Essential Sports Nutrition


2010 - Year in Pictures

Jan 2010 through December 2010...Enjoy!














Planning ahead

With the first day of 2011 being less than 48 hours away, I'm sure you are anxiously awaiting the start of the new year. With a new year comes new goals, new races, new eating habits and a new outlook on life. Although many people don't wait until the new year to create a "new you", the new year is coming, whether you like it or not.

I am happy to announce that I am officially registered for the New Orleans 70.3 on April 17th, 2011. Karel and myself (and several other Jacksonville athletes) are super excited for this event. Karel has never been to New Orleans and it's been several years since I have been to New Orleans. As usual, I'm sure Karel's day of spectating will include a wide variety of beer selections. What's a guy to do while his wife is racing for 4+ hours? Although I plan to be finished in sub-5 hours, I guess Karel has an excuse to enjoy some beer in New Orleans.
Karel got this shirt in Madison while he attended the 2010 Trek World Convention in WI and was excited to wear at while I raced at IMWI.

The funniest story was from IMKY 2009 (my 3rd IM), when I was on the run. Karel had his road bike and was riding around the course, cheering for athletes and watching the race. My dad (who was near the finish line) calls Karel and asks "Where's's she doing?". Karel's reply "I'm not sure where she is..I'm at Starbuck's enjoying my latte."
Oh Karel...what would I do without you.

In addition to my wonderful parents, you are my #1 fan and the best spectator and I know you are excited about your 5th IM/vacation. I mean, who wouldn't want to spectate in Kona Hawaii?

Anyways-as we all think about the past and get excited for the future, I want everyone to be aware that a large majority of races have a price increase on Jan 1st. So if you are considering a race, you better sign up before Fri evening (tomorrow-Dec 31st!).

Whenever I think about a race, I consider all variables. Although some races can be "bucket list" races, I think it is important to think about the following when deciding to sign up for a race:
1) Fitness level - do you have enough time to properly train for the race?
2) Time of the year - is this a good time for you to race? Are there other events in your life, during the same month as the race, that may make your training or travel or race experience, more stressful and overwhelming?
3) Terrain - does the course fit your strengths and will the course allow you to reach your upcoming goals? Keep in mind that you can not compare racing times from race to race, especially if they are on different courses.
4) Weather - are you comfortable with the racing conditions and are you familiar with the previous racing conditions? What's the temp of the water, typical weather, chance for rain, etc.
5) Support - do you have support for the race? If your support group (parents, significant other, friends, training partners, etc.) has other priorities during the peak of your training (or during race week), would you feel comfortable racing alone or without their enthusiasm as you prep for the race.
6) Safety and popularity - while most races are USAT sanctioned, find out the history of the race and whether or not the race is new, USAT sanctioned and safe. There is nothing wrong with a premier event but there will always be kinks in a first-time event. For races that are well-known, they often bring a large number of athletes. In my mind, there is nothing un-competitive about a small event. There is nothing I love more than a fair race on a fair course, where you can truely put your training to the test.
7) Do your research but keep an open mind - the easiest way to get frustrated or excited before a race is to listen to others. While some people will rave about their favorite races, others will tell you all the bad things about the very same race. Ask around for feedback on your upcoming race possibilities but keep an open mind, while considering #1-6. Your favorite race may not suit another athlete, especially if he/she doesn't like cold/hot, hills/flat, early season/late season, small/big, races.
8) Cost + travel - there is nothing cheap about multisport races. Keep in mind travel arrangements such as flying, food, sleeping accommodations, traveling with others, traveling with your bike, gas, hotels, getting around the race venue, rental cars, etc.


Plyo's = ouch!

Karel can barely walk and my body is sore from head to toe. I guess my Plyometric workout on Tues was a bit challenging for even my superhero husband. Secretly, we enjoy the soreness cause with proper recovery and good nutrition, we will continue to get stronger.

Karel and I have been doing Plyo's for a few years now. I recommend that all athletes do plyometrics, if they are injury-free and have no existing conditions that may be affected from plyo's.
I realize that jumping off and on blocks or bounding on one or two feet can be a bit intimidating. Depending on your current fitness level and experience with plyometrics, every athlete should be smart when starting something new with your body. With a little direction and help from exercise professionals, plyometrics are beneficial for athletes of all levels.
I often hear athletes saying that they are worried about hurting their ankles or falling when doing plyometrics. Sure, there is certainly a risk for injury if you are overambitious when trying plyo's for the first time. Even if you are physically fit as a triathlete or runner, you can't let your self-confidence get the best of you.
I see a big movement towards barefoot running and I just cringe when I see runners running without shoes (or with running "free" shoes). In my eyes, through evolution and changes in body structure, our ankles are not strong enough to support the body without running shoes. I know it is sad that our weak little ankles, supporting our entire body frame, may not be able to run without running shoes but in my eyes, we need to train the body to be strong enough to walk without shoes, before we can run without shoes. I love walking around without shoes but when it comes to training, I believe in strengthening the body, starting with the core, in order to build strong muscles and strengthen the weak or small muscles.

If you think you can't do plyo's, go into a YMCA and take a look at a 10am Step Class. At all levels, you will see individuals of all fitness abilities. From 20 year old's to 80 year old's, step classes are for anyone. And if you ask me, step classes are very similar to plyometrics. There is a lot of turning and moving and lots of stepping. What a great way to work on balance as well as strengthening the muscles, lungs and heart.

I try to do plyo's once a week (with plyo's being my "primary" cardio workout for the day) and I like to strength train with weights and/or machines (depending on the day, the previous workout and/or upcoming workout) 1-2 times per week. At a minimum, I am doing some type of full body strength work, at least twice a week. Plyometrics are exhausting and require no more than 30-40 minutes for an effective workout. I believe in circuit training for strength training, so aside from 10-15 min of core on a daily basis, I spend no more than 20 min strength training, per each session.

Here are two great links for some sample plyometric exercises. Remember to warm-up before starting and to start slow. Don't feel rushed when you are performing the exercises and give yourself enough rest in between exercises or sets.

Here is the workout that Karel and I did on Tues:
20 min cardio warm-up (I did Elliptical, Karel ran to the gym)
1) 30 x up and over squats (straddle step in a wide lunge and place one foot on top of step. Always keep one foot on the step as you step down with rt foot, back to center and then down with left foot. Do a squat when stepping down from the step with one leg).
2) 30 high knees (we did them on the BOSU but you can do them on the floor as well
3) 20 (10 each way, then turn around), double-leg jumps.
4) 20 (10 with rt, then turn around, 10 with left), single-leg jumps (be careful!).
5) 20 deep squat jumping jacks (hands behind the head, moving the legs like a jumping jack but going to a squat when legs are apart, then jump up with the legs together).
6) 30 push-ups (I used the opposite side of the BOSU, Karel did the push-ups with a medicine ball, moving the ball from rt. hand to left hand, after each push-up).
7) 20 partner leg drops (person on floor grabs ankles of other person, who pushes down the legs of partner. Partner doesn't let legs hit the floor)
8) 20 partner medicine ball sit-ups (stand on partners feet and toss medicine ball as partner slowly lowers body to the ground. Partner tosses the ball back to standing partner as he/she is sitting back up)

We did this circuit 4x's. We did 2 continuous circuits. Resting a minute and then repeated the 2 circuits.


Positive New Year Changes

According to John Norcross, a Professor of Psychology and Distinguished University Fellow at the University of Scranton, a clinical psychologist in part-time practice, and editor of the Journal of Clinical Psychology: In Session, 40-46% of people will be successful with New Year Resolutions after 6 months. Having studied New Year resolutions for the past 2 years, Norcross feels that 71% of people will keep resolutions for 2 weeks but that percentage drops to 64% after one month.

For the more than half of the population who is setting a New Year resolution, your resolution will be a success for at least 1 month. I'm not sure on the statistics for Feb-Dec, but I'm sure that those who set realistic resolutions are more likely to succeed throughout the rest of the year than those who set unrealistic, unmaintainable resolutions.

I have faith in you. I know you will succeed. I know that you believe you can succeed. I know your resolution is realistic, practical and doable. I know your resolution is going to make your 2011 better than 2010. What you might not know (or want to recognize) is that you will have up and down days because you are human and not perfect. But as long as you don't give up and aim for progress and consistency, and not for perfection, I know that success is on your side.
The idea of making resolutions is to make changes that will impact your life in a positive way. Striving to lose 30 lbs in 2 months, or 8 lbs in 2 weeks, is in no way going to make you a better you. Likely, strict dieting and extreme exercise is only going to make you moody, obsessed and no fun to be around.

A balanced life involves making small changes that will last a lifetime. Perhaps you are ready to give up your afternoon soda or morning bakery desert habit because you know your body doesn't need the empty non-nutritious calories. But what happens when you go 2 weeks without drinking soda, or eating a bakery desert and then you "give-in" for 1 soda or 1 muffin? Are you a failure? Do you suddenly go back to your old habits and find excuses to back up your long-time love for soda or deserts...such as working out double so that you can reward yourself with soda or bakery deserts?
What is going to happen to your outlook on life if you only set one resolution and you "give-in" every now and then? More than likely you are going to feel overwhelmed, stressed and depressed.

I can see the practicality of only making one change and trying to find ways to make that change last. Because, if you make too many changes, your life can start to feel very overwhelming.

However, the all or nothing approach to resolutions may also seem overwhelming. It's not likely that a resolution sounds like this "I'm going to give up soda 5 times a week and allow myself 1 soda, twice a week". More often, a resolution sounds like this "I'm giving up x, y or Z". Not sure about you, but if something is part of your every-day life, both good and bad, it is really hard to go cold turkey and give it up.

If you tell yourself that you are going to be a vegetarian or are going to stop eating ice cream until you lose weight, what happens when you go out to eat and you aren't in the mood for a salad at a steakhouse? What happens when your kids ask if you want to go out for ice cream and you haven't had ice cream for a month? Are you rational enough to say that "sure kids, all is not lost in one meal" or do you say "Screw it, my resolution is ruined and I will never lose weight or be able to give up ice cream".

I realize that not everyone is going to make a resolution. My advice to you...skip the resolutions and write down 3-5 short and long term goals. As you decide how you will work towards those goals, create realistic deadlines to mark progress for your goals.

Ready for the New Year? Here are some easy New Year resolutions for your active and healthy lifestyle:

1. Walk/bike more, drive less.
2. Strength train at least 2-3 times per week, for around 20-30 minutes.
3. Supplement for health insurance. Consider the following supplements, in addition to a heart- healthy diet: Calcium, Fish oil, Multivitamin, B-Complex, Whey Protein, Tissue Rejuvinator (Hammer).
4. Emphasize water during the day and pass on diet, sport and/or energy drinks.
5. Get a restful night of sleep, most days during the week.
6. Reduce your intake of added sugar (ex. no more than 35g/d for men, 25g/d for women) and sodium (less than 2500 mg/day)
7. Give yourself "me time" for at least 30 minutes a day.
8. Focus on eating food, not restricting. Prioritize a variety of foods to create a balanced diet.
9. Budget your food intake. Eat every few hours.
10. Surround yourself with people who give you energy, not steal it away from you.

***DON'T FORGET..The 2011 Iron Girl Event Series registration will open on December 31 at 9 a.m. EST.
Check out the 2011 event schedule at


Beautiful Florida Day

I'm currently looking out the window, wondering if I am going to get blow away. Karel is off to ride the hills of San Antonio (Florida) and I have already ruled out a bike ride. The wind is gusting 35 mph and my power tap dish wheel (and front wheel) are not ready to practice in "kona" winds...just yet. I'm thinking a run is going to finish my active recovery, unstructured exercise week after the Jax 1/2 marathon. I'm excited to sit down with Karel and see what we can create for my training for the next 4-5 weeks. I'm really enjoying my well-needed break from interning but I know on Jan 3rd, it's back to the world of being a dietetic intern. But that's ok 'cause I am in the home stretch! With 6 months of interning behind me, I only have 4 to go!!! Only 16 more weeks of interning (32 hours a week) and I will be eligible to sit for the Registered Dietitian Exam. OH MY!!

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in Florida. It started off a bit cool but the sun was shining and it was a great day to be outside. Karel and I started our morning with a bike ride. I only rode with Karel for about 45 minutes because he went out for a 5 hour ride and I wanted nothing to do with that :) It was super windy and Karel was doing some intense intervals. I rode with Karel on Thursday morning and although the ride helped to loosen out my legs, it is alway heart-pumping to try to stay on his wheel. But after 4 years of riding (or attempting to ride) with Karel, I can finally keep up with his tempo intervals. Perhaps in 4 more years I can pretend I can sprint with think my slow twitch fibers are laughing right now at that comment.

While Karel was riding, I finished my 40 mile ride and asked my brother if he wanted to go for an easy run. After warming-up with Campy for 3/4ths mile, I enjoyed an easy run (about 8:30 min/mile pace) with my brother, just chatting away. I went about 4 miles and Aaron did a bit more with a total of 6.5 miles. While we were running, my mom and dad went for a walk/jog and covered about 3 miles.

After a morning of working out, we all went to Sunset beach for a little relaxing. Campy had a blast with all the smells of the water.