Essential Sports Nutrition


Avoid dehydration with these hydration tips for endurance athletes

Triathletes and endurance athletes are very susceptible to dehydration and even more so, a heat-related injury. 
What must be understood is that the body is compromised when we place intentional training stress on the body through training and racing. However, what is even more serious is that many athletes are not taking the daily precautions to be "healthy" on a day to day basis. So as you can imagine, when an athlete throws in 8,10 or more hours of training per week, there is even more confusion on how to meet daily and sport needs but very little time to even make time/energy to ensure that the body is healthy going into workouts and well fueled/hydrated during workouts. 

Because endurance racing is far from normal or easy for the human body to handle, health professionals acknowledge that metabolic demands during training/racing in long distance events are not easy to meet. That is, it is very hard for the body to take in the appropriate amount of calories, carbohydrates/sugars, electrolytes and fluids, in the right concentration and at the right time, consistently throughout an event in order to postpone fatigue and to prevent dehydration. These are two limiters for endurance athletes. 
If you think about those who succeed well in endurance events, every athlete is experiencing fatigue from glycogen depletion and dehydration but those who can minimize these two performance-limiting issues the longest, is the one who slows down the least and thus, the one who is the most successful on race day. 

Because endurance racing is extremely contagious for those who want to push the boundaries, challenge the limits and prove that anything is possible, it is extremely important that you do your part and be responsible for your health when training for endurance races. 

I see it and I hear about it all the time!

-I don't like water
-I didn't finish all my bottles on the bike
-I don't like to carry anything when I run
-I am not comfortable drinking while running/riding my bike
-I don't have enough cages on my bike
-I don't like sport drinks
-It's only a "short" workout - I don't need it

I could go on and on and on. 

There are dozens of excuses and reasons that endurance have as to why they are not meeting their fluid/electrolyte/calorie needs during training and racing and not only is it holding athletes back from reaching performance goals but it is also extremely damaging to the body. 

Because the human body is extremely complicated, we must understand that there is never a perfect plan that works 100% of the time. Just like in life, we have lessons. Learning lessons. 
The goal is to always learn from what doesn't work in order to not make the same errors/mistakes twice. So if you are an athlete who keeps struggling with your performance/health and can't seem to figure it out, contact a sport RD who can help you out...before it's too late. 

The problem that many athletes face when it comes to training in the heat or just training in general is that the body suffers to adapt to training stress. Certainly we all have our own definitions of this suffering but we can all agree that to reach our potential as endurance athletes, there has to be a steady, consistent training load on the body (with ample recovery) in order to prepare for the upcoming event. 
However, there are some symptoms that are not 'normal' when it comes to training for endurance events and we want to do everything possible to minimize or avoid these: 
-blurred vision
-loss of focus
-no appetite post workout
-excessive sleepiness
-extreme weakness
-low blood pressure
-stop sweating
-dry mouth
-dark urine
-dry skin
-excessive urination/little urination
-extreme cramping
-excessive thirst/lost of thirst
-rapid, elevated pulse (despite effort slowing down)
-muscle spasms (during and post workout)

Are you currently experiencing any of the above and have you been associating these with a "hard workout"? 

Every human body is different but we must pay very close attention to our body when it comes to training and racing in endurance events. If you are not focused on making sure your body stays healthy during a workout or race, you are going to have to spend a lot of time getting your body healthy again before you start even thinking about training again. 

To help you out, here are a few very simple tips to ensure that you are staying hydrated during your workouts (and races): 

-Be sure to have a sport drink with you for all workouts lasting more than 1 hour - this should contain a mixture of electrolytes, carbohydrates and fluids in an appropriate concentration to digest well and to be efficiently absorbed. 

-For intense or very sweaty workouts lasting less than an hour, have at minimum an electrolyte tab in a bottle of water. 

-Aim for 24-28 ounces of fluid on the bike per hour and at least 16-20 ounces of water per hour while running. 

-Aim to sip your bottle on the bike every 10-15 minutes (you need at least 2 gulps to ensure that you are getting in around 3-4 ounces of fluid). 

-Aim for around 8 ounces of fluid every 20 min while running, Small sips more frequently will help with digestion and hydration. 

-Cool your body during all workouts in the heat (ex. bike/run). Be sure to bring liquid calories for every hour of training but additional water can be consumed as well as used for cooling the body. 

-Be sure you are setting yourself up for good hydration. Cages/hydration systems on the bike should be accessible and easy to use in ALL conditions (ex. bumpy roads, rain, technical courses, etc.). Your run courses in training should allow you to refill bottles that you bring with you OR set up bottles on your course. Everything you do in training should be practice for race day. 

-Do not wait for thirst to kick in during endurance workouts/racing. You need a fueling regime to meet needs and a schedule. Your body is very smart and it works really hard to correct itself during all scenarios. So any cues that you receive or changes in performance, this is simply your bodies way of trying to fix itself. For some, the body may eventually start shutting itself down so that you do not risk very serious injury to your body. This isn't because you didn't train hard enough or because you are weak but rather because you did not pace and fuel smart. 

-Although you do not need to overhydrate (especially on water), start your fueling strategy early in training/racing (ex. start drinking your sport drink within 10 min of working out/racing) and sip frequently. An athlete who waits to drink until he/she is thirsty is behind on fluid requirements and many times, this will cause an athlete to drink an excessive amount of water (as it may be more palatable as a race/training continues) and may cause hyponatremia (very serious) or may cause bloating by trying to drink too much at once (often a hypertonic amount from guzzling a lot of drinks at aid stations or stops at gas stations in training). 

-Make your nutrition during workouts as simple as possible. You should not be using 3 different methods of getting electrolytes, calories/carbohydrates/sugars and fluids. This is not only extremely difficult to master since you are not a sport nutrition chemist but it can also be very difficult to ensure that you are meeting your needs. 

-Pace yourself. Mild dehydration affects performance and can cause drowsiness, irritability, loss of concentration and headaches. When dehydration becomes worse, serious performance inhibitions occur which also affect the heart, brain, muscles and organs. Successful athletes know how to pace an effort so that nutrition/hydration is helping fuel the effort. If you overwork your body it is not possible to overfuel the body to meet your training/racing demands. 

And lastly, you have to be respectful of your body if the plan doesn't go as planned. If you are feeling any changes with your body that do not feel normal, first slow down. If you are not able to get yourself to that "feel good" place that you have felt in past workouts, you can not continue to push your body for it will eventually be unable to meet any physiological demands that you are trying to place on it. Never get upset at your body for a bad workout or race if it is simply trying to do what it knows to do and that is protect you from a serious heat or other-related injury. 

If you know someone who can benefit from this blog, please sure. Sport nutrition is a complicated area with many tips and suggestions that are not always practical or healthy. To better help endurance athletes, it is my goal to ensure that athletes know how to better fuel and hydrate a body in motion. 


Ironman run mile-repeaters - pick your workout!

It's always an exciting time to approach the Ironman taper. It is even more exciting when the body and mind are getting more and more itchier to race. The ultimate goal for any athlete approaching taper is to have workouts that are not too damaging that the body can not recover from them but every workout is executed in a way that brings confidence that all will come together perfectly on race day.

Over the past few years, I am continuing to learn the best way (each year) to apply training stress to my body for performance gains with Ironman training/racing. Not too much, just enough is my ultimate goal to keep my body in good health.

 I have found through higher intensity training and less volume, I receive greater training stress on a more consistent basis. My mind and body recover quickly and burnout is not even close to my mind. I'm in a really good place physically and mentally for IMWI and I am SO excited to race my 9th Ironman just 12 weeks after racing IM Austria. Although this is my 4th Ironman in the past 14 months, my body feels fresh and my mind is excited to race. This is exactly where I wanted to be when we planned our race schedule back in November 2013.

The approach to training that we use for us and our athletes is not the only way to train for there are many approaches but we find it very effective for many reasons.

However, you have to trust our philosophy to become a believer that endurance athletes do not have train exhausting long distances to prepare for race day. If you constantly think to yourself that you should be doing more or you can do more, than you will find yourself not reaching your full potential. You have to trust the master plan, be willing to be patient and train hard but recover harder.

Here are a few key concepts that athletes must understand and believe in when it comes to the "less is more" approach (whereas we believe it is simply "enough"):

-Sport nutrition must support every workout. If you are going to stay consistent with training, you have to support the body. Therefore, every workout must have a pre training consumed before, a sport drink (in the appropriate concentration) consumed each hour during and a recovery drink/snack following the workout. The during fueling concept is never forgotten during swim workouts and especially not during runs. It is imperative that our athletes bring nutrition (liquid calories - carbs, electrolytes, water) with them during ALL run workouts OR set up aid stations, do out and backs or short loops so nutrition can be consumed and refilled.

-If you train hard you have to recover harder. There is a careful balance of training and recovering. The closer we get to race day, the more emphasis we place on recovery. It is no fun to train or race injured, sick or burnt out.

-We use the word "intensity" a lot when describing our approach to training but a better word should be sustainable max effort. If an athlete let's us help them plan their entire season (which we try to do for all our new and returning athletes) we can better periodized the training so that our athlete peaks appropriately and minimizes risk for burnout and injury. We first focus on getting stronger through strength training to build a strong foundation. We do not do "base" miles or any specific sport "blocks" of training. We then spend time on getting our athlete faster. We do not throw in endurance here with the intensity but instead, have specific workouts that help an athlete get faster in certain areas without overloading the body. I don't know any athlete who doesn't want to get faster and many times I see athletes spend too much time doing long slow miles and then when the body is tired during peak season, they try to throw in speed work on a tired body without and decrease in volume. Finally, when our athletes have their strong fast body to work with, we then increase the volume. This is a beautiful time when our athletes can enjoy the benefits of speed work as they pay off through improved endurance. During this time, the athlete enjoys their hard work as it pays off in more race-focused bricks and there is little need to do long, slow workouts like long bikes and runs. We spend a lot of focus on nailing the pacing strategy on the bike for a strong run off the bike so we do a lot of bricks.
-It's not just about the miles. We rarely use mile-based workout. Most of our workouts are by time so that our athletes understand how much time they should/need to devote to their individual workout and what the focus is within the workout. Which leads me to the next concept.

-Every workout has a purpose. Our athletes build confidence with consistent workouts, not just from one weekly epic workout. Within each workout, we focus on a variety of methods of determining how the workout went in terms of "success" : RPE, watts, paces, effort. We consider how life may affect each workout and we modify workouts based on life. We do not use HR as a training tool, we just monitor the HR as needed.

-Every athlete is different. We all respond to training stress differently and this isn't just from a physical or fitness standpoint. As life changes, so does our training routine and diet and it is important to consider what allows an athlete to progress the easiest rather than making life fit into a training plan.

-The number of weekly hours of training is determined by how much time an athlete has to train. This comes after considering time spent for work, restful sleep, meal planning, family time, social activities, travel, etc. We never sacrifice sleep or healthy eating to put in more training miles/hours.

-Strength training builds a strong athlete. Flexibility work helps keep an athlete healthy. We never spend too much time on either one but instead, enough time to enhance the cardio routine.

-Skills and form override speed and power. If form suffers, our athletes have to slow down or adjust the workout. If skills are not addressed, an athlete is waiting for an injury to happen. We never forget to incorporate form-focused workouts as well as drill/skills work to keep the athlete focused on the little things.

-We have fun. We understand it's a lot to balance and we all have a moment here or there when we question "why" we are doing this. We make sure that the hard work is going somewhere and the training plan is realistic to our athletes goals. We never want training to feel like it is taking over our life but instead find a way to let it be part of our lifestyle.

-And lastly, we inspire others to dream big, set a goal and work hard. There are many negative sides for training for endurance events and low blood sugar, unintentional weight gain/loss, dehydration, extreme fatigue, mood shifts, injuries are often part of the "norm" when it comes to endurance athletes. It is my goal as a coach and dietitian to minimize these issues as much as possible. This training lifestyle is suppose to make us healthy and happy and many times, I find that many workouts are unfocused, unstructured and too extreme for the body to handle and on top of that, a sleep deprived athlete who isn't using sport nutrition properly (or at all) and doesn't make time for healthy daily eating is simply damaging the body and setting the body up for failure. As endurance athletes, we now that we have to put in time to train for long distance events to properly prepare for the upcoming adventure on race day. However, with our dedication and passion for training, it should come from a place of balance and knowing that we are being smart, not only with our training routine but also with how we challenge the body.


On Thursday morning, Karel and I each did our own "speed" workout within our last "long" run. We both ended up doing mile repeaters but a slightly different workout all together. So here you go....take your pick as to which workout you would like to do before your Ironman....that is, if you focus on the key concepts I mentioned above so that you arrive to your taper with a healthy body that is not too damaged or burnt out from your previous training. Train smart!

Marni's Treadmill workout: 

Total distance: 10 miles
Total time: 1:20 (including rest breaks)

10 min dynamic stretching (mostly hip opener exercises)
20 min run on .5% incline for entire workout (straddle treadmill to stretch out/recover at 9 min and at 18 minutes) - comfortable pace, ~ 6.8-7mph
5 x 40 sec "fast" efforts (around 8.5 mph) w/ 20 sec straddle treadmill - leg openers

Main set (MS):
6 x 1 miles w/ 1 min rest

(I picked a pace of 8mph, ~7:30 min/mile - around 30-45 sec faster than my "dream" IM run, race pace and during my rest, I straddled the treadmill in between each mile to rest - always be careful when you straddle treadmill. I just keep the treadmill running the same pace. I had my music set on iHeart Radio Evolution 101.7 - techno music.

The pace you select should be realistic and maintainable. It will get a bit more difficult mentally and physically around miles 5-6 but that's ok. However, your legs should not be burning and you should not be hating this workout. Find a pace that allows you to visualize yourself in your race, running your perfect race. You have to keep good form and this should be an effort you can realistically maintain for at least 13 miles in a race. If you prefer a longer run/walk strategy, I recommend to stick with the same concept in terms of pace but do only 1/2 miles at a time w/ 30 sec rest in between and then afeter each 1 mile rest for 1 minute.
Keep in mind that the effort you pick is simply a percentage of your IM pace whereas the faster runners may not be running the same pace difference as those who may run slower in an IM. Therefore pick a pace that you may be able to sustain for 13 miles as a good starting place (ex. if you normally run 6:30min/mile for a half marathon you may not realistically run 7:15 min/mile in an IM marathon but it may be doable to do this workout at 7;15 min/miles to benefit from the workout. Consider the effort to be challenging like thanking me that I only gave you 6 of them, really happy that you aren't doing Karel's workout but choose a pace that makes you feel confident that by #4, you can totally do 2 more with your awesome body. 

Cool down as needed.

Pre workout nutrition: 1 rice cake +PB + 1/2 large banana sliced + maple syrup + cinnamon + raisins (consumed 60 min before workout) + cup of coffee + glass of water
During workout nutrition: 1 x 24 ounce bottle w/ 160 calories INFINIT ISIS (1 scoop + about 1/2 scoop) + 1 x 24 ounce bottle water
Post workout nutrition (about 40 min post workout): Glass of milk w/ 1 scoop Whey protein (+ water as needed) and handful of granola mixed in, then real meal of 1 egg + 1 egg white scrambled and leftover apple chia pancakes.

Karel's Track Workout

Total distance: 13.57 miles
Total time: 1:31:38 (including walk/rest breaks)

Road fixie to track (1/2 mile away - carried backpack with all nutrition)

Warm-up on track: 
2 miles comfortable (6:40, 6:45 min/mile)
Dynamic stretching 10 minutes

The goal is to not fatigue throughout the run and the beginning should feel "easy". We always try to make the end be our "best" efforts - that is when you know you paced yourself well. 
(Karel had no music to listen to during this workout and no one to pace him or suffer with him)

10 x 1 miles w/ 60 sec rest in between

Splits: min/mile
1) 5:56
2) 6:00
3) 6:11
4) 6:08
5) 6:00
6) 6:08
7) 6:04
8) 6:12
9) 6:10
10) 5:55

1 mile cool down  (7:16)
Rode fixie home (1/2 mile)
Pre workout nutrition: waffle + PB + coffee
During workout nutrition:
1 bottle w/ 2 scoops OSMO hydration
1 bottle w/ 1 scoop Customized INFINIT
1 gel
Post workout nutrition: 1 serving Clif Bar shot protein recovery powder + milk, then real meal (french toast + eggs and veggies - made by Marni) 


Mental training - just keep climbing, just keep climbing

When it comes to training for athletic events, there are many different approaches that athletes and coaches use to reach peak performance. When it comes to fueling the human body before, during and after training, there are many different approaches that sport dietitians use to support a body in motion.

But when it comes to the mindsets of top athletes, there is not much that differs among those who know how to use their minds to reach top fitness and perform well on race day. 

Top athletes are mentally strong. They know how to focus on the task at hand, they know how to overcome obstacles quickly and they know that it will be worth it. 

Mental toughness is not reserved for the elite or pro athletes as it has very little to do with speed, pace, watts or finishing times in order to achieve it. Any athlete, of any fitness levels, has the opportunity to be mentally strong in training and racing. 

Although I love showing off our beautiful cycling playground in our new home of Greenville, SC, our new normal includes a lot of climbing. We have found that a typical ride for us includes around 1,000 feet of climbing (at least) per hour of riding. The roads go up and down and with dozens and dozens of training routes for us to enjoy on two wheels, we really have to be mentally prepared for every workout for there is no such thing as an easy ride for us here in Greenville. 

I would like to believe that all triathletes enjoy training. If not, you are in the wrong sport to choose three sports to train for. Maybe not every workout is termed as "fun" but I hope that you are passionate about your sport of choice and enjoy putting in the work so that you can feel and see your body become stronger and faster as you train for improved endurance and fitness. 

When it comes to top athletes who find success in racing, they are 100% engaged in what they are doing, they know where they are going, they trust the plan and they believe in the process. 

Consider how your mind may limit or enhance your performance.
What thoughts go through your head as you train? 
For most age group athletes, we have many thoughts in our mind when we train because frankly, we can not shut off life just because we are training for a race. Perhaps some thoughts are positive, such as thinking of family, your kids, the reason why you are training (ex. raising money for a charity, world or national event), improving your health, etc. but many times, negative thoughts create beliefs. Beliefs that possibly you are too overweight, you are not training enough, you need to push harder and go longer, you are not fit, you are not ready, you are not skilled, you are not cut out for this, you are not good enough......

As an athlete, it is important that you have confidence in yourself but most importantly that you control your thoughts and feelings and keep your mind in the present moment. I have often talked about how my mental coach Gloria has helped me in endurance racing, specifically in the Ironman. She has taught me how to not jump ahead with my thoughts. Why think about how I may feel on the run when I am only on mile 1 of the swim in an Ironman?

Our mind has a powerful influence over our body and many times, we experience this when training for a race. You are starting your main set of your workout and you think there is no way that your body will be able to perform 5 rounds of your main set. By set #3, you can't believe that you only have two more rounds to go! 
Many times, you have thoughts in your mind that have nothing to do with training. 
Random, negative or useless thoughts should be replaced with thoughts that you can use to power your training/racing. 
Why think about the laundry you need to fold when you are performing mile repeaters on the track?
Thinking about that extra cookie or bowl of ice cream you ate last night is going to do no good when you are in the pool, working on your form. 
Although you may not be able to remove some thoughts from your mind like an upcoming work project, school presentation, to-do's with your kids or a family health issue, mental training is a very important part of reaching your full potential as an athlete. 

The past two weekends have been filled with lots of miles on the bike for Karel and me. We absolutely love riding here but it certainly is not easy. 
We are very fortunate that we have no GI issues when we train. There are no nutritional limiters to keep us from feeling "good" (always relative to the day/workout) and thus, we are able to keep our minds focused on the workout as planned.
Additionally, we both are not injured. This is a huge advantage for any athlete for an injury does not allow for mental toughness. You can try as hard as you want to ignore or fight through an injury but nothing feels as good as training with a healthy body and letting the mind control the body. 

Now, having said all of this, even a healthy and well fueled body can suffer. And boy oh boy, did Karel and I suffer two weekends ago. Never had we had to stay so mentally strong as we rode part of the Gran Fondo Hincapie route that took us from our home in Greenville to North Carolina. 

This was our "long" Ironman ride for our season and it turned into one very long ride. 6.5 hours, 105 miles, ~8600 feet of climbing and two very, very, very difficult climbs. 

Our first big climb started around 2:45 into our ride. We had already covered 2100 elevation gain of before the "fun" began. 
There is only 1 climb (Paris Mountain - 2.5 miles) that I can ride on Karel's wheel (if he is not hammering it) so Karel and I do not climb together. 
For 45 minutes and 5.5 miles, I climbed with no one in sight. No cars, no Karel. Just me and my thoughts (and some pretty views and sounds). 
As the temperature dropped from 77 degrees to 70 degrees throughout the climb, I was dripping sweat as I tried to find a comfortable cadence in my smallest gear. 
My average speed was 8.14 mph, the climb started at 920 feet and finished around 2850 feet. That's almost 1700 feet of elevation gained in 45 minutes. 
With every switchback, I kept focused on the road and to be extra careful that when I got out of the saddle (which is a lot since I prefer to climb anything over 4% grade out of the saddle) that my hands didn't slip on my tri base bars. The grade would bounce between 4% and 20%, often around 7-10%
I took advantage of any section that would allow me to sip my bottle and I couldn't help but think to myself "where is the top of this never ending mountain!" 

When I finally got to the top of the mountain, Karel was there waiting for me. I unclipped my right leg and bent over with relief that the climbing was over and happiness that the climb was over. 

We tried to enjoy our view but sadly, we were in the clouds. 

After one of the most difficult climbs I have ever done, it was time to descend down on one of the most difficult descends I have ever done. 

Talk about feeling accomplished when I got to the bottom of the mountain!

Part of the fun with riding in a new area is the discovery of new routes. In races, it is always good to review your course (by biking or driving your course) so you can be mentally prepared. But in training, if you know how hard a climb is, it can be rather hard to want to repeat it. So when we climb a mountain for the first time, both Karel and me have no choice but to stay mentally strong because we have no idea how long we are climbing, where we are going, what's at the top or how difficult the climb will be. 

And so this brings me to climb #2. The most difficult climb I have ever done...after just doing the most difficult climb I have ever done!!

We had 15 minutes (4 miles) to "recover" from Skyuka mountain before we encountered the climb that made me experience my first mental breakdown in Greenville, SC. 

Unlike climbing a mountain, this climb was extremely deceiving. It was simply a two lane open road that just went up and up and up. No switchbacks, no flat parts and absolutely no letting up. 

2.45 miles, average grade 8% (although my Garmin kept showing me 12-13% the entire climb), 19 minutes of climbing and an elevation gain of 1000 feet. 
That's right, we climbed half the distance of our last climb but we went from 976 feet to 1900 feet in less than 20 minutes!
When I could see Karel ahead of me, swerving back and forth on the road, I knew this was one tough climb. 
I was not bonking and I was not in pain but mentally, I was broken. I somehow managed to make myself get to the top of this climb where Karel was waiting for but when I saw the road curve to the left behind some trees with a mountain top in my view, I convinced myself that I was not able to continue. I was done. 
I stopped and had a breakdown. 
Karel told me how exhausted he was and that these two climbs were extremely tough even for him. That gave me even more reason to tell Karel that I was not strong enough for these climbs. 
After spending a few minutes gathering some mental strength, I continued on with Karel and to my surprise, the next climb was not that bad. Perhaps the breakdown helped me out for my body needed to rest and refocus. 
When we stopped to refill our bottles for the last part of our ride, we spent the last 1 hour and 45 minutes of our ride covering only 20 miles and 3400 elevation gain.
Yes, my new normal is averaging 11 mph for 20 miles and staying mentally strong to conquer the climbs in SC (and NC). 

Karel and I both felt amazingly good after our quick stop. Thankfully, we both were not bonking on the climbs but instead, just mentally struggling because of the difficulty of the climb. 
The last two hours and 8 minutes of our ride was quick - 18.5 mph, 40 miles and only around 1400 feet of climbing. 

After spending our Saturday morning (8/9/14) on the bike for 6.5 hours and finishing with a run (10 min with Campy for me and 2 mile run on the track for Karel), I can honestly say that this ride was the hardest training rides of my life. 
However, the physical component of climbing was no more difficult than the mental component. 
Thankfully, we survived to ride another day and mentally we became just a bit more strong. 

(two baby turtles were saved during our ride)


Apple Chia pancakes

We had 4 amazing, strong ladies in town this weekend (from Jax) so there was a lot of riding this weekend....but I will save that for another post because pancakes are on my mind right now (and in my tummy). 

To summarize our weekend: 9000+ feet of climbing, 8+ hours of riding and 135+ miles of riding in just two days! Wow, thank you body!!

As you can imagine, there was a lot of attention on sport nutrition, hydration and eating over the past 72 hours in order for our bodies to tolerate (survive) and adapt to the weekend training load. 

After our workout on Saturday (73 mile bike for the group and for Karel, Jen Vogel and me, a 4 mile run), we all cleaned up, cooled off and started our refueling with recovery drinks. It's always fun to talk about training when it is over but the body deserves to refuel as soon as possible to ensure a healthy body for the next day of training. 

To ensure that my friends (and Karel and me) would be well fueled after our Sunday ride, I decided to make pancakes on Saturday (late) afternoon so that they would be ready for consumption when we were ready to eat post workout on Sunday. 

What a genius idea!! 

There's nothing better than having a home cooked meal ready for you but let me tell ya, it's even BETTER after a 5 hour workout! 

I hope you enjoy my delicious apple chia pancake recipe, made from scratch and prepared with Trimarni love.
(I also made plain pancakes, some basic ingredients but omit the apple and chia seeds)

Apple Chia pancakes
(makes 10-12 pancakes)

1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour (you can use Gluten-free flour)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 large egg
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp butter (melt after measuring)
1 apple (washed and chopped)

1. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and chia seeds. 
2. In small bowl, whisk together egg, milk and vanilla. Preheat your skillet (I used two large skillets on separate burners to speed up the cooking process). 
3. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir in butter (should be melted before adding). Add a little water if needed.
4. Stir in chopped apple. 
5. Spoon ~1/4 batter into skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes and flip, cook 1-2 more minutes.

Topping ideas: 
Maple Syrup
Nut butter
Hazelnut spread
Coconut (shredded)
Dried Fruit

I am a firm believer that we should always eat with a purpose. For myself, I love eating for fuel and for health. But I always find pleasure in eating whether it's a salad or something a bit more indulging (and everything in between). 
Pancakes have a special place in my heart because my dad loved pancakes, straight from Aunt Jemima's box. 
My dad took this picture (above) of his pancakes a month after he was diagnosed with stage IV cancer which ended up taking his life 10 months later. He sent me the following text. 

Food, meal time and my kitchen are all positives in my life. 
I never find myself not smiling when it comes to the food that I choose to put into my body. 
Food makes me happy, it fuels my lifestyle and it keeps me well.
My dad always had such a great sense of humor in life and he was always so good at making me smile and laugh. 
I sure do love pancakes but now I have an even better reason to always smile when I eat them. 
Thanks Dad.