Earlier this month the i-tri Program Leaders attended the annual Suffolk Zone conference, where local educators in related fields come to learn about promoting healthy lifestyles for our students. It is amazing how this concept that i-tri began promoting 10 years ago has grown and flourished in the education industry as we recognize the vital role physical health plays on mental health.
So much in sports is about winning the match, the game or the meet, but i-tri has never encouraged that type of competition. Rather, instead, we encourage every girl to TRY HER BEST when they are competing in the Hamptons Youth Triathlon and long after that. That model of trying your best and aiming for your own personal record is game-changing (no pun intended). We know that our girls probably are not going to grow up to be professional triathletes, so we aren’t teaching them to be professional triathletes. Rather instead, we are teaching them skills that they can use to complete their triathlon, but also to complete anything else they confront in life that seems impossible.
Our coaches, mentors and program leaders aren’t focusing on the time the cross the finish line…we are focusing on the fact that they crossed the finish line. We always tell our girls when someone completes a marathon the first thing you say to them isn’t, “What place did you come in?” The first thing you say is “WOW! THAT’S AMAZING!” because it is! So is completing a triathlon.
Part of empowering our girls is finding ways to make fitness and healthy eating fun. We incorporate ways to get fit that are outside of a regular gym class or track workout. After high school, our girls may never run laps around the track again, but if they are doing activities like Zumba or Kickboxing or dance, then i-tri has done its job.
We also work with a great dietitian who explains to our girls that a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean diet. WE HATE THE WORD DIET! We encourage our girls to be aware of the foods that they are eating to eat consciously. We give them simple tools such as to look at the label and see if sugar is in the first three ingredients, because then it’s a dessert. It’s still okay to eat things you like but add healthy foods in there as well. We also have our girls cook with their families during the season so they can learn new recipes that they have never tried before. An i-tri girl knows that she must try new things in the kitchen…and in life…because you never know what you may like!
These three simple techniques bridge the gap between sports and healthy lifestyle and help carry our girls forward on and off the racecourse.
- Finish What You Start…even if you may not win.
- Have Fun
- Try New Things