritionist those that are most successful have 1 thing in common, they don’t stay off their game plan very long, they fall and get right back up. They get creative with a workout or meal on the go or on the contrary, they eat a bag of chips, miss a workout, skip a meal, forget to drink water…get over it and move on…within 24 hours, maybe 48. They change the game plan as needed on the fly (or maybe just forgive themselves or others) to keep themselves looking and or feeling their best! IS THAT YOU?

This also doesn’t mean that you give yourself permission to put on the bench any other things you may be doing to keep yourself looking and feeling your best. Things like keeping a food log, eating a protein rich breakfast, not snacking and drinking plenty of water could be your non-negotiables or they could be something you can have more wiggle room with the game of life is in over-time and you are a man down…but your 3 star players, the ones you know you want in the game to give you the highest chance to ‘win’, those are the ones you keep on the field no matter what.

Most of us know 2-3 things we need to do to keep us feeling well when life busts our game plan wide open. Don’t waiver while having grace with yourself. Be prepared at home, none of us make our best decision when tired, stressed and or short on time for dinner with baby birds looking at us starving and cranky. Lastly DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT let that small inner version of you talk you into chunking the whole day just because your morning workout plan was busted up by a kid with diarrhea or a conference call that went long. 

Way to Success_19682275






See you next time!

© 2014 Lane Consulting,

7 All-Star Foods for Athletes of Any Age or Sport

By Jill Lane, Pro-Athlete Health and Nutrition Expert

Her question came from left field and I wasn’t immediately prepared to answer. A popular fitness and nutrition podcaster was interviewing me about how athletes could stay in peak form at any age.

“If you had to pick what 7 foods every athlete, regardless of age, should incorporate into his or her diet regularly, what would they be?” she asked.

I love these questions, except I had never really thought about narrowing it down to just 7?! Funny how I could go on and on for 45 minutes about respiratory capacity and the absorbability of different forms of amino acids and all sorts of other complex science based physiology, yet I couldn’t answer something so simple as to what my top foods would be.

After my interview, I wrote down what I said and it’s pretty much what I’d stick to…hence this blog! I think these are practical, versatile, easily accessible foods.

7 All-Star Foods for Athletes of Any Age or Sport:

1.     Walnuts and Pumpkin Seeds

Loaded with amino acids, healthy fats, and fiber, I’m a big fan of nuts and seeds for super-busy athletes. I chose these two because they pack amazing nutrient density and provide versatility in salads or as snacks. Pumpkin seeds are especially rich in magnesium and zinc, two minerals crucial for peak performance. According to Dr. Jonny Bowden, author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, roasted pumpkin seeds have more nutrients, fiber, and protein, plus they just taste way better. Almonds get all the glory, but walnuts provide the highest amount of omega 3 fatty acids in any nut. Because omega 3s can easily become rancid, buy raw walnuts fresh and keep them in the freezer. (BTW, Jonny’s book is a must have for your health library, packed with great info on tons of foods, it’s a go-to resource for me).

Training Tip: I use nuts and seeds when my athletes are in need of gaining ‘healthy’ weight or if they tend to lose weight quickly from high volume training.  That being said, some athletes (and non-athletes for that matter) can have issues with fast fat weight gain (watch for my Hidden Hurdles to Success blog later this summer on why this is), if that’s that case for you then monitoring the amount of these calorie rich super stars you eat per day is a must!

2.     Grass-Fed Beef

Beef provides an excellent source of iron and other nutrients as well as highly absorbable amino acids. Quality becomes key here. Grass-fed cows yield more nutrient-dense beef than grain-fed cows. Besides being richer in anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids, a study at Clemson University found grass-fed beef higher in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid that studies show can curb belly fat and even fight cancer. Kids love grass-fed beef sliders on gluten-free buns or atop sautéed spinach. Trust me: Spend the few extra bucks on grass-fed ground beef rather than grain-fed, even if you’re on a super-tight budget.

Training Tip: My athletes excel when eating a grass-fed beef hash with All-Star food #3 mixed in for breakfast.  Watch my free videos to figure out your dose of protein and you’ll be well on your way to a proper fuel up!

3.     Sweet Potatoes

I often talk about increased oxidative stress among athletes, and studies show active folks need more antioxidants to combat that oxidative stress. A rock star among unprocessed carbs, sweet potatoes come loaded with nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants like beta-carotene. Because they’re easy to digest, sweet potatoes make an excellent post-workout meal paired with high-quality protein. They also make an excellent nutrient-denser alternative to mashed potatoes.

4.     Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts

Veges_3192459You know those kids who always get top marks in every class and still manage several extracurricular sports (at which they also excel)? Well, brassica veggies are those over-achievers, providing amazing benefits like isothiocyanates, a family of phytochemicals that help fight cancer. All brassica veggies get top marks, but I chose broccoli and brussels sprouts because they’re also the most popular kids in the class. Talk about making the grade: They come loaded with fiber, nutrients, eye-health carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, and even a little protein. I’ve converted the most veggie-phobic child athlete by sautéing fresh broccoli with coconut oil and fresh lemon zest and roasting Brussels sprouts with olive oil, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.

5.     Berries

BerriesPicking my favorite berry is like choosing my favorite kid: I refuse to because they all have unique benefits. Raspberries are highest in fiber, blueberries pack the most antioxidants, and strawberries are a nutrient-rich all-around favorite. Regardless of color, berries come loaded with fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants. Sweet yet low-glycemic, berries make the perfect snack, dessert, or boost to your protein shake. My kids love frozen blueberries stirred in unsweetened Greek yogurt. Fresh or frozen, berries are among the most pesticide-ridden foods so always buy organic!

6.     Coconut Oil and Unsweetened Coconut Milk

Most coconut oil and milk benefits come from a very healthy saturated fat (no, not an oxymoron!) called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which your body metabolizes quickly for fuel. Rapid absorption means a quick energy source for athletes: Similar to glucose but without the subsequent crash. A recent study concluded MCTs are “a good choice for anyone who has increased energy needs, as following major surgery, during normal or stunted growth, to enhance athletic performance, and to counteract the decreased energy production that results from aging.” As an added bonus, MCTs contain immune-boosting lauric acid. You perform better and get sick less often using coconut oil and milk: It’s a win-win. I love cooking with coconut oil (it holds up well under high heat) and couldn’t imagine my morning protein shake without unsweetened coconut milk.

7.     Chicken

A can’t-go-wrong source of amino acids, healthy monounsaturated fat, and nutrients. Interestingly, a 6-ounce chicken breast packs more potassium – a crucial mineral often depleted when you sweat – than a banana. Talk about a versatile meat: Grill and chill it for a post-workout meal, toss in a salad for a super-simple meal, serve it as an entrée, or make healthy chicken strips “breaded” with coconut flour for your child athletes. However you serve it, remember happy chickens are healthy chickens. Make sure you buy free-range poultry fed their natural diet whenever possible.

Can you see now why choosing 7 foods proved incredibly difficult? That’s why I also want to give honorable mention to these amazing foods. Even if they didn’t land in my top 7, they’re all A-listers in my book:

  • Spinach – Another nutrient, fiber, and antioxidant powerhouse that’s incredibly versatile as a salad or side dish.
  • Gluten-Free Oatmeal – “What’s for breakfast” combined with “fast and satisfying,” simplified.
  • Wild-Caught Salmon – An excellent source of high-quality protein and anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Bison and Other Wild Game – Ditto above.
  • Organic Omega 3-Rich Eggs – An inexpensive source of nutrients, high-quality protein, and healthy fatty acids.
  • Chia Seeds – Protein, healthy fats, and fiber make these little seeds a triple-threat in your protein shake.

Okay, I’ve had my say. It’s your turn. If you had to choose 7 foods that belong in every athlete’s food repertoire, which of them I included would make your list? And more importantly, which one(s) have I not included? Share your thoughts below or on my Facebook fan page.


© 2014 Lane Consulting,


Additional Reference:

Jonny Bowden, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth (Minnesota: Fair Winds, 2007).

The Best-Kept Secrets to Performing at Your Competitive Best

Guest Blog by Ultimate Performance Expert Deborah Dubree

I’m curious – does any of this ever happen to you? You work hard to build your physical strength, flexibility and power. You practice your skills and techniques over and over again to be sure you are fully prepared to play your absolute best.

But then it happens. The closer it gets to game time, the more nervous you become. Suddenly negative thoughts creep in and you begin to worry. Your heart pounds, the palms of your hands begin to sweat and your body feels tight and tense.

Because of all that…you have trouble focusing on what’s most important. You start to second-guess yourself. You lose your competitive EDGE.

So what are you supposed to do? How can you regain your focus, remain calm and stay confident under pressure?

Nerves affect even the pros at game time. Whether I’m training an NFL player, pro golfer, college athlete or high school rising star – they all deal with game time nerves. And they are all looking for The EDGE. They want to up their confidence and their consistency, so they will win more often. Here are some techniques to help you focus.

The Best Kept Secrets to Performing at Your Competitive Best

To develop your competitive edge, it’s important to first understand some simple and powerful ways that your mind works and then use that to your advantage. So let me break it down for you.

This may sound silly, but I guarantee you it’s absolutely true. Your mind behaves like a five-year old. It really does. Just like a five-year old, your mind will throw a tantrum, scream at you for no reason and causes a ruckus that embarrasses you, if you let it. Or, you can learn how to ‘manage your mind’ to build and strengthen your competitive advantage. Here’s how…

Like a 5-Year Old, Your Mind Loves Shiny Objects 

Have you ever noticed how your mind darts around from one thought to the next and then the next? It acts like a little kid in a toy store when they run from one toy to the next one and then the next shiny object that catches their attention.

That’s exactly how thoughts run in and out of your mind. You lose focus on what’s most important and start worrying about all of the, “What if’s…?”

Typically it happens during the most intense part of your game or right before a critical play.  You start to worry, “I hope I don’t mess this up. I don’t want to let my team down. I can’t believe this is happening again! What if I miss? I hope we don’t lose again!” Does your mind ever sound like that?

When the shiny object syndrome hits, you lose focus and increase your chances of messing up. You lose your Competitive EDGE. 

DD at Legacy Golf Course Cropped 2One of the quickest and most effective techniques to regain your focus and snap back into reality is to ask yourself a question. Let me correct that. Ask a question that is focused on results. Here’s some examples you can customize to you and your sport…

Result Based Questions:

Let’s say you’re in the middle of a golf tournament. You’re nervous and worried. Your mind is playing tricks on you as it bounces all over the place. You’re on the 15th hole and about to make a critical shot that could put you in the lead. You’ve got to get focused NOW!

The 3-A’s to Regain Your Focus FAST

1.     Aware: The very first step is to stay aware of what’s happening. Notice that your mind is dancing all around. Don’t judge or criticize yourself. That will only make things worse. Instead, start asking yourself Results Based Questions.

 2.     Ask: A series of questions that are all based around the results you want to achieve. Here are some examples of questions you can ask and the answers you mind will provide:

What do I want to do right now? Answer: Get the ball in the hole.

Where exactly do I want the ball to land? Answer: Just off to the right and slightly above the cup?

How do I need to feel to make that happen? Answer: I need to feel calm and confident. I need to trust my skills and myself.

What can I do to feel calm and confident? Answer: I can breathe long and slow. I notice how my breathing is slowing down, my heart rate is slowing down and my confidence is rising. I feel calm.   

What can I do to trust my skills and myself? Answer: I remember the evidence of all the times I’ve made this shot in the past. I have earned the right to be here!

Use this as a model to create your own set of questions. If you play football you’re answers are going to vary, depending on the position you play. Tennis, volleyball, track and field or whichever sport you play will have its own specific set of questions. Make your questions personal to you and your sport.

3.     Appreciate: Just like a little 5-year old, we all like to be appreciated.

–   Have you ever noticed a little kid when you praise them, tell them they did a good job or that you really appreciate them? What happens next? They get a big smile on their face. They like being praised and will remember how to please you the next time.

–   Your brain does the same thing when you appreciate and praise yourself. It “lights up” and remembers to do that exact same thing again. When you praise yourself, be specific. Say something like, “I did a great job of getting my club all the way back, following through and hitting that sweet spot, while staying in balance!”

Practice these these key steps to stop the shiny object syndrome, regain your focus fast and develop your Competitive EDGE!

Learn more now by going to

Deborah Dubree Logo Cropped

Deborah Dubree, Ultimate Performance Expert, Author of and Speaker: Her insights, 37-plus years of performance expertise have attracted high performing clients that include college and professional golfer, along with NFL players from: Baltimore Ravens; Green Bay Packers; Dallas Cowboys; Houston Texans; San Francisco 49ers; Cleveland Browns and more.

Practical and thought-provoking lessons are pulled from Deborah’s book, Average Is An Addiction . . . From Mediocre to Millions!