Essential Sports Nutrition


Ironman fuelilng in Greenville (recipes and pics)

Despite so many life changes over the past few months, my love, passion and excitement for real food did not dissipate. I am constantly giving thanks to my body for all that it allows me to do, for I know I balance a lot and at any moment it has the opportunity to fail me. 
My love for real food has grown bigger and bigger over the years and the more I am introduced to new flavors, foods and cuisines, the more creative I become in my kitchen.
I appreciate real wholesome food just like I appreciate effective and safe sport nutrition. My daily diet nourishes my body and keeps my immune system healthy. Without my good health, I can not train. Through proper fueling and nutrient timing, I am supporting the metabolic demands of my body and ensuring consistent workouts and a quick recovery. 
Here are a few of the eats that I have enjoyed (with Karel) since we have moved to Greenville, both in and out of the Trimarni kitchen. 

Deli trays given to us by family friends, after my dad's funeral.

Dried fruit tray (with macadamia nuts and almonds) from our friend/athlete Wlad. 

Fresh pears from my friend Taryn. 

Tomato soup (1 can of your favorite soup) w/ cooked tortellini , fresh mushrooms and basil. 
Cook the soup and cooked tortellini together along with the fresh mushrooms. Then add chopped basil and top with a little cheese.

Caprese salad - roasted baby tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil and fresh basil
Add a little olive oil to a skillet on medium heat and add a handful of baby tomatoes (washed/cleaned). Cook for a few minutes, then carefully toss. Continue cooking until slightly toasted.
Add chopped mozzarella (fresh, packaged) and fresh chopped basil and drizzle with olive oil

Pomegranate on main - Persian cuisine
Starter - cheese, butter, mint and radishes served with pita bread

Veggie kabob served with salad.
All items on the menu are gluten free and a salad can be served instead of basmati rice (I shared basmati rice with Karel from his plate and it was amazing! Karel got the Chicken Torsh Kabob)

Simple breakfast 
2 eggs + 1 egg white scrambled with a dallop of greek yogurt. Stuffed with kale and sliced tomatoes.
Toasted bread and fresh fruit.

Deli tray (we aren't sure from where) delivered to us from a family friend.
Salmon (for others to enjoy) as well as a simple salad, tabbouleh and edamame salad.

Tabbouleh and edamame salad
Arugula base topped with tabbouleh (barley and cranberries) and edamame salad (edamame, corn, black beans, sundried tomatoes, red peppers, lemon juice and olive oil).
I served this with a side of cottage cheese for additional protein.

Cabbage with tomato pesto tofu and jasmine rice
Karel made cooked cabbage which is one of his best dishes he makes for me (in a large cooking pot on medium heat, chop a green or purple cabbage and combine w/ 1 shredded potato and a little flour (about a tbsp or two for thickening), chopped onion and garlic in a little water - cooked for 40-60 minutes. Seasoned with salt/pepper to taste).
I made the tofu - cube firm tofu and in a bowl, lightly combine and then toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, pinch of salt, a few shakes of paprika and 1 tbsp sundried tomato pesto powder. Cook on medium heat in a skillet (drizzle a little more olive oil if needed to prevent sticking) for 10-15 minutes. Tofu should not be firm to the touch when finished cooking.
Jasmine rice - I typically use 2:1 ratio of water to rice. We love jasmine rice for it has a very popcorn-like smell and very easy to digest (which is why I love it when I am training for an IM or the night before a race). Topped with parsley from my garden.
I loved mixing the cabbage with the rice - this made the rice super creamy and delicious!

I recently received a large package from Clif Bar after my recent trip to the Clif bar HQ a few weeks ago for the RD summit.  I was introduced to these bars while tasting almost every bar that Clif Bar offered. I am all about real food and you can't find anything closer to real food (in a "processed bar") than these bars. For those who are looking for a gluten free, soy free, dairy free and certified organic bar with minimal ingredients (all that you know) and at 200 calories or less, I know you will love KIT's Organic from Clif Bar.
Although I do not use solid food when I train for the Ironman (Only my custom INFINIT NUTRITION powder in my bottles - 1 bottle per hour), Karel and some of my other athletes need a tummy satisfier when they train and I will add this bar to my list of recommendations (along with hammer bars, lara bars, bonk breaker, clif bar, stinger waffle) if you are seeking a healthy choice to keep your tummy happy (I recommend around 30-50 calories as needed while riding, in addition to your liquid sport nutrition as your primary carb/electrolyte hydration source).
These bars are also a great choice when you need to carry a bar with you while traveling, running errands or in meetings. Also, if you find yourself without a healthy snack on occasion (ex. fresh fruit), this could be an alternative. There are a variety of flavors w/ nuts and/or seeds. I have not found them in stores so if you know of a place to buy them in a store, please email me so I can share with my athletes.

Potato salad
Roasted potatoes (sliced potatoes tossed in olive oil and seasoned with a little salt and chili spice and cooked at 425 degrees for 25-35 minutes).
Cooked mushrooms (on a skillet with a little olive oil) for 10 minutes.
Leftover edamame salad.
All on top mixed greens nd topped with a little shredded cheese. I added greek yogurt (Fage 0%) to this on top for my protein selection.

A great selection of certified SC grown produce. (check out that ginger in the far left!)

So many choices!


Tempeh and Broccoli stir fry
Steamed broccoli and cooked tempeh tossed with cooked jasmine rice and topped with cheese. 

Egg casserole with kale, corn and tomatoes
4 egg whites and 2 whole eggs scrambled w/ 1 dallop 0% Fage greek yogurt
Baby tomatoes, kale, corn, mushrooms, onions, garlic - as much as you want of each of these
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and drizzle a casserole dish with olive oil.
Add your veggies into your dish to fill dish 1/2 way full. Season with a little salt, pepper and your choice of seasonings.
Pour egg mixture over veggies.
Cook for 20-30 minutes or until eggs are firm. Top with feta cheese when eggs are finished cooking (oven off) and keep in oven for an additional 3-5 minutes.

Green goddess garden baguette
Crisp cucumbers, heirloom tomato, arugula, goat cheese, shoots, Green goddess dressing (I asked for dressing on the side - both dressings for sandwich and salad were amazing!)

My handsome lunch date

Thank you Trimarni friend and athlete Lisa for the nice gift card to Karel's favorite French bakery here in Greenville, Legrand bakery

Trimarni egg and chickpea salad
5 hardboiled eggs (2 whole and 3 whites - chopped)
1 can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
large handful baby tomatoes (chopped/sliced)
10 baby carrots - chopped
3 stalks celery - chopped
1/3-1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 - 3/4 cup peas
1/3 cup 0% Fage Greek Yogurt
1 spoonful favorite hummus
Toss together and season to taste with a little salt/pepper. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving.

Toasted bread (this is leftover bread from the deli but you can also thinly slice a baguette)
Place bread on pizza tray (I had my bread frozen) and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook bread for 5-8 minutes and if slightly brown on bottom side, flip bread (remove pan from oven first). Keep oven light on for if the bread is cooked 1 minute too long it will burn.


Ironman Austria - let the countdown begin

Wow - can this really be true? We are leaving for Europe in 10 days and Karel and I will be racing Ironman Austria together on June 29th! 

This will be my 8th Ironman (thank you body!) and Karel's 2nd Ironman. 
After spending a week in Klagenfurt Austria we will be spending a week in Znojmo, Czech Republic to spend time with Karel's mom and dad. This will be Karel's 2nd time back to Czech Republic since 2000 and the last time was last May when we traveled together for my first trip to Europe. 

It's hard to summarize how I am feeling right now mentally and physically with everything that has gone on in our life in the past few months. I'm sure many people can relate to my situation of life changing in an instant, a lot of big changes happening around the same time and a lot of changes happening over a period an extended period of time. I won't deny it that there have been a lot of life changes for me lately.

My dad and I shared a great passion for life, where we loved making memories just as much as we loved the experiences and opportunities that we created (and were given to us) in life. 

Although my life has certainly been disrupted in many ways over the past few months, I haven't forgotten (or pushed aside) the things in my life that make me smile. 

Even though I can no longer make my daily phone call to my dad to tell him about my day, I can not stop living the life that my dad loved to share with me and that I loved to share with my dad.

I believe that the most important lesson in life is to love life and many times, this requires us to not give up when times are tough and life doesn't seem fair. 

If we want a life that makes us smile and makes us happy, we must remember that there is no such thing as a perfect life. 

Many situations in life just suck and are not fair. And as we all know, life sometimes has really bad timing. 

But that's life. 
You can't control situations but you can control how you deal with them.

If we don't give up on life, we have the ability to make a lot more memories in our future than if we would thrown in the towel and convince the mind that it just isn't worth it, it won't ever happen or it won't ever work. 

Life is going to continue for us even when bad things happen. But I hope that if you have a situation in life (now or later) that is troublesome, that you do not consider even the thought of giving up. 

Never give up on your goals or your dreams for you only have one chance at life and I know my dad would agree that ever day is worth living, especially if it is a day when you can make some fantastic memories. 


Hydration tips - swim, bike, run

I know you have them but do you use them properly?

Whew. Karel and I had one exhausting swim practice this morning with the Greenville Masters swim team (Greenville Splash)

The team is primarily master swimmers so the workouts are not specific to triathlons but, it sure is nice to be pushed by some fast swimmers and to suffer as a group. 

400 warm-up
Pre-set: 8 x 25's w/ fins (fast) w/ 15 seconds rest
5 x 100's kick build to fast w/ 20 sec rest

MS: 30 x 50's (rest 15 seconds, 10 seconds, 5 seconds by every 10)
#1 Drill, #2, Drill moderate intensity, #3 fast (repeating)

MS #2: 16 x 25's w/ paddles, fast (odd rest 5 seconds, even rest 10 seconds)

350 cool down

Total: 3300 yards

This was a speedy swim set with little rest between intervals and sets but I still had enough time to sip my bottle with 1 scoop Speed (infinit) to keep me fueled and hydrated for my 1-hour master swim workout. 

I often observe that many swimmers/triathletes do not bring water bottles to swim workouts and this is a must to have fluids during your swim workout. 

Regardless of the workout length or intensity, it is important to stay hydrated in the pool (and before/after) just like it is important to stay hydrated on the bike and run. 
Workout intensity, pool water temperature, outdoor temperature, previous hydration status and workout duration can all affect hydration needs in the pool. 
Although I highly recommend using a well-formulated, carb and electrolyte rich sport drink (~100-120 calories per hour) for a 45-90 min workout, every athlete should make sure he/she has a bottle of water available to quench the thirst at frequent intervals throughout a workout. 

Here are a few suggestions to help you meet your hydration needs during your swim, bike, run workout routine: 

-1 bottle of water per hour (or carb/electrolyte drink)
-Sip before practice and after as well as after warm-up and between sets/intervals. 
-Sip while your coach is talking or while you are chatting with your lane mates. 

Trimarni tip: 
If you find yourself starving after a swim workout or dreaming of food while you are swimming, I recommend to have at least 100-120 calories of a sport drink during your 60-90  min swim workout. Because many swim workouts are early in the morning (thus little time to digest a solid food snack, I recommend a low residue/carb dense snack such as a glass of juice, Banana, 2-3 figs, Buddy Fruit, Power Bar Fruit blends or applesauce. 

-1 bottle of water per hour (or carb/electrolyte drink). 
-Drink in frequent intervals (1 gulp is around an ounce or two) every 10-15 minutes OR take 2-3 gulps (about 5 ounces) every 15 minutes depending on your drive to drink/course, etc. 
-Use solid food  (~30-80 calories of a piece of a carb dense sport bar) for tummy satisfying if needed and a sport drink to meet your carb, electrolyte and hydration needs - all in one bottle makes it easy to meet nutritional needs and for proper digestion and absorption.
-Be sure you are comfortable grabbing your bottles from their respective cages and be sure your bottles are not loose in their cages. An empty bottle is more likely to pop out than a filled bottle so be sure you are not using your favorite water bottles when you are training/racing. Always have a back up nutrition source in the case that you do lose a bottle.
-Always have a primary bottle that you will use each hour, in a place that you are most comfortable grabbing. 
-To avoid heartburn or burping, do not stay aero every time you sip from your bottle. Sit up and take a sip and then resume your aero position (practice taking a sip from your water bottle right now by leaning over as if you are in an aero position - it's not so easy at rest to sip and swallow so imagine what the body has to do to properly digest food/liquids when the body is crunched over)

Trimarni tip: 

I find that triathletes make bike fueling extremely complicated and I contribute a lot of that to the body simply getting use to digesting nutrition while exercising (which is something very unnatural for most human bodies). I have worked with many athletes who always report feeling hungry on the bike or just can not stomach only liquid nutrition but overtime, we work together and eventually, the majority of the athletes I work with move toward a primarily liquid fueling strategy and if needed, just use solid food (or the occasional gel) to keep the tummy happy.
As an example of why I feel it is important to use liquid nutrition (or to get your primary fuel from a bottle)....

Imagine sitting in your car and me telling that you that on your road trip, for the next 3-6 hours, that you must sip your water bottle every 10-15 minutes.While at rest, not a problem.
But, you tell me that you also want to snack on gummies, chews, gels, bars, sandwiches, candy, etc. during your trip and I am ok with that but I do remind you that all of that nutrition is tucked away in your seat pocket behind you. 
So as you start your drive, the sun is shinning you are feeling great and your sipping strategy goes great. By 1-hour you have finished 1 bottle of water (or electrolyte tab) but you are starting to get hungry. Ok, not a problem. You just carefully reach behind the seat, still trying to focus on the road while steering your car, and you grab whatever you can grab behind you.
You feel satisfied and then 20 minutes later, the worst storm you have ever driven in happens. Wind, rain, hills, traffic - there is so much to focus on and let's not forget that you were focused on holding x-mph for your entire ride. 
So right now, that water bottle is being neglected but it is the easiest to grab while you are keeping two hands on the wheel as much as you can.
But you get hungry and you can't stay focused without food. You fumble in the seat behind you while steering the wheel and then also remember that you have some food stashed away in your console between the seat (let's call this your bento box). You accidentally dropped a bar as you were reaching in the seat behind you which is kinda stressing you out. 
Now, let's imagine that all your nutrition was in a bottle and you could stay fueled, hydrated and mostly satisfied with your nutrition in a bottle. Consider how easy this is to focus on the road while you are biking as well as to prepare for the upcoming road trip with your bike.
This is just a simple example of why I feel it is effective and efficient to use sport nutrition products on the bike, primarily liquid nutrition.
I have designed many INFINIT custom drinks while allow me to customize nutrition for my athletes based on their individual needs. Just another way to make sport nutrition specific for each individual because there is no one product that works for everyone.  

The best suggestion I can give for your run training is to set up a fueling environment that allows you to stay fueled and hydrated every mile or 10 minutes. This is very important no matter how long/short your run is for your training routine requires consistency and not just 'getting through' workouts. Every workout is an opportunity to improve fitness but to also train the gut for race day. 
A few of my run fueling suggestions:
-Gel flask  - filled with NAPALM (powder - 1 ounce = 50 calories) or your gel of choice (start with 1 gel per hour) diluted with water. Aim for an additional 12-16 ounces of water per hour. Sip frequently every 10 min or mile.
-Other brands I recommend for running: OSMO, SKRATCH or my fav, Clif HYDRATION
-Fuel belt - aim for at least 16 ounces of fluid per hour. You can carry water with you for sipping/cooling but I also recommend to have at least 16 ounces of fluid mixed with a sport drink for 20+min brick runs or runs over 45-60 minutes.
-Camel back or hand held bottle - aim for 120-150 calories of sport drink  mixed with 20-24 ounces per hour, do not overconcentrate your bottles (same with the bike - plan to refill bottles with powder - no more than 350-380 calories per bottle for all athletes). Sip every 10 minutes or mile. 
-Set up your course for out and back or short 30-40 minute loops and bring enough nutrition with you that you have calories/electrolytes/fluids to last for 30-40 minutes (~50-80 calories). Then each loop or out and back you can refill at your "aid station". 

Trimarni tip: 
One of the most common mistakes I find triathletes/runners making (of all racing/training distances) is not using sport nutrition during run workouts to enhance training and to train the gut. Then comes race day and the athlete is afraid of bonking or risking fatigue and then a non-practice fueling plan is created just for race day. Train yourself in training with nutrition that will help you take your training to the next level. Your goal with your fueling strategy is to stay fueled and hydrated and to meet electrolyte needs. Race day requires you to use your current level of fitness so by emphasizing sport nutrition properly in training, there is a good chance that by race day you will be fit to perform and confident with your fueling strategy. 


Inaugural Women's Fitness Summit (Sorry guys, ladies only!)

I love speaking to women. 
I love helping women change their lifestyles. 
I love helping women reach personal goals. 
I love helping women cross finish lines. 
I love helping women learn how to have a healthy relationship with food.
I love helping women learn how to love their body. 
I love being a woman. 

When I was asked to present at this summit on a topic specific to fueling the female endurance athlete, I could not pass up this wonderful opportunity to educate other women and to learn from the other experienced and knowledgeable female speakers. 

How great - a conference for women, by women. 

My racing season will be complete when this event takes place (Sept 27-28) and I will (hopefully) have Ironman #8 (Ironman Austria, 6/29and #9 (Ironman Wisconsin 9/7) behind me. 
That's 9 x 140.6 mile races in my 32 year old body and I have a lot of tips and info to share on how I keep my body healthy and fueled. 

I am really looking forward to helping endurance athletes who are wanting to learn how to eat for fuel and for health and additionally, wanting to take their endurance training to the next level all while minimizing risk for injury and illness. 

My presentation will be on:

Despite the complexity of the human body in motion and the overwhelming amount of information available on healthy eating and sport nutrition, my philosophy for nutrition is simple.
Appreciate a nutrient-dense, real food balanced diet to support the immune system and overall health and use safe and effective sport nutrition products properly before, during and after training to support intentional training stress. 
Through a combination of real-world experiences and research, individuals in attendance will be able to identify the key nutrients in the daily diet to support the female endurance body. Individuals will also learn about different methods of fueling for endurance sports, specific to triathlons and running events.
I will also share my own tips and tricks for eating for fuel and for health as a 22-year lacto-ovo vegetarian, as well as how I fuel my Ironman training with a real food daily diet and how I use sport nutrition products during training/racing to minimize GI upset and to postpone fatigue. 

There is an amazing group of talented and smart women who are speaking at this event so if you are feeling overwhelmed with so much nutrition and fitness related information on the internet, get all your questions answered at this summit.

I hope to see you there!



Test your run fitness with under/overs

This morning I woke up at 5:30am to thunder which brought in some rain. But after 93 miles (5 hours and 40 minutes) and 6200 feet of climbing yesterday, I was ready to finish the week with my scheduled long run. 

After my typical pre-training snack of rice cake + PB + raisins + honey + banana slices + granola and some water and coffee, I was out the door around 7am to start my dynamic warm-up. 

7:20am my Garmin 910XT was turned on and off I went. 

There have been many new things to get use to in Greenville but one that sticks out (and makes my heart beat a bit faster) the most is: HILLS - and lots of them!

Aside from the Swamp Rabbit Trail, everywhere that I run has an incline and a decline. We live about 1 mile from the west end of downtown, 1/2 mile from the HS track, 2 miles from the YMCA and 1.5 miles to Falls Park. All of my favorite places to run to include hills and my quads are slowly getting use to this change. 

Some of my favorite runs are when I have no plan as to where I will run or I get to explore somewhere new. My plan was 13 miles or 1:45 (whichever came first). 

This morning I did a mile around the area where I live to warm-up and then headed toward the Caine Halter YMCA. 

After a 3.5 mile warm-up with drizzling skies, I stopped to stretch out and prepared myself for the main set which I planned to do on the 1/2 mile rolling paved trail outside of the YMCA.

5 min @ ~7 min/miles
5 min @ ~8-8:15 min/miles
1 min stop, refuel/rehydrate
Then repeat - 4 rounds total (40 minutes total with 4 minutes of rest)

After the MS, I headed to one of my favorite places to run on the Swamp Rabbit trail from the YMCA through Cleveland Park to Falls Park and then through the west end of downtown by the baseball field and then home. 

Total: 13 miles, 1:44 total time

I had a bottle (10 ounce flask) of 150 calories (3 ounces) of Napalm which is the sport nutrition that I use on the run in my races in a flask (1 ounce = 50 calories) and for every run off the bike as well as in my long runs. 
I left the bottle on a picnic table and sipped a few sips in between my intervals to simulate aid stations.There are water fountains on my fav run route so very easy to stay hydrated as I stayed fueled w/ sugars/carbs and electrolytes with my flask. 

Under/overs are probably my favorite type of run workout that I enjoy a few weeks before a race. With Ironman Austria in just 3 weeks (our first International race, my 8th Ironman and Karel's 2nd Ironman), this is the perfect time to push a little (much faster than Ironman run pace) with my healthy body and then recover with a steady pace just a tad faster than my goal IM run pace. This is a great way to teach the body to recover while training and although the fast (unders) often feels harder when the set continues, amazingly the overs begin to feel a bit easier to maintain the endurance pace.

If you are interested in incorporating over/unders (or under/overs - however you want to call them) into your routine, here's a workout that I did for Triathlete Magazine

Although this workout is great for runners and triathletes, athletes who train for triathlons can add in a 30-60 min spin on the bike before this interval workout to warm-up the legs and to give a tad more stress to the aerobic system.

Since I am a big fan of intervals, here's another great bike workout (for the trainer) to get your legs burning. 

For triathletes who would like to use this workout as part of a brick and feel comfortable running 30 minutes after a high intensity bike, I recommend after the bike workout to run a form focused run for 30 minutes. (don't forget your sport drink on the run - to train the gut and to help postpone fatigue and to help with recovery, sip every 10 minutes. Aim for up to 100 calories)

Start with 5 minutes comfortable and then stop and let the HR drop for two minutes. You will find that this will recharge your brain and body, especially if your legs were feeling heavy after the bike workout.

Then do 3 x 5 minutes steady pace w/ good form w/ 30-60 sec walk in between. Make your last 5 minutes your best. Then cool down as needed. 

Happy Training!