Hines Ward takes on Got Chocolate Milk challenge

Retired NFL wide receiver, and season 12 Dancing with the Stars winner, Hines Ward, is promoting the fitness recovery benefits of low fat chocolate milk through a new initiative for the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP).

REFUEL ‘got chocolate milk?’ sees Hines take on the 2013 IRONMAN World Championship triathlon – a 2.4 mile open water swim, 112 mile bike race, and a 26.2 mile marathon.

Football legend Hines Ward may have hung up his helmet and pads but that doesn’t mean he’s stopped pushing the boundaries of his athletic ability. Just one year after ending his 14-year pro football career, Ward will up the ante by switching gears from a 40-yard dash to a 140.6 mile swim, bike and run in the most revered, yet challenging one-day endurance event on the planet.

Two members of the public have the chance to compete alongside him by entering a short YouTube clip online before November 30 2012. The winners, announced in February 2013, will embark on a seven-month training regime with Hines. Documented through online interactive webisodes on www.gotchocolatemilk.com.

For Ward and his fellow IRONMAN triathlon apprentices, recovering effectively every day could mean the difference between crossing the finish line in Kona and “bonking out” somewhere along the 140.6-mile course.

“To become an IRONMAN triathlon finisher in Kona is to take your place among the greatest athletes in all of sports, so it’s no surprise that a competitor like Hines Ward would seek out this challenge,” said Miranda Abney, Senior Marketing Manager of the Milk Processor Education Program, the group behind the ‘got chocolate milk?’ campaign. “BECOME ONE will give Hines and two other lucky people an exclusive opportunity to leave it all on the course and show that anything is possible by crossing the most prestigious finish line in endurance sports.”

Ward retired from professional football in 2012 after a stellar 14-year career with Pittsburgh in which he became the all-time leading receiver in the history of the sport and captured two league championship victories. No stranger to stepping outside of his comfort zone, Ward competed in – and won – Season 12 of ABC’s hit reality-competition series “Dancing with the Stars,” produced by BBC Worldwide Productions. The 2013 IRONMAN World Championship race will present his most daunting challenge yet, as Ward will train fiercely to recondition his body and take his game from the football fields to the lava fields of Kona.

‘I may be retired, but I’m certainly not finished as an athlete – and there’s no bigger challenge than taking on the IRONMAN World Championship,’ says Ward.

More and more elite athletes and coaches are recognizing the benefits of refueling with lowfat chocolate milk. Penny Wilson, dietitian for the IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute at Memorial Hermann, makes chocolate milk a staple on the training menu of her athletes. “For athletes that train hard regularly, it’s so important that they recover properly in-between to be able to get the most out of their next workout,” said Wilson. “Elite athletes have been refueling with chocolate milk for years because of its unique nutrient profile, plus it’s so simple and it tastes great!” Chocolate milk has the right carb-to-protein ratio scientifically shown to help the body recover, high-quality protein to help repair muscles and fluids and electrolytes to replenish what’s lost in sweat.

A growing body of research supports chocolate milk’s recovery benefits after strenuous exercise. For example, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that following an exhausting ride, trained cyclists had significantly more power and rode faster, shaving about six minutes on average from their ride time when they recovered with lowfat chocolate milk compared to a carbohydrate sports drink and calorie-free beverage.

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