In June of 2014, Traverse City Central High School’s 4-mile relay team traveled 1800 miles for the New Balance Nationals in North Carolina—and came home ALL-AMERICAN athletes.  Yep, with a combined time of 17:45.01 the team of Anthony Berry, Kyle Dotterrer, Keef Edwards and Cam McAuliffe came in sixth place IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY in the 4-mile relay.  While that means these four high school athletes are among the nation’s fastest, it also means that Traverse City Central’s All-Americans are fast and fit—among the fittest teenagers in the United States, in fact.

And make no mistake: These four take their fitness and nutrition seriously—and are happy to share tips for getting and staying in shape with other kids. Here are their five top fitness tips and what they have to say about them.

 #1 No Pop

Keef: Besides being high in sugar pop sucks the calcium from your body. That weakens your bones. You shouldn’t drink pop. Period. Drink lots of water instead.

Anthony: I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a pop—maybe four years ago?

Kyle: I don’t drink any soda [pop].

Cam: No pop.

#2 Hold  the Junk Food

Cam: Junk food—especially before a race—makes me feel absolutely terrible. It’s the worst feeling in the world.

Anthony: I stay away from foods high in sugar—candy and ice cream, foods like that. I think it’s okay to have sweet once in awhile. But you can’t have that stuff every night. I splurge a little about once a month.

Kyle: I try to stay away from cheap sugars, like candy, and saturated fats as in potato chips. You know how it is, you open a bag and minutes later it is all gone. So I don’t go there.

Keef: Don’t eat fast food.

#3 Eat Good Stuff

Cam: I eat a lot of protein and other good food. Eating right helps immensely. I eat a lot of salads and healthy sandwiches. Even a peanut butter sandwich is better than junk food.  And my sandwiches are definitely on whole wheat bread.

Anthony: A lot of my friends seem to eat whatever they want. But being a runner, I really need to stick to good, healthy [low-fat] proteins and [whole grain] carbs. They help keep you in shape.

Keef: Whole wheat pasta with olive oil and salad with olive oil and salt and fresh ground pepper.

Kyle: Pasta and bananas. Lots of banans. Nothing fancy, right out of the peel.

#4 Get Up Off the Couch

Cam: It’s better to walk a mile, even if that’s the best you can do, than to sit on the couch and watch TV.

Anthony: Workout every day. If you are dedicated and set your mind to it, you can do anything you want. Running is 90 percent mental.

Keef: Start out running a mile one week. If you feel good, run a little more the next week.

Kyle: The number one key to staying in shape is to do it with somebody. A friend or join a team.

#5 No Pain no Gain

Cam: The hard work does really pay off. Push through the hard stuff and the tough stuff—it really pays off. You feel amazing after any workout or race—Even if you don’t do that do that great just to have participated is an accomplishment.

Kyle: I started running when I was 9 and joined the fourth grade cross-country team. We ran around the playground—it was only about a half mile—and I couldn’t believe how long it felt. I was no good in elementary school. But it’s not about one guy. It’s about the whole team backing you up. And then, you never know when that one person back there might turn into a star.

Keef: When you finish your run it’s a real feeling of accomplishment.

Want your kids to eat like a runner? Here’s a healthy recipe they can make by themselves: Kids Ready to Run One-Pot Pasta