Essential Sports Nutrition



Interesting article on snacking..


Also, interesting that I read the snacking article after reading this one....
America's fattest cities

The way I see it, snacking is used for several reasons.
1) To compliment meals - what are you lacking at meals and can you include that in a snack to make the daily diet more balanced?
2) To prevent drops in blood sugar - going too long between meals can encourage a drop in blood sugar. Naturally, the body will crave sugar or "carbs" since the body is "craving" something to boost blood sugar.
3) To satisfy hunger - pre-meal snacking can help cravings and overeating.
4) To give you energy - research shows that with an increase in lean body mass, your body burns more calories at rest. As you work toward building more muscle, keep in mind that the more often you eat, the more likely you may be able to boost the metabolism.

For many people, excessive and high calorie snacking results from meals being inbalanced (for many too high/low in slow digesting, high fiber carbs and in many, too high/low in fat), training/exercise nutrition being inadequate (or not well planned) and popular by many, snacking is out of boredom and not being mindul with the body.

Easy snacks can be anything from sweet sliced and whole fruit, crunchy veggies with dip or a savory piece of dark chocolate, to a more filling snack of popcorn, oatmeal or smoothie.

In planning your snacks, recognize why you are eating them...bored or hungry?
-Can you tweak your prior meals to make it more satisfying. Sometimes a few more grams of fat can help to slow down digestion and focusing a bit more on portioned controlled grains throughout the day can provide a nice balance of fiber and nutrients to keep your tummy (and blood sugar) happy.
-Don't always blame that moment in time for your excessive snacking. Often, I find that it starts with breakfast. Start your day off right by having a balanced and satisfying breakfast and continue to compliment each meal and snack so that by the evening, you feel as if you covered a variety of foods and colors in the diet.
-If you are snacking because you are bored or hungry, that's ok. There's nothing wrong with eating and nothing wrong with feeling hungry. Don't get mad at your body or blame yourself for being "bad". If you do snack because you are bored or hungry, recognize that at any time in the day you can adjust your intake. If you find yourself really hungry mid afternoon and eat more than planned, that's ok. Adjust at the next meal and realize that it doesn't always matter when you eat your calories, but rather where your calories are coming from and how your body uses them throughout the day.

Here are a few snack ideas:

Fruit, dark chocolate chips, sunflower seeds and skim milk on the bottom

Veggie and fruit smoothie (made with kale, milk, strawberries, kiwi and 1/2 orange, mixed with whey protein powder, milk or yogurt and ice)

A salad! Who says a salad is just for meals? Especially in the case of planning for a more "carb-heavy" dinner (like italian, mexican, etc.), compliment that meal by "snacking" on a salad. Be creative with your snacks..try to think beyond PB and crackers (Although WASA and PB make for a yummy snack!)

Fruit, granola, dark chocolate chips and side of greek yogurt (not pictured is yogurt - have fruit salad ready for snacking at any time and keep yogurt in the container and refrigerate until time to eat. This will keep your parfait from getting soggy)

Try this: At eye level in the fridge (for you and eye level for kids if applicable), have 3-4 bowls of washed fruit and sliced veggies. See if you find yourself snacking more on nutrient dense foods if these foods are easy to eat. Often times, we let blood sugar drop and we feel forced to reach for more sugary foods. However, if you allow yourself to snack mindfully and to not fear opportunities to eat balanced snacks (ex. carb choice + protein/fat or a "wholesome" food item), it is more likely that you will feel more energized, more satisfied and most importantly a better relationship with food and your body.

Always ask yourself if you are hungry enough to eat an Apple or a Pear...if you are too full or aren't feeling an apple, you may not be hungry "enough".

And if that doesn't work, just send me an email..I'll help ya out and tell you it's ok to eat that piece of dark chocolate after dinner :)


Tampa Twilight Criterium Race and lunch wrap

I'm really looking forward to this weekend. A fantastic close to a productive, busy and fun week of working at Baptist Medical Center South, consulting at SpaMe, sharing my yummy creations and info at Winn Dixie (tonight) and my favorite, helping my Trimarni coaching and nutrition athletes get one step closer to their short and long term goals.

If you are near, in or around the Tampa Bay area this weekend, I HIGHLY suggest coming to the Cigar City Criterium and Festival on Saturday. There will be events happening all day so if you like beer and cycling, you will have a lot of fun.
Karel and his category 1 teammates will be racing in the Profesional Criterium Race which starts at 7:25pm. This will be the event to watch if you want to see how the professional riders ride their bikes. Karel and Rad raced in the last USA crit race in Delray and it was exciting and fast...I'm sure in downtown Tampa, this event will not disapoint!

2012 Cigar City Brewing Criterium from Tampa Downtown Partnership on Vimeo.

Hope to see you out there...just listen for Campy, he cheers really loud!

What's for lunch today?
How about a crunchy wrap to go along with your favorite colorful salad?
You can only stuff so much in a wrap (or between two slices of bread) so make the meal more filling by having the wrap as a "side" to your beautifully made salad (or veggie stir fry or fruit salad).

How to choose the best wrap?
-Read the ingredient list, if it is too long for your liking, put back and choose another option. Avoid food colorings or brightly colored wraps that are not made from real food (ex. green food dye wrap vs spinach wrap)
-Don't be pulled in by fancy packaging but narrow down your options with options like whole grain or for some individuals, fortified. The more "whole" the food, the more bang for your buck (and nutritional value).
-Make the best selection based on calories (<180 per wrap), fiber (>3g), sodium (<200mg) and protein (>2g) as generally recommendations.

Enjoy my newest creation - Crunchy pecan and artichoke wrap
1 wrap
1 spoonful hummus
1 large artichoke (canned, rinsed) - sliced
Handful broccoli slaw (or handful dark greens)
5-6 pecans (chopped)
Farmers cheese (about an ounce)


2-minute coffee-cup omelet

When I got home on Sunday, I was ready for a real meal. I snacked on a banana, pretzels spread with peanut butter and water and Recoverite on my 2 hour drive home along with a necessary grande coffee (with a little milk) from Starbucks.

Luckily, my super supportive hubby had some leftovers from his "creations" earlier that day....
homemade mashed potatoes, cooked cabbage, potatoes and onions along with scrambled eggs with veggies, topped with shredded cheese.
It all went so well together in my belly.

If you are in the area on Wednesday, I will be providing FREE info at the Winn Dixie on CR-210 in St. Johns County. Finishing up National Nutrition Month, I will have handouts to learn how to "shape up your plate" as well as a few kid/parent friendly Trimarni creations (snacks and breakfast ideas) along with a sample of a variety of dark greens and how to add some "power" to the diet. I will help you understand how to read food labels, what to "watch" in food and how to enjoy a more wholesome diet.

Stop by anytime between 5:30-7:30pm and say hello! I will also have info on my services provided at SpaME for one-on-one consulting and my friend Aime will be discussing her personal training services provided with SpaMe.

Over the past few months, I've been working with several parents, seeking more quick, easy and yummy creations for their kiddos. Truth-be-told, the meals need to be quick, easy and yummy for the parents as well.

I realize that the morning hours can be rushed and we all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Often I find that people say "I'm so "good" until the afternoon and then the cravings hit and by the time I get home, I mess up and I'm so bad!"

First thing I look at it...breakfast!
1) What time do you eat in the morning....I recommend if you don't work out within 60-75 minutes of waking, that you start your day with something. Preferrably an emphasis on protein to keep the blood sugar in check. I find that people who eat something upon waking, feel more energized later in the day and feel more control over their eating.
2) Is your breakfast leaving you satisfied? If you are starving after work and believe you are overeating in the evening hours (either through high calorie meals or excessive snacking), it's likely you won't be hungry in the morning hours and may find yourself feeling hungry around lunch. Assess your current routine of eating and see if you can go to bed a bit hungry in order to wake up excited to eat a filling breakfast. I recommend a mix of whole grain (or high fiber carbohydrates) along with protein and fat.
3) Does your breakfast compliment the next two eating opportunities? Do you tend to snack on fruit around mid morning and then enjoy a salad at lunch? In that case, you have done an exceptional job of incorporating nutrient dense foods in the two eating opportunities after breakfast. If you find yourself lacking on fruits and/or veggies in the morning hours, discover what you can add to breakfast to make the morning hours more balanced. Perhaps bulking up your morning breakfast with fruit or veggies will give your body the electrolytes, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that your body is craving by afternoon.

I am not sure how I came up with this creation but this is for all those parents (and rushed parents) who need a quick breakfast, for on-the-go. I recommend to serve this protein and veggie packed breakfast with your choice of high fiber carbohydrate, whether it is a handful (or 1/2-1 serving) of Shredded Wheat cereal, a slice of whole grain bread (ex. Ezekiel), a serving of whole grains (ex. oatmeal, bulgur, barley, quinoa) or your choice.

Enjoy my latest creation..and I only took 1 minute and 45 seconds.

2-minute coffee-cup omelet

1 egg + 1 egg white
2 spoonfuls skim milk (or non-fat milk, do not use soy milk as that doesn't "heat" well)
4 broccoli florets (frozen)
2 tbsp frozen corn (frozen)
1/2 medium roma tomato (sliced)
5-6 spinach leaves (chopped)
1-2 spoonfuls chopped purple onions
Optional: Cabot cheese

1. Cook frozen veggies (your choice if you do not like my selection) in micrwave until soft (about 1 minute) - frozen, no salt/seasoning added are just as nutritious as fresh, if not more nutritious depending on the season and shipping of produce.
2. In bowl, scramble eggs, milk and all veggies. Sprinkle with your choice of no-salt seasoning (ex. garlic spice, pepper).
3. Pour in large (not the small, normal size, over 10 ounces) coffee cup (I recommend letting the kiddos pick out their favorite coffee cup to look forward to eating out of something special and "cool")
4. Cook in microwave for 1 minute with fork, scramble and cook in additional 15 second increments until eggs are firm and there is no remaining "juice". (do not cook too long..eggs may pop/explode in microwave!)
5. Top with sliced brick cheese.

(I removed eggs from cup so you could see what it looks like...I fun plate helps as well!)


Great Clermont Olympic Triathlon race report

First off, a big CONGRATS to the Category 1,2 Gearlink Team for exceptional teamwork at the Winter Garden Crit on Saturday evening. Karel's teammate Eric managed to get into the break and the team worked really well together in the last 2 loops, driving the speed and giving Karel a great lead out for a field sprint first place and 10th overall. I am SO excited for next weekend to head down to Tampa for the USA Crit Tampa Twilight! If you live in or near the area, I highly suggest coming to watch the Pro/Cat 1 race!

Campy and I enjoyed ourself by resting our legs and enjoying a yummy TriMarni creation....

In the delray crit two weeks ago, Karel mentioned that he wanted something "light" but filling before his crits. Nothing too heavy that would make him feel stuffed (he eats his last meal 3 hours before a crit race) but he wanted something easy to digest. I made for both of us a yummy pre-race meal with all the right flavors to enjoy it until the last bite.
Pre-race meal:
Bulgur combined with cooked (frozen) veggie medley with fresh chopped celery, sweet peppers and onions, mixed in olive oil on stove. Added scrambled eggs, marinara and farmers cheese.

(Be sure to refrigerate/keep cool when traveling due to eggs, or your choice of protein. Always keep in mind, food safety!)

After Karel's race, I said good bye to my favorite two guys and headed to Clermont (20 miles down the road) to stay the night before my triathlon.
Karel and Campy joined our friend Rad for pizza in the cute downtown of Winter Garden and headed home soon after.

Throughout the race I wore my Celliant socks, which have been a new addition to my recovery/daily routine. I recommend checking them out, I can't say that I feel they will work for everyone but I am always seeking a comfortable sock and I really enjoy the feel of these socks. Karel and I both have a pair.

I was quick to bed at 9:30pm...looking forward to good sleep before a 4:45am wake-up call.

It's been a LONG time since I have done an Olympic distance triathlon. With nerves, setting up in transition, getting on (and off) a wetsuit after a 20 minute swim and a high intensity racing effort on my mind, I was very careful with my nutrition on the days leading up to the race.
Knowing it would be fairly warm and that my muscles would need to be in top shape for contracting and relaxing, I took 1 FIZZ (Hammer) on the 2 days leading up to the race (mixed in 24 ounces of water), after my warm-up on Sat (Fri was a day off so I sipped in a bottle throughout the morning). Considering that my high heart rate would possibly compromise my nutrition on race day, I kept in mind that stable blood sugar levels on the days leading up to the race would give me the best competitive edge, over any supplement or race day fueling strategy.
The only supplement in my current diet since Kona 2011 is whey protein, which is a must-have in my training/recovery routine. In training for an Ironman, I realize that is far from "normal exercise" and that I must respect my body by focusing on what it isn't getting or what it may be needing. Tissue rejuvinator, a multivitamin, endurance aminos and anti fatigue (from hammer) are part of my "Ironman" supplement regime. But that's's not too crazy because I really like to focus on a more natural way of training, recovering and fueling my body. It doesn't work for everyone, but I find it works for me.
I focused on my foods on the days leading up to a race, not getting overconsumed with "carbs" or "sodium" but rather just eating normally but listening to my body. When my body was hungry, I fed it. When it told me I was satisfied, I stopped eating. Lots of fruits and veggies for electrolytes, vitamins and minerals and an extra emphasis on wholegrains - like bulgur, brown rice and whole grain bread, alongside fat and protein. I find no difficulty "craving" a balanced diet but with a race in sight, it's easy to lose sight of "normal" behaviors so I kept with my normal diet but was sure to assess my body and appetite during each eating opportunity.
Feeling great (albeit a bit nerves for what was to come with a 4-year hiatus from "short course" triathlon racing), I had 1 slice whole grain cinnamon toast bread with Smuckers Natural Peanut butter and banana slices. Knowing that my hotel room did not have a coffee maker or microwave, I planned ahead and didn't freak out that I wouldn't have my typical morning cup of Joe. No worries, a good warm-up would give me the "boost" to get my system going.
I also had around 12ish ounces of water with breakfast, knowing that the more fluid in my stomach, the easier it would be to empty the sport drink from my stomach, into my small intestines for optimal absorption....tip for you athletes who feel bloated before training/racing. 8-16 ounces of fluid in the 2 hours before training/racing, recommended a cup or two of coffee and water.

I made my drink for the race, which was 2 scoops (200 calories) Strawberry Heed as I knew that would be the best source of fuel to minimize any GI upset in a quick race as well as ensure that there would be no swings in blood sugar. I also mixed my gel flask which is becoming a must-have for my athletes during any run off the bike. I mixed 2 huckleberry gels (Hammer) with 3/4 full of water in my gel flask. Shook it up and it was ready to go.

I arrived to the race site at 5:30am to pick up my packet and to set up transition area. I am the type that will arrive to the airport well-ahead of departing time...triathlons are no different. I'd rather set up my stuff and relax rather than feeling rushed. Knowing that anxiety and stress reduces gastric emptying and can create side effects such as bloated stomach and/or diarrhea, I set up my transition area, relaxed in the car for around 30 minutes (called Karel for a quick pep-talk), warmed up with a jog and then relaxed some more in the car until 7:15am.

I made sure to bring two pairs of running shoes (Same pair, just an older pair...Brooks Launch) so I could warm up before the race.
My transition area included:
Swim (which I had on me) - cap, goggles, body glide, wetsuit
Bike - aero helmet, power tap (on bike), water bottle (on bike), Oakley commit sunglasses, socks, LG tri shoes, towel to wipe feet, garmin (not waterproof, I put it on for the bike and start when I am finishing the bike)
Run - 110% visor, race belt (pink Zoot, clipped in for easy sliding on), gel flask

The race was wetsuit legal (74 degree water per race director) and despite not wanting to wear my wetsuit as I am not a wetsuit swimmer, I decided I would put myself at a disadvantage if I didn't. I put on my Xterra full sleeve wetsuit and headed to the water for a quick dip in the lake.

The race was collegiate regional championships so the men and women college kiddos started in the first two waves. All the women started just a bit later, together at 7:47am..3,2,1...

A few quick high-knee runs into the water, a few dolphin dives and the lactic acid hit my body in full force.

Oh my, what did I get myself into!

Nearing the first corner of the triangle course, I finally felt like I was getting into a rhythm. I made sure I kept my mouth SHUT during the swim as I made the mistake to swallow the Pacific ocean during the World Championships in October. I'll tell ya, there's always something to think about with swimming!

I was trying to stay with a pack of purple caps, trying to draft to the best of my ability. We were nearing the last buoy and I was careful to spot on the way back to shore, trying to give a straight shot to the swim exit.

I let the wet suit stripper pull off my wetsuit. I safety-pinned my chip so it wouldn't come off and also had on my CEP calf sleeves under my wetsuit. I wore my Hammer sport bra and 110% tri shorts and felt comfortable knowing that the day was going to get a bit warmer.

I made my way to transition area after the 1.5K swim...quickly running to make sure I didn't slow down. In an oympic distance tri, transitions are quick. In an Ironman, it's more about being smart than being fast. Today I tried to be quick and smart.

I never put my shoes on my bike, I feel it saves me no time as I can quickly put on my cycling shoes in transition area and quickly mount my bike.

The bike course started with a few climbs in the neighborhood and then became flat as we rode around Lake Minneola. What a beautiful ride as we turned away from the lake and welcomed the rolling hills of Clermont.

There was a lot of changing of the gears, from bing to small ring. Trying to keep a steady cadence, I loved every minute of climbing despite the wind starting to pick up. I guess when you are climbing, you don't really feel the wind until it is at your face or pushing you to the side.

I felt strong on the bike and kept a careful eye on my power. I knew Karel wanted me to push hard during the entire race, I watched my speed as I tried to hold around 150-160 watts when I felt like my speed was dropping but I was still pushing. This allowed me to not burn myself out but rather, be steady with the challenging course.

I absolutely loved the feeling of pushing hard on the bike for this 40K ride. In 2006, Karel and I were dating and he watched me do this race as a 24 year old. At that time, I was scared of hills, climbing and descending and didn't feel as if I was "one" with my bike. Fast forward to 2012, racing as a 30 year old with my b-day this May, I feel confident, strong and "one" with my bike...all thanks to Karel not only pushing me but giving me all the tips I could ask for...even when I am not asking for them :)

I can't tell you how many times Karel has told me to "stay on my wheel!". OK babe, if I could, I WOULD!

Gotta love him.....he is an exceptional coach, rider and husband. I know he cares and likes to see me suffer :)

I was most nervous about this run. Always running off the bike in training, I just didn't know how it would feel to "race" a 10K off the bike. I kept my mind thinking positive thoughts, thinking about Karel telling me about how much he "hurts" in some of his BIG cycling races, thinking about my athletes who are so driven by their individual goals and of course, thinking about my body. Thankful for a body that doesn't get sick and doesn't feel like it is aging, I took this 10K as an opportunity to just give it my all..whatever that may be for the day.

After dismounting my bike, I ran to my bike rack and quickly transitioned for the 10K run.

I started my garmin and off I went. I ran mostly by feel and boy, did I feel good! I questionned how long that feeling would last so I just broke down the course to keep my mind focused and happy.

1 mile out to turn around.
1 mile back to transition.
Then 2 miles until the "last" turnaround.
Once I get to mile 5, I only have 1.2 miles to go.

Sometimes it is the little things that keep you going.

I sipped on my gel flask ever mile while drinking water. Absolutely no GI upset and my brain stayed focused with no drops in blood sugar. My body felt great and I couldn't help but feel some power with my run. Of course, "power" that is relative to my love for endurance racing but nonetheless, I focused on my own race and own effort and cheered for the other athletes along the way.

I spotted my friend Kim and Kevin Grogan near the 5 mile mark and enjoyed a little boost as Kevin had a hose with nice cold water and cheered me (and the other athletes) along.

I picked up the pace for the last mile and finished strong to the finish line.


A PR, 1st age group (30-34) and 8th overall female.

I could not have asked for a better race and exactly what I needed to get me excited for the upcoming season.

Considering that the past 3 years have included 3 Ironman's and a stressful dietetic educational program, it was nice to have the past behind me and feel some excitement for racing.

But, truth be told, my heart still remains in Ironman and Half Ironman racing. I love the journey, the process and the outcomes. It is so much more than just a distance...I absolutely LOVE the challenge and memories that come with distance racing.

Thanks for all the wonderful cheers from afar for this race. We should never take our body for granted. You don't have to do a world championship or place in your age group to feel successful....don't compare races or yourself to others. Enjoy YOUR journey and keep making memories.

"The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give." -Howard Cosell

Before every race and many training sessions, I try to find motivation or inspiration to keep me going when the going gets tough. It always gets tough, that's competition....and that's what we crave when we aren't training. Whether it is in racing or when you are alone, competition is something that should be welcomed and not feared. But it is only with the right attitude that you will you be able to excuse the excuses and move forward in order to make for a better tomorrow and a better you.

I found my motivation while reading the Feb 2012 issue of Competitor magazine. Pg 30, an article written by John Bingham (aka The Penguin) on the Lessons Only a Race can Teach You.
There's something about pinning on a race number that changes everything. It's not just that you've made a commitment to yourself; you've also decided to go public with the results. To succeed wildly or fail miserably in a crowd is both exhilarating and humbling.
A race doesn't allow you to hide from the challenges of the event or from your own limitations. You can lie all you want before the race but when the gun goes off, the truth comes out and you can't be anything other than what you are.
As you look ahead to your 2012 schedule, make sure to sign up for some races. I promise you that there are lessons that can only be learned between the start and finish lines.

(Results can be found here when they are posted: