Essential Sports Nutrition



Who doesn't love pizza. Bread, tomato sauce, cheese, veggies, tofu, vegetarian meat....did I go too far??

I was in the mood for pizza last night and I think Karel craves pizza at least once a week. We rarely order out (maybe once every 1 1/2 - 2 months) but when we do I usually get thin crust, 1/2 veggies and 1/2 meat (for Karel). And I always make a big salad as the entree to the pizza. Instead of pizza with salad we like to have salad with a side of pizza.

Since I love making my own versions of restaurant/fast food items I like to make my own pizza's. I have made wrap pizzas w/ an open low-carb wheat wrap, sauce, veggies and cheese. Sometimes we buy a thin crust frozen cheese pizza (low in calories and price) at the grocery and then load it up with our own fresh toppings like corn, peppers, veggie meat, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, etc. and lots of spices. When we have a little more time, Karel buys fresh dough and he makes his own pizza. Although not thin crust to save on calories, I feel super healthy eating something that is all home-made.

I didn't work at the shop last night because I had a lot of work to do (mostly studying) but I wanted to go to Wal-mart to get some groceries. We are going through fruit like crazy here in our house and with blueberries and stawberries in season, I find myself going to the store at least once a week for a berry-run.
As I am driving to the store I am thinking what to make for dinner. Since it has been a while since we have had pizza, I thought I'd make my own. I contemplated about taco wraps and pizza for a while but since I entertained Kate with my meat-free tacos a few weeks ago, I thought I'd put the wraps back on the shelf. As usual, I made my way to the bread area and I just wasn't pleased with my selection. Nothing that would really make my pizza taste like a pizza. I headed to the fresh bread/bakery area and decided I would make French Bread pizza. Since I know how to save calories when I cook, I wasn't concerned about the big, white bread loaf.
I gathered a few other things for my pizza which we also eat regularly....
Canned Tomatoes w/ spicy peppers
Firm Tofu
Meat-free sausage
Frozen Corn
Green Jalapeno Pepper
Mexican shredded cheese (regular)

First I heated two pans, one for my sauce and one for the toppings.
The sauce consisted of 1/2 can of the tomatoes w/ onions and mushrooms.
The toppings took a little longer to cook because the corn was frozen. I chopped up the tofu, pepper and veggie sausage and used a small portion of each. I also chopped up some nuts and added a small handful to the veggies for a little crunch.
Once the toppings and sauce were cooked, I turned off the burners and covered the pans with a lid to stay warm. I turned the oven on to 400 degrees for the bread.

I try to save calories when it comes to bread so I cut off a 10-12" portion of bread for both Karel and I. I needed to make 3 portions of the bread, 1 for me and 2 for Karel. I cut the bread horizontally into 3rds. I picked out a little of the dough from the inside of the two outside pieces so that I would have room to layer in the sauce and toppings. Plus, the best part of pizza is the crunchy crust so we didn't need all the extra dough (and calories) in the bread. I put the pieces in the oven for a few minutes until they were a little golden on top.

I sprinkled a little cheese on the bread and spiced it up with some chille flakes. I prepared my plate and I let Karel finish off however much he wanted. I'm not big in serving people nor do I like to be served. You never know if someone is super hungry or just a little hungry and if everyone can recognize how much food they needed in terms of calories, it is a lot more healthy to just serve yourself. I know, you have to be polite sometimes and hopefully in that case, you just eat until you are satisfied and not until you are finished with the plate.

I turned off the oven and put the bread w/ the cheese into the oven for a minute or two until the cheese melted. Then it was time to pile on the sauce and finish off my plate with the veggies. Karel and I both ended up topping our pizza's with the veggies but I wanted to put my veggies on the side of the plate to make my eyes think that I was eating a lot rather than just putting a small portion of veggies on the pizza and leaving half my plate empty.

My dad use to make me and my brother french bread pizza when we were younger and I think with my new healthy twists (yes, the tofu and vegetarian sausage tasted REALLY good, even according to Karel) I think you will love this pizza!
My dinner took me less than 20 minutes to make and when watching the Tour on TV, this was one GOOD meal.


Recovery Week

As of today I am calling this a recovery week. My workouts have been great but I haven't been in the mood to do more than one sport a day. I work out hard for around an hour and then it is just a relief to be done with the workout. I didn't plan on this week being a recovery week but to make my ego feel better I am just fine with my one-sport-a-day workout. Tuesday was an interval running day and I did:
3 min at 8.5 mph w/ 1 min at 7.5mph
2 x 1:15 at 8.8 mph w/ 30 sec recovery at 7.5 mph
2 x 30 sec at 9 mph w/ 15 sec recovery at 7.5 mph

I planned on doing the set 3 times but after 2 my heart said no more. I went into the workout feeling a little tired and I think my blood sugar was just too low that morning. Especially after a long weekend of long workouts I am pretty sure I just had a little empty tank. That is why I always pay attention to my workouts and I try not to jump to the conclusion that i have to eat more because I am tired. I simply should have had a small snack prior to the workout or a sport drink during the workout and I would have been fine. For a 45-min workout, I knew I didn't have to overload myself with lots of food after the workout in order to feel better on wed.
Well, wed came and I felt great. A 30 mile bike ride and I averaged 18 mph. I felt strong and just cruised along my loop in Mandarin. This morning I ran my 8 miles, out and back and I ran it in 1:06. I just found out that the Jacksonville Marathon is in my same route that I run most of my runs! The race is in Dec. and I'm visualizing my marathon run everytime I set foot on the course.

Karel has been training really hard lately but he has also been feeling really tired. Of course, pushing at 170+% of his power (around 500+ watts) for 30 sec to 1 min. would make anyone feel tired but he hasn't been like himself. I always look at nutrition first because working out is tiring. However, nutrition can make a huge difference in wanting to do the workout before it starts and being able to complete the entire workout.

When Kate and I did Iron girl atlanta, Karel was enjoying his last couple of days of a recovery week. No training for almost 5 days and then a Power test with his coach to finish out the weekend. As part of his recovery week, Karel enjoys a beer with dinner, wings and whatever else he chooses. To many people's suprise, no I am not controlling what he eats ever moment of the day. However, when nutrition begins to negatively affect performance, I must step in.
Last week was the first week for Karel to start a new set of intervals with new numbers, new zones and a new training plan. The intervals were incredibly hard and different from what he was doing but karel didn't feel the power in his legs like he did over the past few weeks (prior to recovery week).
I noticed that Karel was still enjoying some of the foods he was enjoying over his recovery week and ultimately, the body was not only repairing damaged tissues (thus making him feel a little tired, stiff and heavy) but his body chemistry had changed.
After I came back from my ride on wed I suggested to Karel to "clean up" the diet. Karel eats healthy and snacks on healthy food but I suggested to really think about how much he is eating at one time, to drink more water and to focus on controlling the blood sugar with less sugar and more complex carbs and lean protein.
Because of Karel's passion for cycling, being healthy and feeling strong he went right into action and started implementing the changes..yesterday morning!!! It only took him 1 hour to think about food for fuel and that was the missing link. I thought it may take him a few days to get rid of the cravings that he had been giving in to w/ sweets and his beer but he was ready to eat like he wanted to perform.
Karel, and I'm sure many other people, don't have to worry about body composition as much as performance. With so many people, there is so much muscle mass that calories just come in and then go out. But for the majority of people, food is fuel and ultimately, performance is reflected by the food you eat.
And to put my study of 1 to the test, Karel came back from 12 x 30 sec at 595 watts w/ 4:30 recovery and he said he felt good. Never great because those intervals are just way too hard, but he was happy that he was able to finish the test and feel good at the end.

My tips for recovery week:

Take off a week of whatever (exerice, nothing, unstructured activity) if you are coming off a marathon, half marathon, 70.3 or IM AND are planning on doing another race in the next couple of weeks or 2 months.

Take off 2-3 days after a half marathon, olympic distance or 70.3 if you are have no future race planned in the next 2 months. After the 2-3 days, get into some type of exercise routine, which doesn't have to be planned or structured.

Enjoy some of your favorite foods the day after a big race if you crave them. Be sure to focus on protein w/ your carbs, especially if the carb is high in sugar. The 3-4 days after a race be sure to clean up the diet by reducing your "sweets" and focusing on balanced meals and snacks.

The day after a race be sure to eat regularly every couple of hours for meals and snacks. If you aren't exercising, be sure to eat within 1 hour of waking (after your coffee is fine) and try not to eat within 1 hour of going to bed. A small snack is recommended around 1-2 hours after dinner of around 50-150 calories if you have to give in to cravings.

Always choose water as your main source of hydration during the day.

Listen to your body when you are eating. Are you hungry because your blood sugar has dropped or are you eating because your stomach is empty? By eating sweets, drinking coke and not drinking enough water you will find your blood chemicals altering and you may find difficulty controlling what, how much and when you eat when you do decide to kick up the intensity.



Time to learn a little about me....

10 years ago I was.....
16 years old, finishing my sophomore year of HS. I was swimming around 15 hours a week for my USA Swimming team and HS. I was also playing piano, studying to maintain my 3.5+ GPA and dancing at the "club" on saturday nights with my girls. I was also really into boys but I didn't have time for a bf....luckily, they were all losers and now I have a keeper (karel). I wanted to be a reconstructive surgeon for the face and hoped to go to medical school after swimming in college.

5 years ago....
I just finished my senior year of college and graduated with a BA in Exercise Science and a minor in psychology. I also graduated with 4 years of collegiate swimming and 1 year of cross country (senior year). I worked the summer as a personal trainer at the Y and I completed my first sprint triathlon (which took me around 2 hours). I received a scholarship from FAU and I was packing up my stuff to make the solo move to Davie, Florida for graduate school. I completed an olympic distance triathlon and thought my Giant hybrid was the coolest bike ever.

1 year ago.....
I was enrolling in the online accredited dietetic program to become a registered dietitian. I quit my job at the YMCA as the wellness coordinator to pursue my dream of being a sports nutritionist and started writing, speaking and consulting on a daily/weekly basis. I moved in to my parents house until I was no longer broke from school. Karel and I moved in together and I got engaged to my best friend. My triathlon dream came true and I finished the Ford Ironman world championships.

5 things on my to do list....
1. Study
2. Make dinner
3. Clean (never gets done when it's on my list)
4. Call my mom (everyday)
5. Answer emails

5 snacks I enjoy.....
1. WASA crackers with Publix Crunchy natural PB
2. Blueberries, bananas, cereal, raisins and Lit n' Fit vanilla yogurt
3. Water
4. String cheese
5. Nuts

If I was a billionaire......
1. I would buy a house so I could start a family with Karel.
2. I would give money to the Human Society to be sure all animals have a home and are healthy.
3. I would help out any of my family members who needed help with money (even though it seems like I am always the one struggling with money....chasing my dream perhaps???)
4. I would travel the world with Karel.
5. Karel and I would do more races far away.
6. I would continue my education and get a PhD.
7. I would fly Karel's entire family to the US to visit us and I would visit all of my family more often.

6 people I would like to have lunch with tomorrow.....
1. All my good girlfriends from HS
2. My brother (who lives in Pitt, PA)
3. Karel's parents
4. My grandma (who passed away when I was 12)
5. My dog Misty who passed away last year. Well, I'd like to give her my left over food because she always liked to "cook" with me.
6. Anyone who I can pick their brain about sports nutrition research.

5 places I have lived.....
1. Lexington, Kentucky
2. Davie, Florida
3. New Port Richey, FL
4. Dunedin, FL
5. Jacksonville, FL

5 Jobs I have had....
1. Pool Manager
2. Personal Trainer/spin instructor
3. Graduate Assistant/researcher
4. Wellness coordinator
5. Sports Nutrition consulting/writer/speaker (current)


I wish....

I love the olympics!! How inspiring and motivating, watching all these athletes pursuing a dream. A wish for many just to make it to the trials but a lifetime of training to land on the podium in Bejing. Karel and I spent the weekend watching cycling and the olympics. The Tour is exciting and for the third year in a row, I love listening to Karel's comments on the race. I think Phil L. may lose his job to Karel if Phil continues to mess up on teams and the names of the athletes :) As far as the olympics I am reminded of all my 10 years of competitive swimming. I swam from the age of 12 (late bloomer for a swimmer) until I graduated from college. I remember going into all my races (100 breast, 200 fly and 200 IM) wishing for a win. I never won a meet, just a win for my heat or a win in pre-lims to make it into finals. I would wish for a great race, a great season or a great relay win. I see many of the athletes in the olympics thanking God (or a higher being) and I'm sure there is a lot of wishing prior to the events. Wishing to not get injured at the trials, wishing to place top 1,2 or 3 in order to make a team and wishing for a teammate to have a great race. While training your body to compete at a top level is one thing, having confidence and wishful thinking is what a race comes down to. Wishing and hoping come with every athlete before a race and I know that I've wished for things (no rain, wind or fast competition) and ultimately my wish doesn't come true. But wishing is always fun when it comes to a competitive event.
Well, then we get to the wishing of a loved one or friend. You wish they would not be sick anymore, you wish your friend/loved one didn't have to pass away and you wish that your loved one or friend didn't have to get an illness or disease. Again, wishing may not do any good but a wish to change something bad or to feel bad for a situation is just part of being sensitive and having feelings.
How many times have you wished that you could easily lose weight? When was the last time you wished that you could eat as much as your significant other or your friend? Did you find yourself wishing that eating healthy could be easy?
I hear from a lot of people that they wish they could just eat whatever they wanted and not have to worry about what they are eating. Wishing that they didn't have to feel restricted with food when trying to lose weight. I even catch myself watching Karel and wishing that I could eat like him. Eating as much as he wants, eating whatever he wants and just not worrying about what he eats. Well, I started thinking about how silly I was sounding when I actually "wished" that I could eat differently. I am eating for me and my body. If I could wish for anything, I wish that people on bikes wouldn't get hit by cars. I wish that animals wouldn't get hit by cars. I wish that there was a cure for all cancers. I wish that people could live to old age without getting killed by vehicles or guns. I wish that my parents, grandparents, brother and family members could all live a happy and healthy life. There are things that I wish for....not that I should be wishing that i could eat whatever I want.
I think people tend to wish for things to be easy. Well, most things. When it comes to training for a triathlon or a cycling race, you are ok with the fact that it won't be easy. Training your body to get stronger or faster takes time and a lot of hard work. Training for an event doesn't happen over night and it takes a lot of dedication. When it comes to losing weight or getting more lean, it is not easy. A lot of people feel that gaining weight is easy but when you think about increasing your risk of being sick/being ill, increasing stress, increasing sadness and the other many emotions that come with gaining weight, it isn't fun. However, losing control of good eating habits is what causes people to gain weight. Eating something or more of something is what puts on pounds. Losing weight does involve restriction but you are restricting yourself from foods which caused you to put on the extra pounds. Eating conciously and being smart with your food choices may be difficult at first but then you learn to eat for yourself. You no longer have to wish that you could eat like everyone else because you know you are eating to be healthy.
I know losing weight is hard and I know eating to fuel your training is hard. But rather than wishing to be like someone else or wishing for an easier option, enjoy the process of eating healthy and ultimately the rewards will be priceless.