Essential Sports Nutrition


Chapters of life

I believe that there are many chapters in life. From the day we arrive on earth until the day we pass away, we welcome experiences and fill our life with memories and momentous times. Of course, with the happy time come the not so wonderful times. It's all part of life. There are times that are sad, times that are stressful and instances which we hope to never repeat. Moving on and welcoming change is always a work in progress. But it isn't until we experience the sad times that we really learn to appreciate all of the wonderful things in life, things that we may even overlook on a daily basis. Do you ever smile when you think about how wonderful it feels to be alive? To breath, to walk and to talk? To travel, to share moments with loved ones, to catch up with friends and to help others? Life is absolutely amazing and I believe in experiencing it to the fullest.

I recently closed a chapter in my life. Although I still have 29 more weeks until I am eligible to sit for the Registered Dietitian national exam, I recently finished the most amazing 8 week, 272 hr community rotation with my amazing preceptor Marilyn. We had so much fun together and I learned so much. She sure did keep me busy (alongside putting together my jam-packed binder of material from assignments throughout the rotation) but I loved that she let me be so creative and that she let me be so involved on everything that she was doing. I will remember this rotation for the rest of my life and I know I will benefit from it, in the near future.
Within the same chapter, I recently completed a summer of IM training...injury-free. Unless you have been reading my blog since 2007, it's likely that you hear about my "leg" problems on occasion. I have been experiencing an undiagnosed leg/hip/back problems since 30 days prior to Kona 2007 (how I finished the IM world championships...I'm not quite sure??). That's 3 LONG years of having a chronic injury that seemed to be un-healable. Not quite sure what I had but with a lot of patience and help from others, I am finally able to sit here and say that I will be racing IMWI injury-free!!!
I am sure that my previous injury will pop up some time during the race but I have been working really hard on my confidence and mind-body connection to convince myself that I am no longer injured. I'll tell ya, after having an injury for SO long, it gets really hard to tell the difference between injured and "soreness". With the help of Karel and an AMAZING training program, I feel stronger than ever and I think I'm almost ready to go for race day! I say almost because I always get stressed/anxious for traveling and I just want to be at my hotel in Madison, WI with my family and Karel. Then, I think I will be 100% ready. Just 8 more days til race day and 5 days til I leave for Wisconsin. I can't wait!!!

This has been an amazing chapter of my life. I'm not sure how I did it all but some how, with balance in mind, I managed to train for an IM and complete my first dietetic internship rotation. I can honestly say, I wouldn't change my life for anything and I look forward to the next chapter in my life, which I welcome shortly after IMWI.

My furry little one is also enjoying life to the fullest. Campy was treated to a complimentary massage by my amazing friend Marjorie who gives the most AMAZING massages! Campy LOVED his massage.


Tuna and Un-Tuna salad sandwiches - Creations

I love making my own spin-off's of favorite pre-made dishes. I think the hardest part of making things at home is always comparing your food to a pre-made alternative. However, the best part of making things at home is that you are in control of the ingredients and preparation. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing exactly what you are putting into your body to fuel your athletic and daily lifestyle.

My preceptor passed along a recipe to me from an organic produce email and I was super excited to make the recipe. A few days went by and I forgot about the recipe but thankfully, my preceptor made the un-tuna and brought it to Hospice while I was interning. I love our lunches together because we always talk 'recipes' and she happened to have the un-tuna with her. It was delicious!!!

I decided to make my own version at home because I didn't have all of the ingredients. However, I managed to make a tuna version for Karel at the same time I was making my un-tuna. I hope you enjoy both of the recipes!!


Nutritional insurance

I hear a lot of chatter about supplements, especially multivitamins. I am a firm believer in "food is your medicine". However, our active lifestyles, alongside the ever-changing food industry, make it quite challenging when it comes to meeting our individual vitamin and mineral recommendations. Supplements and multi's are NOT replacements for real food. I believe that you start with the diet and then supplement depending on what you may be lacking. Often, it is hard to know if we are lacking in any specific nutrient. Because we put our bodies under stress on a daily basis (athlete or fitness enthusiast) I think it is a great idea to add a multivitamin to your daily routine.
I hope you enjoy my latest article from the FREE Iron Girl newsletter!

Nutritional Insurance for your Athletic Lifestyle

Fast-paced lifestyles, catchy company slogans and inadequate meal planning have left a large portion of our population relying on convenience foods for many, if not all, daily meals, and it's is no surprise that the typical diet is far from superb. As an Iron Girl athlete, you are taking the necessary steps to live an active and healthy lifestyle and are likely trying to maintain a balanced diet. Competitive athletes have an added challenge to find the balance between a healthy diet with proper nutrients to support their activity level.

The human body requires many essential nutrients to perform daily functions such immune system defense, free radical protection, mental acuity, muscle contractions, skin, bone and tissue rejuvenation and energy requirements for physical activity. For example, the minerals calcium, potassium, magnesium and sodium are well-known electrolytes needed during long-term or intense exercise, but are also required for normal functioning of cells and organs as well as for cardiac support. In an effort to care for your athletic routine and the health of your body, it may be a good investment to purchase a multivitamin supplement to ensure sufficient consumption of vitamins and minerals.

It is important to note that a multivitamin does not replace real food, especially heart-healthy foods such as fruits, veggies, lean and low fat protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy unsaturated fats. According to the position of the American Dietetic Association, "the best strategy for promoting optimal health and reducing the risk for chronic disease is to choose a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods" (1).

Although a multivitamin is a not a performance-enhancer, it may help to bring you to an optimal level if you are currently deficient in certain nutrients. If you are seeking a product to help meet vitamin and mineral recommendations, avoid individually-sold vitamins and minerals and choose a multivitamin. Certain vitamins and mineral supplements, such as Vitamin A, are toxic at high levels (2).

What to look for when picking your multivitamin:

* Look for a multivitamin labeled with the USP (United States Pharmacopeia) label. "USP's documentary standards and reference standards are used by regulatory agencies and manufacturers of pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, and food ingredients to ensure that these products are of the appropriate strength, quality and purity." (3)
* It is not necessary to prioritize a multivitamin with more than 100 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) or Daily Value (DV) for every single nutrient. Look for key vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, folic acid, potassium, selenium, zinc, sodium, chromium and molybdenum (4).
* Generic brands are just as likely to meet your nutrient needs as an expensive brand (5). Additionally, a multivitamin targeted to athletes is not a guarantee that performance will be improved. Read ingredients and make the best educational guess on a multivitamin that will fit your daily needs (example: a vegetarian may want to look for an omega or kelp fortified multivitamin).
* Try to avoid artificial preservatives, allergens, dyes, colorings or other contaminants. Not everything ingested in a multivitamin is absorbed in its full capacity. A multivitamin with an excess of additives may destroy the nutritional value of the multivitamin.

Multivitamin Options:
- Premium Insurance Caps - Hammer Nutrition
- Nature's Made
- Flinstones Complete
- Metagenics*
- Numedica*
- Zymogen*
*contact your physician/clinician for purchase

(1) Marra, M.V. and Boyar, A.P. (2009). Position of the American Dietetic Association: nutrient supplementation. J. Am. Diet. Assoc. 109(12): 2073-85.

(2) Penniston, K. L. and Tanumihardjo, S. A. (2006). The acute and chronic toxic effects of vitamin A. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 83(2): 191-201.

(3) U.S. Pharmacopeia. 2009. Retrieved August 2nd, 2010 from

(4) Colgan, M. (2002). Sports Nutrition Guide: Minerals, vitamins and antioxidants for athletes. Apple Publishing Company.

(5) Stoppler, M. and Hecht, B. K. (2009). Generic Drugs, are they as good as brand names?
Retrieved December 19th, 2009 from


10 min stove top dinner - Creations

We are all pressed for time. Some days, I'd rather go for a long walk with Campy instead of cooking. However, there is nothing more wonderful than having a home cooked meal with Karel and knowing exactly what we are putting in our bodies.

One of my number one suggestions of preparing a wholesome meal is to not go into the meal prep, starving. I typically have a small snack before I start cooking my meal (veggies, nuts, fruit, yogurt, milk, cheese, peanut butter) so that I can cook/prepare dinner around one to two hours before I plan on eating with Karel. By cooking the meal ahead of time, I find myself with plenty of time to get to my to-do's before dinner.....actually, Campy takes priority and we LOVE our evening walks together.

Since Karel doesn't get off work until 7 (which puts him home around 7;20 or 7:30) there is no way my body will let me go all afternoon (even including a mid afternoon snack) without food. Because I do not feel comfortable preparing a wholesome meal with a hungry stomach, I believe in rewarding my body with food every few hours...even 15-30 min before my meal is served. I don't believe in restricting my calories, especially when I am hungry. Furthermore, if I were to go into the meal prep with a starving belly, it is likely that my blood sugar is low and my plant-based meal will not satisfy my cravings. When the blood sugar is low, carbs are likely on the mind...and not the low sugar, slow digesting kinds. I highly recommend having a pre-meal snack before you start preparing your meals. You will find yourself feeling great while preparing a wholesome and balanced meal.


TAPER the context of sports, refers to the practice of reducing, or tapering off, exercise in the days just before an important competition.

For an Ironman, I taper for 2 whole weeks! It's crazy because the next 2 weeks will go by super fast whereas in a 3-week build, those last 2 weeks seem to take forever before a well-needed recovery week. I can't believe in 2 weeks from yesterday I will be in Madison Wisconsin for my 4th Ironman! I can't say it enough....the human body is absolutely amazing.
Before my very first Ironman in 2006 (IMFL) my #1 concern was my heart. My parents had no idea what crazy sport I had gotten myself into and although the distances didn't scare me, I was wondering "how is my heart going to beat for that long of a time". I seems kinda silly to me know to think that my heart would not be able to support 140.6 miles of "racing" but in all actuality, it is just amazing what the body does on an IM race day in an effort to cover 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and 26.2 miles of running.
Because of how my schedule fell, I had a recovery week 2 weeks ago so last week was a build week. Karel's coaching plan has worked out perfectly because I am still not injured (first time in 3 years!!!) albeit, I do have the normal training aches and pains and racing on the IM Wisconsin course (which is super challenging) is not going to be easy! Also, I continue to feel myself improving with each and every workout. Although the not-injured part was a major goal of mine over the past 3 months of IM training, I have really enjoyed seeing progress with my training. Sure, I could have done a lot more volume but I really wanted to keep balance in my life so that I could wake up with a fresh mind, body and soul and make the most out of every day...even if that day included a day off from training and 8-hours of interning.

This past weekend was it. No more training for me. Just 2 weeks of high intensity, low volume tapering. The excitement will continue to build over the next 2 weeks, as will the nerves. My close friends here in Jax have been nothing but wonderful to me and super understanding with my crazy schedule of interning and IM training. I don't know what I'd do without them. My parents and Karel have seen me train and race the past 3 Ironmans (Karel wasn't in Kona but I know he was watching me on the computer) and I can't wait 'til we are all together in Wisconsin.

To finish off a summer of training, I covered 113.3 miles of riding (5 hrs and 56 min) + 2.5 campy miles (??? for time, too many pee pee stops, plus a water stop to visit Karel at the Trek store) on Sat. Karel said that my power tap had a bunch of blank spots in the data and that I probably covered around 120 miles. Well, either way, I felt great. I tried to stick to my zones for most of the ride but of course, I got a little tired at the end. One of the main reasons for my tiredness was joining the Lodge Ride from hrs 2 1/2 - 4. Oh boy, was that a fun ride but it sure did poop me out. I was very active during the ride with the boys but near the end, my legs were signaling "trashed" and I still had 2 more hours of riding (alone). I ended up doing about 1/2 dozen brides (hills for us Floridians) throughout the ride so all in all, I really felt like I gave it my best effort for my last training session. However, as Karel always tells me "you give your best effort in a race, not in training". Although I was running at 1pm with my little furry one, we had a blast. There was great cloud cover and the wind that was with me during our run. Of course, the sun popped out and we got really hot (despite having my fuel belt to keep us hydrated...campy gets a flask and I get a flask) so we stopped at the Trek store and visited Karel at work.
Since I did my longest run (21 miles) 2 weeks ago, I wanted to do a little harder of a run but without all of the miles. The run could not have been more perfect. It started out a little faster than I planned because it was cloudy and I was just happy to be running after such a tough workout on Sat. The rain started coming down around mile 6 and I was SO happy!! If you have read my past posts, I just LOVE running in the rain. It is so freeing and just makes me feel like a little kid playing in the rain. I ended up doing 4 x 1/2 mile "sprints" on a rolling loop w/ 1/2 mile easy jog prior to the sprint. I rested after each mile for about a minute and after the 4 x 1 mile "intervals" I ran home. By mile 12 my legs were feeling achy and I was really feeling the past 5 workouts from the week. I ended up running for 2 hours and 11 minutes and covering 16 miles (8:12 min/mile pace).

I spent yesterday tracking a bunch of athletes at IMKY and I could not be more proud of the TriLewis club as well as all of the Jacksonville athletes who took on that tough and hot course! I get very inspired by other athletes and watching others partake in endurance events reminds me how special the body can be and that we should take care of our one and only body on a daily basis.