1/31/14

Challenge your core - runners and triathletes

Running is  a great stress reliever but it also puts a lot of stress on the body. Without a strong core, your gait is likely to be negatively affected. Cycling is a great non-weight bearing sport but sitting on a bike and pedaling doesn't translate to a strong core. If you love to swim,bike, run to be faster, you also have to train to be stronger.

Get stronger before you go faster before you go longer.

Every time you land your foot on the ground while running or when you take a pedal stroke, you are relying on your pelvis, abdominal muscles, hips and lower back to work properly as you move your body in a forward motion. 

If you are currently training for an event and find yourself neglecting core/hip/glute strength work in your cardio training plan, it's time to carve out 10-20 minutes, a few times per week, to build a strong core. 

Sure, training swimming, biking and running may make you a faster triathlete but putting in the miles won't not necessarily give you a stronger core. And a weak core not only affects posture when you aren't training/working out but can also increase risk for injury when you get tired during an intense or long workout due to a change in form without proper core strength. 

Here's an example to show the importance of core strength (or perhaps to show how athletes can be a bit stubborn at times when it comes to the importance of training smart)

When your core is weak and form suffers, you get tight. And tight hamstrings, glutes and hip flexors make it hard to keep good form at the next workout. Because you are dedicated to your training routine and don't want to disappoint your coach, yourself or training buddies, you continue to put in the work with a tight body. As you know from a basic anatomy class, muscles that can not move through their full range of motion are not capable of producing optimal power or speed.
Eventually, overtime, those tight muscles tug at your pelvis and spine and then the entire kinetic chain gets thrown off. You begin to feel nagging aches and pains in your shoulder, lower back and even your feet and calves.
You now you notice that your not able to hit your intervals/zones like you did a few days/weeks ago and as your gait or pedaling or swim stroke becomes sloppy, you convince yourself that you just need to push harder. So, as a dedicated, hard working athlete, you refuse to throw in the towel so you continue to push on until it's too late.
 Now your body is completely out-of-whack and you aren't quite sure where to start to get yourself healthy again. 
And the first thing you tell yourself when you are booking a doc or PT apt "I should have stretched and strength trained more."

I hear it all the time from injured athletes "As soon as I get better, I will strength train more often and stretch more after workouts." 

Even though you know that core/hip/glute work will reduce the chance of injuries and will improve stability, balance, power and speed, cardio training typically takes precedence when athletes are training and strength training and stretching are the first two things to get pushed aside. 

Having a strong core doesn't mean you need to see a 6-pack but instead you should be able to do functional, isolated strength work (ex. planks) to improve abdominal and surrounding muscles to assist in your cardio training.

Here are a few of our favorite Trimarni core exercises if you are looking for an abdominal challenge.
Have fun getting stronger!

If you have any blood pressure or blood sugar issues or injuries, I do not recommend these exercises. Start slow and embrace the challenge of getting a stronger core over time.
 Always consult with your physician before trying a new or different exercise routine. 


For a basic move, hold a straight arm plank with medicine ball under feet to start.
Hold 3 x 30-60 seconds w/ rest as needed. Keep core tight and don't forget to breath. 

When you feel stronger with that move, perform a push-up with medicine ball under feet.
3 x  20-30 seconds w/ rest as needed. 



Push-up with two medicine balls under feet or basic plank. 
Same reps as above. 



Modified mountain climbers with medicine balls under feet.
Perform 3 x 20-40 sec mountain climbers w/ rest as needed



More advanced:
Push-ups with medicine ball under feet and medicine ball under one hand (then switch hands). You must have healthy shoulders/upper back to perform this exercise. 
3 x 10-20 sec push-ups on one hand, then switch. Then  rest as needed.



Trying out for the circus (most advanced)
Push-ups with medicine balls under feet and medicine balls under hands. 
3 x 10-20 sec push-ups then rest as needed. 



Decline bench crunch with medicine ball toss (choose a light weight ball to start).
You should be able to do 10 good-form crunches at a decline before trying this exercise. 
3 x 10-20 throws/crunches w/ rest as needed


1/30/14

Goodbye Jacksonville!


Growing up in Lexington, KY for 21 years and moving to Davie Florida in 2004, I never thought that I'd be where I am today.

Actually, let's turn back the clock to 2006. I moved into my parents new home in New Port Richey, FL with negative money in my bank account and no job.....yet I did have an expensive new piece of paper letting me know I had a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology.

From 2000-2006, I sacrificed a lot in life for my education and wrapped it all up in 2011 after finishing 3 time-consuming, costly, exhausting years to obtain my RD credential. Why did I do all of this? Well, I don't like short-cuts. I always wanted to have my dream job of owning my own business and I knew that I couldn't just wish for things to happen...especially when I wanted to do things the right way.  I made my dreams come true through hard work, dedication and commitment. 

As a long-time student-athlete, the same traits that have helped me find personal success in my professional life have also helped me find success in sports. Seven Ironman finishes, including 3 Ironman World Championship finishes are constant reminders for me that I can be motivated, inspired and excited to reach a goal but I have to be open to hard work, dedication and commitment to turn my goals into dream-come-true.

I'm grateful to have such wonderful support from Karel and my family for I don't think I'd be where I am today without being able to share my enthusiasm for Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition with them. My family knows when I have my mind set to something, it's very hard for me to get distracted. 

As many people know, Karel is 100% on board at Trimarni since he stopped working at Trek Bicycle store of Jacksonville in November 2013 (after 5 years of being the GM).

Over the past two years, since officially "opening" Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, I have had the great honor of helping athletes and fitness enthusiasts from all over the world reach personal health, fitness, body composition, performance and lifestyle goals. 

And like any small business owner would agree, it takes a lot of hard work, time, dedication, commitment and patience to grow a business and to experience success. There are ups and downs but it can be extremely rewarding to know that your business is helping other people. 

As many people know, Karel and I love to travel. 

IM Lake Placid 2013


Retz, Austria 2013



Nature, local eats, mountains, water, physical activity. These are a few of our favorite things we like to experience when it comes to exploring the world with our active bodies. Lucky for us, we both love that our triathlon lifestyle allows us to race to travel (or travel to race). 

But as much as we love to travel, it's important that we have a place to live that gives us enjoyment for the same things that we love to experience when we travel. 

With Karel's job at Trek as the reason for us moving from Dunedin, FL to Jacksonville FL, we realized that there are so many great places in this world for us to live and to grow our business. Although we are leaving a lot behind, sometimes you have to take a chance every now and with that, be willing to put in even more work than you did before.  

As much as we have enjoyed our making and building friendships in Jacksonville, we confirmed our decision to move after our recent trip to Greenville, SC


Mountains, nature, community, bike-friendly.....

We are excited to bring Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition to you and make you our home this June!!!





















1/29/14

Develop consistency in your workout routine


Health, body composition, sport, exercise, career, projects/events, etc.. If you can think back to any great success in your life, consistency was likely part of the equation when you celebrated reaching the goal you sought out to achieve.

Whenever you are motivated to pursue a goal, one of the most important components is consistency.

Life brings challenges and setbacks are evitable but if you have a goal in mind, you have to be willing to be as consistent as possible with the habits that will bring you closer to your short and long term goals. To keep you consistent, be sure that you are not aiming for perfection in all areas in your life.

And because your health is always a top priority, never let your health take a backseat just because you are focused too heavily on your career, sports, etc. For if you don't take care of your body, it's hard to make anything happen that requires the use of your muscles and brain.

I am a big fan of hard work and a no-excuses approach but then again, I am no stranger to setbacks. And when it comes to hard work and no-excuses, my hubby is the true example of dreaming big and never ever giving up. Karel came to America with only a backpack and for several years he put his cycling passion on hold because he had to work up to three jobs a day (often with less than 2-3 hours of sleep) to "make it."

I have discovered success in my personal, career and athletic life thanks to hard work and consistency. I do love a routine but I also strive off making progress even if the plan has to change sometimes.

To help you reach your personal, athletic, career or life short and long term goals, be sure you follow a practical  routine that allows you to achieve your desired results. Sometimes a professional is needed to help guide you along the way and to help you stay accountable so don't hesitate reaching out when you need help.

As a coach, 7x Ironman finisher and exercise physiologist, here are a few of my top 3 consistency tips when it comes to working out for fitness/performance gains.

1) Follow a well-designed training plan - Even a poorly designed training plan will produce positive results if followed consistently. However, to maximize results and to find balance in life, consider the right mix of training stress AND recovery so that you can experience consistency with your fitness and feel productive in other areas of your life. Athletes love to hurt and feel tired and sore after a workout as a sign that the workout was effective. Although there's nothing wrong with a little good-hurt to remind you of your hard workout, be sure you are able to recover from your previous workouts (or schedule workouts appropriately to allow for better recovery) in order for your efforts to be repeatable throughout a training plan. Consider giving a great effort every day instead of an epic effort every once in a while.

2) Be flexible - Although dedication and committment to a training plan are two key elements to finding success, consider the variables that may affect your routine. Weather, work, family, diet, travel, motivation, recovery, etc. You must be flexible with your routine to make the most out of every day (whether it's training indoors, consideirng the weather and planning ahead or not feeling guilty for intentional days off). Also, rmember that training/working out should not adversly affect other areas in your life (ex. work, family, pets, etc). A training plan should not leave you unmotivated and exhausted but instead, energized and inspired to give your best effort on any given day. When it comes to your training plan, do not feel defetaed when life gets in the way. A rest day means more energy for tomorrow.  Try to avoid moving around workouts just to fit it all in because it's on your weekly plan and instead, think about modifying workouts or creating a schedule that works best for you each week.

3) Balance is key - Flexiblilty in a well-designed plan will work. But consistency with training doesn't just apply to getting the workouts done but instead how consistent you are with your effort in each workout. Although there may be room for a missed workout here or there alongside a needed day off, a training plan should be balanced in a way so that you can maintain your routine for forward progression with fitness and so that improvements in performance can be made to keep you motivated that your training is working. There's no good in doing a haphazard workout just because it's on your plan. Make the workouts count so that you are making efficient use out of your time. As an age group athlete, you have a lot on your plate so who cares what everyone else is doing, your plan should fit your needs and lifestyle.


And of course, HAVE FUN! If you don't love what you are doing, it's unlikely that you will follow through with your routine. Although consistency will help pave the way to results, it's important that you stay motivated with your choice to use your body for sports or fitness and the best way to keep up the excitement is to truely love what you are doing on a daily basis.










Hard work is tough but success feels amazing!

Food for thought - brain health

 

 
When it comes to "food talk" between you and your mind or you and your friends or you and your training partners as well as searching for food-related information on the internet (blogs, forums, etc.), I find that much of the search for the ideal diet is centered on calories and macronutrients, good food/bad food, instead of eating to reduce risk for disease and to maintain a healthy body composition. Specifically, in a body-image-focused society, there's a large attention focused on food for changing body composition with the added pressure to look like the bodies you see on TV/internet - models, athletes, reality stars, celebrities or "professionals" featured on TV. 
 
Despite your knowledge of the importance of eating for health and providing your body with the essential vitamins and minerals found in a varied, balanced diet to support the immune system and reduce risk for disease later in life, it's difficult to escape this "body image" that you are comparing yourself to, perhaps what you feel is the "perfect" body to make you happy in life.

When you feel vulnerable in your current body and find yourself seeing yourself as "fat, ugly, chubby, unhealthy, bloating, disguisting" (when was the last time you called yourself these workds?  Standing on the scale, in the bathroom in front of the mirror, before/after a workout, in the kitchen, etc.) you may find yourself searching for food-related info in order to change body composition quickly, often with an "at no cost" mentality with unhealthy and extreme styles of eating (or lack thereof) - elimination diets, overexercising, fasting, juicing, cleansing, etc.

Quick fixes do not solve habitual unhealthy behaviors.
 
As a clinical RD and endurance athlete, I support the quest of achieving a healthy body composition to improve overall health. But "healthy" can be a range of weights for your height and can be defined differently by every individual. I, on the other hand, have seen many individuals go to great extremes in following a quick fix or fad diet to "be healthy" and I feel that with a better relationship with food and the body, health can be achieved, with a healthy body composition for a lifetime.
 
 

 
It was a great honor to speak at the recent Fit and Well event at Baptist Medical Center Beaches on Sunday afternoon. I preceeded a great group of medical professionals who spoke on great topics. The audience of fitness professionals (yoga instructors, personal trainers, etc.) was attentive and soaked-up the information to pass along to their clients in the Jacksonville community.

 
Here are a few points from my power point presentation to help you keep your brain nourished and healthy:
 
Brain food:

Mediterranean diet - Ideal "healthy" diet
Benefits – cognitive function and emotional well-being
Foods – Nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies, whole-grains, legumes, olive oil, fish.
Brain health – lower risk of Alzheimer's, depression, dementia, cancer, diabetes
 

Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA, EPA, ALA)
Benefits – DHA accounts for up to 97% of the omega-3 fatty acids in the brain
Foods – Fatty fish (ex. tuna, salmon, mackerel and trout, krill or fish oil), soy, flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, canola oil
Brain health - neurotransmitter functioning (dopamine and serotonin) for improved mood.


B vitamins (B6, B12, folate)
Benefits -  may suppress the amino acid homocysteine, improve serotonin
Foods – B12 - animal proteins, nutritional yeast, fortified foods
Folate – leafy greens, beans, soy, cottage cheese, rice, fortified foods.
Brain health - reduce risk of Alzheimer's, depression, improve memory


Magnesium
Benefits – regulate brain’s serotonin levels, relax blood vessels
Foods – beans (garbanzo), flaxseeds, leafy greens, potatoes, nuts, wheat germ, lentils, avocado, figs, dark chocolate
Brain health - speed the transmission of messages in the brain, prevents synapse loss, promote brain function, memory

 
Herbs and Spices
Benefits – Inhibit breakdown of acetylcholine, reduce inflammation, reduce destructive brain proteins (beta amyloids)
Foods – sage, curry/turmeric (curcumin), cloves, rosemary
Brain health - boost memory and stimulate the production of new brain cells, neuroprotective agent in a wide range of neurological disorders
 

Caffeine and chocolate
Benefits – Alertness, cognitive performance, improve mood and well-being
Food – coffee, tea, dark chocolate
Brain health – antioxidant properties
 
Optimal Brain Health Tips:
Eat breakfast – Emphasize protein, fat and carbohydrates
Ex. 1 cup Kefir or 1 cup greek yogurt + 1 cup mixed fruit + 1 cup fortified cereal or 1/3 cup granola + 1/2 ounce walnuts
Stabilize blood sugar – eat every few hours (no more than 4 hours without eating), emphasize real food for vitamins/minerals.
 
Stay hydrated - 91 ounces (~11-12 cups) for women and 125 ounces (15-16 cups) for men of fluids per day.
 
Variety of whole foods

Control blood sugar

Exercise

Stay hydrated

Enjoy heart-healthy fats

Herbs and spices

Eat a satisfying balanced breakfast

Stress, sleep, attitude

Brain games







1/27/14

Flapjacked protein pancakes

 
A friend of mine at SMACK! Media shared with me the website Flapjacked protein pancakes.
 
Here's a little about the product philosophy:

Jennifer and David Bacon founded the company based on the premise that healthy meals should not only fuel our bodies but also taste great but fuel us with energy to get through our day. Our pancake mix is easy to prepare making it simple for the modern families busy and active lifestyles. FlapJacked is perfectly balanced to fuel your body and help control hunger. This delicious, protein-packed and fiber-rich pancake mix is made with only the highest quality ingredients such as whole grain oats, quinoa and coconut flour that provides our body with the essentials to stay healthy and feel great. We fortify with Whey Protein Isolate and naturally sweeten these delicious fluffy flapjacks with real fruit (no sugar added!). Loaded with antioxidants, potassium, fiber, calcium, magnesium and vitamins, FlapJacked Protein Pancakes are a complete meal that supports muscle growth and balances blood sugar. Rest assured, we use NO GMO ingredients, NO Preservatives, NO Artificial color, NO Artificial flavoring or NO Artificial ANYTHING!
The only things needed to make a simple easy meal of nutrient dense flapjacks that are sure to satisfy is water and a griddle.
 
As a real-food fanatic, I also have a real approach to life. In other words, I try to keep life balanced but also not extreme. Therefore, I emphasize real food in my diet and encourage a real food, plant strong diet but I don't have an off-limit food list. You see how I eat via facebook (and Twitter @trimarnicoach and instagram @trimarni) and my blog so I don't think I need to explain my passion for real food which makes up the majority of our diet (Karel and Campy included).
 
So, at first I was a bit hesitant to try this product for I will not try or promote any product that I do not believe in or that I wouldn't use myself.
 
But after reviewing the ingredients, I was impressed with the wholesomeness of this pancake mix as well as the nutrition facts along with the nice combination of protein to carbohydrates (without being loaded with sodium and sugar). So, I decided to try it out and my friend at SMACK! media sent me a few packets to try out.
 
 

 Flavors:
Banana Hazelnut
Buttermilk
Cinnamon Apple
 
After my indoor brick workout on Saturday (Karel rode outside and did a bike + longish run), it was time for pancakes!!
 
Karel picked the cinnamon apple as the first one we would try, so I went to work in my kitchen and added my own special Trimarni touch to the cinnamon apple packet.
 
They were delicious - Not chalky from the protein powder, not super sweet or salty and a good texture and taste. This would be a great option to bring while traveling (if you have a kitchen available or griddle), at camps or a super easy recovery meal if you are one to slack on the recovery nutrition post-workout.
 
 
1 packet Flapjacked Cinnamon apple
1/2 cup frozen blackberries (I heated them in the microwave for 1 minute and then mashed with a fork until soft and juicy - be careful, they may splash so don't wear white! You could use any fresh or frozen fruit and it does not have to be mashed)
1/8 cup slivered almonds
1 small apple - chopped
Olive oil
Maple syrup (the real kind, not sugar free) or honey (the real kind, not sugar free)
 
1. Combine water and mix according to package.
2. Stir in blackberries and almonds.
3. Let sit for a few minutes while skillet heats to low-medium heat.
4. Add a drizzle of olive oil to cover bottom of the skillet.
5. Pour 1/4 cup mix to form pancakes and cook for 2 minutes on each side (or until golden brown).
6. Top with apples, cinnamon (optional) and maple syrup or honey.
Enjoy!

(I was not paid to promote this product. When it comes to me reviewing or promoting products, if I won't use it or eat it, I won't promote it)

 
Guess who made time out of his busy schedule this weekend to watch us enjoy our Flapjacked pancakes???

1/26/14

Build confidence, skip the excuses

"Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses."
-George Washington Carver
 
 

Saturday morning brick:
2:45 trainer ride
1 hour warm-up (including 20 min of 1 min single leg drills each leg, then both together, etc.)
Main set: 
3 x 15 min Z3 upper w/ 5 min EZ (cadence 90+ rpm)
10 min EZ
2 x 5 min Z4 low w/ 3 min EZ (cadence 90+rpm)
Cool down
 
30 min (3.5 miles) treadmill 'brick' run
15 min warm-up (last 5 minutes picked up the pace a little)
Rest/straddle treadmill for 1 minute
Main set:
5 x 2 minutes (90 sec at half IM race pace, 30 sec at olympic distance race pace) w/ 1 min rest/straddle treadmill
Cool down walk

 
Sunday long run (treadmill):
10.5 miles/1:25
Dynamic stretching warm-up
30 min warm-up (stretched out every 8-10 minutes)
Main set 3x's:
5 min @ half marathon race pace (+20 sec slower)
5 x 1 min @ Olympic distance race pace w/ 20 sec rest in between
1 min straddle treadmill, repeat 2 more times.
Cool down
 
 
It's too cold
I don't have time
I'm too slow
I'm too tired
It won't work
I can't do it
I am not strong enough
I am not smart enough
 
If there is one thing that motivates me every morning to train smart it would be my triathlon goals. My season is laid out well in advance so that I can prep and peak at appropriate times and minimize chances of burnout.
But if there was one thing that keeps me enjoying exercising when I'm not training for triathlons, it would be how great I feel when I workout (and after).
 
One thing that I encourage athletes and fitness enthusiasts to remember is that training for a race is not required to be healthy. You can be healthy and not be training for a triathlon, an Ironman, a bike race or a 5K. Although training may improve health, if not done carefully, training can be very damaging on the body, can interfere with balance in life (work/family/etc.), can increase risk for disease/illness and can increase risk for injury.
 
But no matter if you are training for a race or just exercising for health, it's important to understand the difference between building confidence and having a no excuses mentality when it comes to reaching your fitness goals. 
 
I find that it requires a lot of energy to make excuses. First, there's the thought of what you should be doing. Then there's the thought of why you can't do it, why you don't want to do it, why you don't have time to do it or why it can't be done. Then there's the energy to convince yourself that the reason for not doing whatever you should be doing is good enough to keep you from doing it. But then in the back of your mind, you feel guilty, upset or frustrated that you have convinced yourself that you can't do what you should do.
 
I've said "I can't" many times in my life. In career, education and in sport, I am not afraid of admitting that "I can't" is part of my vocabulary.
But when it comes to my goals, whether career, education of sport, I refuse to give up and I don't like to waste my energy on excuses.
Typically, my use of "I can't" out of my mouth comes from a lack of confidence at the task ahead. I have no problem putting in the work when the work needs to be done but often times, I doubt myself, my skills and my ability to succeed and that's when I need support to keep me positive.

Everyday we are faced with choices and for many, diet and exercise and other life choices are viewed as chores. Something that "has" to be done. But when it comes to making things happen because you have a goal for yourself, you have to make the choice to get it done. Sure, motivation may be higher at certain times than others but just think of all the energy you are making on excuses and perhaps it's time that you spend a little more energy on how you can make things happen.
 
One of the best ways to stop (or reduce) excuses is to work on confidence. Confidence that what you are doing is moving you closer to your goals. (even if you think that you should be doing more or something differently - if you are aiming for perfection you will not be able to recognize progress).
 
Confidence is the feeling that you are unstoppable, even if you have to change the plan at times (but never change the goal).

Confidence is knowing that you can still move closer to your goals as long as you try. And even if you think you could be doing more or better, you don't let that black or white mentality keep you from succeeding.

When you focus your energy on why you can't do something, your mind will give you plenty of reasons why you can't do it. But if are confident that something is better than nothing, you will be amazed how making a little effort, every day, will move you toward your goals. On the contrary, giving yourself reasons why you can't make things happen will not give you the results you want (even at crunch-time when you feel the pressure and motivation to make things happen that should have happened weeks or months prior)
 
Sit down with yourself and create a plan. Life, nutrition, exercise - whatever it is that you are struggling with when it comes to motivation, dedication, discipline or enthusiasm.

Create a plan that is realistic and practical and allows for progress. Your plan is YOUR plan and is helpful only for you and your goals at this time in your life.

If you feel you are too busy, too cold or too tired, close your eyes and visualize yourself reaching your goal.

Now put that vision into your life and dedicate passion, hard work and commitment to your life in order to create the momentum that will help you move closer to your goals.
 
No more excuses.
You CAN succeed.