When spectators at local running events hear “Go beef!” or spot runners in “Beef: Fuel for the Finish” jerseys racing down the course, they’re seeing Team Beef members in action.
Founded in 2009, the Beef Checkoff’s Team Beef was developed to promote beef’s health benefits and showcase people leading active and healthy lifestyles fueled by lean beef. Across the country, Team Beef runners, cyclists, athletes and health enthusiasts recognize the nutritional benefits and vital role that beef, a high-quality protein, plays in their training. And, they’re actively working to spread that message.
Research has shown that physical activity is more effective when paired with a protein-rich diet because it helps maintain muscle mass while losing fat. 1
As athletes who pride themselves on pushing the limits, Team Beef members rely on lean beef for fuel, and they’re educating others that following a healthy diet before, during and after exercise helps maximize performance and recovery.
State beef councils have conducted Team Beef efforts in Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, Colorado, Illinois and New York, to name a few. In total, there are more than 20 Team Beef programs across the country, with each program unique to its particular state. Overall, the combined effort of the Team Beef initiative and the Beef Checkoff are making significant strides in helping Americans build a healthier diet and lifestyle with beef.
“You can eat beef, be active and be healthy,” said Scott Stebner, director of communications at the Kansas Beef Council. “In fact, beef is an optimal protein to fuel athletes in their wellness journey. It’s an authentic source of 10 essential nutrients and its nutritional package is ideal for refueling after strenuous work, giving the body what it needs to replenish muscles and start strong the very next day.”
As a part of Team Beef, members have an opportunity to share beef’s nutritional benefits with their peers. Whether it’s at a local 5K, the Boston Marathon or a 100-mile ultra-marathon, spectators and other race participants are seeing their peers showcase this lean meat as an integral part of their lifestyle.
“We are able to lead by example as we compete and perform alongside other athletes. It’s a cool experience to have those conversations and connect with people,” said Ryan Goodman, director of grassroots advocacy and spokesperson development for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. “Plus, I think it’s a very effective, impactful form of advocacy.”
Team members learn about the nutritional benefits of beef by accessing educational opportunities from their state beef councils, including webinars, hands-on events and other resources.
“When asked, members talk about how beef is an essential part of their diets,” said Adriana Mora, manager of consumer marketing at the Texas Beef Council. “Many share stories of having their best races after fueling with a steak pre-race meal; others share their impressive weight loss stories.”
Members are passionate about giving back to their communities and inspiring others to lead healthy lifestyles — much of which is done through peer-to-peer advocacy.
“There’s a big difference between a brand showing up at a race with a brochure and a peer running or riding beside you with a Team Beef shirt,” Stebner said. “Research shows time and time again that messaging from peers – people within your social circles and sphere of influence – is more credible and relatable. So, there’s no better way to get beef nutrition out there than spotlighting the people who rely on it to fuel their runs.”
The widely recognized Team Beef jerseys worn by members at athletic events and races are oftentimes a conversation starter, allowing athletes to educate people about beef’s nutritional benefits.
“Our members help increase brand visibility and awareness of beef’s role in a healthy diet every time they pull on their shirts to participate in or volunteer at a race, post about beef or Team Beef on social media or support one of our health organization partners,” Mora said.
The efforts of Team Beef, state beef councils and the Beef Checkoff are continuously working to ensure beef has a front-and-center role in an active and healthy lifestyle.
The Beef Checkoff program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States may retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.