Fueling your young athlete the right way!

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Outside of game or race day, protein is an important nutrient to help kiddos build strong bodies! Growing children need protein in their diets to grow and stay healthy. When Marina Wegorek, a competitive sports mom couldn’t find a healthy snack to give her children before and after training, she teamed up with world renowned expert nutritional scientists and invented one herself! She quit her job as an accountant turned banker to set up a sports nutrition business, aimed at supporting the digestive systems of active, sporty children whilst encouraging them to make healthier choices in life. Yogalifedigital talks to her to find out more…

Tell us a little bit about yourself and why is health and diet so important to you.

I am a mother to two very active children and the founder and CEO of ProYouth Nutrition, a category disrupter in sports nutrition for young athletes. Proyouth was born out of my own struggle to find clean healthy convenient snacks that cater to highly sporty children and now ProYouth Nutrition does exactly that!

Health and diet play a vital role in how we feel, look and perform in life. I’m a big believer that healthy choices from young ages, will create a sustainable everyday lifestyle. It’s not a fashion, fad or quick afterthought to losing weight or solution to a health problem as an adult.

If you are empowered to make right nutritional choices from a young age – you not only have a positive food relationship but can also the reap the long-term benefits. Having seen the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in my own life, I want to inspire this message to all.

Have you always been an advocate for health and fitness (if not when did this change)?

My experience of irritable bowel syndrome and back problems in my twenties played a pivotal role in my drive to learn about health and fitness. I used to spend many sleepless nights curled up in pain not knowing what triggered my pains. In my quest to feel better, I dwelt into learning about nutrition and fitness and started incorporating it into my own life. Today in my 40s, I feel more energetic and healthier than I felt in my 20s.

However it was further tragedy that spurred me on to delve deeper into the subject, following the passing of my father to cancer just over 3 years ago.  My dad was both diabetic & overweight, which caused delays in getting a comprehensive diagnosis on his condition. Through research I learnt that artificial sweeteners had strong links to Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease in later life. It was this experience combined with my own learning of health changes that prompted me to look deeply into the impact of what nutrition could have over life span of an individual.

When my own children took to a very active sporty lifestyle, I didn’t want to give them sugar loaded snacks that would spike their blood sugar then cause them to crash or snacks that claimed to have ‘zero sugars’ but contained artificial sweeteners.

This is when I decided to launch ProYouth Nutrition to provide young athletes like my kids with a consistent release energy packed with real wholefoods ingredients with natural vitamins and minerals to support their needs especially to recover well after an active workout. It’s like the concept of car. If you put in good fuel it performs well. Why would you want to feed your hard work with sugar loaded treats or crisps?

Tell us about changing directions in your career and how you completely changed your life and your family’s life. 

Leaving my high-flying city corporate banking job to launch ProYouth took a huge leap of faith. It was not an easy decision to make. However, it was the most rewarding and impactful choice I ever made.

Proyouth Nutrition was born from my experience as a mother being unsatisfied by snacking options available to active, sporty kids. During my daughter’s first swimming competition, I was shocked to see canteens offering sweets, chocolate & energy drinks, which were high in refined sugars or artificial sweeteners that were linked to detrimental effects in blood glucose levels in later life. I saw how my own children’s performance and recovery was impacted.

Today through ProYouth not only are my own children fuelled nutritionally but the impact on the wider young athletes community has been hugely rewarding. When they share their winning stories with us, I feel like a proud mother to many.

My children have become more conscious of choices and enjoy making healthy recipes with me. Starting ProYouth Nutrition has not only provided our family with a balanced snack for our everyday lives, but also gives me the option to work around my kids. Additionally, my

children pride their roles as ‘Chief Taste Testers’ and my daughter believes she will take over the business when she grows up.  Business comes with huge amount of sacrifices that both my husband and I have to make, working round the clock but we know it will be worth it.

What advice can you give to working mothers, juggling work, social & family lives whilst tackling the tiredness.

I would advise busy mothers like myself to invest in their diet and nutrition.  Essentially you are what you eat and if your fuel your body with the right nutrients you can ensure it will be running a lot more smoothly.

Starting and running a business whilst juggling kids’ active sports, academic and music interest can be draining but thankfully I generally feel energised to cope with it, thanks to the amount of good Vitamin B12 in my diet. Proyouth bars are high in Vitamin B12 and also Magnesium both of which contributes to energy and the reduction of tiredness and fatigue, so I rarely feel burnt out or exhausted.

This is an ideal vitamin for mothers with busy schedules and hectic lifestyles. I also tend to eat chia seeds, walnuts and oily fish often as they are rich in omega-3. It is great for mental focus and memory, so it’s useful for those of us with plenty to juggle.

I would also highly suggest setting aside time to do what makes you happy, where that be gardening, attending a yoga class or brunching with some friends. It’s easy to get consumed with work and family life but it’s important to priorities a healthy work life balance. I love joining in with my kids doing Family Pentathlon or mini-Olympics in fancy dress wearing crazy wigs and funny outfits which gets us all giggling.

ProYouth Nutrition – what sets it apart from other brands.

Proyouth is Europe and the UAE’s first ever range of performance snacks which is backed by science and research and nutritionally profiled for the needs for youth athletes and active children.

Young people have different nutritional needs to adults. They need different amounts of protein, carbohydrates & other nutrients, a difference which most companies in the fitness industry fail to even acknowledge, let alone cater for. Their gut microbiome and glycogen stores are also different to adults as they are still maturing.

By working with team of Sports and Exercise Scientists and Nutritional experts we created  our bars with unique mix of natural nutrients that provide 18+ benefits including supporting mental focus, energy release, recovery, immune support & are also gut friendly. 

They are not only high in protein, carbs but also contain the essential Vitamins & minerals to support both mental and physical performance. The nutrients come from natural wholefoods ingredients and not added artificially –  No empty calories or sugar crashes – just a healthy, nutritionally dense snack-on-the go paving the way for a new generation of healthy, educated & active children.

We pride ourselves on high quality natural ingredients and no nasties as long-term health is our main priority.

What advice can you give to women 35+ and the best vitamins, diet and lifestyle changes they should be making to give them a youthful glow and that 20 something energy.

I would advise women looking for a youthful glow and a burst of energy be snacking nutrient dense foods packed vitamins and minerals. Foods such as spinach, kale, salmon, quinoa, chia seeds, goji berries, and walnuts are all nutrient dense foods I love. Our everyday family favourite is naturally ProYouth performance nutrition bars are an ideal nutrient dense snack that contains a good blend of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals that help maintain skin health, whilst supporting energy metabolism , electrolyte balance allowing us to stay active for longer. What’s great is that our ProYouth Nutrition bars are so filling that you won’t be tempted to binge on other unnecessary snacks because keeps you fuller and satisfied for longer so my husband and I start our day with these. 

As I mentioned previously, I like to ensure I get plenty of omega 3 fatty acids in my diet. Not only does it help with concentration and memory it protects skin from damage and aging. The fatty acids help with the moisture levels and structure of the skin. Hydrated skin is happy skin this is why I’m always looking to boost my hydration levels.

I also tend try to avoid too much of sun damage to skin and protect it with right sun protection.

ABOUT ProYouth Nutrition Bars

Available in three delicious flavours Choc Brownie, Vanilla Delight and Banana Split, these natural performance nutrition bars have been developed with the help of scientists and nutrition experts.

The bars contain carefully selected macro and micro-nutrients to support performance, recovery, iron transports, minimise fatigue, brain cognitive functions and even mental wellbeing. The bars do not contain added sugars or artificial sweeteners which have negative long term impact on bodies but instead contain naturally sweet dates with low GI. This super power-snack is a source of protein, magnesium, manganese, copper, B12, potassium and phosphorus makes a great side kick to anyone’s workout, breakfast or just a healthy mid-morning snack.

Visit https://proyouthnutrition.com to know more.

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