Essential Sports Nutrition


Sport Nutrition Tip + Trimarni Custom clothing

Working out or training for more than an hour today?

Consider the benefits of a pre and post workout snack.

During exercise, energy demand is high. Your body will experience an increase in skeletal muscle blood flow and to get stronger, it will release anabolic hormones (like growth hormone, testosterone and IGF-1, epinephrine) to assist in protein synthesis. Insulin concentrations will also increase post workout as an anabolic "side effect" whereas during exercise insulin sensitivity increases. On the flip side, however, every time you place stress on the body via exercise, catabolic (breakdown) effects take place like glycogen depletion, increased cortisol concentrations, decrease net protein balance and possibly dehydration.

Take advantage of at least 30-60 grams of carbohydrates and a little protein pre workout, along side a post workout snack of 2:1 or 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein (grams) to help the body fuel and re-fuel for a more consistent exercise/training routine as you move closer to your body composition and training goals. Don't think of sport nutrition around workouts as calories your body doesn't need...instead, it is the fuel your body requires to maximize your time training. Consider more what you are eating (or not eating) during the day when your your body systems (cardiovascular, muscular, nervous, respiratory, etc.) are not working in overtime, like they do during exercise to allow you to function properly.

Speaking of using your body......

The Trimarni Store is now open!
The clothing is not limited to Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition athletes but instead, to any person who desires a balanced, healthy and active lifestyle and chooses to dream big. We don't have a date in 2013 for placing another order due to custom orders taking 6-8 weeks. Deadline for orders is December 14th, 2012 so take advantage of the current $1 shipping fee. Thanks for your support.

Learn more HERE
Place an order HERE

More info:
Canari Sizing

Canari dealers

Any questions - send me an email.


How to fuel for a night race

I was really excited to provide my insight on how to fuel for night races when asked by a member of the Palm Harbor Tri Warriors Club.  Although I don't personally enjoy evening races (unless it involves crossing an Ironman finishing line around 6pm), being married to a category 1 cyclist has given me many opportunities to understand how to to eat on the day of an evening race. There's nothing more thrilling than watching an evening criterium and for the past few years, Karel has taken part in some big National Racing Calendar races, which involve racing at your max for 75-90 minutes. With the Athens Twilight being the mack-daddy of them all (Karel has finished it for the past two years, 80K on a 1K course), the only way I can describe the intensity is imagine running 1 mile all out for around 90 minutes, with only a second or two rest here or there - if you are lucky.
With Karel racing at a high intensity in the evening, I always took mental notes on what worked/didn't work for him so that I could always help him out for his race day fueling plan, up until race start. Certainly, every sport (and distance) will differ depending on the athlete and intensity so it took several races to figure out exactly what worked best for Karel.

Here's a video from Karel's Athens Twilight finish last April after almost 1 hour and 40ish minutes of racing. The race officially starts around 9:15-9:20pm on a Saturday night.

I hope you enjoy the interview/article on fueling for night races (with permission from the club to feature on my blog).

Fueling for Night Races
By: Christie O'Sullivan
Some of the biggest running parties happen at night races and so many of us get trained and geared up to run them only to get sick afterward. Some of the biggest races are at night, from the Disney Wine & Dine 1/2 Marathon to the Rock N Roll 1/2s and Ragnar. Running a night race can be tricky because if you don't time your fueling right and fuel the wrong way, you could end up in the bathroom for hours. (Trust us.)

So WHEN do you fuel for it? And more importantly, HOW?

We wanted to find out so we went to our resident nutritionist Marni Sumbal from to help sort it all out. Thanks Marni, for the tips!

One of the most important tips for fueling for a night race is watching your fat and fiber intake. Nerves combined with low blood sugar can cause a big GI problem, so eating a balance of carbs and proteins in small meals throughout the day will help you keep the blood sugar stable.

You should not be “hungry” or famished at any point during race day. That can lead to over fueling and high fat/fiber choices.

The meal that will actually fuel your race won’t be a meal from race day, but the day before. Eat a filling breakfast the day before filled with a balance of healthy proteins and carbs, then eat consistently small meals throughout the rest of the day and on race day.
Your last meal before the race start should be 3-4 hours beforehand and should be small and easily digestible, something you would eat before a morning workout. Piece of toast and peanut butter or liquid nutrition like a shake or drink. Food choices should primarily be from carbohydrates with a little protein/fat to slow down digestion. Be sure to consume at least 8-12 ounces of water with the pre-race meal to help with digestion of nutrients from the stomach.
Keeping your blood sugar consistent will also aid in your post-race recovery.
Be sure that your race day pacing plan is consistent with your current level of fitness. No amount of nutrition or the "perfect fueling plan on race day" can make you run 7 min/miles if you haven't trained yourself to do so in training!

Now that you’ve focused on pre-race nutrition, don’t throw it all out the window during the race. Make sure you’re hydrating and taking in nutrition consistently throughout the long races. During a race lasting more than 45-60 minutes, take in water every 10-15 minutes and 30-60 grams of fuel every hour for endurance races, ½ marathon or longer. Suggestion: combine a gel with water in a gel flask as an easy way to provide your body with electrolytes, liquids and carbohydrates every mile or 10 minutes as opposed to fueling every 30-40 minutes. The more consistently you fuel during the race, the more likely you will avoid residual fatigue and dropping energy as the race goes on.

Find what works for the race! Don’t let race day be the first time you tried the fueling regimen out. Practice fueling some long night runs several weeks before the race. Plan a long run or two in the evening 3-4 weeks out so you can get your body acclimated for race day. Schedule a couple interval workouts at night. It’s hard to fuel for that intensity, so this will help your body adjust to the change.

Be aware of your normal bowel functions. Keep in mind that a nervous stomach alongside a change in racing time can easily throw off your "routine." Even with the perfect race day nutrition and fueling plan, a body that is not comfortable with change may cause you to see the port-a-john immediately after (or during) a race. Understand that evening races are not for everyone and most importantly, as you train your body to cross finishing lines, be sure to recognize what races are best suited for your body.

Good luck out there!! Hopefully this will prepare you to be able to enjoy both the Wine & Dine aspect of the race after the run is over!

Thanks again to Marni for the tips! Find Marni on the web at and on Facebook:

One thing that I forgot to mention is the excessive use of caffeinated beverages that you may be consuming to keep yourself energized and awake before a late evening race start. Although advantageous for the athlete who enjoys the cup of Joe to stimulate the  bowel  movements before a morning workout or race, a nervous belly alongside an excessive amount of caffeine in the evening may cause GI distress before and during your race (which will ultimately make it harder to properly stick to your race fueling plan). Additionally, too much caffeine may cause constipation in some which may cause you to feel bloated throughout the race (alongside overeating throughout the day). Be mindul of your eating and drinking before an evening race, likely experience and practice will be key to finding out what works best for you and your body.


Diet or sleep?

The other day I posted on my Trimarni facebook page about how much I value sleep. Appropriately, there was an excellent article from the Washington Post showing and explaining how sleep can affect disease, appetite and other health problems.
I highly encourage you to read the article if you are someone who struggles with getting a restful night of sleep, most days per week.

As for how much is enough?  I think that differs person to person but it also has to do with your lifestyle routine. We know that the body is constantly repairing when we sleep...and working. So for an age group athlete who not only trains for races/events but has a full-time job (parent or in an office), sleep is vital for consistent gains in life and to minimize risk for illness and injury. You do not have to prove you are a superhero by being able to function with only 4-5 hours a sleep.
Additionally, as you will read in the article, a restful night of sleep is the key. Good sleep means that for most nights, when you fall asleep, you are out for enough cycles to wake up feeling rested. I know for myself that I've learned that I can only afford one to two nights of sleeping 6.5-7 hours for anymore I struggle with activities of daily living. My energy fads as the week goes on, I have more afternoon cravings, I don't think as clear, I don't recover as quickly, I feel moody at times and my performance suffers with training. However, with only one to two nights of 7-hours of sleep, I know that a good night of sleep for 8-8.5 hours (depending on my training phase) most days of week will help keep my life in balance. So, the issue is not trying to make time for more sleep but rather, making sure sleep is the priority and making everything else fit in for a consistent life routine.
In other words....are you the athlete/fitness enthusiast who falls asleep at 9pm, wakes up at 11pm to get a snack because you are hungry, you go back to bed at midnight (falling asleep with the TV on or browsing through your iPhone/pad) and then wake up at 3am to go to the restroom because you had a bowl of cereal w/ milk at 11pm (or before bed) and then you jump out of bed at 4am when the alarm goes off so that you can do your 3-mile recovery run?

Sit down with a piece of paper and make sure you have your priorities in the right place:
Make time for sleep
Make time for a healthy diet

Don't expect to life a busy, go, go, go life and hope to find the time tomorrow because you will be "good" tomorrow.
So, then the question comes into the diet - does a healthy diet override quality sleep or is sleep more important than a healthy diet?
I am sure you can guess my answer.

It's all about balance.

There is a great saying that "you can not out-train a poor diet". In other words, if your diet is not balanced in a way to support the metabolic processes during activity, don't expect to eat whatever you want and however much you want and then just "exercise" your way to "good" health. Sadly, it doesn't work like that.

I find that when it comes to creating an individualized, balanced lifestyle, people are always quick to think about the person who is an anomaly. You know, the one who can eat whatever she/he wants but still has great race results or has the "perfect" body (if there is such a thing). Or the person who ate only x-foods (aka followed x-diet) for 3 months and lost 30 pounds and now feels amazing. When was the last time you just thought about yourself and didn't compare your life to others....wishing that you could be like others or questioning why others have it so easy or why they can do it and you can't?

I think about my own journey in the past few years and I am very proud of my own changes in regard to living a lifestyle that I feel is balanced and healthy. As a health professional, I am not forcing my lifestyle on others but rather helping to inspire and motivate you to think about what it is you can do to make for a balanced life. In the past 6 years, I have not been sick (cold or flu, food poisoning or virus - or anything else that would make me feel yuck for more than a few hours or as I like to think about it - does not make me miss out on life), I have never had a stress fracture or a broken bone and I feel like my diet is controlled - no matter where I am at I feel I can keep a healthy relationship with food and my body. Certainly, some of the things that make me feel healthy now were established overtime so when it comes to the diet, you can't expect to feel the positive rewards overnight.
This blog post is simply to show you that your life is your life. If you can give a little thought every day as to what works and doesn't work (depending on what you want to "feel" like and be doing now, in 10 years and in 50+ years) and how you can make small changes for tomorrow, I have a feeling you are going to feel so much more balance in your life and overall, a better way of enjoying your time on Earth.
To keep you motivated in the kitchen, here are two yummy creations that will make you feel great....and with a happy belly, I am sure you will sleep better in the evening.

Colorful Seasonal salad
Orange slices
Leafy green lettuce
Quinoa (Red or white)
Pumpkin seeds
Sliced almonds
Lemon Tahini Dressing (or spread)  
(As featured in my lastest monthly Plate Not Pills Article on LAVA: Manganese)
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1/2 cup lemon juice (1 large lemon)
1 tsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp water (add more for desired consistency needs for a dressing)

1. Combine ingredients in small blender (ex. Ninja cup blender) and store in glass jar or Tupperware container in refrigerator.



Meaningful numbers - focus beyond the scale


It took many of swim sessions to brainstorm about the topic of my Iron Girl monthly column, December article. With so much emphasis on tips and rules throughout the holiday season, I wanted to bring focus to a very important component of healthy living....knowing your numbers.
Although body composition can give some insight on your overall health, it doesn't paint the entire picture. Since being involved with the Baptist Heart Wise program as a clinical RD, I've heard some amazing stories from women who were screened for their heart age and never realized that they had a cardiovascular-related issue because they felt "healthy". I love working with athletes and fitness enthusiasts for that very reason. Health is something that you feel. I've received many emails from my nutrition and coaching athletes telling me how their lab values have changed due to exercise and nutrition modifications (thus impressing their primary physicians) but these changes came secondary to learning how to develop a healthier relationship with food and the body. There are many ways to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle....therefore, it's time to direct your energy away from the scale.

For my January Iron Girl article, I will be provided some tips on how you can create a positive home environment to accomplish your New Year goals but in the meant time, read the following article and discuss with your team of health professionals as to how you can learn a bit more about your overall health.
Meaningful Numbers- Focus Beyond the ScaleBy Marni Sumbal

In a recent gender and body image study, 1,800 U.S. Women over the age of 50 years were asked a series of questions pertaining to the body. Of the participants, 27% were obese, 29% were overweight, 42% were normal weight and 2% were underweight.
Results of the study:
-4% binge eat
-8% purge
-70% diet to lose weight
-36% dieted ~50% of the time in last 5 years
-41% check body size daily
-40% weigh themselves at least twice a week
-62% report body weight negatively impacts their life
-79% report body weight affects self-image
-64% think about their weight daily
(source: Environmental Nutrition Sept 2012, Vol 35, No 9.)

Around the New Year, the bathroom scale gets a lot of action. Whether the scale is seen as an enemy or supporter, it’s likely that your body image is on your mind and you are validating your health by a number on a screen.

Never forget that developing a healthy relationship with your body (and food) is a vital component of living a quality life. But, you cannot overlook a few very important numbers that can give you a good representation of your current health status. Knowing that the upcoming year will likely bring new changes, challenges and goals, your healthcare team (ex. primary physician, registered dietitian, OBGYN, dentist, optometrist, dermatologist, psychologist, and/or physical therapist) encourages you to understand your numbers in order to make it easier to drive behavior change. You can’t manage your cholesterol, reduce risk for heart disease or reduce risk for diabetes if you don’t know your numbers. Make an appointment today to get the truth behind your health.

Recommended tests:
1) Blood pressure
2) Weight, BMI and waist to hip ratio
3) Bone density scan (ex. DEXA) – for women 65+ years as well as postmenopausal women. Other individuals at risk for osteoporosis include individuals with history of bone fractures, smoking, vitamin D deficiency, excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption, early menopause, eating disorders, low body weight, physical inactivity, taking medications known to cause bone loss (x. prednisone or Dilantin), hyperthyroidism, low estrogen.
4) Lipid profile – including cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides
5) Blood glucose (fasting plasma and glucose tolerance test)
6) HbA1C (glycosylated hemoglobin – average blood sugar control for the past two to three months) – for individuals at risk for diabetes
7) C-reactive protein – to screen for heart disease risk if your lifestyle choices place you at risk for a heart attack or stroke.
8) Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estradiol test
9) Mammogram, breast exam, pap test, colonscopy and pelvic exam – discuss with your primary physician or OBGYN on how often you should be tested/screened and at what age in order to reduce your risk for cancer.
10) Dental exam and cleaning (don’t forget to floss and brush your teeth daily)
11) Eye exam by physician or optometrist
12) Skin exam by physician – if at risk for skin cancer, consult with your dermatologist.
13) Complete metabolic panel and complete blood count (CBC)
14) Food allergy or intolerance– there are many ways to identify food related allergies or intolerances, often without the need for a “test”. It’s recommended to meet with a Registered Dietitian who can evaluate, assess, diagnose and treat your symptoms and to help you create a balanced diet to fuel your active lifestyle.
15) Vitamin D

For more information:

Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N

Marni works as a Clinical Dietitian at Baptist Medical Center Beaches, is the owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC and provides one-on-one consulting in the Jacksonville, FL area. Marni is a Registered Dietitian, holding a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN). As an elite endurance athlete, she is also a Level-1 USAT Coach and a 5x Ironman finisher. Marni is a 110% play harder, Hammer Nutrition and Oakley Women brand ambassador. Marni enjoys public speaking and writing, and she has several published articles in Fitness Magazine, Bicycling Magazine, The Florida Times-Union Shorelines, Lava Magazine, Hammer Endurance News, CosmoGirl magazine and Triathlete Magazine, and contributes to, USAT multisport zone and Lava online.