Essential Sports Nutrition


LA Oakley Global Sales Conference

There are really no words to summarize this trip, let alone my experience with Oakley Women. Since becoming an ambassador for Oakley Women in June 2011, I welcomed a new family into my life. It is without question that the other 9 INSPIRING ambassadors, as well as myself, have been given a lot of great swag to try out and to provide feedback.

As a long-time Oakley sunglass wearer, I have to admit that Oakley Women has really changed the way that I live. It's far beyond free sunglasses and cute apparel. I suppose Karel started this journey in helping me find balance in both life and sport but Oakley Women has introduced me to an entirely new way to think about how we choose to live our life.

Arriving on Wed evening, I did not experience the first two days of this week-long conference. But I sure did hear about it all!! From Lance Armstrong being the "surprise" guest on Tuesday and a dinner + party at the Playboy mansion, Oakley really knows how to find the right balance between learning and fun. So, perhaps there might be a bit more "fun" in the after hours, but surrounding myself with over 900 PROUD and PASSIONATE Oakley individuals, from ALL over the world, has inspired me to continue living my life to the fullest. Thankfully, I have Oakley Women to help me perform beautifully with my choice to live an active lifestyle. For if you take away the 5-Ironman finishes, a Boston Marathon finish and my coaching business, I am still a strong, energetic woman who loves to be active. It is without question that surrounding myself with people who embrace the brand and the philosophy of Oakley, is exactly the Refresher that I need to continue living my life with balance. For it is through consistent exercise and an appreciation of the food that I put into my body, that I can really use my body to LIVE the life that I have always wanted to live.

This morning I heard one of the most amazing talks of my life. Keith Yamashita (with SYPARTNERS.COM) gave the most motivating, inspiring and thought-provoking talk and I couldn't help but take notes.

The purpose of his talk was on the topic of Humility. This is one of the 5 pillars of Oakley's new campaign and according to Mr Yamashita "We achieve remarkable things not out of arrogance, but out of humility. To bring our full aspiration, hopes, and talents to our life's work, we must first have the courage to be humbly ourselves."

As an athlete and health and fitness professional, I found this talk to be captivating. Having someone tell me "you must be humble on and off the field...especially when no one is paying attention" spoke mountains to me. For humility is who you are, all the time. Mr Yamashita said "You do the hard work so that others can succeed". So powerful.

We all know that the more you put into something, the more you get out of it. But humility doesn't make you a better person. Take away titles and biases and it is only your character and ability to empathize and that will really make the biggest difference.

One quote that I couldn't help but stick into the back of my brain was that "we don't train for mistakes. We always train to succeed". I found this to be very true when I competed in the Ironman World Championships this year in Kona, Hawaii. I had done everything possible to succeed and I had not prepared myself for "mistakes". It took me almost 10 miles on the 26.2 mile run, with painful GI distress secondary to swallowing the pacific ocean, to recognize that my "unplanned" situation did not have to be viewed as an unsuccessful attempt at my 2nd Ironman World Championships.

"We can all be liberated from expectations that we aren't going to win." Regardless of our expectations going into a new journey, such as diet and exercise, we must always "try again, even if you can't win. It's not who you have been or what you have done in the past but who you are now and the ability to try again".

According to Steve Jobs, "even in the darkest periods, comes the most remarkable work."

So, as I get myself ready for the evening fair-well Global party at the Nokia Club with a private concert by Cobra Starship, I will leave you with this...

Are you humble enough to accept that you are not perfect and that you never have to be? But, you must never give up on living the life you choose to live.

Do you have humility to achieve something remarkable because you truly believe in yourself to succeed?

Thank you Oakley Women for everything. Really, everything.


Your Questions, ANSWERED!

I receive questions from blog readers on a weekly basis and I love hearing your concerns, questions and ponderings in the areas of nutrition and fitness. As our teachers always said "there are no silly questions" and I fully believe that if you have a question, you are not alone in not knowing the answer. Thanks to your questions, you always keep me on my toes..constantly learning (and trying new things) in the field of nutrition, health, wellness and training.
Here are a few questions that I'd like to share with my blog readers. Feel free to email me @ with your questions, concerns or comments..I LOVE emails!

Q: I recently read about a Carbohydrate Intolerance test through Phil Maffetone's book on endurance training. Have you heard about this test? Have any of your athletes/clients performed it?

A: haven't heard of this test until now, but thanks for emailing me about it. I went to the website and all I can say is that it is a great way to jump start a cleaner way of eating.... but in terms of testing carbohydrate intolerance, I think this idea is just breaking down the "typical" American diet what it is doing to our nation. Please don't take this as an angry email, because it is not. From my perspective, all of his do's and don'ts and "feelings" for needing to take this test result from people over-emphasizing processed food. Simple as that. It's easy to blame "carbs, wheat and dairy" for food intolerances, GI upset and weight gain but rarely do you see a person with a wholesome, balanced diet, complaining of feeling awful from eating too many fruits and veggies. It's likely that fruits and veggies make up a small component of the daily diet, thus leading to feeling "awful" and the feeling of diet-out-of-control. Through a balance diet (that means portion control and recognizing the individual strengths and weaknesses in the diet, exercise routine and in life), I believe would would all be able to not "fail" at the carbohydrate intolerance test. With balance, we would all have better blood sugar control thanks to wholesome eating and we would end up with more energy and a better relationship with food.
The biggest focus on the diet righ now, is cleaning up the diet to include more wholesome food, rich in fruits and veggies (plant based meals) and then complementing the meals/snacks with portioned controlled whole grains, a variety of plant and animal-based quality protein (depending on your dietary preferenes) and heart-healthy fats.

I enjoy using the USDA plate method with my clients as I find this is the best representation of how to plan your meals without seeing food as "bad" or off-limit as well as to bump up the nutritional quality of the diet. The plate method doesn't include a spot for fat so I like to include it in the middle, making up 25-30% of the daily diet. Thank you again for passing along this site..I really appreciate it and I like learning about new "thoughts" on food.

Q:I am training for the Iron Girl in Boulder as my first tri. I have done a half marathon for the last two summers and I am ready to try something new. My questio is about bikes. I need an affordable bike that I can pull my kids around in the trailer with and train with and use in the event. Is this reasonable? Right now I am riding a bike I got off Craigslist and doesn't fit me properly. I know nothing about the types of bikes, etc. If you could give me just enough info to take to the store for a fitting or hit Craigslist with I would really appreciate it.

A: Thank you for emailing me! Congrats on taking the next step and entering the multisport world! I believe that life is all about challenging ourself and getting out of our comfort zone. You are a wonderful role model for your kids and I'm sure you are a great inspiration for your friends as well.
As for your bike question, I will be honest and say that this will likely be your first of many tri's so please keep that in mind when making any purchases with a bike. While a craigslist (or used) bike may fit your needs right now and may help you get through the upcoming race, it's important to get a quality bike (which can be found on craiglist but in the right measurements for you) that will keep you safe, injury-free and to keep you enjoying the sport.
First off, you can attach the kids trailer to any bike but for what you are describing, it sounds like most of your rides are for "fitness" for the time being. You can certainly train for a triahlon in spin classes as well as getting comfortable riding the a bike on the road. Therefore, a fitness style bike will be the best fit. You can still ride on paved trailes, side wallks etc. so you may want to seek a fitness specific bike.

If you are ready to jump into triathlons for a season but aren't sure if you are ready for the geometry and positioning of a tri-bike, I would strongly encourage a road bike which can be used year-round for fitness, leisurely riding and for training. I also recommend that all triathletes eventually purchase a road bike to break up the monotony of being "aero" and to encourage safe riding when training in group rides.

For sizing and fitting (which is most important), you will need to go to your local bike shop and have them size you and give you recommendations. This is my best suggestion for you so that you can find out your options for a bike. Don't let them talk you into a carbon tri bike or even a carbon road bike, unless you know 110% that is what you want (for the time being, I don't think it is necessary). The fitness bike is very close to a hybrid bike but it isn't as heavy as a hybrid and doesn't have the hybrid components such as suspension front fork or seat post. It is lighter and geometry is very close to regular road bike.
Here is the link to Trek fitness bikes page: (I ride Trek and my husband is the GM of the Trek store so we are big fans of Trek) but of course you can buy a different brand ....but at least this will give you a look at what bikes you may want to consider
Again, don't be afraid to spend a little extra money on a new or gently used bike from a store that has a lifetime warrant, can give you the best fit bike as well as good customer service to give you tune-ups and help you out with changing tires, getting accessories, etc.

I hope this helps! Congrats and best of luck!
(Thanks to Karel for helping me with the technical bike components of this question).

Q: I do have a quick question I hope you could help me with. After workouts I usually make a shake, Soy milk, PB, banana and ice. I feel I need to add more protein to my recovery. I know many people use protein powder and have used it in the past when I played soccer.
My question starts because my daughter loves sharing the shakes with me and loves helping make them! If I were to add protein powder would it be a big deal if she still got her own little glass of it (she is 5) and basically are the powders safe for kids (obviously it is a small dose and she would only have some when I made a shake). Also what brand would you recommend and how much should I add?

A: Thanks so much for checking out my blog and for emailing me with your question.
That is great that you are making a recovery shake and it sounds yummy. I would recommend to include protein powder to bump up the amino acid content (aka "quality" of your protein that is being absorbed) as well as the usefullness of your "recovery" drink...especially if you struggle with getting adequate quality protein into your body during the day. Greek yogurt is also high in protein so this may work as well (I recommend plain 0% or non fat plain yogurt with no added sugars or artificial flavors).
Smoothies not only make a great recovery drink but they are also an effective way to eat a balanced "meal" in a drink. You can certainly take the typical USDA "plate method" and turn it into a yummy smoothie.

As for your recovery drink, before I make suggestions, it's important to know wha workouts you are using it for, in terms of recovery. I find that some athletes can just benefit from a glass of milk or 1 scoop protein and water (or milk) if the average training load is small on a weekly basis or the workout is less than an hour. There are also some opportunities when a recovery drink is more advantageous than others - in terms of what you are putting in it. The big focus is on the protein for recovery but if you were using it as a meal AND to recover, you can bump up the nutrition by adding fruit, veggies, milk, nut butter, seeds, oils and yogurt.

As for your daughter, I do not feel the protein powder would hurt her but I do not encourage supplement usage on children. Unless there is a reason to do so for medical reasons (advised by her primary care physician), your daughter would be just fine by using milk (or greek yogurt) and passing on the protein. Milk contains calcium AND vitamin D to help with bone growth, whereas most "milks" and yogurts will contain calcium and the protein content may vary. I personally use whey protein isolate (which is an animal protein) but if you would like a different protein to do the similar job, soy protein and hemp protein would be my recommendations. I have not found great success, personally, with pea or rice proteins (VEGAN) but they are other options.

To make your smoothie with your daughter (which is great!) I would first make her portion with ice and water and have her help you pick ingredients such as kale, spinach, carrots, pumpkin puree, nuts, seeds, yogurt, milk and nut butter. After you blend for her, then add your protein powder (and perhaps a bit more water to help with mixing) for yourself. But again, if you are only using your smoothie as a recovery drink, a glass of milk is perfectly fine (for calcium and protein) for recovery and to curb cravings later in the day (as well as overeating). And, unless the smoothie is being used as a meal replacement, I recommend a balanced "meal" to finish off the tissue repair and glycogen restoring process.
Thanks for the email and enjoy!


5-minute meal

Although we should all strive to live a more balanced life, I know it can be hard at first to acknowledge that change is necessary. It's always fun for me to reflect with Karel (and through my old blog posts) on our own personal journey with nutrition and training. I can think back to when we were dating....we both trained twice a day, we couldn't go to bed without a bowl of ice cream and we ate out at least once a week (Panera was our favorite place). Almost 6 years ago, we didn't recognize the importance of eating for health for our main focus was on training and we had plenty of "excuses" to enjoy the foods that we craved.
As we started to enjoy a more wholesome diet, we found our cravings for sweets, processed "healthy foods" and starchy carbs begin to change and despite no considerable change in training volume, we slowly found ourselves gravitating towards more plant-based, "REAL" food meals. Of course, with me being a vegetarian, my diet was a bit more plant-strong than Karels, but with only meat and fish as the only differences in our diet, it was important for me to start bumping up my creativity in the kitchen.

Now, our build and peak training is more quality and less focused on volume, we are stronger, faster and more powerful than ever before (likely due to an increase in metabolism due to nutrient filled meals and frequent whole-food snacking) and I feel we are both really living life to the fullest.

I think it is important to understand that we are all in our own journey. While some of my creations impress even myself, I didn't always eat this way. Over the past 6 or so years, I have made very small changes in my diet which relfect my overall health and athletic performance. The funny thing, however, is that with every small change I always wanted to embrace a healthy relationship with food and to discover what it is in my OWN diet that will improve my triathlon/running performance as well to reduce risk for illness and disease. I can honestly say that I never want this journey to end. I love finding new ways to enhance my "creations" as well as finding ways to fill my body with a variety of nutrient-dense foods.

In your journey, consistency is key. You first have to be OK with change and to realize that it takes time for the body to respond to favorable changes. Next off, you have to enjoy your changes. Although I highly recommend dedicating 30-60 min a day, most days a week, to meal preparation (aka cooking at home), don't put so much pressure on yourself that your meal needs to be perfect.

Here are a few suggestions to prepare a head of time (or to have on hand) so you can make QUICK, plant-strong meals. Taking a little time to grill, defrost, or cook a few of these items can make your life a lot easier when it comes to making a wholesome breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Fruits and veggies
Any kind and lots of variety!
To save time:
Frozen (non salted)
Bagged/boxed lettuce

Non fat milk (no sugar added)
Hard boiled eggs
Non fat yogurt (no sugar added)
Part-skim cheese or Cabot cheese
Nut butter
Whole grains
Fresh fish and lean meat (for non vegetarians)
Tuna, sardines (for non vegetarians)

Whole grains
Make a head of time for easy portion control and to increase fiber content in the diet. I encourage 2-3 servings of whole grains a day.
Containing gluten (which is a protein): Wheat, spelt, kamut, farro, durum, bulgur, semolina, barley, rye, Triticale, oats (oats are gluten-free but may be processed with gluten)
Gluten-free: Corn, Millet, quinoa, brown rice, Montina, sorghum, teff, wild rice, oats
*If you are choosing to be gluten-free for reasons beyond celiac disease or gluten intolerance, it is important to include 2-3 servings of whole grains in the diet for heart health. Recognize that many processed Gluten-free products are high in sodium.

Healthy fats
I recommend 1/2-1 tbsp oil or 1/2-1 ounce fats (ex. nuts, cheese) at most meals so that at least 20-30% of the total dietary calories are from fat.
(many proteins will contain fat to help meet needs)
From Mayo clinic:
Monounsaturated fat: Olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, poultry, nuts and seeds.
Polyunsaturated fat: Vegetable oils (such as safflower, corn, sunflower, soy and cottonseed oils), nut oils (such as peanut oil), poultry, nuts and seeds.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Fatty, cold-water fish (such as salmon, mackerel and herring), ground flaxseed, flax oil.

Enjoy my 5- minute meal!

Leftover grilled tempeh
Black beans (low sodium, rinsed from the can)
Spinach (bagged)
Tomatoes (roma, I chopped them)
Hard boiled egg (made ahead of time, I always have at least 1/2 dozen in the fridge)
Sunflower seeds
Onions (I chopped them)
Dressing: my current favorites are tahini paste, grapeseed oil and olive oil. Take your pick!
Fresh shredded mozzarella