Essential Sports Nutrition


Diet, exercise, health: Myth or Fact? Your questions answered!

You'd think that everyone in our nation would like to be healthier, more fit and eat better but that's not always the case. There are some individuals who are happy just the way they are but if you are reading this blog right now, it's likely that you have a diet, exercise or health-related goal and you are seeking information on how to accomplish that goal. 

In the quest of health/nutrition/exercise-related information, it's likely that you are in information overload. Your search engine has seen hundreds of websites, blogs and article links over the past few years and although some of the information may be credible, effective and appropriate, it's likely that a lot of the information you have read (and continue to read) on the internet is not very reliable (and often times, very unhealthy). 

Now a day, it's hard to decipher what is factual or false because there are many sources to receive information. There are books, magazines, the media, television, articles, blogs, websites, lectures, journals and many times, pure experience and word of mouth. 

Much of what we hear/read is oversimplified. The media and "experts" often take a simple topic and make it very complicated and confusing. Considering that if you are reading this now and you are over the age of 20, you have been around for some time on this Earth and you are likely doing something right to keep your body alive. 

But short term fixes do not bring long lasting results and no matter what age you are, it's important to be careful of what's "too good to be true" and what's worth the change. 

There are a lot of experts in this world and it's easy for our society to decide how they will get their information and what information they want to receive. 
-There are those who want Free advice
-There are those who will pay an expert for his/her time
-There are those who will try anything at any cost
-There are those who are resistant to change, despite searching for a change
-There are those who are always excited to try something new
-There are those who like to follow the masses

If you are confused or overwhelmed by all of the nutrition/health-related information available to you, visit the Oakley Women facebook page tomorrow, starting at 9am where I will be answering all of your nutrition-related questions. 

Considering that most individuals use the television, magazines, books or the internet as the easiest (and most affordable) place to find nutrition-related information (instead of medical professionals and Registered Dietitians), here's your chance to pick my brain (for FREE) in honor of National Nutrition Month

Before asking your questions, I'd like for you to consider two important parts in changing your habits as you move toward a personal health-related goal. 

Stages of change

If you have your mind set a diet, exercise or health related goal, it's likely that you know changes will need to be made for you to reach your goal. You can't do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. 
The key to maintaining your energy to move you closer to your goal is to not only try new things, perhaps through trial and error, but to also apply information that will not only help you reach your goal but if applicable, maintain your goal once it is achieved.

Change is not easy. 
Psychologists will often help their clients understand what stage of change they are in order to better understand how the change will occur. Change requires small steps and this is why many people get very frustrated or discouraged and often give up on change OR many times, seek a more extreme or drastic way to achieve quick results during times of vulnerability, difficulty or setbacks. 

The two stages that I'd like you to consider before asking me a question tomorrow (or reading my response to another question) are stage 5 and 6. 

This is a great stage to be in and it's likely where you are right now in your life if you have a long term goal. Athletes know all about preparation, just like students or someone who is involved in planning an event. 
The key parts of this stage are experimenting with small changes, understanding that there will always be an adaptation phase when changes are being made. Something new is always hard at first.
It's important to gather information that you can use as you make small changes. For once a small change is made, it's time to move on to another small change.
Progress, not perfection.
Be sure to write down goals and invest in a professional who can help you devise a healthy and realistic action plan. It's also important to create a positive support system for encouragement and motivation for prep-work is not without difficulty so the key is not giving up.
As you gather information as part of your prep work, consider your own goals but also anything that may be specific to you that will affect your ability to change.
We all come from different backgrounds, fitness levels, economic statuses and we live in different places of the world that may affect our how we make changes (Ex. depending on the weather or where you live, how about your ability to eat certain foods at certain times of the year?)
Your lifestyle may be completely different than the person who you are getting all of your information from (this can be positive and negative) so it's important that you take into account the best course of action for YOU and not trying to be like someone else.

When Karel and I created our 5-week transition plan, we wanted triathletes to build a strong foundation before training more specifically for upcoming races. For the many triathletes who purchased and followed this plan (my athletes and Karel and myself included), there was a significant improvement of strength and understanding of weaknesses which is now allowing these athletes to progress more consistently with their more specific training.
Speaking of stage 6, which is the action phase, I find that many individuals jump into this stage without being prepared. No prep work has been made and thus, the motivated individual who jumps full-force into something, finds him/herself in a situation, perhaps a few weeks or months later, burnt out, injured, sick or unmotivated because too much direct action was made in too quick of time.
I don't know about you but I wouldn't want to buy a house that was created with short-cuts, cheap parts and little attention to detail. For I may be buying a beautiful looking house on the outside and perhaps one that my friends will marvel over but will eventually crumble and fall once I get settled in (talk about a waste of money as well.)
To be successful at change, you must be in a positive environment that supports change. Many times I find people overwhelming themselves with information and tips that are not pertinent to you at that specific time.
I always say "progress not perfection" but it's almost as if individuals who want to make change have this pressure to do everything right (perfect) all at once, forgetting that every expert was once an amateur.
If you have a diet/exercise or health related question, consider how the answer you are seeking will apply to you. It's ok to hear things and question an expert if it is true or not, but many times, the information you are seeking should help you make the changes you need to make, in a progressive manner, so that you can reach your goals.
Keep in mind that as you take action, you must have great support from others, that you are doing exactly what you should be doing at specific times in your journey. Continue to review your resources, motivating statements and team of energy-giving individuals that will help you maintain your action without getting side-tracked as to what other people are doing, the results of others or the tendency to desire a quick fix because you struggle with patient, hard work and overcoming obstacles. 

When it comes to changing habits, stages of change may vary from person to person.
But the most important thing to remember is your reason for change for this will be the major factor as to where you get your information for change. 

-The individual who never feels good enough, may constantly find him/herself struggling to accept the changes that are moving that individual into a better place.
-The individual who once ate out every meal, every day should not be seen as a failure if she/he is now only eating out 5 day per week, just because he/she is still eating out.
-The family of 6, who has no car and relies on food stamps as they question when they will receive their next meal should not be following the same advice from a blogger who The individual who expresses his/her beliefs as to why everyone should choose only organic local foods and should cook every balanced meal from scratch.
-The individual who was recently diagnosed with diabetes, renal disease or cancer may be in need of a clinical "quick fix/lifestyle change" unlike the individual who feels "fat" and has an unhealthy relationship with his/her body and seeks out information that encourages a fad diet, disordered eating habits, surgery or weight loss pills. 

As you can see, the reason for change will vary from person to person.
So depending on where you are getting your information, it's no wonder that you feel overwhelmed and confused when it comes to making changes to "be healthy".

I look forward to answering your questions tomorrow and helping you move closer to your individual goal as you also improve your quality of life. 


My road to becoming a dietitian.....Happy National RD Day!!!

When I was growing up, I always loved science.
As a student athlete through middle school until the end of college, I always loved being active with my body.
I suppose at a very young age, I was destined for a career that combined my love of science and the human body in motion. 

When I learned about biology in middle school, I thought a career as a marine biologist would be perfect for me because I loved animals.
When I learned about human anatomy in high school (1996-2000), I thought that medical school would be perfect for me because I loved the human body and helping people.
When I learned about human physiology during exercise in college at Transylvania University (2000-2004) while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Science and a Minor in Psychology, I thought that strength and conditioning would be a perfect career for me because I loved helping a body get stronger in order to perform better.
When I learned about exercise physiology and sport nutrition in graduate school  at Florida Atlantic University (2004-2005) while earning a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life when I graduated. 

With negative money in my bank account and a spare room at my parents new home in New Port Richey Florida (after moving from my hometown of Lexington KY), I moved in with my parents to figure out what I would do with a few expensive pieces of paper that I could proudly hang on my wall in frames. 
Throughout graduate school, I inched my way into endurance sports. Well, more like jumped in feet first without any hesitation. I trained for my first marathon with my own designed marathon plan (coming from a history of running with my longest run being a 10K road race) over the course of 4 months and qualified for the Boston Marathon (3:38). I decided that the next step would be to do my first Half Ironman and Ironman within the same year as the Boston Marathon. 
I never considered a career as a professional triathlete but I really loved endurance sports.
I felt accomplished, disciplined, energetic and healthy despite the volume that I was putting out to prepare my body for so many endurance events within an 8-month time-span. 
Before completing the Boston Marathon, I applied for and received an internship at the World Triathlon Corporation which was (at that time) in Tarpon Springs, FL. I learned so much about the history of triathlons as well as what it takes to put-on an event and during my 6-month internship I was also introduced to Judy Molnar, VP of Iron Girl. 
I started writing for several sport-related websites, like Iron Girl and Beginner Triathlete and started to find my niche for being able to relate to triathletes and runners but also to understand the science behind training and fueling for endurance (or multi) sport events.
I can't believe it but one of my very first articles  (one of the very few that I was paid for starting out as I tried to get my words out) is still on the internet from 2007. - Eggs, Meat and Milk...whey too many proteins!
Through networking, credentials and certifications, I landed a spot in Triathlete Magazine, writing a column "Gatorade Athlete of the Month" where I would spotlight an athlete each month.
Throughout that time, I used my sport nutrition credential from the ISSN to start writing articles relating more toward sport nutrition, nutrient timing and fueling a body in motion. Fueling the engine was one of my first articles to write on this topic and not too much later, I had my first article in Triathlete Magazine on that same topic. I still have that article in a frame for it was my very first article in print (there's nothing like seeing your name in a magazine for the very first time). 
After accepting a position at a YMCA as the wellness coordinator, teaching spin classes, the occasional water aerobics class, personal training and training for my first Ironman, I met Karel who shared my first Ironman journey with me throughout the entire summer of 2006. 
As I was training for Ironman Florida, I found myself gravitating toward other like-minded individuals when it came to answering questions on training and sport nutrition but still continuing to enjoy my time at the YMCA, working with the average individual who is seeking health improvements through a more active lifestyle or weight loss (or both). 

After completing my first Ironman in 2006 and qualifying for the 2007 Ironman World Championships by winning the 18-24 age group by almost an hour (11:00:47), I was extremely excited by how my body performed as I coached myself through my first Ironman (training and fueling) so my immediate reaction was to start a new dream of becoming a professional triathlete.
After giving the thought some consideration, I realized that I needed to put my education to good use.
I started to give local talks to triathlon clubs on sport nutrition and on the side, I would also provide consultations with athletes on nutrition. As a personal trainer, I was always asked about nutrition so that part came naturally to help others as I worked in the YMCA. 
In Feb 2007, was born. Oddly, it was after the Miami Marathon (where I qualified for the Boston Marathon in 2005) and that was the only race I have never finished. 
2007 was a rough year. Not only did I begin my long-term history with hip issues (starting around 30 days before the 2007 IM World Championships but I felt like I was not living life to the fullest. There was too much focus on triathlon training and I was not helping enough people. It was too much "me-time" and I felt this burning desire that I needed to help others. 
So -it was back to school!

While I was in graduate school, I remember two specific things that I heard from others, when it came to figuring out what my life would bring in the next few years:
1) I would never be successful as a vegetarian in endurance sports (21 years later and 7x IM finishes - I think I proved a lot of people wrong)
2) I needed to have the R.D. credential behind my name in order to be successful with nutrition. 

I wasn't really sure what it would take to become a RD for I never had an interest in being a dietitian. I didn't want to work in food service or in a hospital. I only wanted to work with athletes, like myself, who wanted to fuel for sports in order to be fast in races. 

So, I applied for the University of Northern Colorado distance dietetic program in 2007 after recovering from Kona (which took months to be able to walk pain-free again after racing injured) as the first step and began pre-req courses locally in Clearwater/St. Pete since I had moved in with my boyfriend, Karel. 

I wasn't sure of a time frame as to when I would become a RD so I stayed as patient as possible for the next three years. And oh boy, was that extremely hard!

Becoming an RD was one of the most expensive, time-consuming and stressful experiences of my life. 

However, I would not have wanted it any other way. 

From 2008-2011, I blogged about various topics from Ironman racing, healthy eating, workouts and life. But in the midst of it all, I was overwhelmed with becoming a dietitian.

After receiving a verification statement from UNCO, my desire to become a RD shifted from "needing" the credential to be more successful as a writer/speaker to "earning" the credential to be more credible as a nutrition expert. 

As I was applying for internships, my passion grew in the field of nutrition and I finally felt like I was doing what I was meant to do in life.

Only one more step to go and I would become a RD!
 I realized that the dietetic internship process was a bit more complicated that I imagined. Not only complicated but extremely competitive. Realizing now that earning this RD credential is more than just paying for school to get a certificate. The RD credential does not get handed out like a nutrition certification after passing an exam.  

When I didn't get matched for my first round of dietetic internships I was extremely sad. So much of my life had been put on hold for the past few years as I worked so hard to get this last step crossed off the list in order to be eligible to sit for the RD national exam. 

On April 29th, 2011, my life had finally changed. 
After completing over 1200 hours of interning through the Marywood University distance dietetic internship program (thanks to second round matching the 2nd time I applied), I was finally eligible to take my RD exam. 

When I passed the RD exam in June, 2011, I was extremely happy and relieved but also still concerned as to how I would turn my passion of helping others with my background in nutrition, sport nutrition, dietetics and exercise physiology, into a career. 

The birth of my business, Trimarni coaching and nutrition, LLC, was not easy. I always wanted my own business for I felt like I wanted to provide services that I felt would best serve my population (not clients) of athletes and fitness enthusiasts.  

Logo designed by my friend and athlete (and AMAZING web designer) Doris S

It was a very long journey but I knew that becoming a RD would not only open doors to a fun career of writing and speaking on a national level but as a licensed dietitian who works part-time as a clinical RD, I would have never found myself feeling so fortunate to be so successful with a job that doesn't feel like work (don't get me wrong - we work hard and non-stop).
Since earning my RD credential, I have had the great honor to see my name in several national magazines which has been a dream come true:
Cosmo Girl
Runner's World
Women's Running
Men's Journal
Women's Health

as well as reach out to my athlete-population in, LAVA online, Iron Girl and USA Triathlon.

I have also been able to Contribute to many articles online and speak at many local and out-of-state events

If you love nutrition and love helping people, consider making the time to earn your RD credential. Life is going to pass on by anyways, why not become a qualified and nationally recognized nutrition expert (meeting academic and professional requirements) who can "translate the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living". I would be happy to talk to any individual (or future RD/intern) about careers, the RD journey or anything else that I can do to encourage you to continue to pursue a RD credential. 

So, what's next for me?

Upcoming to-do's to advance my career:

-Earn my CSSD - Board certified specialist in sport dietetics - be eligible to work with Olympic athletes

-Write a book - focus on body image for athletes 

-Speak on a more national level - body image for athletes, healthy relationship with food/body, sport nutrition, nutrient timing, motivational talks on living a more balanced healthy and active lifestyle

-Enjoy the life that I worked so hard for as I continue to help others reach personal health, body composition fitness, nutrition and performance goals. 

-Continue to set goals for my active body 

-Speak and write more

-Travel more with Karel

-Expand my plant-strong culinary skills

To all my Trimarni followers and fans - THANK YOU for your continued support!!!


Don't miss it! Sport nutrition #Empirechat with @USATRIATHLON

Saving calories during workouts to lose weight
Avoiding/minimizing carbohydrates to burn body fat
Afraid of sport nutrition because of the sugars
Feeling lethargic during workouts and overeating post workout
Bonking, dehydration, cramping, unintentional weight loss/gain

Are you struggling to fuel your body to support your metabolic needs before, during and after training?
Do you struggle with developing a healthy relationship with food and your body?
Are you looking to maximize performance gains through nutrient timing?

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Trimarnicoach and tune-in on Thursday 3/13/14 from 12-1pm and look for my responses on popular sport nutrition-related questions/topics.

Check out #empirechat and @usatriathlon to have your sport nutrition questions answered.

 Also -  Be sure to check out the April issue of Triathlete Magazine pg 68-69. I'm so proud of this article for it's the most comprehensive article I have ever written so that YOU could fuel right for every type of swim-bike-run workout (as well as a few key tips for fueling for an Olympic distance triathlon).
I hope you continue to enjoy making performance gains with your well-fueled body.


Workouts fueled by patience and Trimarni blueberry coconut muffins

I knew it was going to be a tough weekend, mentally and physically. 
But through our "train smart" plan, I knew that the timing was right and that I was ready for this weekend's workouts (after a challenging week of training).
 I had worked really hard for several weeks in order to execute this weekend.
With our "train smart" approach to training, one of the most important characteristics that is required is patience.
With a masters degree in exercise physiology, I feel I have a good understanding of how to develop a practical and effective training plan. However, with so many variables to consider with training - intensity, frequency, duration, recovery - the athlete that wants to succeed must be patient with a well-formulated plan. 
This is also true for any individual who works hard for results. 
Karel and myself, along with our athletes, love to work hard. We are all very disciplined, we manage our time well to keep life balanced as age group triathletes/runners and we also are committed to our task in order to achieve our goals. However, the athlete who is patient through all phases in training will enjoy the journey from start the finish. And because there are always challenges within a journey, you do not only need to be patient but also very mindful of progress (which is not always told by a pace or speed).
As athletes, we all have goals. Typically, a long term goal is the driving force to maintain motivation to train hard for a specific amount of weeks/months. But even for the most hard working athlete, if he/she is hindered by impatience, that daily hard work ethic may not pay off. This may seem impossible because we have always been taught that hard work always pays off but progress requires a step by step process. And because we often thrive off instant gratification, it's very easy to fall short of your potential if you are not patient enough to wait for results to happen when they are suppose to happen. This means not getting frustrated if things are not happening right now, not setting too many goals at once that you feel overwhelmed by focusing on too much too soon and not constantly searching for a better, faster or easier way.

Training, exercising, racing or working toward a personal health, nutrition, fitness or life goal. 

Celebrate the milestones as you maintain patience throughout your journey.
-Is there something you can do now that you couldn't do before?
-Is there something that comes easier to you now than before?
-Is there something that you enjoy doing now that felt like a chore before? 
-Do you feel better than before? 
-Are you enjoying certain parts of your life more than before?


4 mile Run + 2 hr Bike + 1 hr T-RUN (7 miles)
(did the bike on the trainer to control my watts for the Z4/Z3 with our resistance controlled Cyclops fluid trainer)
4 miles (or 30 min) run up front. Just a comfy form focused run

Bike: 15-20 min steady then MS:
4 x 5 min @ FT (functional threshold) w/ 3 min EZ spin in between
10 min steady easy pace
8 min @ Z4 + 12 min @ low Z3, 2 min EZ,
10 min @ Z4 + 10 min @ low Z3, 2 min EZ,
12 min @ Z4 + 8 min @ low Z3, 2 min EZ 
10 - 15 min SESP (steady effort still pushing) and then T-RUN.
15 min steady run. Walk a few minutes to stretch out.
Then 30 min of alternating: 5 min Strong/5 min steady
Stop and stretch. 
CD: EZ run to finish the workout.

4:00hr Bike (84 miles) + 30 min T-Run (3.75 miles)
(biked with Karel. We rode out to Penny Farms in Florida and did 2 loops in Penny Farms on gently rolling hills for our main set)
Bike: 1st hr just ride 
MS: 8 min @ low Z4, 2 min EZ
12 min @ low Z4, 2 min EZ
16 min @ high Z3, 2 min EZ
24 min @ mid Z3, 2 min EZ
30 min SESP 
2 x 15 min @ high Z3/low Z4 w/ 4 min EZ in between
 Then SESP for the rest
T-RUN: 10 min EZ run, 3 x 5 min (descend 1-3) w/ 60 sec walk in between
5 min EZ CD.
(did the EZ run with Campy - who made me run a bit faster than I wanted! 7:44 min/mile pace for 1.44 miles with Campy. Then descend - 7:50 min/mile, 7:28 min/mile, 6:58 min/mile for the 5 minutes)

Blueberry coconut muffins
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 cup blueberries (I used frozen)
1 large egg
1/3 cup milk (I used organic skim milk)
Unsweetened coconut shredded

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray non stick muffin pan with cooking spray (you will use 7 muffins tins)
2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a bowl.
3. Lightly beat egg in small bowl then whisk in milk.
4. Stir in egg mixture into flour mixture. Then fold in blueberries.
5. Divide batter among 7 muffin tins (about 1/4 cup). Sprinkle with coconut shreds (about a tsp or two per muffin)
6. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until muffins are light brown on top or toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Nutrition facts: (without added coconut)
Servings: 7 muffins
Serving size: 1 muffin

Calories: 114
Fat: 1g
Carbohydrates: 23g carbohydrates
Sugar: 9g sugar
Fiber: 1.4g
Protein: 3g
Sodium: 136 mg

I feel ya Campy!!
Tomorrow is NO ALARM (no morning workout) Monday to give my body a huge thank you for the last few weeks of consistent "train smart" training!