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Monday, February 25, 2008

Wait listed! Not a good thing.

Something to think about… I got wait listed!...Getting wait listed, at many colleges, is just delaying the inevitable. A rejection! Colleges publish the number of students admitted off the waitlist and the number can be staggeringly low. My old college, Hamilton, waitlisted 518 and admitted a whopping 5 applicants (cited in Newsweek/Kaplan Guide to College) What factors can weigh in your favor? Unofficially, a full-paying applicant might stand a greater chance than someone with a high $$$ need. Also, one former Dean of Admissions indicated that colleges are desperate for Male students and being a “guy” might tip the scale in your odds. Regardless, my advice for waitlisted applicants is to mentally move on to your next choice.

Prospective-Student Athlete Information"

Did you know? That one of the easiest ways to start the recruiting process at a school you are interested in, is to go the Athletic Department section of the school web site, find a section commonly called 'Recruiting Information" or "Prospective-Student Athlete Information" and fill out the on-line form with all the information it asks for.A good place to start is a conference web site which will link you to all schools in the conference.

The Making of a Student Athlete...

Not enough time for campus tours this summer?

Not enough time for campus tours this summer? Are you are looking for a resource to help whittle down your list before you decided where to visit? You can now order campus tours on video at I received a sample video and the tape is of a real campus tour, not a polished, high end marketing piece from the college. The tapes are made during actual tours and you hear the tour guide speaking and answering questions. For around $15 this service is worth it, especially if it saves you hundreds of $$$ in plane tickets.

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Summer Camps. How to use them for your recruiting advantage!

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Depending on your year in high school, a summer camp is one of the best ways for you to get a first person look at a campus, the facilities and the coaching staff. On the flip side it is the best way for the coaching staff to evaluate you, your skills and if you will fit into their style of program. For those reasons, attending a camp (or a few) at schools high on your interest list is a good idea. But keep these things in mind…
1) Avoid camps at schools which play at a level beyond your reach/ability. If you would be a good Division III athlete then generally speaking a D-I camp will not help you get recruited. (Note: some D-III coaches work at D-I camps and use them for recruiting purposes). Before you go, find out what schools the coaches are from to make sure you are a fit academically as well as athletically.
2) If you are using camps to enhance recruiting and a few of the camp dates conflict, see if you can attend for just one day. Football camps encourage this. They all just want a closer look and one day will suffice – it also tells them how interested you are by the effort you make in attending.
3) Show good character at camps – Coaches look at more than your skill. In most cases, being difficult to coach, or a poor sport with teammates and officials will work against you in the process.
4) Contact coaches working the camp prior to attending. Let them know who you are, your grades, some athletic history facts and most importantly that you are interested in their program. Letter, email, even a phone call. Just get in touch!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Strategies to Eat Better - Nancy Clark

The Athlete’s Kitchen
Copyright: Nancy Clark, MS RD CSSD January 2008

Strategies to Eat Better

More often than not, athletes ask me “What is a well balanced diet? What should I be eating to help me perform at my best?” They feel overwhelmed by the seemingly endless list of nutrition don'ts. Don't eat white sugar, white bread, processed foods, fast foods, french fries, soda, salt, trans fats, butter, eggs, red meat... You’ve heard it all, I’m sure.
If you want to eat better but don’t know where to start, here’s a nutrition strategy that can help you fuel your body with a well balanced sports diet. The suggestions guide you towards an eating style that's simple and practical, yet can effectively help you eat well to perform well, despite today’s bewildering food environment.

• Eat at least three kinds of nutrient-dense food at each meal. Don't eat just one food per meal, such as a bagel for breakfast. Add two more foods: peanut butter and lowfat milk. Don't choose just a salad for lunch. Add grilled chicken and a crusty whole grain roll. For dinner, enjoy pasta with tomato sauce and ground turkey. Two-thirds of the meal should be whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, and one-third lowfat meats, dairy, beans or other protein-rich foods.
Too many athletes eat a repetitive menu with the same 10 to 15 foods each week. Repetitive eating keeps life simple, minimizes decisions, and simplifies shopping, but it can result in an inadequate diet and chronic fatigue. The more different foods you eat, the more different types of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you consume. A good target is 35 different foods per week. Start counting!

• Eat “closer to the earth” by choosing more foods in their natural state. For instance, choose oranges rather than orange juice; orange juice rather than sports drink; whole-wheat bread rather than white bread; baked potatoes rather than french fries. Foods in their natural (or lightly processed) state offer more nutritional value and less sodium, trans fat, and other health-eroding ingredients. You’ll find these foods along the perimeter of the grocery store: fresh produce, lean meats, lowfat dairy, whole grain breads. If possible, choose locally grown foods that support your local farmer and require less fuel for transportation to the market.

• Fuel your body on a regular schedule, eating even-sized meals every four hours. For example, a reducing diet (non-dieters need another 100-200 calories per meal) might be:
Breakfast (7-8:00 am): 500 calories (cereal + milk + banana)
Lunch (11-noon): 500 calories (sandwich + milk)
Lunch #2 (3-4:00): 400-500 calories (yogurt +granola+nuts)
Dinner (7-8:00 pm): 500-600 cals (chicken +potato + greens)
This differs from the standard pattern of skimpy 200 to 300 calorie breakfasts and lunches that get followed by too many calories of sugary snacks and super-sized dinners.
Depending on your body size, each meal should be the equivalent of two to three pieces of pizza; that's about 500 to 750 calories (or 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day). Think about having four “food buckets” that you fill with 500 to 750 calories from at least kinds of foods every four hours. Even if you want to lose weight, you can (and should) target 500 calories at breakfast, lunch #1 and lunch #2. Those meals will ruin your evening appetite, so you’ll be able to “diet” at dinner by eating smaller portions. (Note: Most active people can lose weight on 2,000 cals, believe it or not!)
Whatever you do, try to stop eating in a “crescendo” (with meals getting progressively bigger as the day evolves). Your better bet is to eat on a time-line and consume 3/4 of your calories in the active part of your day; eat less at the end of the day. One runner took this advice and started eating his dinner foods for lunch, a sandwich for lunch #2 (instead of snacking on cookies) and then had soup and a bagel for dinner. He enjoyed far more energy during the day, was able to train harder in the afternoon, and significantly improved his race times.

• Honor hunger. Eat when you are hungry, and then stop eating when you feel content. Hunger is simply a request for fuel; your body is telling you it burned off what you gave it and needs a refill. To disregard hunger is abusive. Just as you would not withhold food from a hungry infant, you should not withhold food from your hungry body. If you do, you will start to crave sweets (a physiological response to calorie deprivation) and end up eating “junk”.
While counting calories is one way to educate yourself how to fill each 500-calorie “bucket” (for calorie information, use food labels,, and, you can more simply pay attention to your body's signals. Keep checking in with yourself, “Is my body content? Or, does my body need this fuel?” If confronted with large portions that would leave you feeling stuffed, consider letting the excess food go to waste, not to “waist.”

• Think moderation. Rather than categorize a food as being good or bad for your health, think about moderation, and aim for a diet that offers 85 to 90 percent quality foods and 10 to 15 percent foods with fewer nutritional merits. Enjoy a foundation of healthful foods, but don't deprive yourself of enjoyable foods. This way, even soda pop and chips, if desired, can fit into a nourishing food plan. You just need to balance the “junk” with healthier choices throughout the rest of the day. That is, you can compensate for an occasional greasy sausage and biscuit breakfast by selecting a low-fat turkey sandwich lunch and a grilled fish dinner.

• Take mealtimes seriously. If you can find the time to train hard, you can also find the time to fuel right. In fact, competitive athletes who don’t show up for meals might as well not show up for training. You’ll lose your edge with hit or miss fueling, but you’ll always win with good nutrition!

Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD (Board Certified Specialist in Sports
Dietetics) counsels both casual and competitive athletes in her practice at Healthworks, the premier fitness center in Chestnut Hill MA (617-383-6100). Her Sports Nutrition Guidebook, Food Guide for Marathoners, and Cyclist’s Food Guide are available via See also

Win a book signed by Cal Ripken!

Enter to win a signed copy !

Cal and Bill Ripken have autographed Coaching Youth Baseball the Ripken Way. This book combines the Ripkens' knowledge and experience into an all-inclusive guide to coaching children ages 4 to 15+. To enter to win the signed copy, answer the following question correctly before the end of next week and submit it to the e-mail address below.

Question: When Cal Ripken's record breaking streak ended, how many consecutive games had he played?

Answers should be sent to

Monday, February 04, 2008

Aimees Soapbox February 2008

February 2008: Mojo Finder
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Greetings Groovy Soapbox Readers!
Motivation is a funny thing. Last year, I had brain surgery AND I turned forty. Both did a number on my motivation to exercise. One took more of a toll than the other, of course. I mean, brain surgery was fine; it that big four-oh thing that really knocked me for a loop.
As the saying goes, to everything there is a season. So maybe it was OK to ease up a bit last year, watch more TV and run less miles, only race a few times and sleep in late on the weekends more. But after more than 25 years of running, and five years of national-level competition in dragon boating, I guess I had programmed myself to go-go-go. Chillin' didn't come easy, you know?
Now I know that you can't get motivation from anyone or anything else except yourself. I mean, sure, you can get stirred up by a rousing speech, or inspired by a great book, or even pushed by a concerned family member. But that LASTING motivation, the thing that makes you put down the donut or get up early to exercise or stub out that last cigarette, absolutely has to come from you.
If you say that someone (or something) else motivates you, then you give all your power over to that person (or thing). So what happens when the speech is done or you finish the book? Are you saying that the speaker or author took your motivation when he left? While an outside force can certainly jump-start you, you and you alone are responsible for maintaining your own motivation.
OK, so after all that, why did I ask for ideas for a new training goal from you, my Groovy Readers? Was I giving up my personal power and putting it on you to re-find my own mojo?
For me, I had had enough of being inside my own mopey head and was looking for some fresh ideas. I knew I wanted to get back to it; I just didn't have any new ideas for myself. So I reached out to my buds. And you guys did not disappoint! If you read last month's column, you saw some of the great ideas sent my way!
And so, now, after dragging my feet as long as I could on announcing a winner, I will come clean. The winning entry came from my husband! Now before you cry nepotism, let me 'splain. Turns out...I am expecting! So I have to give the prize to my husband. Because I don't think that they want any seven-months-pregnant women in the Tough Competition in June.
Brain surgery, a birthday milestone, and becoming a first-time mother at forty? Yikes. Motivation could certainly be threatened again! But I think I need to walk my own talk now. If I really believe all the philosophical stuff I've written here over the years, then I know that I am just starting a big, new learning curve, and that right there should motivate me to stay healthy, fit, and active right on through, just as if there were no (baby) bump in my path. Gotta be in shape for this next adventure! Next year, though, look out Conestoga Trail Race! You're all mine!
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