Essential Sports Nutrition


Green beans, Soo Foo blend and your choice of protein -Creations

It's really easy for Karel and myself to enjoy vegetarian meals. Even if Karel eats meats, his diet is primarily meat-based. I try to plan my protein choice for my meal, before I think about the rest of the meal. Once I decide on my protein, I then balance the meal with fruits/veggies, healthy fats and carbohydrates. I try to listen to my body and reflect on the day as I plan dinner. Depending on my workout for the day and upcoming workout, I can adjust macronutrients as needed.
I received a sample of SooFoo brown rice, grains and lentils and it is super delicious. If you are a rice or lentil lover, I highly recommend this product.
You can buy it online:

The ingredients for the 16 oz (1lb bag) include only the following:
-Long grain brown rice
-Brown lentils
-Wheat Berries
-Black lentils
-Rye Berries
-Green lentils

Talk about an ingredient list good for the heart. More like EXCELLENT for the heart.
Soo Foo rice is not only for dinner but also for breakfast and lunch. YUM!


New Year Changes

Finally...the 2011 Iron Girl Race Calendar is official!!!
A Half Marathon in Clearwater on April 10th!! COUNT ME IN!! My mom typically walks/jogs the 5K so we should both be there. Gotta love the beautiful Clearwater beach venue...oh yeah, and that bridge/causeway that we have to run over!!

Registration opens on Dec. 31st for all Iron Girl events (except Columbia which is already filled) so get your credit card and typing fingers ready....the events will fill up fast! I won't be able to attend Iron Girl Atlanta (it would have been my 4th year in a row!) because my brother is graduating with his Masters from Carnegie Mellon on the same day. I will be sure to cheer from Pitt, PA. for all the future Iron Girls in my favorite, and most challenging, short-course race.

Check out IRONGIRL.COM for the listing of all Iron Girl events.

It wasn't very hard for me to come up with a topic for my Dec. Iron Girl article. The month before and after the New Year can often be a stressful and/or life-changing time for many people. For me, I make resolutions all the time...I call them goals. I love the power of goal setting and working hard for something that I want to achieve. Rather than listing New Year exercise or nutrition tips (as if you need any more "suggestions" in your brain that is flooded with nutrition and exercise advice) my goal was to write an article that would inspire and motivate you in order to think more positively about food and exercise.

I hope you enjoy my latest Iron Girl article from the FREE newsletter.

New Year Changes
Marni Sumbal M.S., CISSN, USAT level 1 coach, dietetic intern
In anticipation for the New Year, weight-loss seekers will adhere to a "not allowed to eat" list when trying to reach body, fitness and/or health goals. If you are seeking a healthy and maintainable diet, there is no reason why you should live a life of restriction, hunger and monotony. Nor should you strictly abide by a list suggesting of certain foods that are bad for your body. When it comes to living a quality-filled life, your priority should be on foods that will fuel your workout routine and your lifestyle.

With the New Year upon us, radically reducing calories, portions and food choices may eventually lead to extreme hunger, irritability, unpleasant mood swings, frequent drops in blood sugar and a loss in energy. If drastic measures are in your future, it is time to stop "dieting" and to learn how to have a healthy relationship with food and exercise.

Weight loss from meal replacement bars, frozen dinners and weight loss cookies may quickly sabotage your health. An extreme drop in calories (and food choices) is likely to increase your risk for injury and illness. Before you know it, your goal of losing weight to become a faster, stronger or healthier Iron Girl sets the path for a lethargic and unmotivated athlete attempting to train for the sport that she has grown to love.

When it comes to making healthy changes in the New Year, consider all of the foods you can and should eat. Forget about counting calories. Start logging miles, distances and speeds. Although the well-known saying "calories in, calories out" is probably ingrained in your head, weight loss and maintenance requires that you create a balanced diet focused on a variety foods to meet your individual nutrient needs. Learn how to feel satisfied at meals and recognize hunger cues. Discover how to time your nutrition with your training so your body is fueled before you exercise and quickly re-fueled after.

By bumping up the nutrient content of your meals and snacks, you'll notice a feeling of satisfaction without a loss in energy. Learn to love the beauty that is found in fresh produce, whole grains, quality protein and heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Opting for the "healthiest" processed food should not be a tedious task. Don't be fooled by fancy labels and eye-catching nutrition claims. By reading ingredient lists, you will quickly decipher the most wholesome foods from the most processed foods, without regard to calories. Who knows, eventually you may develop new eating habits and an appreciation for new heart-healthy foods.

Making a change is not about eliminating foods. Take it slow with your changes so that you learn what works (strengths) and doesn't work (weaknesses/triggers) for your lifestyle and exercise routine. Keep in mind that your daily nutrient needs may change depending on your current or upcoming exercise routine.

Starting today, respect your one and only body. Learn to listen to yourself in times of hunger, boredom and exercise. Remember, the same body that you overlook to fuel throughout the day is the same body that you expect to reach a finish line or set a personal record. Lastly, be patient in the New Year. There is no perfect diet, so you should never feel like a failure. Every accomplishment begins with the decision to try.


Thanksgiving Feast - Vegetarian style! - Creations

It was the 5 of us for Thanksgiving. Karel, me, Campy, Smudla and Madison. Four meat eaters and a vegetarian. Ok, so three out of four of the meat eaters are furry little ones but they still count....there was plenty of the 11 lb turkey to go around.
As for the rest of the dinner, we all enjoyed lots of vegetarian side items. It was very important to me that I prepared a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, as if I was serving my family or friends. Just because it was only Karel and me and I am a vegetarian, I have lots to be thankful for this year and I just love creating new recipes of old favorites.
I hope you enjoy my heart-healthy twists on some traditional sides for Thanksgiving. I must say...the meal was super yummy!!!

Turkey Coma....


Name in Print

In 2007, I wrote my very first published article. My mentor at the time mentioned to me that was looking for an article about protein. About half way into my graduate program, my PhD mentor asked if I wanted to write the article. A little overwhelmed, I was excited for the opportunity. Having only written a few newsletter articles for the YMCA (where I worked in Lexington, KY for the summer as a fitness specialist) I was really nervous about writing this article about a fairly new topic for me. My mentor introduced me to the world of sports nutrition and he had me doing a lot of research in the area of protein, creatine and beta alanine.
With a new topic comes new knowledge and I always love learning new things in the arena of health, fitness, exercise physiology and nutrition.
Oh, did I mention that they paid me to write the article!!! As a graduate student, my mouth nearly dropped to the floor when I heard I was going to get paid to write an article. Wow...perhaps I could one day write for a job (I thought to myself in the middle of my Master of Science program with nearly no money and a fairly new obsession with endurance running and triathlons).
Here's the article I wrote:

Eggs, Meat, Milk...Whey too many proteins

Fast forward 3 years and I have written hundreds of articles. Writing makes me feel good and I love putting my education to good use in order to educate, inspire and motivate others. If I don't have an article to write or can't make the time to write on my blog, I get a tight feeling in my chest like I need to release myself through my fingers. Often times, my brain gets filled with thoughts, ideas and sentences and I feel the need to write, write, write. I can't think of a single training session where I didn't zone out at least once and have an idea for an article. And as nice as it is to get paid to write an article, I have contributed dozens and dozens of articles to magazines, newsletters, internet sites and blogs...for free. I feel it is always nice to volunteer my time and more often than not, favors get returned. The triathlon community is just amazing and it's hard to be stingy in such a sharing community. I don't know a triathlete who doesn't enjoy helping out another triathlete.

My mentor and good friend Judy (VP of Iron Girl) mentioned to me that I should contact the editor of LAVA magazine about possibly writing for a new magazine, This was early this summer and the word was out that there was a new triathlon magazine for summer 2010. She knows that I am always looking for somewhere to publish my words (aside from my blog) so I contacted LAVA and after a few emails back and forth for about a month, I was finally asked to contribute. With a deadline of Sept 1st (just 2 weeks before IMWI and my last week of my Community Nutrition rotation) I new I had all summer to work on the article and it wouldn't be like me to wait to the last minute. Brainstorming was tough and another editor came up with the idea of doing "off season nutrition". I thought that was a fantastic idea and I the brainstorming continued. As you can imagine, writers have good and bad days and some days sentences quickly turn into paragraphs and other days, letters barely make it into words. But eventually, after several drafts, I finished my article for LAVA magazine and sent it in well before the deadline.

Here we are...almost 3 months later (after my deadline) and LAVA magazine arrived in my mailbox. And even's the 2010 Hawaii Ironman Commemorative Issue!
Pg 20 is the contributor page and my article is on pg.144 "Have your Cake (just one slice) and eat it too". There was a little typo for my last name (I'm SUMBAL now..but I guess everyone knows me as Marni or Marn) but that's ok....I'm just honored to have my name in Print.



Favorite Things

Recently, Iron Girl sent out a Holiday Shopping list that was filled with awesome gift ideas. I quickly called Karel because his favorite cream was listed on the list...with a discount code!!

Karel absolutely loves Flex Power Muscle and Joint Relief Cream. He likes that the cream doesn't leave your legs and hands all greasy, the cream doesn't have a strong smell (if any smell at all) and that it feels really refreshing after you rub it on your tight muscles. He also believes that it really relaxes your legs. We both like BioFreeze and are quick to grab free-samples at cycling and triathlon races but Karel always has a bottle of Flex Power in his work and cycling bag.
We found out that if you put in the IGHOLIDAY code when placing your order, you actually receive a FREE 4oz cream (not the 2oz that is listed in the promotion email). What a great deal. This is costly cream so buy 1 get 1 free is an excellent deal!!! I LOVE a good deal.

I recently received the latest 2010 Hammer product Catalog in the mail. I am a regular Hammer Customer so I don't need the catalog when ordering my favorite items but when looking through the last Hammer Endurance News magazine (check out the online versions I am excited to add the perpetuem solids to my nutrition fueling plan. I never recommend a product without trying it so I am excited to try out the new chewable perpetuem solids. Hammer also has electrolyte fizz caps but since I don't use electrolyte tabs, I will likely try them out to see if they will work for some of my athletes.

My favorite Hammer products (which I have year-round) include:
1) Tissue rejuvinator - I take 2 a day
2) Premium Insurance Caps - I take 3 a day
3) Race Caps supreme - I take 1 before intense or long workouts
4) Anti fatigue caps - I take 1 every hour or every 30 min (depending on how I am feeling)
5) Endurance aminos - I take 1 every hour or every 30 min (depending on how I am feeling).
6) Hammer Heed - to encourage the body to use stored fat for fuel and preserve muscle and live glycogen, water is my primary fuel choice during the week in the off-season, since most of my workouts are around 60-90 min. However, for workouts on the weekend (which include bike workouts 3+ hours and runs 90+ min) I use 1 scoop Hammer heed mixed with 24 ounces water. This is an excellent time to find out what your body needs and to train your body to be more efficient at using fuels. Often, athletes think they know what the body needs (take in too much nutrition) or they train too hard and too much (and often don't take in enough nutrition). The off-season is a perfect time to work on your aerobic threshold as well as adding in strength training and intervals, with ample recovery, so that you improve your power and get close to your anaerobic threshold but don't quite cross over and flood the body with lactate.
7) Hammer Whey or Recoverite - two great products for recovery. I am a big fan of whey protein post workout (mixed with milk or water) and then having my "real" wholesome meal. However, in times that I can't get a meal in me (ex. traveling for training) right after a long or intense workout, I reach for recoverite.
8) Sustained Energy - although I don't use this product very much in the off-season (except for rides that last more than 80 miles, or 4 hours), this is a must in my bottles for my IM training. People have asked me why I don't use perpetuem instead of my HEED + Sustained Energy mix (1 scoop of heed + 1 1/2 scoops SE) but I am just grown to love the taste of my mix. However, with strawberry vanilla as the new perpetuem flavor, I can't wait to try out perpetuem and see if it will work for my body and for my training routine. However, for the next few months, I am all about becoming as efficient as possible with my training in an effort to get stronger and faster without relying on an added amount of calories to fuel my workouts. Efficiency training takes time (often months) so I believe the off-season/base phase is a perfect time to work on using fat for fuel. You just have to be patient and realize that pre and post training nutrition are vital components of using fat for fuel. It isn't recommended to do every workout (especially over 90 min) on an empty stomach and to only use water during workouts (if over 90 min). If you want to get faster and reduce risk for injury, you need fuel. Start low and work your way up so that you learn what your body needs at lower intensities (mixed with intervals) and not what you think it needs.
9) Hammer gels - I am a big fan of using my gel flask (filled with Vanilla in the summer or apple cinnamon in the winter) for long runs because I like to spread out my calories (1 slurp every 1-2 miles) rather than taking in 100 calories at one time. It worked really well for me at IMWI and I will continue using my gel flask for long runs and long running races.
10) Hammer clothing - LOVE LOVE LOVE all Hammer clothing. I think I have 1 of everything. Super comfortable...and just love cute training/racing clothes!
11) Globus EMS - We absolutely love electrical muscle stimulation. Karel has had his Compex Sport for the last 4 years and although a costly purchase, it was an excellent investment! I always use the active recovery setting and I absolutely believe it helps the muscles recover after workouts. Karel uses several functions, in addition to recovery, where he can actually increase power by working the muscles (on the couch!). Hammer sells 3 versions of Globus EMS and although it is costly, this is a great tool to help build strength, power, endurance and enhance recovery.

In addition to using my code on the right side of my blog page (for a 15% discount off your first order!!) it is the 22nd Annual Client Appreciation Sale!!! From Nov 22 until Dec 17, use the Ad Code WS10 for 20% off fuels and supplements.

And lastly, COMPRESSION!!!
My favorite compression gear include:
1) Louis Garneau Compression Shorts - I LOVE these shorts. I haven't worn "running shorts" in over a year and a half and I believe that compression is keeping me injury-free.
2) Louis Garneau Compression Shirt - At first I was hesitant about a compression top but when Karel told me he bought me one, I was super excited to try it. Now, I am in love. Considering that I am on my feet a lot, train my full body with triathlon training and spend a lot of time at the computer, this compression top feels so good after training or in the evening when I am resting.
3) Zoot Compression tights - I am not afraid to sport my tights in public. At first I thought the compression style was a fad but I am convinced that compression helps recovery. I have slept in my tights every day since I got them about a year ago (maybe less than a dozen times I have slept without them) and I don't know how I could live without them, being an endurance athlete.
4) Zoot socks - There are a lot of socks on the market but I believe that Zoot makes quality compression gear. I will be buying active compression socks for my upcoming season (especially in Kona next Oct) but for now, I just love Zoot compression socks. I even bought my mom and grandma Zoot compression socks because they are both active and compression is for anyone.

Sorry-I don't have any discount codes for these products :(

Enjoy...Happy Shopping!