May is National Beef Month! Why not. May is the month of the bull. Memorial Day kicks off summer grilling season. Nothing beef's up the barbecue like a burger or sizzles on the grill like a steak.
[Above: Team ZIP (Zinc, Iron and Protein) celebrates after running the Chicago Half Marathon]
May also happens to be my favorite month of the year. The weather is warming up, the days are getting longer, swimming pools will soon be opening...its time to shed the sweaters and lose that winter weight!
As it so happens May is also National Runners Month (at least according to Dick's Sporting Goods). Whether you are training to run your first 5K or just ran the Boston Marathon...just ran 202-miles from PA to DC or are strapping on your shoes for a walk around the block, its time to get moving!
[At left: Kansas Rancher Barb Downey runs the Boston Marathon for Team ZIP]
So where are you going to get the energy to get up and run in the morning or hit the streets after a long day at work? Physical activity requires fuel and nothing fuels physical activity like BEEF!
Beef provides ten essential nutrients like zinc, iron, protein and B-vitamins in every hunger satisfying bite. Zinc boosts your immune system (nothing cramps your training like a summer cold), iron helps your blood carry oxygen to your vital organs and muscles (pretty important during a long run), protein builds lean muscle (bring on the bikini!), and B-vitamins provide that much-needed energy.
[Above: The Nolz sisters prepare for their first half marathon]
It seems very fitting that National Beef Month and National Runners Month sync up in May!
[At left: Kim Molinaro runs the Boilermaker 15K with Team ZIP]
I mentioned National Beef Month on Facebook today and my wife came up up with a great idea. "Maybe you should have a 31-days of BEEF contest...I'll start...May 1 - Steak Jalisco; May 2 - grilled tri tip; May 3 - BEEF stroganoff..."
So then I posted a National Beef Month challenge. "May is Beef Month so I'm challenging my friends to see if you can out-beef Beef Man. Starting today, can you eat beef every day in the month of May? I won't count the first two days, although I've had beef every day so far (brisket and fajitas on Saturday, grilled tri-tip on Sunday). Tonight? Beef stroganoff, a la Leslie!"
So now I'm taking it one step further. Announcing the National BEEF RUNNERS Month Challenge! I'm going to eat beef and get some exercise every day in the month of May. And by Memorial Day weekend when the pools open I'll be ready to shed the shirt and hit the pool! Will you join me?
There are 29 days left in the month of May (counting today) and 29 lean cuts of beef. So whether you enjoy a lean tenderloin filet, lean ground beef or a T-bone steak (all lean cuts), you can enjoy a different lean beef cut every day!
[Above: Team ZIP members celebrate at the end of the Boileremaker 15K with BEEF and BEER!]
I am going to eat at least one 3 oz. serving of beef every day. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines call for 5.5 oz of lean protein every day. One 3 oz. serving of beef provides 51% of your daily protein, 38% of your zinc and 14% of the iron you need in less than 180 calories!
Whether you take a walk around the block, a hike or a bike ride, get out and move! I am going to get at least 30 minutes of heart-pumping exercise every day.
The best part of this challenge is that when you get some exercise you can enjoy lean beef knowing its fueling your physical activity. Of course you also need to get your servings of fruits and vegetables, low and non-fat dairy products, and whole grains -- all of which go great with BEEF!
If you are planning to join me for the National Beef Runners Month Challenge, please post a comment with your goals and keep me apprised of your progress. And join Team ZIP as we prepare for running, cycling and triathlon events throughout the summer.