Essential Sports Nutrition


You are a winner!

How do you define winning? 
Coming in first or succeeding better than everyone else? 

Although there may be a universal definition of winning that often relates to sporting event or competitions, we shouldn't forget that winning can apply to many of life's amazing experiences and challenging events. 

It's very easy to find yourself in a place in life and feeling a bit down on yourself. Comparing yourself to others who have it better than you or perhaps feeling as if nothing goes your way or the odds are always against you. And even if you find that glimmer of truth that you are in a good place to succeed, it only takes a quick moment to find yourself doubting the progress you have made. 

I have a quote on my refrigerator which I have kept with me over the past decade or so since my parents gave it to me from the local Newspaper. I am surprised it has survived many moves over the past few years but perhaps that is because it is very special to me. 

My parents never pushed me in sports or career to be the best but instead, to be happy and to try my best. Ever time I wanted to quit something, my always dad knew the right thing to say to keep me going and to make me smile. He was the first person I would call if I needed an instant pick-me up. I was never taught that success was always being better than others but instead, that being successful means doing something that you have never done before or doing something better than you did last time. 

No matter what task lies ahead of you or what challenge you face, are you going to work your hardest to be a winner?
I sure hope so.

Winners Take Chances
Winners take chances. Like everyone else they fear failing, but they refuse to let fear control them.
Winners don't give up. When life gets tough they hang in until the going gets better. 
Winners are flexible. They realize there is more than one way and are willing to try others.
Winners know they are not perfect. They respect their weaknesses while making the most of their strengths.
Winners fall, but they don't stay down.
They stubbornly refuse to let a fall keep them from climbing.
Winners don't blame fate for their futures, nor luck for their successes.
Winners accept responsibility for their lives.
Winners are positive thinkers who see good in all things.
From the ordinary, they make the extraordinary.
Winners believe in the path they have chosen even when it's hard even when other's can't see where they are going.
Winners are patient. 
They know a goal is only as worthy as the effort that's required to achieve it.
Winners are people like you.
They make this world a better place.   

-Nancye Sims


Trimarni endurance triathlete training camp - GREENVILLE!

This camp is designed for endurance triathletes who are currently training for a half ironman or ironman distance triathlon within the
 next 6-8 months. Exceptions will be made, please send an email to inquire if this camp is right for you. 
Athletes will not only learn more about pacing, skills, strength training, mental strength and sport nutrition but will also leave this five-day training camp with improved endurance, confidence on challenging (yet beautiful) terrain and new friendships. 

Where: Greenville, South Carolina
(all workouts will start near the downtown area)
When: October 1st – 5th, 2015

What: This 5-day Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition Greenville training camp is a great opportunity for endurance-focused triathletes to maximize fitness before a late (or early) season half ironman or Ironman triathlon. As an athlete, we know you love to put in hard work to take your training to the next level but we know that sometimes training can become a little boring in the same environment, all season long. Also, we know you balance a lot in life and we understand that work/life doesn’t always give you ample time to recover properly, get restful sleep, eat a balanced diet and keep your mind focused on your training. Combine that with a long season of racing and you may find yourself on the verge of burn out, risking injury or not benefiting from your hard work….and we do not want that! 

Our camp goal is to add some fun into your current triathlon training routine and take you slightly out of your comfort zone as you learn more about pacing, endurance racing, climbing, gearing, cadence, sport nutrition, daily nutrition, recovery and open water swimming. We could not be more excited to welcome you to beautiful Greenville! Our bike-friendly, active community will not disappoint you as train on the perfect terrain to improve your cycling and running skills. 

Camp features:

*3 to 9 mile climbs (and descends)
*Scenic features: mountain-top views, Falls Park, Reedy River, Hotel Domestique (George Hincapie’s hotel), farms, local produce/farmers market, Swamp Rabbit Trail and cafĂ© and so much more!
*Lake swimming, track runs, trail running, team dinner, sport nutrition lectures, hip/core/glute work, handouts of information discussed at camp (take-home materials), RETUL fits (by appointment only), cooking/nutrition demo’s, one-on-one bike skill help (ex. descending, climbing, etc.), understanding how to train with power, swimming analysis (open water and pool), downtown social hours in downtown Greenville and so much more!

If you want to learn more about fueling for endurance events, healthy eating (with cooking demo's), strength training (ex. core/hip/glute work), cycling skills w/ one on one attention from a cat 1 cyclist, open water swimming tips, how to run stronger off the bike and train smart with two endurance-focused coaches....this camp is designed just for you!

This purpose of this camp is not for you to come to Greenville and train by yourself. Our goal is for you to learn as much as you can in a group setting, with one on one attention. We will be by your side as we  motivate and educate you over 5 fun-filled days of training and learning. Our goal is that you will leave this camp with a better understanding of how to trainer to train harder so that you can improve your fitness and stay healthy as you work hard to reach  personal fitness/health/performance goals. 

For more info on the camp, pricing, lodging & a tentative

camp schedule: 

Here's a video from our last camp (Feb 2014) in Clermont, Florida at the National Training Center. 


Lower your expectations to succeed

I've never been good at not dreaming big. It's just not my style. I love having a goal to work hard for, that requires months of hard work, patience and dedication. 

I realize that with big goals comes the chance of big disappointment. However, regardless if I meet a goal or not, it's knowing that I made the commitment to try that counts at the end. 

It's really hard to regret trying something. 
But it's really easy to regret not getting started for fear of failure or disappointment.

The other day on the news I heard about the secret to happiness. Low expectations. 
Lowering expectations make it more likely that an outcome will exceed those expectations. 

How true is this you ask?   

When was the last time you felt under-prepared for something (ex. project, race, talk, trip) and the outcome turned out better than expected?
When you did succeed, did you find yourself happier at the end than when you started?

Or, when was the last time you thought that you had no energy for a workout or that you wouldn't be able to conquer your "hard" main set and you surprised yourself and ended up having a kick-butt workout? It's really hard to regret that workout, the one that you expected to have no energy for. 

There are many scenarios that I could give, relating to diet, training and life that you may be able to identify with and I think that the message is true that our mood is greatly affected on our expectations. And this can be positive and negative depending on how your thought-process works in life situations. 

Over the past year, I have thought about the race when I would get to race with my current level of fitness to try to qualify for the 2015 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. That race is quickly approaching and in 31 days, I will race 140.6 miles alongside tough competition in the 30-34 female age group and try to earn my Kona spot. If we are lucky, there will be three slots in the 30-34 age group but I do not expect there to be more than two. Perhaps we can just plan on two and then if there are three, the athlete who places third in the age group will be really really happy!

Certainly, these are high expectations to set for oneself, especially with trying to balance training for my 9th Ironman (after just racing my 8th IM on June 28th) with the rest of life. 

But despite my race day goals being quite lofty and high, my approach to training over this past year has been very enjoyable as my expectations for my fitness are kept very realistic and manageable. I've kept my focus on small progress over time. I've never tried to perform a workout so epic that I could not recover from it. I've never given myself a workout that was too hard that I couldn't gain something from it. However, in order to keep myself moving forward so that I can be a contend or for a Kona spot on race day, there have been workouts, placed strategically in my weekly training schedule that have allowed me to stretch to the top of my comfort zone.

One big downfall of hard working athletes is trying to expect more out of yourself than you are capable for the mere fact that you are comparing yourself to someone else. 

Someone else is training longer, harder and faster than you right now. 
So what. 

*Every day when you wake up early to train (or finish your day with a workout) make the workout be specific to your goals and needs. You should finish the workout feeling better than when you started.

*Find a way to be a better athlete today than you were yesterday. It may not be necessary for you to push harder or longer but instead, dial in your nutrition, do a better warm-up, recover better or sleep longer. 

*Don't compare your training, body or life with someone else. If you are inspired by someone else, she/he should motivate you to train smarter, not always to train harder. 

*Give yourself time to progress. Expect enough out of yourself that you feel challenged but not on the verge of mental and physical breakdown. 

*Manage your time. We all have the number of hours in a day, it's how you use them that counts. Use your time wisely so that you achieve your own definition of balance. Don't just fit in training when you have free time and don't compromise life just to squeeze in training. Every athlete has a certain number of hours that can be dedicated to quality training so be honest with yourself as to the time you can  commit to training smart and don't worry about what other athletes are doing with their time. 

*There are many paths to lead to the same final destination. Enjoy your journey.  If you expect that there is only one way to eat, train and live, you will constantly find yourself disappointed. Discover what works for you by thinking of your personal health, fitness and life goals (short and long term). You may think that everyone is doing more and better than you but there are probably plenty of people who are doing less and doing just fine. 

*Your journey to personal growth and success is dependent how you manage your expectations. Do not demand so much out of yourself that you break and do not settle of mediocre just because you feel you are not good enough. I believe in you! 

Perhaps we do not need to live life with low expectations all the time but maybe sometimes it is good to expect just enough out of yourself that you can work hard but if you do achieve something better than you believed to happen, it will be even more exciting than planned. Or in other words, if you are living with extremely high expectations that are completely out of your reach, just lower your elevated expectations just a bit so that your new expectations are more realistic to reach your goals.  

But maybe, just maybe, the key to happiness and success is not making expectations for yourself (and comparing yourself to others) just to be happy but instead, living in a way that makes you truly happy.  


Is your nutrition performance enhancing or performance limiting?

Every athlete wants to take his/her fitness to the next level. I believe that we are all born with the trait of wanting hard work to pay off when it counts. 

As a dietitian who specializes in sport nutrition and fueling a body in motion, there's a lot of information that can be applied to an athlete who wants to take his/her training regime to the next level. It doesn't matter how you term your fitness - newbie, veteran, skilled, professional, novice - but instead, what are the goals that you aspire for yourself and are you willing to put in the hard work to meet your goals. 

I have had the great opportunity to work with many, many inspiring and motivated athletes on their nutrition, both daily and sport nutrition. Also, combing this with coaching so that a well-fueled body can go to the next level of fitness.

What's the difference between the two? Here's an article that I wrote for Triathlete Magazine that may help explain how sport nutrition is a topic that is very different from daily nutrition. 

There are similarities between the two and they do relate, but one (sport nutrition) helps the body adapt to training stress whereas the other (daily nutrition) helps keep the immune system healthy and reduces risk for disease and illness. To reduce risk for disease you do not have to use sport nutrition but to take training to the next level, you certainly have to eat healthy. 

One of the biggest issues I find with athletes is not knowing where to start in a nutrition journey. Regardless of working with a professional (ex. RD who specializes in sport nutrition) or from information on the internet, books and from friends/coaches, there's a lot of information available to athletes, some new and exciting but most of the information has remained the same for decades. 

So this brings to me to my focus of this blog post. 
If you are searching for nutrition help/advice to help take your training/fitness/performance to the next level, what category are you? 

Performance enhancing or Performance limiting. 

With so much information available, athletes are always looking at what others are doing (age groupers and pros) and trying to replicate in their own routine. Sometimes this works really well but many times, athletes are not focusing on exactly what is the reason for changing/tweaking the diet and fueling regime. 

Therefore, these are two categories that I use to help me (and my nutrition athlete) identify what are the underlying reason(s) for modifying the diet or fueling regime. Every athlete is different and I believe in a personalized approach. 

Far too many times I see athletes trying anything and everything to improve performance but not necessarily changing the right things. Often, things are changed that are working and new things are added that may not be necessary. 

 I will explain a little about both of these categories so that you can see where you fit in as you focus on the very important area of nutrition that is a critical part of an athletes training "diet". 

I find that most triathletes fit into one category more than the other, and those who feel limited by their current fueling/nutrition regime need an immediate change. Certainly, if I can help an athlete identify a red flag as to why performance is being limited, this can be addressed and practiced and almost immediately, performance will improve. And who doesn't want that?

Although I work with a wide range of athletes and I love working with the performance enhancing athlete, I would say that most athletes that I work with, are not in the performance enhancing category when they contact me for nutrition help. 

 Once you better understand if your current fueling/nutrition regime is limiting your performance, you will have less information to dive through as you discover exactly what it is that you should immediately address in hopes to modifying your fueling/diet regime to unlock great performances. 


-You feel extremely comfortable with your current fueling regime. You have achieved a number of continuous solid performances this season (or in the past year) without minimal GI issues, cramping, bonking, fatigue, injuries, unintentional weight loss/gain. 

-You are looking for a safe/legal way to take your training to the next level. You are willing to make some changes in your current training and nutrition regime to see if there is something that can help you advance your fitness. 

-You are open to trying new things even though what you are currently doing is working just fine. This area of nutrition tweaking is more about individual responses to recent research that does not always works for the masses. Beet juice, tart cherries, spirulina, protein powder, fat burning, customized sport nutrition, caffeine, branch chain amino name a few, there is research to support the use of many of these things in athletes (when used safely, guided by a professional, without any underlying health issues in the athlete). You have likely read in magazines or on forums that athletes "swear" by certain products or methods of fueling, however, it is not always necessary to help take training to the next level, especially if you are in the performance limiting category. 

-You accept that you are not an expert and that if what you are doing now is working, and you want to take training to the next level, it is going to require that you are walking on a thin line of injury/burnout/sickness. Any athlete who wants to step up performance should work with a professional who can help guide an athlete for if done alone, there are risks to trying new products to "gain the competitive edge" as well as modifying training to "step it up". Your team should involve an involved and dedicated/experienced coach to guide you with your training as well as a sport RD who can help properly fuel and recover your body so that you can be consistent with training. 

Are you looking to enhance your performance? 


You commonly experience fatigue, bonking, cramping, burn out, injuries, dizziness, headaches, GI issues, plateau's, mood swings, unintentional weight loss/gain  during your training/racing. 

-You haven't yet discovered how to best fuel your body before, during and after a workout. You may not even be using any type of sport nutrition during workouts, eating before workouts or consuming any recovery foods/drinks post workout. Maybe you don't know what to do, you are scared of trying something new, you have had bad experiences in the past or you just don't know where to start. 

-You haven't yet discovered how to best nourish your body throughout the day to keep your immune system healthy and to reduce risk for disease. 

-You haven't yet discovered how to fuel for performance and fuel for health. Perhaps you have some underlying health issues that you are working on and not sure how to combine sport nutrition with your current diet (which in your opinion, is still a work in progress).

-You constantly find yourself trying something new because you read or heard about it. 

-You keep trying the same things, hoping for a different result. 

-You are extremely dedicated and passionate about your training and want your hard work to pay off in training and on race day. However, you find you are stuck in a constant circle of lack-luster performances despite putting in the work (which sometimes doesn't feel like you are gaining fitness but instead, experiencing setbacks). 

-You have great workouts but come race day, you have no idea how to fuel for your given distance/intensity or your fueling plan fails you. 

As you can imagine, with triathlons and running (my two sport areas of expertise for coaching and nutrition) growing so quickly in popularity and racing venues, it's very ease to train for a race. However, many athletes find themselves uncomfortable, unaware or confused with the area of sport nutrition when it comes to meeting the physiological/metabolic needs of adapting to applied, intentional training stress. Throw in not understanding how to eat "healthy" and there are a lot of athletes out there who feel extremely limited when it comes to taking training to the next level. 

One area I did not put into either category is body image and an athletes relationship with food. This is an area that I am very passionate about for I feel that if an athlete can improve on this area (which is extremely hard in a body image obsessed world with dozens of food trends for athletes and the masses), they can often find themselves enhancing performance and taking care of many performance limiters at the same time. 

I feel that this area can be applied to both categories and often I find that athletes seek dietary/fueling changes in order to change body composition to improve performance (or feel body composition is limiting performance). 
This is understandable for if an athlete carries extra weight on his/her frame (sometimes coaches call it dead weight but let's use a nicer word such as extra weight), he/she may be at risk for injury as well as not using fuels efficiently. However, I must say that I find that many athletes feel they are limited by their body composition but often times, develop extremely unhealthy eating/training patterns to try to improve performance when in actuality, they are not limited by their body but instead, they are just not fueling properly around workouts and during the day. The weight may be the outcome of a fueling/nutrition regime that just needs a little tweaking. Losing weight doesn't always transfer to improve performances, especially if you are not supporting your training load. 

It isn't that losing weight will automatically improve performance but instead, changing how food is timed/consumed produces a stronger and faster performance on a more consistent basis. Really, there is no point of a lean body if you can't do anything with it. 

Without guidance, an athlete who feels that she/he is limited by his/her body composition and doe not having a healthy relationship with food and the body, may produce performance destructive habits and this is certainly not a category you want to be in. It is just not possible for an athlete to take training to the next level if she/he is unable to see food for fuel and for health. Many times, athletes constantly find themselves overly sensitive with their own body imagine and when it comes to taking training to the next level, athletes are doing nothing more than sabotaging performance or not getting anything out of a training session. 

Regardless if an athlete does needs to manage body composition from a physiological, health or metabolic standpoint (which should be done with a professional), athletes should always consider if there is an underlying issue that should be addressed prior to tweaking the fueling regime/daily nutrition. There are many reasons an athlete can feel "limited" with his/her performance and if looking to take training to the next level, it is critical that a healthy relationship with food/ body and a good understanding of how to safely and properly support a training regime is in place. This is the foundation of great consistent performances. 

Do you feel as if your current fueling/nutrition regime is limiting your performance or/and do you feel that you would be able to improve your fitness by developing a healthier relationship with food and the body? If so, contact a RD who specializes in sport nutrition that can be of help.