Essential Sports Nutrition


Weekly recap - food, workouts and Campy

Another week is about to come to an end. Branson 70.3 is approaching and life is keeping us busy. After our hilly bike + run workout in San Antonio (Dade City), Florida this AM, I'm in recovery mode so this blog post is very random but a brief summary of the week.
First off, another pic of Campy. Doing his thing - focusing on a good night of rest.
What a workout today! Karel told me it would be tough....and it was. 58 miles in hilly San Antonio - staying on his wheel and keeping his pace. Love my new climbing cassette and enjoyed having Karel in front of me to remind me how to pace my race on Sept 23rd. Love the hills but also need to race smart.
After the bike we went our seperate ways as I can no longer keep up w/ Karel on the run. We both ran for about an hour but w/ Karel holding an average pace of 6:50 min/mile for his 8 miles, I was just glad to do my thing for 7 miles. It was blazin' hot but we both felt good when it was over.
We both practiced our nutrition for Branson 70.3 by really focusing on getting in more calories on the first half of the bike. I typically use around 220 calories an hour during my long bike rides but I've increased it a bit and made sure to drink frequently (every 10-15 minutes) while riding. For the run, I'm really paying attention to my heart rate for when it gets too high, it's hard to recover (and digest/absorb nutrition properly). All great things to consider for any athlete who is preping for a race. Pre, during and post nutrition are my main priorities on a daily basis for I am an athlete. Not an exerciser.
Campy posing for the camera as Karel and I recover in my parents' pool.
Have you picked up/received the October issue of Runner's World? I think we'd all agree that the best opportunities in life come with hard work, determination, patience and passion. I was beyond excited to receive the October issue of Runner's World (special nutrition issue) and see my quotes and business name on pg.55 and 61 in the "Grocery run" article. Make sure you check it out- this issue is filled with great material! Thanks for all the congrats and likes on my facebook page - I really appreciate it!!

Monday and Tuesday were recovery days....Just like last week. My body has been feeling great so the intentional recovery days are working perfectly. Karel and I swam an easy 2500 yards on Tuesday morning and took Monday completely off (aside from several daily Campy walks). Wed was a really tough swim and I'm really stepping things up by swimming in the "guys" lane. I Love to be pushed and although sometimes I need to adjust the set so I don't get lapped, it is still a great workout for me. Karel is doing GREAT in the water and I'm jealous that his "newbie" status allows him to make big improvements in such a short amount of time. On Friday we did 8 x 200's as our main set and I managed to squeeze in a 2:30 for #8. By far my fastest 200 in a LONG time. I've been working so hard for those little seconds here or there whereas Karel, on the other hand is dropping 5 seconds a 100 - almost every 1-2 weeks! Jealous but proud ;)
Track on Thursday was hard....really hard. Karel came up with our set and it was a killer on the lungs. Legs felt good thanks to consistent workouts + recovery but still a challenge for the body.
Main set: 1/2 mile, 1 mile, 1 mile, 2 mile, 1/2 mile, 1/2 mile.
Each interval had a specific pace for me to hold and I walked 200 meters in between. I was sweating buckets out there but it was a great way to start the day. Above is the smoothie I made - blueberries, whey protein, peach, milk, ice cubes, chia seeds, almonds, banana, spinach, celery and carrots. And a piece of cinnamon raisin toast. YUM!

Work has been going great at the hospital and I'm learning lots. I love the balance between clinical nutrition and sport nutrition/fitness/wellness through my business. There's always something to learn and both jobs are super rewarding.

Above is a pic of my oatmeal - blueberries, chia seeds, oats, banana, sunflower seeds, cinnamon. Such a delightful (and filling) way to start my day. I'd consider this meal #1 but I start my morning w/ a pre-training snack, fuel during all workouts and then recovery nutrition (either smoothie, whey or milk). In case you missed it, here's an article I did on Oats for USA Triathlon.

Hope you enjoyed the random weekly recap! Enjoy the rest of the long weekend and be safe.


Tips on consistent training & Sunshine tempeh, squash and mango stir-fry

Wow - 26 days until Branson 70.3. My body is feeling great and Karel is also feeling strong... but we still have about two more weeks to make some more serious performance gains.
This weekend we will visit my parents and ride/train on the hills in San Antonio (Dade City, Florida) to get our legs ready for the challenging 56 mile bike course in Missouri. Plus, Campy misses his grandparents and the "resort-style" living.

Can we say "What a life?"

On Tuesday, I posted on my Facebook page about my tips for achieving consistency w/ training and racing. On a personal note, I'm having my best season ever but I will admit that it's hard to think outside the box, especially when there are so many opinions as to how to train for triathlons. I may have a background in exercise physiology and exercise science and I may be a dietitian, specializing in sport nutrition but no amount of credentials can make it any easier to not overthink training (aka overtrain). Sure, we all know what we should be doing and the right thing to do (and when too much is too much) but, if you are competitive with yourself, like to train or have goals related to your performance, it's easy to always think about those who are better than you and compare yourself to them. Perhaps you should be thinking about those who may be looking up to you - impressed with what you are able to accomplish on a daily basis to meet your own personal goals.

On race day, I'm out to race my competition, not a time. With the trained body that I have on race day, I challenge myself to race amongst those who are better trained than me and I will be proud to race among those who see me as someone who pushes them to train harder. We all race for different reasons.....but we all reach the same finishing line.

One of the hardest things for an athlete-in-training is to be aware of "the now" but to consider the future. Who cares what other athletes are doing - you are racing your own race. To help you have a quality racing and training season, here are my tips to find balance and consistency w/ your training:
1) Get a massage and stretch before you badly need it.
2) Fuel consistently during workout, befo...

re you feel tired and fatigued.
3) Prioritize nutrition before and after workouts, before you find yourself struggling with recovery.
4) Prioritize your nutrition throughout the day to compliment your intense/long daily training regime rather than obsessing about your intake on your "off" or lighter days.
5) Don't strive for a race weight but rather a strong body that will perform optimally by x-day.
6) Don't wait until taper to feel "normal" again, find balance now.
7) Don't "rest" an injury/pain after a workout, address normal vs not normal aches on a daily basis.
8) Don't view your training as train hard and "rest" unintentionally when you need it. Consider intentional rest days long before you actually need them.
9) Respect and thank your body for what it allow you to do on a daily basis.
10) Have fun and inspire others.
With less than 4 weeks until race day, you'd imagine that our focus is to train's crunch time. Yes, we are still training hard BUT the focus now is on reaping every tiny, little gain we can achieve within every single training session. For the magic has been happening over the past 2 months....we have nothing to prove to ourselves in this last peak of training - nor will we give it are all in training. For we belive in saving our best performance for race day.
How can we do that but still gain performance and race strong on race day and meet body composition goals? Train hard, recover harder.
More rest, more sleep, more active recovery. More emphasis on the weekends when we have more time to recover (that is, when Karel isn't working on Sunday's and for me...I'm always working :) ) and more recovery (less volume) during the week. The intensity will stay through taper but with more recovery comes more energy, more consistency and more power.
I don't train my body to burn calories. I don't focus on what I "can't" eat (according to others).
I fuel. I train hard. I recover. I have fun.
I'm loving the challenge of "thinking outside the box" and I can't wait until race day!
So, on to another delicious creation.
I'll be honest, some days I just don't feel like cooking. But give me a pre-meal snack like a few baby carrots and some peanuts to chomp on as I am feeding our house full of animals (and fishies) and before I know it, I'm thinking of another creation to fuel my lifestyle. Knowing that a "meal" will leave me satisfied and well-fueled, I decided that the dreary weather was not going to affect my cooking so in honor of the random hurricane Issac rain showers (thankfully, we were not hit), I hope this creation brings sunshine to your belly.....Enjoy!

Sunshine tempeh, squash and mango stir-fry

Ingredients (for ~2 people + a little leftovers):
Mushrooms (container)
Tempeh (cubed, 1 package) - or your choice of protein
1 can roasted tomatoes (no salt added)
Squash (1 large yellow, thinly sliced)
Corn (~1 cup)
Black beans (~1.5 cups, rinsed and drained)
Mango (~1/2 cup cubed)
Whole grains (~1 cup or 1/2 cup per person)
Dark greens of your choice (spinach above)
Olive oil
Seasonings: chili pepper, cumin, curry powder

1. Recommend having protein and whole grain option prepared ahead of time.
2. Heat non stick skillet to medium heat and drizzle w/ olive oil.
3. Cook mushrooms, corn, squash until veggies are lightly golden.
4. Add black means, tomatoes (spoon out rather than pour) and mango and stir until combined.
5. Add protein and cook on low for a few minutes, stir occasionally.
6. Add spices and toss. Turn off heat.
7. Plate greens in shallow bowl. Top w/ heaping scoop(s) of veggie/tempeh mixture and sprinkle w/ whole grains. Top w/ cheese.


Product "EYE" Review - Oakley path, Oakley radar and Nootca goggles

As a licensed and registered dietitian (RD, LD/N), I abide by a code of ethics set forth by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to provide factual and practical information to the public. Unlike many celebrities and professional athletes, it is in your best interest (as the "consumer") that you understand that I am not paid to "sell" you on something that I don't believe in or personally endorse or tell you something that is untrue, just to receive a paycheck for my words (or actions).

When it comes to product reviews, I hold myself to a similar set of standards. I do not accept money for product reviews but rather, when a company contacts me to review a product and provides me with the product for free, it is my responsibility to be truthful and honest in my review. Although what works for me may not work for you, I enjoy being a professional in the field of triathlons, health and wellness and provide the public (you) with information that may enhance your lifestyle.

Having said that, you will not see me accepting and using products that I believe don't fit within my personal philosophy or lifestyle. When I believe in something, I use it and likely, you will know it. I don't feel I need to go out of my way to talk about something that I routinely use, for I don't need to be fake just to "support" a product. I promised myself, I would never use this blog (or my business) just to receive free stuff or to give-a-way products that I don't believe in. Again, what works for me may work (or not work) for you - however, my goal is to motivate, educate and inspire you to live a more active and healthy, balanced lifestyle. When I accept a product to review, I will either write about it on my blog because I feel it can benefit you OR I will kindly communicate w/ the company to provide my feedback as I feel the product is not a good fit for my "community" of athletes and fitness enthusiasts. I have turned down many products over the last year or so, simply because I do not want you (the consumer) to be mislead, confused or overwhelmed in any way.

Dr. Rakes, my dad, is an optometrist and has worked for the VA for the past 30+ years. I don't think he will ever retire for he truely loves his job. I feel I take after him for he loves working with his residents and teaching others. We both love to learn and I suppose we both love science and medicine, a bit too much since most or phone calls are "did you read this study on....?"
I know my dad will be happy about this review since he recognizes how critically important it is to take care of your eyes. Especially as athletes, I think it is very easy to overlook how easy it is to not address eye health considering the danger in our sports as well as the time we spend outdoors.

Oakley Radarlock Path
Born and raised in Europe and riding his bike competitively since he was a very young body, I don't think anyone can talk about their love for Oakley glasses, like Karel.
Almost 19ish years ago, Karel was racing at a high level back in Europe but was not wearing Oakley shades in his hometown of Znjomo, Czech Republic....because he could not afford them. Karel wanted to look just like Greg Lemond so he got a look-a-like pair of the famous M frames from the early 90's.
At the age of 20, Karel took a quick trip to the US, with his friends, in 1996 and with money saved, he purchased his first "real" pair of Oakley sunglasses in the US. The M frames w/ blue and yellow - just like Greg Lemond.
Sadly, he lost them after he returned back to Czech and was really bummed. However, when he moved to the US back in 2000, he purchased his second pair of Oakleys around 2005 (when he could afford another pair) and found a vintage pair of Oakley's on Ebay. Once again, he lost them at a cycling event.
Ever since then, Karel has only worn only Oakley's and has been very careful as to not misplace them at cycling events. I suppose with the craziness that comes with cycling races, it's easy to lose your shades. However, Karel has never broken a bone in cycling and still has perfect eye sight.
Karel has been a long time Jawbone and Radar fan and recently received the radarlock path vented Oakley's (polished white w/ jade iridium w/ yellow lens). As soon as he put them on he said "oh, these are great!!" (wish I could insert accents in this blog so use your imagination to hear in Czech).
What we both love about Oakley sunglasses are their comfort. Many athletes avoid wearing sunglasses because they slip or feel uncomfortable on the face. A quality pair of sunglasses should protect your eyes from the sun, protect your face/eyes from flying objects (withstand force in a crash) and feel comfortable (no need for headaches). In other words, you shouldn't feel like you are wearing anything on your face.
As  a triathlete, it's important that your shades fit nicely under your helmet when riding and with a visor/hat when running.
We had  an exhausting training weekend (thanks to the wind from Hurricane Issac) and Karel mentioned that his glasses were really light on his face, didn't fog up in the humidity/heat w/ sweating and he really liked that he could see to the side without the edge of the glasses affecting his vision. He also likes the vents on the top of ths shades. Karel highly recommends these shades if you are interested in a great pair of sunglasses to fit your active lifestyle.
For the females, Oakley Women makes a fierce looking pair of glasses that is not too sporty. I really love the radar edge for the wide lens and I love the look when I am racing. I will admit, however, that with my longer distance training for Branson 70.3 on Sept 23rd, I have been gravitating toward my Commit SQ (I have white and brown but LOVE the breast cancer and team USA editions) for they are much lighter (although the radar edge are much lighter than my old radar pink shades) on my face and much more comfortable over time when I am training. I've noticed that after around 2 hours of training, the edge don't seem to feel as good on my face compared to the Commit, so I will likely wear the Commit at my longer races (and during training) and use the Edge for the shorter races (and training). It's always nice to have options and I love that with Oakley Women for they have a great collection of active and style sunglasses.
By now, we all know nothing beats Oakley when it comes to quality, innovation and passion. Here's more about their optic line
If there is one area in triathlons that I feel gets overlooked, it is the swim and the type of goggles you are wearing. I think athletes will notice right away if a pair of sunglasses is not the right fit for they fog up, fall off your face or give you a headache. But many triathletes/swimmers settle for a cheap pair of goggles and considering that the swim sets the stage of a triathlon event, the right pair of goggles is extremely important to fit your face. Additionally, for swimmers who are not comfortable in the water, your goggles may be preventing you from having good sight in the water or causing you to feel constricted.
I've been a long time fan of Speedo Vanquisher Women's Goggle (post sweedish goggle days from college) however, after a few years of using them, I constantly find myself having to renew my goggles because of foggy lenses. I've tried the baby shampoo trick and it works only short-term but the comfort is worth renewing, at least once a year.
When Nootca contacted me to review their 207, eleven and 5 goggles, I communicated w/ my contact a few times letting him know what I was looking for in a goggle: ANTI FOG and COMFORT!
I need nothing more than a goggle that will withstand the water at the YMCA and will feel comfortable in the pool, in a lake  and in the ocean- for up to 2.4 miles at a time.
At home, I tried on each pair of goggles and I feel the 5 are perfect for the competitive swimmer, looking for a more comfortable style of "sweeds". The lenses are not firm and feel nice around the eyes.
First off, I love supporting local and small businesses. Nootca is based in Florida - which is the perfect location for all things swimming (on the East Coast).
Each of the styles have comfortable straps and come w/ different nose pieces (207 and eleven) based on your face. This is something that I think is necessary for swimmers - there's no reason why your goggles should fill with water if you have adjustable nose pieces. I had to change mine in the eleven and 207 to better fit my eyes around my nose.
The eleven and 207 are similar in comfort, however, the eleven is likely best suited for a smaller face. Although I have a small face, perhaps someone who needs smaller lenses, perhaps a child or teenager. I don't feel the eleven's will work well with me in a triathlon because I need a wider range of vision for spotting.....especially for a 1.2 or 2.4 mile open water swim.
The 207 are amazing. A little pic from post swim on Fri (one of the toughest swims, thanks to challenging myself to swim in the boys' lane)
I had several comments on my swim cap on my Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition Facebook page, it can be found here: Smiley swim cap
A little weird looking through them the first time because I could tell the lenses were not "normal". I could see some ripples on the lenses which made me believe there is a layer of an anti-fog material to preventing fogging. I guess in time I will find out but after I swam with them in the pool last week, I found them extremely comfortable and clear. I also like that they come with instructions as to how to keep the lenses in good shape over time, as well as a case to protect them.

I also swam with them in the ocean (well not sure if I would call it swimming for the waves were wild on Saturday morning) and aside from not getting salt water in my eyes, I forgot I was even wearing goggles. I plan on wearing the 207's in Branson 70.3 to test out the durability in a half ironman lake swim.

In reference to the Nootca website, "Equipment best works when you don't know it's there. A paradox? Maybe, but when equipment fails is when it’s most noticeable. Our vision is to create unique swim equipment that works with you, integrating into your training and most of all when competing. It is the details we sit up nights thinking about. We focus on the details so you can focus on your swim."

Any questions, comments or concerns: Send me an email and I'd be happy to help you out.


Eggplant and squash casserole - worth the 45 minutes!

First off, it's time for a day in the life of Campy.....
Focused and deep in thought......
10 minutes later, Campy has a new record. Another doggy stuffed animal in need of surgery and re-stuffing. Noted - the tag is still on.

I've been sharing lots of yummy creations on my Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition Facebook page so if you need a little inspiration as to what to create for breakfast, lunch of dinner, be sure to LIKE my page. I also share lots of articles, quotes and motivating results from my Trimarni coaching and nutrition athletes so I highly recommend checking out my page as my goal is to help others find balance between diet and exercise. (Thanks if you already LIKE the page!)
Eggplant and squash casserole
I shared this pic on Facebook last week and I promise, it tastes as good as it looks. This would be a great dish for the kiddos to help with and this makes great leftovers (combine a handful of spinach w/ leftovers and heat the next day at work). There are layers of flavors, filled with wonderful nutrients. One of the best parts about having a balanced lifestyle is having the time to prepare wholesome meals at home, which enhance our lifestyle. I believe to achieve balance in life, you need to sit down and stop thinking about what others are doing but rather, think about your own life and how much time you can devote to training/exercise without it affecting other areas in your life. When I think about my days during the week, I'm conscious of the time needed for meal prep (I always bring my lunch to work) as well as how much time I need per night to have a restful night of sleep. This is in addition to time spent at work at the hospital and with my business, my time spent on recovery (Ex. nutrition, stretching, etc. to keep me consistent w/ my training and healthy w/ activities of daily living) as well as any other time during during the week that helps me achieve balance. Even though this meal takes 45 minutes to cook, I wasn't sitting around starving and waiting for my dinner meal.
I always recommend having a pre-dinner snack such as a few nuts, a side salad, a little protein or a small piece of fruit or veggies - all depending on what you have for your meal. Let your snacks compliment your meals.
Secondly, multi-task. I like to use my oven when I'm really busy so I can stick the meal in the oven and forget about it as I do things around the house, do emails, etc. Just don't forget to start pre-heating the oven as soon as you can so when you finish your meal prep, your oven will be ready for cooking.

1 large eggplant (sliced)
1 large yellow squash (sliced)
1/2 container firm tofu (crumbled)
1/2 large onion (Sliced)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
Mushrooms (1 container)
Yellow sweet peppers
1 can Hunts no-salt added stewed whole tomatoes
Leftover rice or grains (I used basmati rice)
Olive oil
Seasonings: Basil, parsley, marjoram, chili flakes, pepper
Farmers Cheese (or ricotta)
**Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees

1. Lightly spray bottom of glass casserole dish w/ non stick spray. Layer eggplant on bottom, don't overlap.
2. Crumble tofu on eggplant, then layer w/ squash.
3. Spread onions (allow a few for the top layer), mushrooms and yellow pepper and a handful rice/whole grains on squash and then crumble a little farmers cheese on top of each squash.
4. Lightly spread tomatoes on squash/onions. Sprinkle w/ seasonings (listed above or your choice - a pinch of each evenly all over)
5. Finish w/ layer of eggplant and a few onions. Drizzle w/ olive oil.
6. Bake for around 40-50 minutes or until eggplant begins to brown on top.