Essential Sports Nutrition



As I sit here drinking my cofee, I thought I'd post a new article I wrote.
Before you rush out the door and think about what to have for breakfast, enjoy the following article which is found on (train section).
*And fella's, you can read this article and have the same meals :)

Breakfast for EVERY Woman
By Marni Rakes, M.S., CISSN

Feeling rushed in the morning? Do you find it hard to wake up early for a morning workout, get your kids out the door on time and squeeze in a filling, nutritious meal after hitting the snooze button one too many times? While breakfast might be the last thing on your mind as you dash out the door, it is important that a morning meal has a place in your routine.

For many individuals, consuming large late-night dinners, or many calorie-rich evening snacks, reduces the urge to eat upon waking. Likewise, eating dinner within an hour or two before bedtime may cause poor absorption of food and a restless night of sleeping. Avoid waking up to a full stomach by giving yourself at least three hours to digest a 400-500 calorie dinner (rich in lean protein, a little fat and complex carbohydrates) before going to bed. A small protein snack of around 50-150 calories is optional about an hour prior to bed, but avoid over-indulging in sweets, which tend to be high in empty calories and sugars.

As for the majority of active women, an early morning workout is how you like to start the day. Working out on an empty stomach is recommended for workouts lasting around an hour (or less), but neglecting to refuel post-workout is an unhealthy start to the day. The body has enough stored glycogen (digested carbohydrates) in the muscles to help you finish a 60-minute moderately intense workout first thing in the morning so long as the daily diet is balanced with several small protein and carbohydrate snacks (150-200 calories) and three portion-controlled meals (400-500 calories) every day.

In order to have plenty of energy for your morning workout, eating late at night is not an option. Workouts become compromised when undigested food is sitting in the stomach or you wake up bloated due to a late-night meal. Furthermore, eating too many simple carbohydrates in the evening increases the chance for unstable blood sugar levels, poor storage of muscle glycogen (potential fuel) and the probability that excess calories will be stored as fat.

Breakfast is the first chance to refuel liver and muscle glycogen after an overnight fast. Eating breakfast will not only help you recover quickly after a morning workout, but your mind and body will also feel energized all day. People who skip breakfast tend to be moody, irritable and tired and have a tendency to snack excessively, feel famished at lunchtime and experience uncontrollable cravings throughout the day.

The morning meal must be practical and easy. You must anticipate the morning meal and know exactly what you will eat before starting your day. Your morning meal should be nutritious, filling and high in complex carbohydrates. Adding fiber, protein and fat to your calorie-controlled 350-500 calorie morning meal will also keep you full throughout the morning. Picking up your breakfast at a fast-food restaurant can be avoided by having ready-to-prepare items on-hand at your work or at your home. Breakfast does not have to take 30-minutes to prepare, but trying to save time with frozen meals and processed bars are not healthy food choices for your first meal of the day.Try some of the following food items to ensure that you never have to skip breakfast again!

The Busy Mom - PB&J Wrap
*For mom, kids and the hubby too!
1 whole-wheat wrap (Check low-carb wraps to save calories. Prioritize fiber, protein and calories when finding the best wrap)
1 tbsp. natural or organic peanut butter
1 ½ tbsp. strawberry low-sugar or sugar-free jelly
1 tbsp. raisins
2 tbsp. slivered almonds or 1/4 cup granola (or dry cereal)

Heat wrap for 10 seconds in microwave. This will help peanut butter spread easily. Spread peanut butter and jelly on wrap covering the entire inside of the wrap.
Sprinkle raisins, almonds and/or granola (or cereal) on wrap.
Roll up wrap and you are ready to go.
*Optional: Eat with apple slices (1/2 apple, sliced).

The Active Woman – Vanilla Strawberry Smoothie (w/ chocolate!!)
*Within 30-minutes post-workout
½ cup light Silk vanilla milk
½ cup water
1/3 cup sliced strawberries (best if frozen)
4 ounces strawberry lit n’ fit yogurt
4-5 ice cubes
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (1 serving protein should have 90-120 calories and at least 18g protein)
1 tbsp. Sugar-free syrup or 1 oz. dark chocolate bar

Blend first 5 ingredients until smooth. May need to add more water.
Add protein powder and blend until smooth. May need to add more water.
Poor into a tall cup. Drizzle 1 tbsp. sugar-free chocolate syrup on top or chop 1 ounce of dark chocolate and sprinkle on top :-)
*Optional: Eat orange slices or berries w/ smoothie (about ½ orange or ½ cup berries).

The Woman Trying To Lose Weight - Quick, Simple And Yummy Waffles With Eggs
2 frozen whole-wheat waffles
2 tbsp. fat-free strawberry cream cheese
Sugar-free syrup
1/8 cup chopped walnuts
4 eggs
¼ cup skim milk
Spray butter

Toast waffles. While waffles are toasting, spray a large microwave safe bowl w/ 4 squirts of spray butter to cover inside of bowl.
Crack 3 egg whites and 1 whole egg in bowl and add milk. Scramble eggs until they are mixed well.
Microwave eggs for 60-90 seconds (eggs may pop if left in microwave too long). Stir eggs and microwave again for 60-90 sec. until soft.
Eggs should be properly cooked, but soft enough to separate with a fork. Spoon out eggs onto a plate and “scramble” eggs with the bottom of a fork until eggs look scrambled.
Place the two waffles on the plate and spread w/ fat-free strawberry cream cheese (1 tbsp. per waffle). Sprinkle chopped walnuts on waffles and drizzle with sugar-free syrup.
Heat plate in microwave for 30-45 sec. until warm. Enjoy!
*Optional: Spoon 2 -4 ounces of strawberry or vanilla Lit n’ Fit yogurt on waffles.

The Office Woman – Nutty Oatmeal With Fruit
1/3 cup instant oatmeal
2 tbsp. raisins
1/4 cup skim/soy milk
1/4 cup mixed nuts (peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, walnuts – best if all chopped)
1/8 scoop protein powder (90-120 calories per serving, at least 18g protein)

Combine oatmeal, milk and fixings (nuts, cinnamon, raisins) in a large microwave safe bowl. You may need to add more water depending on your preference for the consistency of the oatmeal.
Cook for 90 sec - 2:30. Stir at 90 seconds and keep reheating.
Add protein powder when oatmeal is finally cooked to your liking.
While oatmeal is cooking, cut up fruit and eat 3/4 cup fruit with oatmeal.
Save the extra fruit for a mid morning snack w/ yogurt.

*If your office does not have a microwave, use hot water from a coffee machine.
*To save time, prepare all fixings for oatmeal (except protein powder) the night before work and place in the refrigerator in a zip-lock bag. When at work, oatmeal will be ready for the microwave. Don’t forget a Tupperware microwave safe bowl, spoon and knife for cutting fruit!
*Water is always an option when you don’t have skim/soy milk.


School is out for the Summer!!

Before I talk about my freedom from my books, I'll talk about interval tuesday and my wed workout.

Tuesday morning was great. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see all my buddies at SwimFit at the Palm Harbor Y so I rolled out of bed at 4:40am (haven't seen that time for a workout in a LONG time!) and headed to the Y. I was shocked that the Y was completely remodeled since I had been there in May but I still had lots of great memories from my swim team and interval tuesdays. The swim started at 530am and we did a lot of drill sets of 50's. We finished at 6:30am with 2500 yards and I headed to the treadmill. Tony and Barb joined me on the treadmill as well as Joyce, who didn't plan on participating in my set. What troopers! We were all up for the challenge and with the Olympic distance tri at the end of the month I want to keep my speed training but work on the endurance. Here's the set:
Warm-up: 10 min at 7.6mph
Pick ups: 45 sec at 8.5mph, 15 sec recovery
Main Set:
2 x .5 miles @ 9mph (10K pace or what you'd like to run for a 10K)
3 min run (7.6mph) in between .5 miles
4 x .25 miles @ 9.8mph (5K pace or what you wish you could run for a 5K off the bike)
1 min recovery (7.7mph) in between each 1/4 mile.
2 x .5 miles @ 9mph
3 min run (7.6mph) in between .5 miles

7.3 miles in 50 min. Pheww...that was one hard run!

Wednesday morning I suprised my spin class with a hello as they were spinning away with their new teacher. Next time I will surprise them with one of my spin workouts, just like old times.
I headed to the treadmills at the Landsbrook Y and started a tempo workout at 5:40am. I ran 10 min to warm-up and did a series of pick-ups with some tempo intervals. With lots of welcomed interruptions of people saying hello to me as I am sweating on the treadmill, the workout went something like this:
10 min warm-up at 7.5 mph
5 x 45 sec at 8.5mph
5 min tempo at 8mph
5 x 40 sec at 9mph
5 min tempo at 8pmh
5 x 30 sec at 9.5mph
5 min tempo

I think I ran for 55 min and around 7.5 miles.

OK, so now about school. I am finished! What a relief! I can't believe I just finished 4 courses and my first summer of my dietetic program. I am not close to being over, with 3 more semesters to go, but what a relief to not have to study for a few weeks.
I've learned a few things from my decision to continue my eduction:

1. Education is NOT priceless. It costs a lot and that sucks. I have a little over $1500 more to pay to my parents after already giving them $2200 to cover some of my online dietetic program.
2. Life does not start until you have a degree. I was super ready to have a job, save money and enjoy the weekends when I finished graduate school. Now that I am back in school I can't save money for a house, I have to play with other people's babbies so that I can get over my thoughts that I am ready for a baby and the weekend means study study study.
3. A movie on a week night is the best way to de-stress. Karel and I usually watch a movie once a week and it seems to occur on a mon night. After studying all weekend, I enjoy spending time with Karel and putting my studying behind me.
4. School is not everything. Since graduate school, when my life depended on passing exams with a grade of a B so that I didn't have to retake a course, I have learned that school doesn't have to run my life. Where I use to spend 8-10 hours a day studying, in addition to late nights of falling asleep to cardiovascular physiology and a pile of research articles, now I focus on good sleep, training, spending time with karel and balancing it all with studying and completing my assignments. It is all about time management and as stressed as I get, I know there will always be another day so long as I don't procrastinate.
5. Jobs and school. Besides graduate school when I was a graduate assistant for research and lab work, I never worked during school. In undergrad I swam part-time hours, at least 18-20 hours a week. There was no time for a job when I studied all the time and had swim meets almost every week for at least 3 months straight. I worked my butt off in the summer to have some money but just going to school seemed to take up so much of my time. Now that I have to make money in order to just live, I find that my sports nutrition consultations, articles, videos and talks keep me grounded. My "jobs" which take up most of my time (when I'm not studying or training) confirm why I am going to school. I am so passionate about nutrition and it is nice that I can finally be in school for something that I know I will continue as a profession.
6. School has made me a better athlete.. When I'm in school, training is a big relief from studying. It is no question to wake up in the morning and not get excited to train. Looking forward to the next day's workout is a great motivator to get as much stuff done as I can during the day so I can get a good night's sleep and feel energized for a morning workout. My workouts are quality workouts since I have no time to piddle around with quantity/volume. Also, I have to prioritize my races so that I can do a race a month and actually focus on it as a key race. I don't really believe in A,B and C races (mostly because races cost money and I have to do well to make use of the moeny) so I use my time management and discipline to get ready for races just like I don't procrastinate for school.

Well, enough about that. I should just get off the computer and relax. Well, until tomorrow when I catch up a million "job" stuff that I have put off this week to prepare for my last week of school.
Just one more day to this week and then Karel and I will be enjoying ourselves at the Jacksonville Cycling Classic! Road race for both of us and perhaps, i will also race on sun.


New VIDEO!!!

Visit to learn how to pack a bike in a bike case!!!

*A big thanks to Kate's FELT. She left her bike in Karel's hands for a few days so we thought we'd make a video of packing up the bike!
*And a big thanks to Karel for sharing his smartness in the area of bikes and everything that has to do with cycling :)

  • Bike Case Video
  • 8/4/08

    50 million bazillion things

    That is how much I have to do this week, including what has already been done since Saturday.
    This is my last week of summer school...THANK GOODNESS! I can't take anymore. I love school and my dietetic program but I think I will go crazy if I have to do another assignment, take another exam or do another group project...all on the Internet! The online school is great for managing my time and studying but it requires a lot of time, discipline and commitment. Sometimes I fail and I have a late night of trying to cram in some studying or finishing an assignment but for the most part I am just trying to stay calm with everything and get stuff done on time.
    After the race on sat there was no time to relax. I rushed home (1 hour drive), showered (I was covered in fire ant bites and mosquito bites and 1 shower wasn't enough to get rid of the itchies) and get into the car for the cake tasting appointment. Karel and I have been looking forward to this for a while, not only because we get to eat cake but we get to design our wedding cake!! To offset any spikes in blood sugar since all I had after the race was grapes, a fig newton and 1/2 bagel I had some nuts and yogurt on the car ride to the bakery.
    As soon as we walked into Chef Nelson's studio we were given a plate of samples of cake w/ samples of creams and icings. YUMMMMMMM! I wanted seconds and as much as I hinted that the cake was SOOO good, I only got one plate of cake pieces.
    Chef Nelson is one of the vendors I can use as part of the wedding package for Bon Appetite (reception in Dunedin) and once I saw his website I knew Chef Nelson was the one for Karel and I! Chef Nelson was not only on Bridezillas (a wonderful show for a bride-to-be) and in the future he will be on Dr.Phil for a wedding special, but Chef Nelson specializes in healthier options for cakes. With a background in dietetics, Chef Nelson was perfect for our wedding! He is so passionate, dedicated and just plain excited to be around couples who are planning their wedding cakes.
    Without spilling any details about our cake, it is going to be awesome! Karel designed the whole thing and there will be lots of special touches which have to do with the wedding theme. What I can tell everyone is that the cake is completely Green and vegetarian friendly. We wanted a yummy cake but not an unhealthy cake. As one of his specialities, Chef Nelson was super excited to make our cake with no saturated fats and unhealthy sugars. There will be all natural ingredients, no egg yolks and no high fructose corn syrup. To make a healthy cake, Chef Nelson uses real fruit parfaits, egg whites and other natural ingredients. Karel and I have three tiers and three different types of cakes...which will all be super yummy. Ok, that's all I can spill about the cake. You will have to wait until Oct. 26 for pics and not even Karel and I will see the finished cake until we are married!
    So after eating cake, Karel and I headed home around 2pm for breakfast. Yeah, so our day was a little thrown off but we still needed to eat. We watched a movie in the afternoon (Awake was sat's movie and fri night we watch The Debaters) and relaxed.
    Sat evening we had plans at Carraba's with the Gearlink gang. Just to tell ya how great these people are and how good of friends we have, an email was sent at 5pm on friday that we were in town and 20 people showed up for dinner!! All the gearlink guys brought their wives and Karel and I had the best time laughing, chatting and catching up. The gearlinkers were all interested in how our wedding planning was coming and how we were doing in JAX. Ok, just to get a good laugh the waiter tapped all the individual bills together and handed it to Karel and I. Apparently, Karel expressed at that moment that he does not speak English and that he and I needed to take a quick bathroom break. Everyone had a big laugh that Karel and I were supposed to pay the $550+ bill but then all was good when I told them that we would have no electricity, water, cable or gas in our cars for the next month. hehe :)
    I just love our friends and I'm so thankful that we have people in our lives that will come to dinner with us on a drop of a dime (or email). Thanks to all of them for being in our lives!
    Sunday came quickly and Karel headed to San Antonio for his hilly group ride. A hard, fast and challenging ride but I guess Karel was feeling good since he and two other guys broke away and eventually it was Karel and another good rider in the final sprint. As for me, I joined the Gearlinkers for the sunday morning ride which starts at Publix at 7:30am. I barely made it on time since I was riding 13 miles from home but the wind behind me helped during the last 5 miles. Some of the gearlinkers were surprised to see me and I was so excited to see some more familiar faces. Compared to before we moved to JAX, I couldn't believe how great I felt on Seduza when riding with the guys. There was 10 of us and I rode 45 miles with them. We each took turns rotating whenever we felt like dropping back from pulling. Maybe it was my Zipp race wheels on Seduza but I think it was my confidence in the bike. I had Karel in my head telling me to stay on wheels and to not be scared and I think it worked. After the 45 miles I made my turn to my parents and instead of running outside, I took advantage of my parents treadmill and ran 30 minutes w/ a few pick-up intervals. Next came the pancakes and egg whites and then a jump in the pool. Karel came home a bit later and after he had his whey protein and milk he joined me in the pool. Smudla was a little concerned about the water getting on her princess paws so she stayed as far away as she could from the pool outside. As for my parents cats, they want nothing to do with Smudla.
    The rest of sunday was a little of everything. I worked on assignments for school, I cleaned my car (vacuumed inside) and did laundry. Karel headed out for JAX around 5pm and I picked up my parents at the St.pete airport at 6:30pm.
    So now I am doing wedding stuff with my mom and squeezing in assignments for school. I think I will survive this week but being away from Karel for two days and having lots to do here at my parents, this is one tough and busy week!
    Oh, I had a great 1:15 run today. I just felt so great and fast and I don't know what it is about my body right now but I feel super strong :)