Essential Sports Nutrition


Eat your way to healthy with my Kitchen Casserole

In the latest Tufts University newsletter (April 2012, Vol 30, Number 2), there was an interesting NewsBites on the cover page.

Do you have any feedback or comments regarding this research?

Doctor's Own Weight Affects Treatment of Overweight Patients

Is your doctor overweight? The answer may make a difference t your own weight issues. A new nationwide survey of 498 physicians fins that doctors who are overweight or obese are less likely to engage their patients about the need for weight loss and feel less confident in their ability to provide counseling on diet and exercise.
The 49-item questionnaire asked physicians about their own body-mass index (BMI) as wel as their dealings with patients' weight management.
Normal-BMI doctors were more likely to say that physicians should serve as role models by maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly. And doctors' perceptions of whether patients' weight met or exceeded their own made a big difference in whether the doctor recorded a diagnosis of obesity or initiated a conversation about weight loss.
Now, when thinking about this I must say that they mentioned Normal BMI..not "perfect" body. This is something that our society has a big struggle with in that many people are at a healthy weight but the are always striving for more. Overexercising, restricting calories...all in an effort to get the body more lean and to see less jiggle. Often, the idea of "normal" or "healthy" to many is simply a number on a scale, followed by what they perceive are imperfections rather than loving the body they have all while taking care of the body that they have for the rest of their life.

For example, I am 5 feet tall (or short) :)
According to the BMI calculator, a normal BMI for me is 90-128 lbs.
I can tell you right now, there is no way that I can feel healthy or achieve 90 pounds and maintain my current lifestyle. I never even want to see myself under way, never. I love my muscles too much to see 3 numbers on a scale.

At 128 pounds, I would also not feel healthy as I have been there once when getting injured before Kona 2007.

My current weight fluctuates between 108 and 113#. A very comfortable weight for me as I judge my "health" by how I feel. I don't weigh myself very often, but for me, I know that I have 108-113 lbs of a body that loves to cross finishing lines, eat a variety of food and to live life without feeling controlled by food or training.

Next time you examine/critique your body or set goals for yourself, take a minute or two and see if you can find a driving force more than just how you look, when making lifestyle changes.

I hope you enjoy my latest creation that left our bellies SO happy this evening. There was a lot of YUMMING going one..always a good sign that a creation is blog-worthy.

Enjoy and have a great weekend celebrating your holiday of choice.

Kitchen Casserole
Why the name? I used everything I could find in my fridge and freezer...why not? That's the fun part about making creations!

Purple cabbage (chopped) - enough to cover the bottom of a large glass casserole dish
Olive oil (2-3 capfuls)
Balsamic (1-2 tbsp)
Frozen veggies - veggie mix, corn, broccoli
Garlic (3 small cloves chopped)
1 can Hunt's Stewed tomatoes (no salt added)
Red potatoes (I used 4 medium red potatoes)
Your choice of protein - I used veggie "meat"
4 eggs (2 whole, 2 whites) + 2-3 tbsp milk (scrambled
Seasoning: Cumin, pepper, chili powder
Optional: panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Cook potatoes in microwave until soft (I used potato setting).
3. When potatoes are cooked, remove and let cool. Cook frozen veggies in microwave on veggie setting.
4. Slice cabbage and place in casserole dish. Toss in olive oil and balsamic.
5. Pour tomatoes into cabbage and combine.
6. When potatoes are cool, slice and place in casserole dish.
7. Add veggie meat (if frozen, cook until soft) and frozen veggies.
8. Pour egg mixture over veggies (it's ok if it doesn't cover everything, pour evenly the best you can).
9. Sprinkle with small handful breadcrumbs and a few shakes of parmesan cheese.
10. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until potatoes begin to brown and eggs are cooked.


Happy Plant-Strong anniversary for Karel and me!!

On December 4th, Karel and I watched the Forks over Knives documentary. It was really eye opening for the both of us but I was not quick to make any assumptions. Looking more into the no-fat, vegan "plant-strong" diet, I recognize that this "diet" was extremely restricted. However, there were many positive messages within the documentary and I feel it left an extreme impression on Karel. From the feedback from others, many people have changed eating habits after viewing this film.

What did you think about the film?

Nineteen years ago, I decided to not kill animals. I was around 11 years old and I made this decision on my own, while in middle school. I told my parents and that was that....19 amazing years of not eating fish, chicken, cows, turkey or any other animal.

Over the last 8-10 years, I've probably made the most nutritional changes in my vegetarian diet. Learning more about variety, balance and the nutritional value of certain food sources, I've become more appreciative of what I put into my body. Despite being an endurance athlete, my health is my first priority. Performance gains and PR's..well those are just a side effect of my choices of "fuel".

Prior to then, I simply ate a lot of cheese, pasta, pizza, cheeze-it's and pretzels and emphasized little "color" unless you count bagel bites, air head candy and skittles.

As a health professional, I try to remove my own personal biases when it comes to what works for me and my personal choices for my diet and how I choose to live my life. I have an extreme soft spot for animals and despite me feeling as if fish is a wonderful food source in the diet, I am comfortable with my choices to not eat any animals other than to eat dairy and eat eggs. Once again, I do not tell others to be meat-free but I strongly advise and recommend others to incorporate more variety in the diet. Of course, I find that the best role I have is to inspire others, not to preach. This is why you will not find me discussing "bad" food in my blog or in articles. It isn't worth my time or energy..I'd rather focus on all the amazingly nutritious foods out there, discover new foods and create new creations.

It's never about what you can't eat but rather, what you can eat. Of course, if you don't take time for your health, you will eventually have to make time for illness.

Shortly after watching the Forks over Knives film, Karel told me he wanted to try not eating meat. Although he rarely ate red meat (typically when we would go to Outback for my pre-race meals or when we visited my parents and cooked with the grill), my eyes opened wide but I didn't say what I thought I would say.
I guess I invisioned myself saying "YIPPE!" but rather, I approached the situation with an open mind (like always) and responded with "That sounds great, I'll help you out the best I can to make sure you stay in good health and continue to race strong"

I have never once forced, suggested or advised Karel to not eat meat. Certainly, I have changed a lot in his diet simply by inspiring him to try new foods with my creations but food is never an argument in our house. My job is to take care of myself and to help Karel take care of himself. I appreciate him wanting to take care of himself because as my husband, I want to be with him, healthy and of course, with Campy always by our side.

Four months strong and Karel has not eaten chicken, turkey or ham (his "old" favorite meats). I still keep fish in our place as I feel this is a wonderful food source for some individuals, choosing to include some type of "animal" protein in their diet. However, in my mind, fish isn't necessary if you are worried about overall health, if you do choose to be vegetarian or vegan. I find that fish, along with some other "power" foods out there are used as "reversal" foods...that is, to reverse what has already been done. So in the case of fish protecting the heart and the brain, well, perhaps a plant strong diet years before a diagnosis of CHF, obesity, cardivascular disease, diabetes and hypertension (to name a few) would have also protected the heart and the brain.

Karel is 100% fueled by plants and my creations are exploding in this house. Far too many for this blog....I'm almost ready to fill a cookbook with my powerful creations!

So, in honor of this special month... I'm happy to announce that Team Karel and Marni are staying strong, fueled all day with lots of yummy plant-strong creations.

I can't say it enough but I appreciate those who continue to read my blog. My goal is not to make this world "meat-free" but to inspire, educate and motivate others to live a more healthful lifestyle, appreciating food for fuel and to foster overall health. For once you feel the gift of health, you never want to lose it.

Karel friendly Fish and potatoes
*Bourbon salmon - fresh, made daily at Publix grocery store. Cook for 7-8 minutes (I cook until 145 degrees) in oven at 350 degrees
*Red potatoes - chopped, tossed in olive oil and seasoned with chili pepper, pinch of sea salt and paprika; cook in oven, on baking sheet lined with tinfoil. Sprinkled with parmesan cheese when cooked
*Asparagus - cook in microwave until soft (with a little water), then put in oven with potatoes, drizzled with olive oil
*Polenta - (Thimade from cornmeal) sliced and cooked in oven on seperate baking sheet
*Thinly sliced cooked red peppers and onions for garnish

Vegetarian Leftover stir-fry:
Red potatoes
Chopped asparagus
Pinto beans
Cooked in olive oil, seasoned with chili pepper, pinch of sea salt, pepper and curry powder


Tampa Twilight Criterium Cycling Festival - recap

What a fabulous weekend. Training, racing and spending time with friends and family. Karel, like many of his friends, training partners and teammates, are not "real pro's". They work real jobs (weekends included) and then squeeze in training with the rest of life. Karel likes to challenge himself and race at a higher level and I think that is admirable and something we should all strive for in life....always trying to be better and to not be afraid to get out of our comfort zone.
Karel and his boss Jeff make the time to train (Jeff is training for his first Ironman, IM Texas). For training/exercise is part of being in good health and when you are in good health, you are more happy, productive and overall, in better spirits. It's all about how you balance it all to maintain a sense of consistency in your life.

After working at the hospital on Fri, I picked up Karel at work at the Trek Store and we hit the road to my parents down in New Port Richey.

Saturday morning came quick but due to a few nights of not sleeping well (we watched my parents cats last week at our place) I had direct orders from coach/hubby that I needed to sleep in. Orders obeyed.

I was on my bike at 8am and it was time for a challenging bike... kudos to Karel I have no idea where he comes up with my workouts but they sure do work!
The wind was blowing and riding on the suncoast trail required that I had both mental and physical strength for this workout.

2 x 8 min w/ 2 min EZ
15 min w/ 2 min EZ
20 min w/ 2 min EZ
2 x 25 min w/ 4 min EZ

I had specific power zones for each part of this workout and the total ride was around 3hrs and 45 minutes. Miles were uploaded but I don't really focus on my distance. I download my data onto a free software program called Goldencheetah and then upload data onto Training Peaks for me and Karel to analyze.

After the bike came a 30 minute run. It was hot but my legs felt great. Sure, a bit wobbly during the first 4-5 minutes but it always gets better. Finished my run with a walk with Karel and Campy...sweaty, hot and ready for my Hammer FIZZ in water, a dip in the pool and a recovery meal w/ milk + whey protein.

During the day, Karel rested after his bike warm-up. I try to not talk to him much when he races the bigger races (On the National Racing Calendar - NRC) as he likes to get into his zone, but I'm always around if he needs anything. I'm the opposite at my Ironman races - I love to socialize, laugh, smile and be around lots of positive energy.

I have really worked with Karel on his race day nutrition for the evening crits so that he is comfortable racing for a long duration at such a high intensity, so late in the evening. He knows what works best for him but it is still all about experimentation based on the race course, time of the race, time of the year/weather and race distance.

For this race, Karel had as his "main" meals:
Breakfast post warm-up - milk + bagel + whipped chive cream cheese + eggs
Lunch - Brown rice + beans and tuna

A little bit of snacking but that's it..and it worked fantastic this time around. Karel does not like to have much food in his system before a crit but he does sip on sport drinks throughout the day and chooses more "sport" products in the 1-3 hours before the crit. Again, it's what works best for him and we've tried a lot of different things...I always make mental notes. I always make sure that he eats well on the days leading up to the race as I know that on race day, he will not be eating a lot of food, however his system is full of "fuel".

I was so excited to go to the race as it was the first year it was on the NRC list. The venue was packed with people and booths and I was so happy that several of my athletes (Gary, James, Jennifer, Stefanie) came to support Karel. I spotted several of our Gearlink friends and some other familiar faces in the crowd.

Karel drove seperately from me and my parents so that he could get his number and start getting ready. We arrived around 6pm and by that time, Karel was getting ready to get on his trainer to start flushing some lactic acid to get his legs ready for the race.

By 7:25pm...they were off!

This race was a bit shorter than other races but no less fast. 4 corners and several crashes but luckily, Karel dodged them all. Karel had a few Gearlink cat 1 riders on his team in this race and they all rode really well together. Knowing that the Gearlinkers are riding amongst a totally different caliber of riders, it was great to see them all out there, riding strong and confident.

I felt good about this race for Karel all day long and sometimes, I can just sense that he will do well. You never know in bike racing what the day will bring but I had a feeling this would be a great race for Karel.

Karel stayed near mid pack during the entire race and with over 90 starters, the field was getting smaller and smaller with every loop of the 80 minute race.
The field ended up getting lapped by 2 riders near the middle of the race but the entire race was filled with excitement. I absolutely love watching cycling as there are so many tactics involved between the different teams. My favorite announcer Chad with USA crits always explains the race very well so if you are ever able to watch a USA crit race, I recommend attending.

I was really excited to see Karel sprint for the finish as that is his speciality. He loves to sprint, unlike me who loves a steady effort..not too slow, not too fast. I suppose by now, Karel is teaching me how to suffer...

Karel had a great sprint and placed 28th with one of his teammates Eric S., placing 30th. Both guys earned a nice paycheck since the event payed 30 deep, which they then shared among the team for all the guys who finished.

Karel told me that he could have had a better finish but another rider got in his way and he wasn't able to move up much more during the sprint. Regardless, Karel was really pleased with the race and finished the race, craving for more.

Well, 2 more weeks and we are off to North Carolina for the Charlotte Twilight downtown Crit and then it all leads up to the notorious Athens Twilight Criterium in downtown Athens Georgia. Then...a break for Karel and it is time for me to race some Tri's!

We will both be back in the Clearwater area on April 22nd as I will be racing in the Iron Girl Half Marathon in Clearwater, Florida and later that afternoon, Karel will be racing a Florida Series race in downtown New Port Richey.

Life is good...can't complain. I do enjoy resting as much as I enjoy this on-the-go lifestyle. It's all about balance...and lots of restful sleep!

On sunday morning as Karel was watching the Tour de Flanders, I had a 1 hour easy spin followed by my 1 hour and 45 min long run. I warmed up for 4 miles and then it was time for the main set:
4 x 12 min (7:32 min/mile pace, 7:26 min/mile pace, 7:25 min/mile pace, 7:32 min/mile pace) w/ 2 min EZ jog/walk.

Talk abou a main set! But good thing I had a lot of motivation, adrenaline and positivity after seeing Karel suffer for 80 minutes on Saturday evening. I always seem to have amazing workouts when Karel races.

Do you ever get inspired by watching other people race?

Performing beautifully, wearing my Oakley Women Overtime shades, Fly fleece hoodie and convert tank. No outfit is complete without Campy at my side.

Karel looking strong...

...fueled by plants!

When you are inspired by some great purpose...

Find your inspiration, every day.
When you are inspired by some great purpose...


Did you miss these??

Welcome to another week and a new month in 2012!!! Hopefully you are making the most of your days and finding that right "balance" to meet your nutrition, health, performance and lifestyle goals. Don't let life slip on sure you are taking the time every day to relax and reflect.

The other day I mentioned that I had a few references for info on my website, specifically in regard to being a more educated consumer and better fueled athlete. You can find them here at, click MEDIA section and then you can search around.

In case you missed it, my latest column articles are out for Iron Girl and LAVA magazine.

From Ironman on Facebook:
"If you struggle to lose weight, change your body composition (despite training vigorously), or have trouble feeling satisfied during the day, constantly battling cravings for sugar, chromium may be your answer. Here's an article from Lava Magazine about the importance of this mineral"

Plates Not Pills: Chromium : LAVA Magazine

Speaking of social media, head over to facebook and Twitter and LIKE the Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition Facebook page and follow me at TRIMARNICOACH on Twitter. In the case that I am not blogging daily, you can get your daily dose of inspiration, motivation and education on either of my pages.

In the Iron Girl newsletter, you will find my column which is mostly dedicated to daily and/or sport nutrition. Here I discuss my view on personalized sport nutrition

Lastly, if you have not seen this video yet, I highly recommend watching it with an open mind. I watched this on 60 minutes on Sunday and couldn't wait to share it with you all when it was posted on the internet.

Once a daily ice cream, sandwich thin, Special K cereal, flavored yogurt and fiber one eater, there was a time when I was wrapped up in the idea of controlling "calories" (regardless of food source) versus understanding (or feeling comfortable with) the power of "whole food".

As an endurance athlete who was dating an experienced cyclist (born in Czech with a different style of eating compared to Americans), I felt as if I was getting no where with my performance and health goals. I was trying so hard to control calories (and excuse my "cravings") alongside a constant struggle of "what am I doing wrong in my diet" despite being a competitive athlete.

So, 6 or 7 years ago, I started my journey of a more "real" food diet. Not going on a diet, not having an off-limit but rather learning to develop a healthy relationship with food and my body, I started making small changes. Changes that I could do on that day, just trying to realistic and practical.

Sure, it took a while for my body and mind to adjust and probably longer than many would like to accept as most people want quick fixes. But now I am in a better place. Food is fueling my lifestyle and there isn't a day where I don't thank my body for what it allows me to do. It's easy to compare my body to the past but as I age, I recognize that my body is allowed to change. For with a change in body comes dozens of PR's and finishing lines as my body is only getting smarter, faster and healthier.

Based on my experience and education, I am able to help others reach their personal performance and body composition goals whether it is through training/exercise or nutrition (typically, they go together). My journey took years and years but now I have the tool set to help others learn how to start their own journey (in a quicker time frame) of learning how to eat for fuel and for health.
Any questions, send me an email

The Power of IX

Calling all female athletes! Time to dig out your favorite photos for ESPNW! Read this to find out more.
The Power of IX


Winn Dixie Grocery Store Event - with RECIPES!

What a fantastic event at Winn Dixie. I was totally in my element, with my table being positioned right in the middle of the fruit and veggie section....heaven.

Winn Dixie has been wonderful for allowing me to share my creations and love for wholesome eating. What better than to close National Nutrition Month with a colorful display, my stuffed veggie and fruit friends (from IKEA - thank you CINDY!), having my friend Amie help me out - who is an amazing photographer (see pics below or check out her website here. She is also TRX certified if you want an amazing workout! I highly recommend using her services - she's a mom of 3 and a runner - she can help you reach your goals!) and of course, speaking to open-minded customers about making a few swaps in the diet and welcoming a new way of eating and living life.

I hope you enjoy a few of my creations from my Winn Dixie event. If you are part of a group, company, club or individual who would like me to make some creations for your next event (or article), let me know by sending me an email.

For more helpful info, check out my website and click on MEDIA - you will find my Winn Dixie event info, followed by some helpful documents.

Lettuce - bulk up any "meal" with lots of nutrients and only 15-30 calories per cup!
Red leaf
Leaf lettuce
Swiss chard

My favorite peanut butter...Smuckers All Natural.
Which goes perfect with WASA Crackers (especially pre-workout)

Popcorn - a "whole" lotta goodness in this grain!

1 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweet)
1 tbsp butter (ex. Olivio)
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1 tbsp canola oil

1. In large pot, toss kernels in oil. Cover.
2. Turn heat to medium heat. Let cook for 4-5 minutes before needing to attend to kernals.
3. When kernels start to pop, give a shake (off burner) and continue to let kernels pop for 15-30 sec, shake and then pop again on burner.
4. When kernels begin popping quickly, tilt lid to allow a little heat to escape.
5. Turn heat a tad lower and let kernels continue popping until they finish. If you think they are burning, turn off heat, shake and set aside.
6. In large container, pour popcorn. Add butter and cocoa powder and shake until combined.
*Trick - you can pop 2 tbsp kernels in brown papper lunch bag for 90 seconds for quick popcorn (cooking time may vary) without oil. Fold bag over 2-3 times until sealed and then pop away!

Nutrition facts:
Makes ~5-6 cups
Serving size: 1 cup

Calories: 67
Fat: 4g
Carbs: 7g
Protein: 1.2g
Sodium: 17mg
Fiber: 1.5g

Tahini and chive couscous

1 cup couscous + 1 1/4 cup boiling water (Prepare according to package)
1/2 cup chopped chives
1/8 cup tahini paste
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
Pepper, parsley, salt and curry - to taste
Recommend: serve with dark greens

1. Prepare couscous according to package (5 minute "cooking" time)
2. In large bowl, combine all ingredients as couscous is "fluffing".
3. Add couscous and combine with fork.
4. Refrigerate or serve warm.

Nutrition info:
Serves 4
Serving size 1/4 cup

229 calories
6.5g fat
36g carbs
2g fiber
7g protein

Fruity breakfast barley

1 cup barley + 3 cups water (Prepare according to package)
1 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup slices pears
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp brown or white sugar

1. Prepare barley according to package (allow 1-1.25hr for cooking).
2. Combine fruit, cinnamon and sugar in container (or bowl). Stir to combine.
3. Add warm barley and mix well.
4. Refrigerate and serve cool or heat in microwave for a warm breakfast.
*recommend to serve with 1/2 - 1 ounce your choice of nuts or seeds

Nutrition info:
Serves 8
Serving size 1/2 cup

112 calories
0g fat
26g carbs
2.75g protein
3g fiber
4g sugar

*Interested in one-on-one consulting at Spa ME (904-824-9804)
or have a comment, question or concern?
Email me @ and visit

Thank you again to Amie for the wonderful pictures!

And to my wonderful clinical dietitian friends at Baptist Medical Center Beaches for letting me use the helpful display board.