Essential Sports Nutrition


Campy miles

I log my workouts on training peaks. I am not the best logger but I am trying really hard to keep track of my workouts on training peaks. On most Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, you will find "campy miles" as one of my entries. That's right, I am logging my running miles with my favorite running partner.

A blog reader sent me to a wonderful poem. It brought tears to my eyes because I could totally relate to the lines in the poem.

Thank you Nicole S. for sharing the link on my blog!

My life has changed since I got Campy...all for the better. Sure, I have lost a few pairs of underwear and Karel and I have a few cycling shorts with holes but our dishes are always super clean after we eat! Our days always start with a happy dog and finish with a thankful dog. My perspective on life changed just a few months after getting Campy.
Rather than exercising for calories, I began to train for performance. No longer did I see food for calories but rather for fuel. Helping me live a more active lifestyle. I have been creating a healthy relationship with food for the past 3-5 years but not until I got Campy did I finally start living life and stopped fearing food as if it was good or bad. Not sure of the correlation but somehow, Campy taught me to live my life to the fullest and to make the most of every day.
I have always loved exercising but focusing on quality training began quickly after Campy and I started running together.
I was always a number person when it came to working out and felt as if I had to reach certain miles or times for every workout. Running with Campy has taught me that I have a body that loves to move. Wanting to keep my body active for the rest of my life is my ultimate goal. Somehow, Campy has taught me that even "campy miles" counts as training because my body is moving. Imagine that...a 11.2 lb Chihuahua/Italian Greyhound gave me a new philosophy of training and living life and because of him, I am starting my season the strongest and healthiest that I have ever been in my life.

This week has been quite busy with interning and training. I have been in bed at 9pm every night and up at 4:30am. My head is filled with clinical nutrition information, specifically wound care and tube feeding. I have a lot of homework this weekend and I'm hoping that everything starts coming together in the next few weeks. Only 2 more weeks of Long Term Care and then I start at St. Vincent's Hospital for my Acute Care rotation. I will also be spending a week at Nemours Children Hospital learning about pediatric nutrition.

On Thurs evening Karel and myself went down to the beach for the weekly Thurs Trek Beer Run. Oh, forgot to mention...Campy came with us!!
After a 90 min tempo trainer workout at 5am, followed by 2 Campy miles and then a LONG day of interning, I was in no mood to run. However, with Campy as my partner...count me in!!
Of course, once I got to the Trek Store I was super happy to be there but with Karel and Campy there with me, I could not have been happier.
(I still can't believe my cycling husband enjoys running!)

I was really nervous about the run because campy likes to bark at cars, people, runners, bikes, etc and anything moving while we are running. He gets a little distracted, likes to mark on every branch and leaf and always starts out too fast. The run is 3 or 4.5 miles (depending on route) and I guessed that campy would only be able to do about 2 miles..that is, if he was on his best behavior.

Once we got to the Trek store, Campy was the center of attention. With over 50 runners for the Beer Run, Campy had no idea what was about to happen...and neither did we.

We started the run and Campy was in full running mode! I have never seen him so focused and excited to run. Campy was on a mission to pass everyone and our first mile was a quick 8:30 min/mile pace (which included 3 quick pee stops). Campy was keeping pace with the other runners during the first mile and even passed a handful of people. I think it was because of me that he wasn't running faster.

I just couldn't believe how happy he was to be running. We made a short-cut and Campy was very sad. He wanted to run with everyone else. Once we met up with the other runners, Campy was ready to follow a group up the intercoastal bridge. After 2 miles of running, I opted out of the additional 2 miles and Campy and I took another short-cut. 1 mile later, we were at the pub, waiting for Karel.

Karel comes in huffing and puffing, just barely behind the fastest runners of the group. He didn't have a garmin but I am pretty sure he was averaging sub 7 min/miles for the 4.5 mile run. All of our tri-friends who did the run for the first time were very amazed that Karel could actually run. Or as one of our friends said "Wow-Karel is fast even without a bike".

But all Karel and I could talk about was Campy's amazing performance at the Beer Run. It brought a smile to my face and even today, Karel and I can't stop thinking about Campy and his miles.

Life is just amazing. We only have one of them. I am so thankful that I have Campy in my life. I hope we have lots and lots of years together and lots and lots of Campy miles.

Campy is super excited for his second-ever group run and ready to do his first bridge repeater!


Caffeine and exercise

I recently saw this article on

Dr. Jensen is very well known in the research community, when it comes to caffeine-related studies. I remember reading some of his studies in graduate school, when I was helping my mentor (Dr. Jeff Stout) with some of his studies involving beta-alanine and creatine on lactate, ventilatory and anaerobic threshold.

I think caffeine is a great supplement in both fitness enthusiasts and endurance athletes. There are many health benefits to coffee and tea so I would recommend naturally-occurring caffeine drinks over carbonated drinks and energy drinks. Research suggests around 3-9mg per kg body weight, around 45 min prior to exercise. Most importantly, more is not better when it comes to additional ergogenic benefits with 2+ cups of coffee prior to workouts/racing.
Although I believe that many endurance athletes receive a great boost from coke during a long distance event (although, I've never used coke in my Ironman races, many of my athletes have and really enjoy it), I stress the importance of paying attention to hourly calorie and fluid intake while drinking carbonated beverages. Because carbonation may bring on a feeling of fullness, it is important to pay attention to your liquid calories in an effort to receive the necessary electrolytes, calories, fluids and optional protein, needed to sustain effort and ensure efficient usage of fuels.

As you may or may not know, I have been a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) for the past 6 years and I am certified by the ISSN in Sports Nutrition. I absolutely love being part of this society and having the opportunity to surround myself with so many knowledgeable people. You may not realize that there is often a lot of research behind many sports supplements (although some research is not validated nor scientific) and the PhD's in the ISSN are likely the ones creating the research. I have had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people such as Dr. Harris, who was a major pioneer in creatine research as well as Dr. John Ivy, who is behind Wheaties Fuel and the carb to protein 4:1 ratio. I can't even name the dozen of other PhD's in the society that have amazing research studies behind their names.

Here is an abstract from the ISSN regarding caffeine supplementation:

Goldstein ER, Ziegenfuss T, Kalman D, et. al.
International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 7(1):5, 2010.

ABSTRACT: Position Statement: The position of The Society regarding caffeine supplementation and sport performance is summarized by the following seven points: 1.) Caffeine is effective for enhancing sport performance in trained athletes when consumed in low-to-moderate dosages (~3-6 mg/kg) and overall does not result in further enhancement in performance when consumed in higher dosages (>/= 9 mg/kg). 2.) Caffeine exerts a greater ergogenic effect when consumed in an anhydrous state as compared to coffee. 3.) It has been shown that caffeine can enhance vigilance during bouts of extended exhaustive exercise, as well as periods of sustained sleep deprivation. 4.) Caffeine is ergogenic for sustained maximal endurance exercise, and has been shown to be highly effective for time-trial performance. 5.) Caffeine supplementation is beneficial for high-intensity exercise, including team sports such as soccer and rugby, both of which are categorized by intermittent activity within a period of prolonged duration. 6.) The literature is equivocal when considering the effects of caffeine supplementation on strength-power performance, and additional research in this area is warranted. 7.) The scientific literature does not support caffeine-induced diuresis during exercise, or any harmful change in fluid balance that would negatively affect performance


Antioxidant supplementation

Another great research study from my latest issue of SCAN.

Antioxidant Supplementation and Endurance Training Adaptation
Yfanti, C., Akerstrom, T., Nielsen, S., et al. Antioxidant supplementation does not alter endurance training adaptation. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010;42:1388-1395.

Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species production that occurs with exercise may negatively impact performance; however, this same process appears to be critical in stimulating desired training adaptations. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether vitamin C and E supplementation during endurance training attenuates the expected increase in training adaptation and performance in physically active men. IN this 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 21 men (ages 18-40 g) completed a 5-day per week intensive cycle training protocol.
Eleven participants received 500 mg vitamin C and 400 IU vitamin E daily for 16 weeks (AO group); the remaining 10 participants received placebo tablets (PL group). Plasma levels of vitamin C and E were monitored along with dietary intake. performance and oxidative capacity were assessed using aerobic and metabolic parameters that included maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), maximal power output, workload at lactate threshold, skeletal muscle glycogen content, and mitochondrial enzymes (citrate synthase and beta-hydroxyacacyl-CoA dehydrogenase). Plasma levels of vitamins C and E increased significantly (P<.05 and P<.001 respectively) in the AO group and remained unchanged in the PL group. Both groups had significant improvements from baseline in the aerobic and metabolic parameters (P<.01), but no significant difference was detected between groups. the results of this study indicate that vitamin C and E supplementation does not attenuate training adaptation or improve performance in physically active men.
In conclusion, athletes with normal vitamin C and E status will most likely experience neither positive no negative effects secondary to antioxidant supplementation.


New research!

4 more months of interning. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

I just received the winter 2011 issue of SCAN's Pulse (one of my many newsletters/magazines/journals that I subscribe to). SCAN stands for Sports, cardiovascular and wellness nutrition, which is a practice group of the American Dietetic Association.

This issue was packed with information so I thought I would share 3 great research articles that were presented in my journal. Here's the first one
Sports dietetics - USA Research Digest (summarized):
Fat Free Milk Consumption and Changes in Body Composition
Josse, AR, Tang, JE, Tarnopolsky, MA. et al. Body composition and strength changes in women with milk and resistance exerciseMed Sci Sports Exerc.2010;42:1122-1130.

Ingestion of milk-based protein following intensive resistance training appears to enhance muscle mass accretion in young males. Whether females following the same regime respond similar has not been sufficiently tested. The objective of this study was to determine if ingestion of fat-free milk or an isocaloric carbohydrate (CHO) drink resulted in greater strength gains and increases in lean muscle mass following 12 weeks of resistance training in young, healthy women. Prior to the study, participants were recreationally active but no recently engaging in resistance training. In single-blind, randomized fashion, female participants consumed either 500 mL fat-free milk (MILK; n=10) or a 9% isocaloric maltodextrin beverage (CON; n=10) immediately following and 1 hr after resistance training. Study participants performed a whole body split routine 5 days per week alternating pushing, pulling and leg exercises at 80% one repetition max (1-RM). Body composition via dual energy x-ray absorptiometry scan and 1-RM testing were performed at pre and post training. The MILK group experienced both a decline in fat mass (P<.02) and increase in lean mass compared with the CON group (P<.01). Increases in 1-RM were observed in both groups for all exercises at post-training, with a significant increase in the bench press exercise for MILK subjects compared with CON subjects (P<.05). The results of this investigation indicate that post-exercise ingestion of fat-free milk appears to favorable alter body composition in young women following a resistance exercise training program. Ingestion of fat-free milk may provide a practical, inexpensive recovery drink for increasing lean mass in women. this study was supported by grants from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Dairy Farmers of Canada.

Here are a few highlights from the American College of Sports Medicine Conference (June 1-5, 2010) SCAN 2011, vol.30, No.1 pg. 17-18.

-Marathon training is not a good way to lose weight, according to a study of 64 participants in a 3-month marathon training program. Only 11% of participants lost weight, another 11% gained weight and the rest remained stable. Of the 7 who gained weight, 6 were women. In general, 74% of the women reported eating more while training, compared with only 48% of the men. the goal of running should be to improve performance, not to lose weight (Abstract 2436).

-In investigating whether it matters to lose weight quickly or slowly, researchers found that the pace of weight loss was not important over the long run. Whichever way athletes lost weight, they returned to the same weight a year later. However, slow weight loss tends to preserve more muscle mass (Abstract 641).

-Fatigue is associated with not just depleted muscles but also a tired mind. Inhibitory mechanisms in the brain can contribute to a 25% reduction in muscle contraction. Caffeine might be able to help counter the fatigue (Abstract 732).

-Consuming protein, such as yogurt, before lifting weights may enhance recovery better than consuming a protein recovery drink afterwards (Abstract 2862).

Apparently I was a little late in this breaking-news:

Sorry McD's, only when I am traveling and have eaten all my snacks/goodies that pack for the road, will I stop for your oatmeal. I think I will continue making my breakfast at home....that's the only way "I'm Lovin It". But hey, we are heading in a good direction with whole grains being served at the Fast Food Capital.


Fresh (or Frozen) Eats

As we ease into the New Year with an open mind and realistic resolutions/expectations, I hope you enjoy my latest Iron Girl article.

Fresh (or Frozen) Eats
The winter weather may be frightful, causing your selection of fruits and veggies to be anything but delightful. During the colder months, fresh produce can have different textures, tastes and prices, but don't let this stop you from including fruits and veggies in your balanced diet. There are a host of vital nutrients stocked in the frozen food section at your nearest grocery store, and according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, frozen fruits and vegetables provide the same essential nutrients and health benefits as their fresh counterparts (USDA, n.d.).

When preparing your frozen produce, it is important to study cooking times and temperatures to minimize nutrient loss. Steaming or boiling a vegetable for even a minute more than necessary may reduce maximum nutritional benefits. When it comes to sautéing, adding a little heart-healthy unsaturated oil (at the most optimal cooking temperature for the oil) will increase the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

Whether it is fresh or frozen, winter or summer, here are a few tips on fruits and vegetables:

* Eat seasonally for better texture, color, taste and price.
* Do not judge a fruit or vegetable solely by the color. Ask your local produce clerk for his/her advice on choosing the best weekly produce.
* Ask your produce clerk for shipping dates on your favorite produce so you can ensure a great tasting fruit or vegetable. Also, check use-by dates on bagged produce.
* Prior to shopping, plan a recipe, snack or meal for your produce. This will reduce the chance of spoilage.
* Shop for your produce at the end, rather than at the beginning of your shopping trip. No one likes a smashed banana or bruised pear.
* Stock your fridge and freezer with both frozen and fresh produce so that you have options when it comes to a fresh hearty salad or warm vegetable stew.
* Keep your refrigerator cool (32 to 40º F) and your freezer even cooler (-10 - 0º F). -The warmer your fridge or freezer, the quicker the nutrient loss and spoilage. As a reminder, per USDA guidelines, always let food cool (within two hours) prior to putting it into the refrigerator. This will keep your refrigerator cool and reduce the chance of warming other refrigerated foods (USDA, 2010).
* Store produce and then wash prior to eating or cooking.
* Don't cross-contaminate. Use separate cutting boards for meat and produce. A solution of 1 tsp bleach per quart of water is considered safe and effective when cleaning cutting boards.


United States Department of Agriculture (n.d.). Fabulous fruits...versatile

vegetables. Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Retrieved December 13, 2010, from click here for link.

United States Department of Agriculture (2010). Food Safety. Retrieved

December 13, 2010, from click here for link

Marni holds a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology, is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) and holds a certification by the American Dietetic Association in Adult Weight Management. Marni is a Level-1 USAT Coach and is currently pursuing a registered dietician degree. She is a 4x Ironman finisher and has qualified for the 2011 Ironman World Championship. Marni enjoys public speaking and writing, and she has several published articles in Lava Magazine, Hammer Endurance News, CosmoGirl magazine and Triathlete Magazine, and contributes monthly to and
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