Protein Bars + Youth Athletes

granola bar - nutritionProtein bars are a staple at youth sports games and tournaments. Individually packaged and promising quick energy, they’re often chocked full of ingredients that may or may not provide the best nutrition. 

Dragonwing Brand Ambassador Abby G. takes a look at these game-day go-to snacks and shares her discoveries. 

Pre-Game/Workout

Athletes need a snack that is 75% carbs and 25% protein to provide energy, and repair and build muscle during activity.  

Check the ingredient list and nutrition label of your favorite snack bar to know if it has the right balance of protein, fats, and sugar. Yes, sugar; it has a bad reputation if it is refined sugar, but not when it comes from natural sources and whole foods such as low-fat milk and dried fruit. The fiber in the fruit causes the sugar to metabolize slower, leaving your athlete feeling fuller and with more energy.  Sugar from natural sources does not cause inflammation, an added, important benefit.

Erin Palinski-Wade, a registered dietitian, recommends the “rule of 5.” Having at least 5 grams of protein, fiber, and unsaturated fat results in a filling pre-game snack choice.

Post-Game/Workout

Post-workout, these nutrients repair muscles, replenish the body’s glycogen stores, and prevent muscle soreness. Athletes need to stay hydrated and consume similar healthy food with protein and carbs. Protein bars are a good fit since appetites may be temporarily dulled from a strenuous workout, or other options may be too heavy.

Look for choices composed of whole foods. Micro-nutrients and essential fiber provide the body with the nutrients needed to repair muscles and replenish the body’s glycogen stores. It also helps prevent muscle soreness. 

Understand What You’re Buying

Often the ingredients lists for bars are long and unrecognizable. After being refined and processed, these ingredients lose many of the nutrients essential to muscle repair. 

Know the difference between granola bars and protein bars. While granola, purchased or homemade, can be a healthy snack, it may not provide what your young athlete needs during their sports season and workouts.

Want to know more? Check out these resources for making smart nutrition choices for your daughter’s next workout.

Summary

  1. Forego bars loaded with refined sugar and apply Palinski-Wade’s Rule of 5. 
  2. Read labels and choose whole foods over processed or refined ingredients.
  3. Plan for healthy pre-workout snacks and recovery foods that provide steady energy and recovery nutrients.

Let us know what bars you’ve found best for pre and post-game, practices, and workouts.

Dragonwing IconSpecial Thanks to Abby G. for her research and for compiling great resources we can all use.

Dragonwing Chill Weight: sports leggings, capris, fitted tops for girls

 

 

Click to add Chill Weight Leggings to your cold weather season shopping cart.

Corie Barry: From Rugby Field to CEO

There’s no arguing the fitness benefits for girls playing sports — but does it really increase their likelihood of success later in life? Athletics teach values that go far beyond the court or field: cooperation, determination, discipline, and how to succeed under pressure. 

As more women enter the C-Suite, it’s notable how many laid the foundation for their success playing competitive sports early in life.

Corie Barry spent much of her career with Best Buy, having served as Chief Financial Officer before being named CEO. Before that, she played college rugby and considered a career in dance. For her, an impressive title and resume must include her husband and two kids, youth baseball games, gymnastics with her daughter, and active time spent together with her family. 

“My point of view is there is no perfect balance,” says Barry. “All you can do is figure out what works for you. I laugh because I’m always the mom who shows up at the baseball game in my heels, and that’s OK.” 

Read Corie Barry Becomes Fifth CEO in Best Buy History

Whether it’s business or sports, Barry has advice we can all use. “I’ve always felt it’s important to demand a return on your investment. If you’re going to put your time in, where you put it in and the return you get is incredibly important because there are only so many hours in a day.”

Corie’s is an inspiring success story for athletic girls in every sport.

Dragonwing Chill Weight: sports leggings, capris, fitted tops for girlsRead “Boardrooms And Ballfields: Best Buy CFO Corie Barry Talks Motherhood” 

 

Click to shop new Chill Weight Leggings and Support Tops

Misty Copeland on Finding Your Voice

Misty Copeland - Studio RehearsalResilience. Strength. Grace.

All characteristics of premier athlete and of barrier-breaker, Misty Copeland. Despite being told her form didn’t match historically accepted ballet techniques and that she was too athletic, Misty redefined what it means to be a ballerina.

Misty Copeland is the first black female principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theater.

She recently spoke with Susan Jaffe, Dean of Dance at the UNC School of the Arts in Chapel Hill, NC, to share her experiences and how she found her voice through her art.

Here are our five favorite takeaways from their conversation.

  1. Evaluate the source of comments and opinions, and then decide how much weight they deserve. Negative comments might have derailed Misty’s love of ballet, but instead, she chose carefully to whom she would listen and discovered the wisdom of listening to herself.
  2. Mentors play a significant role. Mentors helped guide Misty through challenges and provided the support network needed for success. Her first dance teacher, Cindy Bradley, was instrumental in setting Misty on the course that would shape her future.
  3. Resilience is the attitude you use to overcome challenges. It’s not enough to keep trying, you have to see setbacks and failures for what they are: opportunities to learn and grow. It can be applied to how you rebound from a bad practice – you choose to focus on what went wrong, or you decide to focus on how you can do better.
  4. Love who you are because that is the source of your strength. Misty loves her muscular body, and it’s what won over critics. What most saw, in the early days, as a negative, she turned into an asset.
  5. Keep it simple, and it will inform how you control your body (and mind.) When asked how she keeps her upper body so still, Misty shared her philosophy to keep it simple and to not add anything unnecessary to a move. This dance tip can be applied to any sport and really, to any part of our lives. 

With these reflections, two more words come to mind when describing Misty Copeland.

Intelligence. Wisdom. 

Celebrating its 15th season, Carolina Performing Arts is amplifying the creative leadership of women through performances and art. Check out their schedule for upcoming events. (Keeping with ballet, Wendy Whelan is on the schedule!)

If you enjoyed this article, consider saying or leaving a comment below.

Shop Dragonwing Girlgear Now

 

Kathrine Switzer: First Woman to Enter the Boston Marathon

For the Dragonwing team, this video makes us emotional – especially when Jock Semple tries to pull her out. Kathrine’s quote “all of a sudden this was very important … nobody believes I can do this.. and if I don’t finish, people will think all women can’t.” she finished in 4 hrs and 20 min. KV Switzer (and whoever wears #261 -how lucky are you!)

You can watch the video here.

Kathrine Switzer: First Woman to Enter the Boston Marathon

Concussions important issue for girl athletes-updated info here

There have been many articles and efforts to improve safety on the soccer field for women and girls.  As an update to our posts of six years ago, I provide new information on prevention and training alternatives from Cindy Parlow Cone and Excelle.com

Our original articles are here:

Don’t be fooled by common misconceptions about concussions.

A great article on concussions from Taylor Twellman.

Recovering from a Climbing Concussion

and new information can be found here:

Pro players speak out about the ‘absurdity’ of the concussion protocol in women’s soccer

Check out these excellent video on the what Cindy Parlow Cone’s experience learning to head the ball at 18 -and still being a World Cup Champ and Olympian!

http://bit.ly/2t0FV3P

http://bit.ly/2u5o9MP

 

Happy Birthday Cindy Parlow Cone

Happy birthday to Cindy Parlow Cone, three-time NCAA Women’s Soccer Champion and founding member of the Women’s United Soccer Association, former head coach for Portland Thorns FC and in her first year as coach in her first year as head coach of the Portland Thorns, led the Thorns to the NWSL Championship. Parlow was a member of the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympic, and 1999 and 2003 Women’s World Cup, teams. Parlow Cone played professionally for the Atlanta Beat for three years and was the Coaching Director of 13-18 year-old girls’ programs at the Triangle United soccer league.  Cindy is a co-founder of Goals for Girls.  Birthday –May 8th.

Black History Month: Celebrating Serena Williams!

Sharing stories about women athletes matters. Equally important, hearing stories of amazing women athletes matters. One of my favorite legends is Serena Williams. To celebrate Black History Month, the artist Simone Grace is creating a coloring book with portraits of 28 amazing black women and one of the world’s greatest athletes, Serena Williams is featured.  Simone is my friend and classmate -and when I asked her if we could share this page with our community of athletic girls and their parents, she generously and ecstatically agreed. You can get a free printable coloring page here!

Check out all the illustrations of visionary black women who are luminaries in politics, arts, activism, business and sports. Coloring is a fun, empowering and relaxing activity for all the strong girls and women in your life and makes a great gift! You learn more about Simone Grace and how to get the entire printable coloring book at the GoFundMe page here.

xoxo
MaryAnne
Founder of Dragonwing girlgear

mosaic

 

Body Shaming Female Athletes Makes My Blood Boil

 

It’s been an amazing few weeks for women’s sports – from the Women’s World Cup to Wimbledon. I’ve found myself in awe of the athleticism, teary-eyed with exhilaration and pride, and delighted with so much of the media coverage.

Serena Williams, Wimbledon champion - photo by  Stefan Wermuth, Reuters

But an article on the day of the Wimbledon women’s finals got my blood boiling. Dan Rothenbeg, a writer for The New York Times, wrote about how top women’s tennis players “balance body image with ambition.” Here’s my letter to the editor:

To the Editor of The New York Times:

In focusing on body size and muscularity of the women playing at Wimbledon, Dan Rotherberg perpetuates the standard that female athletes need not only excel at their sport but also meet a societal standard for beauty while doing so. (“Tennis’s Top Women Balance Body Image with Ambition,” July 10) Would the Times run a story about NFL linebackers balancing their body image with their athletic ambitions?

By running the article, the Times gives credence to a double standard, one that female athletes of all ages battle regularly. Simply because some women athletes or coaches make training decisions based on body size does not make it newsworthy.

The US Women’s National Team’s World Cup victory inspired millions of girls worldwide. Like the women playing at Wimbledon, these athletes are role models for young girls. We owe it to young fans of every sport to highlight the discipline, commitment, hard work, and athleticism of female athletes and not the size of their forearms or thighs.

 

Regardless of whether my letter is published, I will continue to speak up for women and girl athletes, for their right to be taken seriously and to play fiercely. The focus on body image — some call it “body shaming” — is an unfair and unwanted burden on women and girls.

To female athletes of all ages: When a reporter (from your school paper to the New York Times) asks a question about your appearance, change the conversation. Turn the questions around to what is important — the high level of your play, the discipline and hard work you devote to your game, and the recognition you and your team have earned. Don’t be limited by reporters who are perpetuating a limiting and oppressive paradigm for women.

Join us and millions of others in a movement to empower girls and women by what they have accomplished and what they can achieve, not by how they look.

To sports girls everywhere: Be strong. Develop your body and mind to play your game to the best of your ability. Strive to be your best self. Have fun and be proud to PLAY LIKE A GIRL!

What’s So Great about the Women’s World Cup?

 

My inspiration for Dragonwing girlgear was sparked on the sidelines of North Carolina soccer fields, and I still watch hundreds of girls’ soccer games each year. So you won’t be surprised to hear that I LOVE the Women’s World Cup. My reasons are personal — the level of play is amazing and the stories of the players never fail to move me. US women's national soccer team: We Believe!

But the most powerful aspect of the Women’s World Cup — the part that brings a lump to my throat — is the inspiration, hope, and role models that the players provide to millions of girls worldwide. Their commitment, perseverance, and love of the game says it all:  “DREAM BIG. WORK HARD. COMPETE FIERCELY. PLAY JOYFULLY. YOU CAN DO IT!”

In addition to all the amazing soccer play (how about England’s go-ahead goal versus Norway?!), there have been some perceptive and thought-provoking stories about the significance and value of the Women’s World Cup. Here are a few that I’ve particularly enjoyed:

“Why the Women’s World Cup Needs You to Watch,” by Peter Macia in Vogue magazine

The numbers of viewers, on TV and online, are vitally important, Macia argues, to sponsors, to players, to women’s sports in general, and to girls watching and playing around the world. (There’s that inspiration again!)

Watching the Women's Cup demonstrates that women's soccer and women's sports have value, writes Peter Macia in Vogue.

“What Women’s Sports Can Learn from the Colombian Women’s Team,” by Kate Fagan on ESPNW

Given the audiences in stadiums and watching the games on screens of all kinds, there are signs of legitimacy for international women’s soccer, writes Fagan. But “the final mile marker will be when everyday fans…feel comfortable offering criticism, second-guessing the coach and the choices, and putting the play itself under a microscope…. These are the conversations that fuel men’s sports.

Imagine being knowledgeable enough about women’s sports and knowing enough about a women’s team to think you know better than the coach or a player in the game’s closing minutes. Imagine knowing who else could have been the coach and which players the team might have signed.

Then imagine being confident enough to actually admit you’re into women’s sports.”

Lady Andrade, Colombia's goal

“8 Reasons We Love the Women’s World Cup,” by SoccerGrlProbs for ESPNW

World-class talent, worldwide impact, super fans and more.

fifawwc

Sweet Senior Soccer Season

girls high school soccer teamSpring soccer has started for Dragonwing ambassador Emma, and wow, is she excited! In her recent blog post — complete with ALL CAPS and 4 exclamation points!!!! — she recounts the somewhat surreal feelings of the spring semester of senior year.

Senior night will be for me.  It’s my last year in the CA jersey. Whaat.

Despite twinges of nervousness after not playing for 10 months — “I had no idea how good or bad I would be getting back into it” — her overwhelming feeling was how much she loves the sport and the competition.

Emma has high hopes for the team’s season. “I think our team is pretty stacked, and I personally believe a state championship is in our future.”

Isn’t that how every season should start? Subscribe to Emma’s blog so you can follow along.