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12.06.2018 15:44
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Shes never thrown a 45-yard pass, tried to block a blitzing linebacker or drawn up the Xs and Os of zone pass coverage, yet Jennifer Gibson is right there on the Chicago Bears sideline for every practice and game. Tucked among the behemoth linemen, coaches and training staff is a fit, 36-year-old Canadian with long, blonde hair dressed in Bears colors whos in her second season as the teams sport science coordinator and sport dietitian. Her goal: to help every athlete on the roster perform at his highest level.Gibson came to the Bears after several years working with the U.S. and Canadian Olympic programs, guiding many athletes to the medal stand. Shes also worked with teams and athletes in professional soccer, tennis and the NBA. She has a degree in nutrition, is a registered dietitian, has a masters in exercise science and is a graduate of the International Olympic Committees sport nutrition program. Seeing a sport dietitian at a leadership conference piqued her interest. The combination of liking science and growing up in an Italian family played a factor, too. I liked food, Gibson says. I was trying to find a career path that blended the two, and there it was.She works with coaches and training staff to develop fueling and recovery plans for every player on the Bears roster. Over her career shes helped athletes lose weight and gain weight.A former standout high school three-sport athlete (cross country, volleyball and softball) in Toronto, Gibson continues to stay active. She runs or cycles every day and also does yoga three to five times per week. She works daily at the Bears facility in Lake Forest, Illinois. She and her husband live in the Chicago area with their two dogs.Here is Gibsons story, in her words:Feeding the BearsAs sport dietitian, Im responsible for anything involving food for the guys. All their nutrition needs from handling the cafeteria here -- where we feed them twice a day -- to all our food on the road: hotel meals, plane meals, postgame meals, pregame meals, locker room food and individual plans for the guys. Also, individual strategies for hydration and recovery.Whats on the menu?What youre trying to do is satisfy the needs of a delegation of up to 130 to 150 people. You want to make sure theres something for everybody. Plus, guys have routines and habits, especially for pregame meals. You just want to make sure everyone has what he needs. We also accommodate food allergies or intolerances. We had a player last season for a short period who was a vegan. Our scoops in our cafeteria are pre-measured to make it easy. Theres a whole lot of science that goes behind their (individual meal) plans, but when it gets to the players level its about, three scoops of this and two scoops of that.Counting caloriesIt was an interesting transition for me here, because I came in from Olympic combat sports. I was dealing with wrestlers cutting weight. So youre managing really small calorie budgets and then, coming to football, youre sometimes on the opposite of that for bigger guys. So when youre doing meal plans for 6,000 calories, youre kind of going, Wow, this is crazy. As you can imagine, we go through a lot of food here.Individual plansIts not mandatory that our guys have an individual meal plan. But like all teams in the league, we have mandatory weight targets the guys have to meet. So that lends itself to making sure I touch base with almost every single one of our players. You get to know each other pretty quickly. For sure, there are guys with 100 percent buy-in and guys that are 5 percent in. But there are few guys that are 0 percent in.This isnt TimbuktuArranging team meals on the road isnt that difficult. I used to travel around the world with the Olympic teams. Id try to set up food in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, China and remote villages in Europe, with language barriers and crazy things. So this is pretty easy. Were in the United States.Helping them healWe have a big emphasis here on anti-inflammatory foods because the players bodies are getting beat up all the time. So we have lots of fruits and vegetables, we have a juice bar, we have healthy, fatty fishes and nuts as snacks. We try to incorporate all those anti-inflammatory foods and have them available as snacks and in the cafeteria all day.Following her own adviceI have this joke that no one trusts an out-of-shape or overweight sport dietitian. I do eat a healthy diet. Its not that Im a food [stickler], either. Definitely theres 5 percent of my diet that I just enjoy whatever I want. But the bulk of it is absolutely what I preach.Science and techOur general manager, Ryan Pace, wanted to build our sport-performance department out a bit. My job as sport science coordinator is to investigate areas that are a bit non-traditional to improve performance. For example, we brought on a sports psychologist. And were using GPS technology. My job is to be aware of the research and trends so we can take a progressive approach.Tracking movement, sleepThe GPS trackers give us a sense of what theyre doing day to day on the field. How many yards theyre covering in practice, their speed, direction. Players are tracked during the game as well so you get a sense of what the load is on the body. That can influence practice tempos and reps and the stresses were putting on guys through the week. Were also educating players about sleep and looking at ways that can be optimized. We know sleep can be a valuable asset in recovery.Adapting to different athletesYou have to learn about the physiological demands and competition demands of different sports and adapt your nutrition interventions. Olympians and pro tennis players do a lot of global travel, so optimal eating on the road is an emphasis. Football has a lot of physical trauma and impact, so recovery strategies are important. Plus you have to understand the culture of each sport. Each sport and team has a different way they go about their business, chains of command and how you need to work. You really have to spend time learning the system to achieve your goals.PioneerOne of the things that makes this a really cool job is I know with the Bears, Im the first female staff on the football operations side. Last year there were six to seven of us in the league in football operations and this year theres 12. Its neat to see, to be on the forefront.Catalyst for changeIts been a little bizarre being the first woman on this side of the building. Like, where do we put you to change? What do we get you for apparel? Are you allowed to go here? Even on the sidelines Ill be stopped sometimes and told I cant enter because they think Im media, or not being allowed in the locker room until you show them your credentials. But its neat, because you feel youre at the beginning of something.Golden momentsAt the 2012 Olympic Games in London, I worked very closely with the combat sport athletes, because they have to make weight. To be a trusted member of an athletes journey to an Olympic medal, the highest sporting achievement on the planet, is an indescribable feeling. Authentic DaRon Payne Jersey . -- If Henry Burris has his way, he will be the starting quarterback to lead the Hamilton Tiger-Cats back to the Grey Cup next year. Authentic Greg Stroman Jersey . Gather a group of friends, or find a league to join online, draft your team, set your lineup and compete in a number of different formats. .S District Court against Major League Baseball, the Office of the Commissioner and his own union, the MLBPA. Cheap Washington Redskins Jerseys . Coach Tom Thibodeau says the former MVP will probably start travelling with the team in the next few weeks. Rose tore the meniscus in his right knee at Portland in November and was ruled out for the remainder of the season by the Bulls. Authentic Shaun Dion Hamilton Jersey . -- The boos poured down on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots at the end of a horrible first half. NEW YORK -- A dozen young Australian runners from indigenous tribes once targeted for genocide had a different marathon goal: The finish line is just a start for us.So said Robert de Castella, a onetime top marathoner who trained them for Sundays New York City Marathon.Running a marathon for their first time, the runners will need their new physical and mental prowess to return home and tackle the life-threatening problems of their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, he said. Generations of abuse at the hands of European colonizers have left many indigenous Australians with a 20-year life expectancy gap due to addictions, mental health illnesses and other diseases, plus heightened suicide and incarceration rates, said de Castella.The 12 Australians -- representing their countrys indigenous population of almost 1 million, or 3 percent -- were raising funds for the Indigenous Marathon Foundation that de Castella started about six years ago.When I saw firsthand what was happening, I was ashamed of our country -- and I also saw the opportunity to use the power of running, de Castella said.The Australians were among a field of about 20,000 foreigners from more than 120 nations running the 2016 race dominated by foreign winners. Mary Keitany, of Kenya, and Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, of Eritrea, won this years race.One proud Frenchman, who had run the Paris race in the past, conceded that he prefferred New York.ddddddddddddNew York is more magical, said Vincent Dogniaux. You feel more support from the crowd here. Its bigger, livelier and more emotional.Seydou Kane, of Niger, said he was so proud to be representing his west African country. He said he didnt think twice about running his first New York marathon instead of another big urban one.Of course, cmon! Iconic, this is the city that never sleeps, he said. The crowd, the stamina -- one of the runs thats a must-do and thats it.As the first three of de Castellas fierce runners wrapped up Sundays race, he concluded: The harder something is, the better, because you need to have a purpose to do incredible things.De Castella brings a new team to New York each year, after each member competes for a slot.I live in a place where poor health killing people is the norm, says Zideon Fielding, 22, a health worker from a community of 300 in the Australian desert. I thought if I tried the marathon approach, I could create change, with drive and persistence.Meghan Highsold, an Aboriginal attorney, said shes the daughter of a man who was forcibly adopted by a white family to wipe out his heritage.I want to use my marathon skills to help people make changes, to manage mental health in a good way, she said. Its all about now. 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