Every athlete can relate to the following two words: Diet and Dedication. As a junior Olympic athlete, I understand what it’s like to spend hours in a gym practicing and I have an appreciation for a well balanced diet that provides essential nutrients, optimizing performance on my volleyball court and your track. But there’s no short cut to the winners circle – that’s why the “Double D’s” are key! The phrase “you are what you eat” holds true to athletes, especially when you consider the first D – diet. Consider these nutrients: zinc, iron, and protein (we’ll say ZIP), are critical for those running on the court, or around Boston. There’s no way to train or compete if you’re stuck inside with a cold, so zinc is very important as it strengthens the immune system and stabilizes your metabolic rate. Iron, our second key nutrient, is needed to deliver oxygen to your cells, try running any significant distance with those tiny machines gasping for air. And finally, above all else, protein is needed for energy and to repair tissue damaged during training. Experts say runners should consume .75 grams of protein per pound of body weight. How do we get these three nutrients into our diet? I eat BEEF! Packed with many more nutrients, this is one lean meat that will work as hard as you do in preparing for the big event! You could say it is “Dedicated”, much like the farmers that raise it!