Essential Sports Nutrition


Living in Greenville - a dream come true

My dad volunteering and making sure my number was perfect before the 2011 Ironman World Championship. 

I learned a lot from my dad in my almost 32 years with him but year after year as I became an adult, I discovered that I had a lot in common with my dad. 
Maybe that was because he was the best role model and mentor. 

We both love the outdoors.
We love to travel, especially road trips. 
We love to laugh and smile. 
We love physical fitness.
We love science.
We love public speaking and teaching others.
We love to stay busy. 
I remember so much about my dad because we were very close and on top of that, we have a very close family. 
But one thing that my dad always taught me was to never wait for something. Whether it's a goal, a dream or a chore, get it done now and don't wait until tomorrow. 

I remember that my dad always being great at getting things done. I would say he was a very accomplished man from work as an Optometric Physician to electronics to yardwork to helping my brother and I out whenever needed (school and sports) and with craftsmanship. He never said that he would get to something tomorrow, he didn't have time or that something could wait. If we needed something or if he needed to get something done, he was on it with a plan and a mission. 

My dad was never about short-cuts or making excuses. He believed in patience alongside hard work and diligence. 

Although my brother and I always knew that we could ask my dad for anything and he would find a way to get/give us what we wanted, we never took this for granted or took advantage of this. Instead, we watched my dad go after what he wanted to do in life without any complaints or hesitation and no matter how overwhelming of a task, he would work until it was done right. Rather than making my dad do everything for us, we accepted this special trait as something that was extremely important in life.

It saddens me that my dad was not able to enjoy Greenville with Karel and me (and soon my mom). My parents put their house on the market not too long ago but as we all know, life isn't always fair. 

Although Karel and I hesitated with the idea of moving our business out of state because of the overwhelming task to leave our comfort zone in Jacksonville, I wasn't surprised when I heard my dad's response when I told him our tentative plan to move 6.5 hours north to Greenville, SC. 

He first wanted to learn more about the city and then he wanted to know our plans. That's a dad for ya. 
But when he learned more about Greenville and discovered that it would give Karel and I the lifestyle that we craved with a great location to grow our business, he was on board and couldn't wait to join us in the mountains. 

My dad was a go-getter. If something needed to be done, he would do it. And if he had no idea what to do, he would make sure he learned all the skills before he got started. 

My dad was also someone who loved life. With every chore or task, he somehow found enjoyment in what he was doing. I know there were things that he did in life that were not easy but he never gave up and seemed to have the best sense of humor with every situation. 

Although we have only been in Greenville for 4 weeks, we could not be happier. Karel and I love to work hard for it is only up to us to get the bills paid. Our work life is not like others but it is a choice that we made to make sure that we make the most out of our life (however long it may be). 

My dad showed me what it is like to love life and I am so happy that I can finally follow in his footsteps in a place that truly makes me happy as I celebrate my good health in nature and work hard to help others reach personal health and fitness goals and to cross finish lines. 

Because the outdoors make me feel so alive, I hope you enjoy some of the pics I have taken in the last few weeks since we moved to Greenville. 

3 tips to help you enjoy your training journey

 From the goal-focused newbie athlete who is determined to cross a finish line with a smile, to the elite who races for bragging rights, prize money and podium awards and everyone in between, it's very easy to feel the pressure to perform on race day and consequently, overlook a few key areas which may positively affect your training journey. And because almost every athlete will have an obstacle or two to overcome throughout a training cycle (ex. injury, life change, work stress, family obligation, sickness, etc.) it's important that you never lose sight of your goals and that you always focus on what you CAN do throughout ever moment of your training journey until you reach the start line. 

Without a doubt, it’s important that your voluntary, extremely active lifestyle is bringing you closer to your goals. But, participating in a race requires more than finishing a workout with tired muscles drenched in sweaty clothes, buying fancy equipment and gadgets and making traveling arrangements. 

Starting today, feel worthy of your “athlete” title.  You belong to a passionate and supportive group of active bodies and determined minds and there is nothing more self-defeating that constantly comparing your goals, body composition and paces to other athletes. You should always feel deserving of your “athlete-in-training” status as you are no longer an “exerciser”. Instead of wishing it was easier or searching for quicker results, take into consideration a few simple suggestions of how you can enjoy your training journey no matter what obstacles come in your way. 

   1) It’s not just about the miles  Consider the many variables in your life that can positively affect your training consistency and health and can contribute to a balanced lifestyle, on top of the training miles. Among the top priorities: Sport nutrition before, during and after training to assist in intentional physiological stress. Strength training to enhance your cardio-focused routine. Stretching to encourage proper range of motion and injury prevention. A restful sleeping routine to help control appetite, quicken recovery, assist in stress and attitude management and to encourage stable energy throughout the day. Intentional active recovery and rest to prevent overtraining and to encourage consistency in training. Purchase, use and a basic understanding of training gadgets (ex. GPS and HR-enabled devices) to avoid haphazard training. Keep in mind that you are still training your body even when your GPS device is not running. 

     2) Developing a healthy relationship with food and the body – Eat a wholesome and balanced diet for fuel and for health. When it comes to changing body composition to encourage performance gains, your body will take care of itself when you are performance-focused and not scale obsessed. Avoid words like “off-limit, bad, guilty, chubby, fat and ugly” to guarantee that you are appreciative of what your body is allowing you to do on a daily basis and that you fuel and nourish your body adequately. Always thank your body for giving you a tomorrow and for helping you get to start lines (and to cross finish lines). 

  3) Don’t rush the journey- To make the most physiological training adaptations with the least amount of training stress, focus on your individual response to training. Training adaptations vary between individuals and there is no perfect training (or diet) plan. A properly planned training routine, alongside a carefully mapped-out racing schedule will ensure well-timed, peak performances thanks to a progressive, individualized overload. Develop a training routine that takes into account your current level of fitness, frequency, intensity and duration of workouts, past season successes and learning lessons, current lifestyle requirements and available hours of daily/weekly training, number of weeks/months until your A-races, short and long term goals, past or potential injuries/health issues and ability to recover properly between workouts. Your body is unique and it may not adapt to your training schedule like you had envisioned. Take a step back when you feel frustrated or discouraged and recognize what your body can do and then create a new plan. 


Run your way to your best performance

Happy National Running day!
I'm sure you don't need a day to celebrate your joy for running but if you need a little motivation to get out the door today and move your body, this is a great day to start!

It doesn’t matter if it takes you 6 minutes or 16 minutes, a mile is still a mile.
No matter your fitness level, running is a great sport to challenge your mind and body. But even better, running does not require a gym membership, you can do it almost anywhere (and anytime) and it comes with a list of benefits including body composition changes, fitness gains, stress relief and self-confidence.

Because there is nothing better than putting all your hard work to the test on race day, it’s important that you arrive to the starting line hungry to race, uninjured and healthy in both body and mind.

Even with the endorphin-rush following a rush of blood flow as you move your body quickly, with one foot in front of the other, running does come with a few downfalls.

Running is rather hard on the body (weight bearing) and not every human body is designed to run. Running requires good flexibility and range of motion as well as exceptional cardiorespiratory endurance and muscular strength. Injuries due to overtraining, poor biomechanics and improper shoes or increasing mileage too quickly are very common in runners of all fitness levels.
So don't worry if running isn't your thing, you can always walk...and a mile walking is the same distance as a mile running. 

To set yourself up for a great race experience, consider the following tips to help you train smart for your upcoming running race.

3 tips to run your way to a best running performance

   1)  Build a strong body – As great as it feels to check-off an hour run off your to-do list, it’s important that you build a strong foundation before you increase speed and distance. Strength training is an important part of a balanced running routine for a weak body increases the risk for injury. It’s recommended to include 2-3 x 20-40 minute sessions of functional (ex. run-specific) strength training each week into your running routine. Be mindful that strength training should enhance your cardio routine. Be sure to not overdo it with your strength training (which can be performed at home without weights but instead with body weight) so that you do not compromise your energy or form during your run sessions. To give your body time to adapt to strength training as you build stronger muscles and more resilient tissues, give yourself a few weeks to focus solely on strength training before starting your running training plan. It’s recommend to strength train on cross-training/off-run days or if needed, after your short, interval runs. The most important areas to address for runners are the hips, glutes, lower back and core to ensure good pelvis strength.

       2)  Consistency is key – At the beginning of any running plan you will either feel amazing and the miles will tick away naturally OR you will struggle with recovery after runs. Because prior fitness and experience comes into play when training for a running race, the most important way to boost performance is to be consistent with your training. Remember that training improves endurance, speed and stamina but if you cannot properly adapt and recover from your training stress you may find yourself struggling to keep up with your training plan. Develop a training plan (or work with a coach) that allows you to adapt to training with the least amount of training stress.
       3)  It’s not just about the miles – If you want to run a strong race, you have to put in the work to run a strong race. But arriving to your starting line requires more than running x-miles a week for x-months. As you train for your upcoming event, remember that good sleep, a positive attitude, good stress management, attention to sport nutrition (ex. fueling before, during and after workouts), balanced daily nutrition, a healthy immune system, good flexibility, proper pacing and correct use of training gadgets (ex. GPS and HR device) will also help to take your training to the next level.

Happy Running!

Looking for a fun track workout?
Here is one I created for Triathlete Magazine, specifically for the athlete who struggles with pacing and always starts out too fast out of T2 or at the beginning of a race.

Long-speedy track workout


Fuel smart and avoid anti-inflammatory pills

April 2014 issue of Triathlete magazine

Knowing what foods to eat to fuel your training is important, but to reap the benefits of the nutrients, it’s the when that really matters. Before and during a workout, your goal is to increase the delivery of nutrients to your working muscles to maintain glucose levels, postpone fatigue and improve your hydration status. After you’re done training, the focus shifts to replenishing glycogen stores and initiating tissue repair and muscle growth so you can bounce back even stronger for future workouts.
With the following fueling suggestions, I will help you reduce risk for GI distress and help you find yourself gaining a competitive edge.
How To Fuel Before Workouts
Eating something before a training session is critical, as it will better prepare your gut for race day and help you to become more aware of how your body absorbs and metabolizes fuel in varying intensity levels, durations and weather conditions.

Note: For an individualized approach on fueling your triathlon routine and to meet dietary needs, contact a registered dietitian (RD) specializing in sport nutrition. It should be noted that recommendations for fueling around workouts should be “as tolerated” and perfected by each individual over time.

Learn how to fuel for a track or swim session HERE.
Learn how to fuel for a brick or long run session HERE.

May 2014 issue of Triathlete magazine

One of the most common setbacks for an athlete is extreme inflammation and the discomfort and restriction of proper range of motion that it causes. 
When taken occasionally, athletes should not worry about side effects of anti-inflammatories, but religiously popping a pill before or after training or during racing is not advised. Long-term use or excessive intake may increase the risk for heart attack, stroke and kidney damage.
Many triathletes rely on pain relievers during an Ironman, which may do more harm than good. 
Be sure to follow a smart training and fuelling regimen to develop a body that adapts well to training stress, instead of just swallowing a pill to mask any discomfort.

To read the entire article, read more HERE.