Essential Sports Nutrition



I saw this floating around Facebook and I can't be the only one who would agree that the reality of life is nothing like we plan for it to be. 

It's without certain that every time we feel we are making progress to another "check point" there's an obstacle right around the corner.....of course, it comes when we least expect it. 

As much as I thrive off having a "plan", I can not control everything in my life and I am ok with that. With only two options - accept or get upset, I've learned to have the best possible positive attitude with every obstacle that comes in my way. Life requires me to be strong, creative and patient and I've learned to love those qualities that make me a better person. 

I always wanted to be my own boss and to have my own business. I never thought about the difficulty of "running" a business but I was driven by making a career out of my passions in life. 

Being a small business owner means working weekends, always having something to do and constantly thinking about what more you can do. Every day I am motivated and excited to change lifestyles.

As my family knows all too well, I have always enjoyed staying busy. I have always had a calendar that was packed. I need my Marni-time but it doesn't have to be a lot. I love being able to help others. I have never complained about only having 24 hours in a day for if there were more, I would fill those hours up too. I never sacrifice cooking, sleep and daily exercise/movement to "work" but then again, it's all about balance.

I went to a liberal arts college where I was forced to write, write and write some more - and I loved that. In high school and college, I loved any assignment that involved writing or speaking. Of course, back in the day, my hand got really tired from writing 10+ pages of rough drafts with a pencil.

I suppose my first day as a small business owner on January 1st, 2012 was 30 years in the making. 

Four years of undergraduate education studying exercise science and psychology, followed by 1.5 years of earning a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology made for 6.5 years of hard work to move me closer to my dream job. 

But that wasn't enough. I didn't want the education to only understand the physiology of the body during exercise but also, I wanted to learn about food and how it fuels the body but also reduces risk for disease and illness. 

And thus, a return to school for my RD credential which meant pushing back my dream for a few more years....and more and more money spent on education. 

Although "the plan" always looks easy at first when a dream is fresh and exciting, the truth is that in reality, it is never as easy as one may think it can be. But, despite all the challenges and low moments, you can never ever give up just because it is hard. 

When I created my business, I had a vision as to how I would put my education and passion to good use. As any business owner knows, it's great to have credentials to set yourself apart from others but you also have to have a philosophy as to how you will be consistent with your services, words and actions. 

My goal was to create a place (aka business), where athletes and fitness enthusiasts (not clients) would feel comfortable coming to on a daily basis (or as needed) for motivation, education and inspiration in the areas of coaching, nutrition, sport nutrition, health, fitness and life. A place where nothing was too extreme but everything was realistic and practical. 

I also wanted my athletes and fitness enthusiasts to trust me that I had their best interest at heart (ethically/morally, medically and with individual goals in mind) but to be able to communicate with me whenever they had concerns, questions or comments. And most of all, to know that I practice what I preach.

And thus - Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition was born. 

But as any athlete knows, it takes a team to raise an athlete. And as any business owner knows, if you don't know how to do something and it is not your specialty, you should hire someone who can do it right for you. 

Karel and I have been working hard on some new services and we have been so excited to offer them at Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition in 2014. But we knew we also needed a change.......a new look for our website. 

My friend and athlete Doris, who works for It Just Clicked, took it upon herself to put together a new template (and hosting site) for my website without us even asking. She felt like the time was right and we loved that!

Oh, I forgot to mention that it was Doris who created our TriMarni logo!!

What a thoughtful measure to take time out of her marathon training routine to re-design my original vision for how we want to educate, inspire and motivate others. 

Working with Doris on the new website was amazing - she is so creative, patient, helpful and open and she really has a great eye for detail. Plus, she has a great sense of what's important to us and our business (and of course, "our story" wouldn't be complete with a bio from Campy). 

Even though I updated the content (words) for the website after she created the template with the words from my previous website, she was able to tweak my words to make everything clear, clean and precise within her template for the site. Total teamwork!! 

This website required our attention almost every day for the past month and a half but in real life, you can never give up if you want something to happen. A little every day is how you make things happen for if you try to do too much at once, you will find yourself burnt out, exhausted and not appreciating the journey when the end result finally comes. 

It was tedious and required a lot of brain power but the new website is FINISHED and oh does it feel great!!!

We hope everyone enjoys the new look, yet same philosophy, of 



Beautiful eating - interview

The word "beautiful" is used in so many ways.
-She's so beautiful.
-That painting is beatiful.
-Nature is so beautiful.
-That view is so beautiful.
-Your hair or makeup looks so beautiful.
When was the last time you talked about your food choices being beautiful?
If beutiful is defined as "pleasing the senses or mind aesthetically", it is concerning that our society is not using the word "beautiful" enough when talking about our diet.
I don't know about you, but the picture below looks absolutely BEAUTIFUL!

I would like to thank Beth Chernosky for asking me to be a guest on her Looking Good Girl website. I love interviews as a chance for me to express my opinion on various topics but also as a way to reach out to other inspiring people. Beth asked me great interview questions and her philosophy shined through with her questions to me!

As many people know, I am all about helping other people learn how to have a healthier relationship with food and the body. I also love empowering women to dream big and perform beautifully with the body.

I just love that Beth's blog/website can be used as a resource for all things that can add beauty to your life and your every day!

I agree with Beth that every person should take time, every day, to do something JUST for yourself on a regular basis.

And why not start with loving the beautiful food that you choose to put into your body.

"This week’s post includes an interview with Marni Sumbal of TriMarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC. After following the TriMarni Facebook page, I reached out to Marni because I have really enjoyed reading about her tips and her overall take on nutrition. What has impressed me is that Marni emphasizes a “food as fuel” approach, yet she does it in a way that totally celebrates food and nutrition through a positive outlook. We’re often bombarded with “Don’t eat this”, “Never eat these foods…”, “Stay the hell away from XYZ”- but that is definitely not the case with Marni’s approach.
Given that food and eating are a big part of most people’s day I wanted to introduce the Lookin Good Girl readers to Marni and her encouraging, positive outlook on nutrition." - Beth

For the full interview, you can check it out here:

Adding beauty with Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition


Campy's first photo shoot

One of the best things in life is being able to make memories. And when you can capture those moments with a camera, you will always have a way to remember those experiences with a photo.

In early October, Karel was approached by 904 Fitness Magazine (our local Jacksonville magazine) about being chosen as the Fittest Athlete of the Month. Karel wanted to share his special moment with me and I was excited for the opportunity to share a little bit more about Karel and his background.

But of course, Team Sumbal would not be complete without our furry little child, Campy!!

When Anthony (the creator of the magazine) told us that he wanted to incorporate Campy in the magazine photo shoot for our family shot, we could not have been more excited. Although we know Campy is already a famous doggy (he gets recognized wherever he goes!) he has never had his own photo shoot.

And since our life is more meaninful when we can make memories for and with Campy, I was so excited to make time for our photo op, which took place less than 24 hours before I flew to Kona for the 2013 Ironman World Championship.

It was a great honor to be featured in this magazine and for us to share our story. This was also the first time that Karel shared a bit of his background publicly for the first time. With the recent news of Karel helping me grow our business Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition and no longer working at Trek Bicycle store of Jacksonville, we are really looking forward to our new life, yet same lifestyle, of helping athletes and fitness enthusiasts reach personal health and fitness goals and to cross finish line. It was great to share our philosophy in the magazine as well as provide a little more info about us training together (and coaching each other) as endurance atheltes.

Karel has been super busy providing RETUL fits at Open Road Bicycles (Beach location) and keeping his bike mechanic skills fresh with a lot of pre-race valet tune-ups and with a full 2014 athlete roster, we are really excited to see what next year will bring.

We had so much fun during our photo session and I wanted to share some of the amazing pictures that Anthony took of us.

Campy had a blast and thought it was so cool to be able to run on the street without a leash. There were a few times when he would bark at Karel on his bike, chase a bird in the sky and decide to pee on every bush in his site but overall, I think we captured a few great moments.

For the hardcopy magazine, you can check them out locally at various locations. For online, here's the article:

Karel and Marni: 904s Fittest





Transition triathlon plan - what are your weaknesses?

To be successful in life, you have to live in a successful environment.

For example, if you are changing dietary habits and decide to bring your lunch to work instead of ordering out, your kitchen must have Tupperware.

If you are determined to train for an event in the winter, your must have options as to how you will be consistent with working out in the cold winter months. 

If want to get to bed earlier for a more restful night of rest, you may need to avoid bringing (and using) electronics (ex phones)in your bedroom. 

But most of all, you have to know where you are going in order to understand why you are seeking a change.

Karel and I have worked long and hard and finally.....the 5-week triathlon transition plan is ready!!!


My life is built on learning from my mistakes and studying successful habits of others. I don't wish to be like others but instead, consider my own goals, needs and lifestyle and figure out the best way to make changes for progress. I like to spend my energy on what works for the masses but also consider those who enjoy thinking outside of the box (but in a safe, ethical and realistic way - thus our "train smart" philosophy has been created from considering a different way of training for endurance events).

The transition plan is a perfect way for any triathlete, runner or fitness enthusiast (who enjoys swimming, biking and running) to learn about his/her own weaknesses within his/her body. Alongside specific nutrition suggestions for each week of the plan, there is a big emphasis on strength training. 

I have experienced years and years of hip/lower back issues. I have also never given up on my quest to better understand my body to keep it in good health as an endurance athlete. As you may know, I was not able to run from Feb until the end of April and had around 10 weeks to prepare myself for IM Lake Placid in July. It was through my determination to focus on myself and to not think about anyone who I felt had it "easy" that I was able to run my way to a PR for 26.2 miles off the bike but also a 10-minute Ironman PR. And 14 weeks later with a healthy body, I had another 6 minute PR in Kona of 10:37. 

This year, I am determined to continue my quest to be the best triathlete I can be, all while continuing to help other athletes (runners and triathletes) and fitness enthusiasts reach their personal fitness, body composition and health goals AND maintain a balanced life. Triathlons are my lifestyle, not my life and I love to race to travel and travel to race. 

Karel and I have started our own transition plan in our training and all of my 2014 athletes will be (or have) starting with a transition phase of training. The goal of the plan is to build a resilient body. A body that can withstand the stress of training. Also, for athletes and fitness enthusiasts who need structure and a purpose for workouts - EVER workout has a specific main set and there is a specific strength/hip circuit every time the plan calls for strength or hip/core work (pictures included). In other words - all you have to do is use your amazing body and make it perform during every workout. 

So even for myself, even the most determined, motivated and well-fueled person can experience a set-back if the body is not strong enough to tolerate a season of training and racing. And even if the set-back could not be prevented, it is still a learning experience.

And this thinking isn't limited to athletes. It's far too common that individuals will move too quickly with exercise when motivation is high or a goal is high on the priority list and without focusing on the smaller things (ex. is your glute medius strong enough to keep you running with good form when you "exercise"? Are you maintaining good flexibility to keep your body from getting tight?)

This plan is years in the making for I have made mistakes along the way and this year I want to be sure I can use my failures to help others identify weaknesses. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I will not be training for any running races this "winter" or triathlon "off season". I am a triathlete and I am a three-sport athlete. I don't want to miss out on this very important time of my periodized training plan to address my weaknesses so that I can work on them. Whatever your sport or fitness routine may be, remember that it is your body that has to make progress and it takes a lot to accept your weaknesses and work on them. Don't wait until it's too late and the regret not focusing on the little things when they really do matter in the bigger picture.

The goal of the plan is to not make you fast, strong or powerful now. The goal is to help you progress consistently with training/exercise so that you can have a successful season (or exercise routine) ahead of you. With a strong, healthy body throughout the season, you will be able to show off your fitness down the road when it counts.

As for now - focus on your weaknesses when no one is watching.

We can't wait to hear what you think of the plan, especially after you finish week 5 and "test" your fitness.

Any questions - send my way. Thank you!
-Marni and Karel 
Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition 


2013 Horrible Hundred - event recap

Do you like to be challenged?

If so, doesn't it feel good to be challenged at things you are really good at?

When it comes to triathlons - I'm in my comfort zone. It doesn't matter how hilly a course may be, how hard the wind is blowing, how wavy the water is, how hot it is outside or who my competition is.....I accept the challenge because I have experience and confidence in the sport of triathlons.

Throw me into a soccer game and we will have another story. OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE!

Like anyone, I am challenged all the time by life - things out of my control and suddenly I am forced to figure them out. They don't require the use of a Garmin, running shoes or goggles but instead, a mind that can make the best decisions possible and then learn from the experience afterward. There's nothing worse than making the same mistake twice so instead of viewing life's challenges as failures, I believe they are learning lessons.

And what's great about sports or anything that requires you to step outside of your comfort zone (ex. public speaking, singing/choir, being the head of a project/event, etc.) is that you are going to be challenged and that challenge (or challenges) will likely make a difference in how you live your life.

I use to beat myself up a lot when I made mistakes. I was really hard on myself and I would even call myself "stupid." That was never a nice thing to say about myself especially when I would make mistakes while in school - studying to earn my Master of Science degree or my RD credential. Obviously, I wasn't stupid but at that time in my life, I put so much pressure on myself to do things perfectly and be good at things that I forgot about the act of making progress. I don't have to be perfect, just make progress.

On 11/17/13 I returned to Clermont Florida for my 4th time participating in the Horrible Hundred cycling event. This was my third time doing the 100 mile option. Last year, Karel and I did the event around 24 hours after finishing a 10K race so our legs were really toasted.

This year, we did this event as the finish of our first week of our transition training phase and we were really excited for this event. A chance to catch up with our friends, ride the hills in Clermont Florida that our legs love so much and enjoy what we love to do with hundreds and hundreds of other cyclists and fitness enthusiasts.


One area that challenges me the most with my love of triathlons is running. But that is for reasons beyond my control for the biomechanics and physiology of my body keep me frustrated at times but I refuse to give up on being as smart as I can with my body and training for endurance events.

So that leaves me with another challenge which is cycling.

The Horrible Hundred event means more to me than just riding my bike for 100 miles or 5+ hours. For me, it is a way that I can judge my progress as a cyclist. This course isn't easy and it tests me in so many ways - my mind, my endurance, my skills and my power. Thanks to a lot of hard work and patience, I have come very far since I got my first "tri bike" in 2003 and I can judge my progress with this event.

The funny thing about cycling on the same roads/course is that it doesn't really get any easier. Despite gains in power, skills and speed, I still get tired but in a different way. I love that I can just sign up for this event and ride 100 miles. I'm grateful that my body can do that. But after the event, I was pooped.

Every year I am able to ride a stronger than the year before. I can challenge myself by riding with cyclists of a different level every year. For there is always someone faster and slower than myself and I like recognizing my limits with the relatively "fast" people for me each year.

This year, I was able to ride the entire Horrible Hundred course with Karel....behind his wheel. Sadly, our goal to catch up with friends and for Karel to ride his road bike with his old cat 1 cycling buddies was gone as they changed the start of the event and changed the course slightly (to be a little more horrible than in years past - in a good way of course). We typically ride around Lake Minneola on our own to warm-up as that part of the course can be a bit of a chaotic time for the packs of riders. Also, it can be a bit sketchy with the first climb within 8 miles of the start of the event and it is super steep.

After I registered that morning, I rode back to my car and did not hear the announcement about the change in the course and did not consider to look at the map (Karel has done this race at least 6+ times) so we were at least 15-20 minutes behind the front group which is Karel's pace....but not mine.

So, after feeling a little let down that Karel was not able to ride with all his buddies at the front, he had no choice but to pull me around the course for 100 miles. And not only me, but anyone else who was strong enough to hang on....which was very few.

We passed riders for over 2 hours and although I was having fun, Karel was a bit bored with his solo effort.

Whereas for me, I was being challenged.....tremendously. My heart was hurting, my legs were throbbing and I kept wondering how long I'd be able to keep up this pace. Especially when Sugarloaf mountain comes around mile 75 or so.
For over 2.5 hours, Karel was pulling me up and down every climb and all I could do was to hang on until I wanted to quit.

Around 3 hours, I was struggling. No amount of nutrition could help me ride faster - I was pushed beyond my limits. Karel told me that I needed to believe in myself but my main concern was how I would be able to hold on for 2 more hours??? Karel reminded me that I couldn't think like that. He encouraged me that I was doing great and around mile 67 or so, we would be stopping at a SAG stop to refill our bottles so only around 15-20 minutes to go. We were averaging around 20.5mph for the first 3 hours - a few slow moments for me to catch up to Karel on the climbs and obviously, a lot slower pace than if he was with the group in front...and considering he had to ride at least "slow" enough for me to suffer enough behind him without getting dropped in the first hour, that pace was fast enough for me.


So after a little pep talk from Karel, I needed to remind myself of how far I have come. Never did I think I could ride 100 miles at one time in my life..I grew up as a swimmer.
 Then I thought about riding 112 miles for the first time....with Karel falling asleep behind me on his road bike as I was training for IMFL in 2006. :)
Then I thought about being able to run a marathon after riding 112 I have done that 7 times.
Then I thought about all the hilly courses I have completed  - IMKY, IMWI, IM Lake Placid, Branson 70.3 with good cycling skills and love for riding my bike on those challenging courses.

And then I thought about Karel's "race" on Sugarloaf a few years ago. Five laps up Sugarloaf mountain with a sprint finish at the time. I remember this race as if it was yesterday and just watching him race on that day made my legs hurt. Karel placed 2nd at this race and every time I ride on hills in training, I think about Karel and his ability to suffer so amazingly well.

                    (Karel on the far right, 5th time up Sugarloaf, sprinting at the top  for the final lap to place 2nd)

Motivation self-talk is an amazing thing. As a single-sport athlete, I have a lot of time to be one with my thoughts....and not always are they good thoughts. I know for Karel, when he raced bikes he would speak to himself a thousand times that he should quit for the pain was too much. It was like a checklist - ok, one more lap and then I will quite, ok one more.....the same is true for running. How many times have you told yourself, just one more mile...and more mile.....

I feel challenged by cycling in a different way than in life. For in cycling, I know I can progress and it doesn't always mean training harder. Karel always knows what climbing cassette I need on my bike and with my complaints of my position on my road bike, that was solved with a shorter crank and a change in my reach to my handelbars - so no more right shoulder pain. I have much better skills and confidence on my bike and I really love being on my bike.

So even though I always review course maps in great detail (or drive the course) before triathlon races, I learned on Sunday that we also should have reviewed the course map ahead of time to avoid missing our friends. Lesson learned.

In life, sometimes we don't get second chances. And that sucks. Sometimes bad news is all the news we get. Sometimes there is no light at the end of the road, no rainbow to shine after the storm blows through.

Hopefully, you always have the chance to learn from your failures...or as I like to call, lessons.

One of the best things I have learned about life is that even though I am faced with challenges all the time, I have to be strong enough to move forward. Sometimes it takes a little believing in yourself...sometimes a laugh at a joke or a discussion with friends, family or a coach/expert.

But the key is to never give up. How can you learn from your mistakes, failures and lessons if you don't try again? Never let your failed moment be your last moment.


I can't tell you how many times I have wanted to give up in triathlons and especially with cycling and running. So frustrated that I wasn't "good" enough or that I could never keep up with Karel when we met. But the drive to get better somehow overpowered my fear of failure so a warm-up behind Karel turned into a group ride, which turned into three Kona slots, which turned into loving to climb mountains......

Now 7 years later, I can cover 100 miles with Karel...albeit, at a pace a bit slower than what Karel can do alone or with his cycling buddies, it was what I could handle uncomfortably and it is still a huge improvement.

For 5 hours and 10 minutes I kept reminding myself how lucky I am to be able to experience the joy of suffering with Karel.

There may be a day when I can not ride my bike for 100 miles but on 11/17/13, I was proud to be healthy and well enough to do what I love to do. Every year I want to become a better athlete and healthier human being. Every year I reflect and think about what I should have done better. It's easy to focus on what worked but it takes a lot of effort to focus on what didn't work and how to make yourself better.

The same applies in life.

If you do the same thing over and over, expect the same results.