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Health from the Farm: How to be an elite athlete

Or at least eat like one...

Dear friends and customers of North Mountain Pastures, We've got a special treat for you today.

Many of the eaters of our pasture-raised meats are athletes of one type or another. Sometimes this means active moms who chase after their toddlers (incredibly physically demanding!), some practice yoga or crossfit or a sport or two, and some are actually competitive athletes. Generally you folks care about your health and take care of your bodies, and enjoy active lives.

Some of you may know that Brooks' brother Dane owns and runs a gym called Garage Strength in the Reading area, out of which he specializes in training elite athletes. He also has a great natural supplement line that is worth checking out, and he has always advocated real food, nutrient dense diets. He sells local eggs, grassfed beef, raw grassfed milk, and our pastured pork and poultry products out of his gym to his athletes. We are announcing a little project we're doing of sponsoring one of Dane's athletes at the gym. This email is an introduction to her and the athletic lifestyle. Enjoy!

Brooks writes -

"Making a living doing what you love is something you’re encouraged to do from a young age. I’ve heard people argue for it - for obvious reasons, spending your time doing what matters to you generally results in happiness. I’ve also experienced directly - and read articles devoted to - the burnout, frustration, and feeling of failure that inevitably comes when the thing you love gets harder and harder to master. The need to make your passion a profitable business is real, and the mechanics of running a business successfully don’t come naturally to anyone I know.

Making a living as an independent artist, musician, or athlete is similar. Taking odd jobs to pay the bills, looking for help however you can find it, and allying yourself with the right people and organizations to make ends meet are the norm. My brother Dane and I have discussed these similarities and difficulties, as he runs two businesses devoted to athletic performance, and directly trains several athletes vying for spots on national and Olympic teams.

So when one of his shot putters, Rachel, asked how much chickens from us would cost, we started a conversation. I asked Rachel how much she knew about cooking, if she could make use of odd cuts, smaller whole chickens, chicken backs, and other low-value cuts. She replied that she was willing to learn what she needed to make it work.

We decided to sponsor Rachel’s quest for a spot on the 2020 US Olympic team and provide her with high quality, pasture-raised proteins to help her recover from a rigorous training schedule.

We’ll keep you updated on Rachel’s progress through the next two outdoor and indoor throwing seasons periodically. You can follow her yourself on instagram @dlscholar_rf or keep reading for her introduction and check back for updates!"

Rachel writes- "I am from Williamsport PA, and I attended the Williamsport Area High School. I won the PIAA State Championship in both the shot put and discus in 2012. Also, in 2012 I won the prestigious Penn Relays.

After high school, I attended The Pennsylvania State University and graduated from Penn State with a B.S in Human Development in 2016. Throughout my collegiate career, I placed 7th at the Indoor NCAA Championships and received a first team All-American honor. I set two school records in the indoor and outdoor shot put and achieved top ten all-time in the weight throw, discus throw and the hammer throw at Penn State. I also received USTFCCCA Indoor and Outdoor Mid-Atlantic Region Female Field Athlete of the Year. I am grateful and thankful for all of the opportunities provided by Penn State. My senior year I also qualified and participated in the 2016 Olympic Trials.

I am currently training with Dane Miller (Brooks’ brother) at Garage Strength in Reading, PA. I’ve improved my technique drastically, while gaining both strength and mobility. During the last outdoor season Dane helped me hit a World Standard which increased my personal best by over two feet.

I am fortunate to train full-time with Dane and take advantage of the resources that Garage Strength can provide.

My typical day:

7:00 am Wake Up

8:00 am Breakfast:

2 eggs



8:45am Coffee, Mobility, Technical Analysis

10:00am Throwing Session

11:00am Earth Fed Muscle Protein Shake

12:00 pm Lunch:

Grilled/ Baked Chicken

Large Salad


1:00pm Nap

3:00 pm Throwing Session

4:00 pm Lifting Session

6:00 pm Earth Fed Muscle Protein Shake

7:00 pm Dinner:


Broccoli or Peppers

8:00pm Relaxation/ TV show/ Mentoring Program

10:00 pm Sleep

I plan to try and explore new recipes as well as provide the outcome of my training and nutritional benefits. Thanks again North Mountain Pastures. I look forward to updating you with recipes, training updates and future accomplishments."

Rachel throwing shot put

Rachel lifting with Dane

Anna writes -

Just a couple quick things.

First I have to say that the first time I met Rachel, we were at a fundraiser lifting competition at Dane's gym last summer, where I felt extremely puny and had no clue what was going on. I did know enough to understand that this girl was amazingly strong - She participated (for fun, this competition had no rewards or prestige or prize, and was not her main sport) in a dead lifting competition in which she was the only woman. She out-lifted some of the participants, who were all heavy weight lifters, and I think she topped at 500 lbs. The top male participant maxed out at 750 lb I believe. I asked Brooks if she was stronger than him, if he could dead lift that much, and he just laughed - not even close.

Secondly, I heard recently that athletes made sure to get tons of food and rest, and it looks like Rachel is really doing that. She might get 9 hours of sleep at night plus a 2 hour nap in a typical day. That is serious body healing and repair time for serious growth and recovery.

Thanks as always for supporting local foods!

~Brooks & Anna

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