Essential Sports Nutrition


Iron Girl Clearwater 15K race report

5th year at Iron Girl Clearwater and each year tops the last!!!
I've been part of the Iron Girl team since June 2006. I actually started out with the Ironman corporation in Jan 2006 for a 6-month internship which I received shortly after finishing graduate school. I was still lost of what to do in life with my Master of Science in Exercise Physiology but with the Boston Marathon and Ironman Florida on my 2006 racing schedule, I really wanted to understand the inner-workings of multisport events..and where else than with Ironman! I learned SO much about events and I developed a great appreciation of HOW MUCH goes into putting together an event for 1000+ people. I just love the whole crew at Ironman and every chance I get to visit Judy at Irongirl (president) or the Ironman team, I jump right on it.
Judy has been my biggest mentor and a great friend. Based on her passion for all things in life, she has given me the best advice in my life and I credit a lot of my personal successes (racing and education) to her. I think we all have someone in our life who we look up to and I don't think there are enough notes/emails/phone calls to thank that person for being a role model, guide and friend to confide in.

My leg wasn't feeling the best this week and I blame it on recovery week. A lot goes on in our body during recovery week, typically due to the rebuilding of damaged tissues which is required to help us get stronger, faster and more power. My training is built around quality and not quantity but even with my "quality" training, I always look forward to an opportunity to rest my mind. But let me tell ya, as much as I enjoy a recovery week which reduces my volume and increases my recovery time during workouts, my body does some crazy things when I "rest". I am not much of a taper person but Karel and I thought we would give it a go for this race. I really wanted to keep my top 10 placing at Iron Girl Clearwater so I knew I would need to give a solid, 100% performance to be able to run fast in the first ever 15K distance (last few years it was a 10K).

I was really happy that my dad was coming with my mom (who walked the 5K with her aerobic buddies) and I to take pics and cheer us on. My parents are my #1 fans so they know me well and they know what to say...and perhaps, what not to say :) hehe
I love to smile and laugh before a race so if you are ever around me before an Ironman (which seem to give me the least amount of stress compared to shorter distance running and triathlon races) just say something silly to me because I am all about positive and happy vibes before a race.

The race venue was at Pier 60 in Clearwater beach (70.3 World Champ transition area) as opposed to Coachman park in Clearwater. What a beautiful venue! I am a lover of water (I hope one day I can give Campy a house by the water) so I just loved being so close (or right on) the beach.

The race started a few minutes after 7:30 and we were off. Starting at the front helps me start off the race with a faster-than expected pace. Although at one time I feared running too fast from the start, I have learned my body and what it can handle. So long as I'm not running 6 min/miles, I can take a 10-15 sec faster than expected pace for the first few miles.

I saw a few familiar faces on the course within the first mile but after a few exchanges of "hello" it was time to put on the game face..with a smile.

As I ran towards the Memorial Causeway to head towards downtown Clearwater, I passed a few women but kept my eyes on the 3 women ahead of me. I looked forward to the bridge to drop a few of the ladies who were on my tail and as I ran down the bridge, my leg started to feel a little weak.
Karel told me to not push through any type of pain and I needed that confirmation to remind myself that this is my lifestyle, not my job. I can push through the pain at IMWI (hopefully I will have minimized my leg problems by Sept) in an effort to get back to Kona for 2011, but right now in my season, no finish should come with an injury.
I had two loops in downtown Clearwater and luckily, there were a few slight inclines that relieved the pressure off my upper rt. hip/quad. The course was super entertaining with celebrity impersonators, men on stilts, bagpipers, a guy dressed as Barney and what race would be without Girl Scouts handing out Girl Scout Cookies?
I was loosing my mojo from miles 3.5-5 so I had no choice but to slow down. I was amazed that my "slow" pace was just under 7 min/miles (based on my comfort) but I questioned if I should slow down some more. After 10-20 sec. of running slow, my leg felt better and I was able to pick up the pace again.
The second lap was much more comfortable (well, compared to the first loop). I got into a good rhythm with my running, I wasn't experiencing fatigue and I was feeling steady. I have to say, passing all of the other Iron Girls on their 1st loop totally made my day. I was so inspired by the other women cheering me on that I forgot I was on my 2nd loop. There were a few times that I couldn't help but laugh because I could hear the strangest and funniest conversations by the women on the course. I had a few moments were I thought to myself "why do I torture myself by running so hard/fast? Look how much fun it is to run and chat with your friends!" Well, I guess for some of us we have our own ideas of "fun" :)
I really thought I would need to walk at this point in the race but I was feeling the energy from the other 800+ athletes on the course.
As I approached the bridge, I was so happy that I was almost done. Having gone from "how am I going to finish this" from miles 2-5, to "I can't believe I am in 4th overall" at mile 7, I was ready to get to the top of the bridge.
Once again, my legs love bridges and inclines so I welcomed the bridge. Looking behind me, I see a girl w/ excellent form chasing me down. I figured, I managed to hold on to my lead for this long, let's just see if I can make it to the bottom of the bridge before getting passed.
After looking at my watch and seeing that the course was long, I was battling with myself to maintain my pace. I was hurting for the last mile. I ran onto the grass, from the sidewalk, to give myself a little relief from my leg (which wasn't hurting but just starting to fatigue on me...just like the rest of my body). Shortly after passing mile marker 8, a girl passed me and in my head (I tried to say it out loud but words weren't coming out of my mouth) I just said to myself "go get it are doing great!".
I was hoping that others were slowing down because I was running out of gas. That last mile went on forever. Where is that stinking finish line? It was just the funniest feeling because my HR was controlled but I was giving my all to give that final push to finish the race.
Seeing that my garmin had the course at 9.5 miles, I was thrilled with my 1:06 finish time. Karel always tells me that I can't compare my times between races especially when courses differ, weather changes and the terrain presents changes in elevation. So, at the end of the day, I am in no way disappointed with my performance.
Overall stats:
5th overall female/out of 841
1st age group/out of 124
Clock finishing time: 1:06.12

My garmin stats:
Distance: 9.58 miles
Mile 1: 6:37
Mile 2: 6:58 (bridge)
Mile 3: 6:45
Mile 4: 6:51
Mile 5: 6:53
Mile 6: 6:55
Mile 7: 7:04 (bridge)
Mile 8: 7:06
Mile 9: 6:59
.58: 4:01 (6:59 pace)
Time: 1:06.17
Pace: 6:55 min/mile

As much as I was ready for the race to be other, it is always a crazy feeling when you cross the finish line. For me, I couldn't believe my pace. In my wildest dreams would I think I could run sub 7 min/miles. My mom was at the finish line and she was super proud. I quickly saw my dad and he was camera-ready.
My parents headed towards the post-race cafe (which is an amazing spread of post-race food from a catering company) and I needed to warm-down. I headed back on the course for a little jog (9:30 min/mile pace) about 1/2 mile until I saw one of my athletes, Andrea, who I am coaching for IMKY this Aug. I ran with her for a few minutes and gave her the little push (by picking up my pace to 9 min/miles) that we all need sometimes to get that PR we want so bad. Congrats Andrea on your PR!

What a great race. If you ever have the opportunity to participate in an Iron Girl event (Sorry guys, women only for the race. But guys can make great cheerers!) please sign up! One day I hope to do all of the Iron Girl events but for now, next on my Iron Girl schedule is Iron Girl Atlanta in June (Triathlon).

Congrats all Iron Girls!

Enjoy the pics!
*thanks dad!!
*sorry Campy-lovers. My BFF stayed home. However, my family (and Campy) have a BBQ (w/ Marni-friendly foods) to go to tomorrow on a 6-acre field....can't wait!


Iron Girl pre-race clinic - helpful tips

This has been a heck of a week. Good thing I work well under pressure, like a challenge and like to keep myself busy. I have a great blog to write but that will come in a day or two.
After my 3 1/2 hr drive to my parents, I finished up some work on the computer from 3-5pm and jumped back in the car at 5:20 (PB&J w/ nuts, raisins and banana for the road) w/ my mom to head to International Mall (Tampa) for the Iron Girl pre race clinic.
The clinic was at Fit 2 Run and it was packed! Judy said over 1000 people picked up their race packet (2700 women are registered for the race) and a good 70-80 people stayed for the talks.
Before my talk was the Polar HR monitor talk. This is my 4th time speaking at an Iron Girl event so it's always great speaking after a HR talk. In my opinion, your HR is the basis of how you eat, what you eat and how much you eat before, during and after training/racing. No matter how many times I speak at Iron Girl, the Polar reps always provide information which I use in my talk so I think we work really well together. Thanks Judy for letting me speak (and write) on behalf of Iron Girl...the best all-women's event series EVER!!

As you know, I don't always have the same philosophy's as other "sport nutritionists". I believe in listening to your body and finding out what you need rather than giving your body what you think you need. Just like with commercials on TV there is a lot of information out there in magazines and on the internet, regarding training/racing nutrition and it can be really hard to create a nutrition plan that works for you because the information is too specific. Training and racing nutrition should be simple. You have enough stuff to worry about before and during a race ( Ironman or marathon) that it can feel extremely stressful to focus on x-amount of calories, x-amount of sodium/electrolytes, x-amount of amino's, x-amount of liquids, etc. When was the last time you ever measure your fluids at an aid station to make sure you sipped on 4 ounces to give you 20 ounces per hour?

Here are some tips from my talk regarding running nutrition:
-Racing nutrition (and training) is all about experimentation. Every athlete will have at least 1 nutrition-related problem in their lifestyle (ha-you'd be lucky if you only had 1). The most successful athletes (regardless of finishing time) not only know how to prevent nutrition related problems BUT know how to deal with them when a problem arises. Just because you have a nutrition-related problem in a race, it doesn't mean your day is over!
-Daily nutrition, training nutrition and racing nutrition is individualized. You are the only subject in your personal experiment. Don't worry about your friends, don't worry about your teammates and don't worry about what the Pro's/Elite's are doing. Listen to yourself.
-Work your way up in nutrition rather than down. In the early part of your season, start with a low range of hourly calories (liquid calories) and as you work up in volume and intensity for your long training sessions, listen to your body to see what it is you need to focus on during your training. Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? Are you lightheaded? Are you fatigued? When are these things happening and what can you do to minimized these performance limiters?
-Always work backwards with your training. If you are feeling lightheaded at 3 hours in a 4 hour ride, what did you consume in the last hour? If you are feeling hungry at 2 hours during a workout, what did you consume before the workout? If you have an upset/crampy stomach at 1 hour into a workout, what did you have before or during the workout?
-You must always work on your training nutrition. The more efficient you become with your workouts, the less you will need to fuel your workouts. The harder you push during the workout, the more difficult it is to consume, digest and absorb nutrition products to maintain energy levels.
-We all react differently to the fuels we put in our body. Some fuels are more beneficial and useful than others, especially at longer distances. Depending on age, fitness, body composition, height, intensity, duration, environment and terrain, the nutrition consumed by a top age-grouper running a 3:30 marathon will be completely different than the person who is running their first marathon at a 12 min/mile pace, 70% HR.
-Do not carbo AND calorie-load the night before a race. Sure, you can have more carbohydrates than normal (Ex. rather than have 2 servings of vegetables, have 2 slices of bread w/ your veggies) but you aren't aiming to eat everything in site...especially if it is a carb. Maintain a normal diet as if you were training normally, as you taper for a race (reduce training volume). Rather than eating a high calorie, heavy carbohydrate meal the night before a race, focus on a portioned controlled balanced meal rich in complex carbs and a little protein and fat.
-Plan to eat a pre-race meal around 5-6:30pm the night before a race (at least 4-5 hrs before bed). You can have a small protein snack in the evening (100-150 calories) after your meal but give yourself plenty of time to digest your meal before laying down for bed.
-Do not go into your pre-race dinner meal starving (or any meal for that matter). Considering most races start early in the morning, you don't want to feel stuffed after dinner and without an appetite to eat a pre-race meal/snack. Eat a pre-meal snack around 50-80 calories of protein or fiber (nuts, string cheese, yogurt, apple, carrots, milk) around 20-30 min before your pre-race dinner is served.
-Drink plenty of water the days leading up to a race. However, you should never neglect water on a daily basis. While your performance may be enhanced by going into a race well-hydrated, your body needs water every day, all day..not just the 2-3 days leading up to a race.
-Pass on carbonated beverages, soda's, energy drinks and alcoholic beverages before a race which may mask the feeling of hunger. Especially with calorie-free drinks, you may find yourself missing opportunities to eat (Ex. snacks) because you are drinking a drink w/ carbonation or sugar alcohols.
-Do not overeat the morning of a race...even if it is a marathon or Ironman. You are simply topping off your fuel tank. Whether it is 100-150 calories before a 5K or sprint triathlon or 400-550/600 calories before a marathon or Ironman (Respectively) you have plenty of stored carbs (glycogen) in your muscles to fuel your race.
-Focus on a complex carbs as the main component of your pre-race meal, with protein and fat. Adding protein or fat to your carbohydrate pre-race meal/snack (ex. 1/2 bagel w/ PB and banana rather than 1 bagel w/ banana) will stabilize blood sugar, slow down digestion and keep you satisfied throughout the race.
-Practice your pre-race meal (at racing intensity) so that you know your meal will sit well and digest well before the race.
-Sip on a maltodextrin-based drink before race start (races lasting more than an hour) and if needed, consume an energy gel 15-20 min before the race start (90+ min races). Avoid solid food after your pre-race snack/meal. The later you wait to eat solid food, the more likely your stomach will not agree with what you are putting in your body.
-If you feel hungry before a race, ask yourself if you are truly hungry? With your taper, carb dinner and pre-race snack, you have PLENTY of fuel for the race. You are likely nervous, anxious or excited.
-You know my feelings of fructose, glucose drinks. I recommend maltodextrin based drinks and gels during races/training.
-Avoid solid food during races lasting less than 2-3 hrs. If you do get hungry (and you feel you ate enough in the morning) have a small piece of a bar or your choice of "food".
-As far as chomps, beans and blocks, I call these things "stomach satisfiers" and not "energy givers". If you want to break up the monotony of your liquid calories (which is your primary way of fueling training/racing in order to maintain energy and hydration levels) plan for 30-50 calories per hour (after 2 hrs), in addition to your liquid calories, to enjoy a block, a few beans or your choice of "chewy" treat (I like Twizzler Cherry bites during my Ironman races).
-If you find yourself racing at an intensity that you did not train for and can not sustain, be prepared for nutrition-related problems. If you are running 7 min/miles for the first 3 miles of a half marathon but your long runs are typically around 8:20 min/miles, energy gels, sport beans and high calorie drinks probably won't give you the energy you need to keep up your unsustainable/untrained effort. Expect problems due to your body working harder than you have trained it to work. Sadly, we can't blame everything on nutrition.
-When planning your racing/training nutrition, consider your HR and distance-covered. The more efficient you are, the faster you can perform at a lower HR. While taking in nutrition may be easy at a tolerable HR your body may not require an excess amount of calories. The harder you push out of your comfort zone, the higher the HR, quicker you deplete your energy stores and the more difficult it is to consume, digest and absorb calories.
-Improve performance by using the best fuels possible (I recommend Hammer but if choose otherwise, look for a maltodextrin-based drink) however be realistic on race day. Know what will be on your race course and if you can tolerate it, use it if you need it. For the longer races, you can usually bring along most of your favorite nutrition products, which may sit better in your body. While Gatorade may not be your primary fuel source, it is typically out on the course. Be mindful that you are going to perform at your best due to your training and not just by what you drink at the aid stations (unless your body does not work well with what is offered at aid stations).
-Avoid negative self-talk before a race. Develop a healthy relationship with food so that you can use food to fuel your workouts and your lifestyle. While you certainly shouldn't avoid food for fear of gaining weight on the days leading up to a race, you shouldn't eat anything and everything "just because" you have a race.
-Your fitness is not defined by a number on a scale. You will always live a healthy and active life to work towards personal weight/fitness goals (yes-you will always need to work hard to live a healthy and active life..but hopefully you are loving it while you are doinging it!). One or two races, not at your goal weight, will not be the deciding factor of whether or not you perform at your best.


Pimento Cheese Dip & Non-vegetarian Crock-pot Chicken Cacciatore

The other day, my friend asked me if I could make her a healthy Pimento Cheese Dip for a party this weekend. I was up for the challenge!
First thing I did to re-create this recipe was look up a few recipes on the internet to see the common ingredients. Most of the recipes called for Mayo, Pimentos and Sharp cheese as the key ingredients.
Next thing I did was go grocery shopping.....I LOVE grocery shopping! It's quite easy and quick for me since we have a set grocery list but if I am ever at the grocery store more than 20 min. (most of that time is spent bagging up fruits and veggies) I'm usually checking out new products, reading labels and dreaming up recipes in my head.
BTW-my weekly grocery tab for Karel and me (typically wal-mart) is $70-80. On top of that, I probably head to Food Lion, Publix and Big Lots 1-2 times per week to pick up any "extras" that I run out of or need for new creations. This will run me around $30-50 a week, depending on how many new creations I decide to make. I am a BIG discount shopper and a BIG fan of off-brands. However, when it comes to fruits and veggies, I love reading weekly ads to find out what is on sale and where I can find it at a cheap price. Since the weather is warmer, I plan on heading to the Farmer's market as much as I can.

So, when I arrived at Wal-mart I gathered my typical foods and headed to the cheese section. In order to truely re-create this recipe, I needed to find out what is in the original food that Kathryn (my friend) enjoys with her Pimento party tradition.

I was quite surprised when I read the ingredients for Pimento Cheese. Let me share them with you:

Knott's Old Fashioned: Pimiento Cheese Spread

Processed Swiss/American Cheese Food (Swiss Cheese (Pasteurized Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes), American Cheese (Pasteurized Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Water, Cream, Whey, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, And Artificial Color (Annatto And Paprika)), Salad Dressing (Soybean Oil, Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Modified Food Starch, Egg Yolks, Salt, Cider Vinegar, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Spice, Xanthan Gum, Calcium Disodium EDTA (To Protect Flavor), And Natural Flavors), Red Pimientos (Diced Red Pimientos, Water, And Citric Acid).

Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size: 2 tbsp
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 100
Calories from Fat: 70
Total Fat 8g
Saturated Fat 2.50g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 15mg
Sodium 340mg
Total Carbohydrate 4g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 1g
Protein 3g

You may be asking yourself...if this is Pimento Cheese, why is Pimento listed as the very last ingredient? I was able to find plenty of cheese in the dip but I was a bit surprised by all of the other ingredients. Then again, I guess my shock factor is low compared to many other people since I have spent the last year and a half reading labels before re-creating recipes.

As I was finishing my shopping, I knew this dip would be a piece of cake to make..and it was! Not to mention, super yummy and cheap! Karel, who is a big on homemade sandwiches for lunch (oh how he loves our Panini maker), absolutely LOVED the dip. We both had it on a WASA cracker after I made it.

Enjoy my latest creation!

Homemade Pimento Cheese Dip

1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar (If you want to reduce fat and a few ingredients, you can go with Cabot reduced fat sharp cheddar)
1 cup non fat Plain Yogurt (you could use 0% Greek Yogurt)
1/8 cup pimento's (I bought them whole in a jar and then diced them)
2 tsp. Parmesan cheese

1. Mix all ingredients in a container and refrigerate.

Campy and I are off to my parents tomorrow morning after my workout. I will be speaking at Fit 2 Run at Tampa International Mall on Thurs for the Iron Girl Pre race clinic (Race is on sat!). Since Karel will be without his personal chef for 4 nights (Karel is a great cook but I think he enjoys coming home to a home cooked meal at 7:20pm) I decided to throw a bunch of foods in the Crockpot so that he can create his own meals for the next few days. I think his options are endless with my creation and speaking from a non-vegetarian, Karel thinks this meal is delicious!

Non-vegetarian Crock-pot Chicken Cacciatore

(vegetarians - you can substitute 1 cup boca crumbles for the chicken)
1 zucchini sliced
1 can vegetarian baked beans (Rinsed)
2 cloves garlic
1 small purple onion
5 large mushrooms (sliced)
1 lb boneless chicken cutlets (defrosted/thawed and then cut)
1 cup Ziti noodles
1/2 cup water
Basil, Pepper

1. Turn Crockpot to 6-hour timer (you could also make this dish in a large pot on the stove.
2. Add zucchini, beans, garlic, onion and mushrooms to crockpot.
3. 10 min. later add chicken and stir (try to get the chicken to go towards the bottom of the pot).
4. 1 hr later, add noodles and water. Stir.
(if you are making this dish and won't be around, you could easily make the noodles later and just add to the crockpot when you are ready to eat.
5. Let cook for at least 4 hrs (Karel said it was ready at 4 hrs).

Asparagus and Mushroom Quiche and Salads Galore!

Asparagus and Mushroom Quiche
3 pieces reduced fat croissants
2 tsp horseradish w/ beets
5 stalks Asparagus (chopped))
4 eggs (2 whole eggs + 2 egg whites) + 1/8 cup skim milk
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp feta cheese
4 whole mushrooms (sliced)
1/8 cup onions (chopped)
Basil & Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Place 1 croissant on a pan (w/ non-stick spray) and press against wall. Spread as much possible. Repeat with other 2 croissants until the bottom of the pan is covered.
3. Spread horseradish sauce on dough (you can use another spread like reduced fat cream cheese, hummus or spicy mustard if you want)
4. Place veggies (mushrooms, onions, asparagus) on dough.
5. Mix together eggs, milk, garlic and feta in a bowl.
6. Pour evenly over veggie mixture.
7. Cook for 30-40 min. or until eggs are firm in middle. Top with basil, pepper and any additional no-salt spices.


I don't like boring salads. Boo for iceberg lettuce, cucumbers and croutons. I think it is perfectly fine to have a salad for a "meal" but just be sure you are giving yourself enough calories and food to feel satisfied and prevent overeating later in the day. Try adding some healthy fat and lean/low fat protein to your greens, in addition to a mix of veggies and fruit.
It only takes 1 extra ingredient or one food swap out to make a boring salad become super exciting. Who would have thought that you could be excited by a salad??
Get creative with your salads so that you can look forward to a little of everything...especially when the "everything" is nutritious!
Here are some of my salad creations:

Cranberry and sunflower seeds

Pineapple Almond

Orange Strawberry Grape

Pecan Feta Chickpea

Veggie burger, Feta Chickpea

Tangerine Strawberry and hardboiled egg

What's your Favorite Salad Creation???


Lean Cuisine-inspired Apple Cranberry Tofu

A week or so ago I saw a commercial for a Lean Cuisine, Apple Cranberry Chicken, meal. I found myself thinking that this could be a great vegetarian creation. The sweetness of the apple and cranberry would go just perfect with the comforting, warm and delicious taste of whole grain rice and tofu (in place of chicken).
Later that day, I made my own version of a Lean Cuisine Meal and let me tell ya', it was oh-so-good. Karel, who loves my vegetarian meals, was also a big fan of the combination of flavors. Definitely a creation worthy-enough to go on my "creation" page.

The next day I looked up the nutrition facts of the original Apple Cranberry Chicken recipe. Considering that the recipe was inspired from the Lean Cuisine company, I knew that this meal had to be "low" in calories and made from "wholesome" ingredients.
When I attended the 2009 American Dietetic Association Adult Weight Management 2 1/2 day certification course, I learned a lot about how people view food, specifically when it comes to diets. Whereas one person may choose meal replacement bars and frozen meals for convenience, another person may be seeking foods for weight loss or weight management. Although I am a huge proponent of natural and wholesome (little processing/few ingredient) foods, I am also a realist. If you are a person who never eats breakfast but you are trying to change habits to encourage a healthy lifestyle, I would suggest starting your day with a meal replacement bar (as well as limiting extra portions in the late evening) as opposed to suggesting a bowl of oatmeal w/ nuts, raisins and a sliced orange. If you are a person who is used to eating fast food for lunch every day because of a hectic work/life schedule and you feel strongly that you just can't prepare a meal at home before work, I would try to implement a mix of healthy and balanced frozen meals in place of fast foods as well as dedicated a day or two per week to preparing homemade meals. Obviously, we all start somewhere when we create healthy habits because we need to find what works for our life, based on our lifestyle, exercise routine and dietary choices.
Although prepackaged meals take the guessing away from calorie counting, portion control and meal planning, frozen meals (and bars) are not on my list for "maintainable" foods. My idea of eating is to be able to have a healthy relationship with food, in addition to a consistent and realistic exercise routine so that you can stay healthy (and maintain weight) at any age, anywhere in the world at any time of your life. Sure, pre-packed meals/snacks offer convenience and help control, calories, fat and portions but through building a diet rich in wholesome foods, you will find yourself adding more nutrients to your diet, without an excess of calories. If you are seeking ways to eat less, alongside fueling your exercise routine and keeping you energized, it is important to not be overly focused on calories. By adding healthy fats, complex carbs, lean/low fat protein and an abundance of fruits and veggies to your daily diet, you will find it a lot easier to lose weight and/or improve performance through focusing on nutrient timing w/ wholesome food. Also, by incorporating a variety of foods in your diet, you will slowly find exactly what works for you to keep you healthy, energized and happy.

So, let's look at the breakdown of Lean Cuisine Apple Cranberry Chicken:
*Taken from the Lean Cuisine Website
Nutritional Information
Serving Size: 1
Calories: 300
Calories From Fat: 35
Total Fat (g): 4
Saturated Fat (g): 2
Cholesterol (mg): 20
*BTW-on the Lean Cuisine site they spelled cholesterol incorrectly (not cholestorol)
Sodium (mg): 500
Potassium (mg): 430
Total Carbohydrate (g): 54
Dietary Fiber (g): 6
Sugars (g): 24
Protein (g): 14

You are probably thinking that 300 calories isn't a lot and you are correct, it isn't a lot for a meal. I suggest that people keep their meals around an average of 350-500 calories of a variety of heart-healthy foods, in an effort to include more snacks (150-200 calories) throughout the day to keep the blood sugar balanced and provide fuel for workouts, in addition to adding 100-200 extra calories per hour of daily exercise through recovery nutrition. In my opinion, if you focus on your daily exercise routine, in addition to exercise intensity and volume, you will find it so much easier to plan your meals and snacks in an effort to control how much or little you eat for the day. And on top of it all, we are always thinking about filling and satisfying foods to allow us to have a healthy relationship with food.

So, let's look at the ingredients in this 300-calorie meal:

Not sure what you are thinking, but that is a lot of ingredients for a 300 calorie meal. Furthermore, with all of those ingredients to make up a 300 calorie meal, I wonder how much grilled chicken in an apple reduction with cranberries, french cut green beans and whole wheat pilaf you get in 1 box? The description sure sounds appetizing but when it comes down to it, wouldn't you feel more satisfied with more food and less "ingredients".

Here's the nutrition breakdown of my recipe:
3/5 package container Firm Tofu (cubed): 240 calories
1 large red apple (chopped) : 116 calories
1/4 cup chopped onion: 12 calories
3 tbsp chives (chopped): 3 calories
1 ounce dried cranberries: 92 calories
1 cup whole grain brown rice: 170 calories
1 large tomatoes (chopped): 33 calories
2 tsp olive oil: 79 calories
Total: 640 calories
Guess can easily feel satisfied with 1/2 of this entire recipe at a grand total of 320 calories!!! Does that mean you eat a 320 calorie meal? NO! You just get to eat more of other foods like a beautiful topical salad w/ dried coconut, grapefruit, pear, cranberries, feta, carrots and tomato on a bed of spinach

Here's the ingredient list for the foods used in my recipe:
Water, Organic Whole Soybeans, Magnesium Chloride (TOFU)
Apple (Apple)
Chives (Chives)
Long Grain Parboiled brown rice (Whole grain brown rice)
Roma Tomatoes (Roma Tomatoes)
Onion (Onion)
Olive oil (Olive oil)
Short and sweet :)
Enjoy my latest creation!

1. In a large pot drizzle olive oil and turn heat to medium.
2. Add apple, tomato and onion.
3. When apple begins to turn golden brown, add chives, cranberries and tofu.
4. Give a toss and cook until tofu begins to turn slightly golden brown.
5. While apple mixture is cooking, cook 5-minute brown rice in microwave.
6. Top 1/2 of apple mixture on 1/2 cup brown rice. Enjoy!


112 mile (180K) Webster-Roubaix race report

I don't think a race report could possibly sum up this race.
To make this short, here's a recap from the LCA race team blog:

Karel Sumbal, our Czech Republic connection, was the sole member of team Lindner Capital Advisors to make the trip to race the long, hot, and dusty Webster-Roubaix. Racing on these types of roads were similar to the major highways and byways of his motherland, so he felt right at home. With many miles fought on dirt roads, this was a 4 1/2 hour epic event. Karel established himself in the winning break, and then fought on to take 8th place. An awesome ride on a brutal course. This was one of the remaining four Florida Cup series events.

Here's Karel's brief email update on how the race went:

"The Webster was brutal!!! Half way through the race I got into the counter attack of 5 and we were chasing the first break of 3. Than another 3 guys came across from behind. We caught the 3 guys at the front and it was the move of the day with eleven guys total. We were gaining time on the field but I started to cramp and it was still a looong way to go. I had to soft pedal and was not able to push very hard, so when Phill Gaimon and Juan Gaspari attacked the break I could only watch them go away. Than another 2 guys went clear and we were racing for 5th place. I finished 8th as I really couldn't push and was in all kinds of pain."

With his 8th place, he's taken another step towards the coveted Florida Cup. With only 3 races left, a Lindner Capital series victory is well within reach.

Well, here's my recap of the race:
I started my day at 5:20 am with a 1 hr and 20 min. trainer ride (intervals) and a 6 mile run. We left at 8am and 3 hrs later we arrived at Webster. Karel raced at noon (I think he started around 12:20ish) with the Pro's. This is a great race to watch but it sure was a long day.
Campy and I had a great time at the race. Although it was long (12 x 9 mile loops with 2km per lap of hardpack limestone and dirt), we were happy to support Karel. If you ask me, you know what's Ironman. Honestly, I have no trouble spending the day in the middle of nowhere watching Karel keep his 1st place Florida Point Series standing.
Campy was pooped after the race and so was Karel. He could barely stand when he got back to the car. In the middle of somewhat fainting and complete exhaustion, he managed to collapse on our chair and guzzle a few bottles of water. I was very successful feeding Karel from laps 5-11 (1 bottle per lap) except for lap 10 where Karel missed the bottle from my hand. He said that was Ok because he had a full bottle from the last feed on his bike.
Karel told me at lap 5 "my legs are cramping SO Bad". What a bummer to feel pain for 40+ miles. I know Karel's cramping was not nutrition -related. It was hot out and Karel takes a bit of time to acclimate to warm weather. Just a note to all you athletes who are about to pick up volume/intensity in increasing temps - recognize that when you get hot from warm temps your blood must go to the skin for cooling. Some people take longer to acclimate to warmer temps because the body may take a while to perform at a pace that you are used to without a rapid spike in HR. Whereas in cooler weather you may feel GREAT because you have plenty of blood to go to the working muscles, your body is a bit more compromised in the heat.
I am so proud of Karel. He gave everything he had to not drop out of the race. Considering that only 23 people finished the entire race (47 starters), it is absolutely amazing how deep Karel dug to stay in the race.
After 4 hours and 24 minutes, Karel finished 8th in a 5 man break. There were 2 x 2-man breaks and then a pack of 5 (including Karel) which finished a few minutes after the leaders. Karel is still in 1st place (by about 30 pts) in the Florida Cup Series with 3 races to pressure :)

Enjoy my pics...
(Thanks to Christi-Ann and Craig for sharing some of their pics)