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    Football Legend Stars in Chocolate Milk Campaign

    Hines Ward showcases his “after” in national ads, online series

    For retired Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward and REFUEL | got chocolate milk?, the road to the 2013 Ironman World Championship triathlon has officially begun.

    The former pro football superstar has unveiled his new REFUEL | got chocolate milk? “my After” national advertising campaign, as well as an online documentary series that will follow his training and recovery journey toward conquering the Ironman in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, in October.

    “Playing football was tough, but training for a 140.6-mile swim, bike and run is probably the biggest challenge of my life,” said Ward, a 14-year NFL veteran and championship game MVP. “I’ve got a long road, and a lot of workouts to go through, but I want to prove that by training hard and refueling smarter with chocolate milk, I will become an Ironman triathlon finisher.”

    In partnership with REFUEL | got chocolate milk?, Ward will undertake a training and recovery regimen with elite professional coaches and sports dietitians that will prepare him for the grueling race. His transformation from a grid iron athlete to Ironman triathlete will be captured in the new online documentary series “Become One,” which debuts this week.

    The series will follow Ward and his fellow triathlon apprentices for seven months as they prepare for a back-to-back 2.4-mile open water swim, 112-mile bike race, and full 26.2-mile marathon. The reality-style webisodes will document the highs and lows of their grueling training, spotlight the importance of their after-exercise routines and role that lowfat chocolate milk plays in helping their bodies recover after hard workouts; and inspire all athletes to break out of their comfort zone and prove that anything is possible.

    Last fall, REFUEL | got chocolate milk? launched a nationwide search to find two “everyday athletes” to join Ward on this unforgettable training and recovery journey. In addition, through its partnership with the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), REFUEL | got chocolate milk? also selected a challenged athlete to join the team to inspire others – disabled or able-bodied – to overcome adversities.

    Together they’ll learn about the importance of post-exercise recovery and that what they do after strenuous exercise, such as refueling with chocolate milk – the official beverage of Ironman – can make a dramatic difference in how they feel and perform during their next workout. A growing body of published research suggests the nutrient profile of chocolate milk can help athletes recover after hard workouts so they can perform at their best during the next bout of exercise.

    “There’s a reason that athletes of all types are turning to chocolate milk as an integral part of their post-workout nutrition,” said Miranda Abney, marketing director of the Milk Processor Education Program, the group behind the ‘got chocolate milk?’ campaign. “To perform at your best, it’s essential to take the time to refuel, recharge and get your body ready for the next challenge. Chocolate milk is an easy, effective and delicious way to do just that. Hines and the Become One Team know chocolate milk will help them make every workout count as they work toward the starting line in Kona.”

    The new advertising – which includes a 30-second television commercial and print advertisement – highlights chocolate milk as a cornerstone of Ward’s after-workout routine as he trains. The ads are underscored with the tagline, “my After.”

    More and more elite athletes and coaches are recognizing the benefits of refueling with lowfat chocolate milk. Sports dietitian Leslie Bonci, reunited with Hines Ward for the “Become One” program after working with him and his former Steelers teammates for years, makes chocolate milk a staple on her athletes’ training menus.

    “Too many athletes overlook after-exercise recovery, which means they probably won’t get the most out of their next workout,” Bonci said. “Elite athletes have been refueling with chocolate milk for years because of its unique nutrient profile. 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.”


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