Essential Sports Nutrition


Create a successful, supportive team

Create a supportive team

Swim team, volunteer team, triathlon team, marketing team.
Family, friends, experts, professionals.

Sometime in life, it's likely that you will be on a team. Many times, this occurs in your career and/or in your sport of choice. But regardless if you are, have been or will be on a team, you probably understand the importance of having a supportive team. 

A team  values your opinion, your vision and your ideas. A team is loyal to you and never stops believing in you.
A team empowers you and doesn't suck positive energy from you. 

Just imagine what your life would be like if you had a team that always showcased your best attributes but also challenged you to be the best that you could be. 

If you are a goal setter, you probably know how important it is to have a team. A team created by professionals/experts who could guide you on your individual path of development. A team that could give you the right information, at the right times, to keep you moving forward by preventing mistakes that in the past, would stop all progress and make you doubt your goal or consider a different plan.
A supportive team enjoys your journey with you - no matter the day. When you have a great day, the team celebrates your high moments. When you are having an off-day, that team doesn't let you give up. If anything, your team never gives up on you. Therefore, you quickly remind yourself that in life, everyone has an off-day. 

You are allowed one too. 

Your team may not share the same passions as you and maybe you pick up a team-mate or two along the way.  But above all your team shares a common bond in that your team is dedicated to reaching goals with you. 

Your team should not sabotage your efforts. Your team should not make you feel like a failure. Your team shouldn't confuse you or make you question if all that hard work is worth it. 

Your team keeps things fun. They make you wake up excited to see what you are capable of achieving...... every single day until you reach your goal. 

Who makes up your team? 
-Psychologist/mental coach
-Furry child
-Local run/tri/bike/swim team
-Social media outlet (ex. blog, website)

Create a successful, supportive team

1) Find a leader - If you aren't in charge of your team, than who will be? Who should you report to and who will hold you accountable? You must respect, trust and communicate with your leader.

2) Know your team - Your team should include like-minded individuals. Similar passions, different backgrounds. Each person should specialize in a certain area so that you have different "expert" minds for different specific topics. Just be careful that your experts do not turn into leaders as you always want to have one guide in your personal journey with many helpers to keep you on your path. 

3) Stay on track - Trust the plan that your leader/teammates have in store for you. Don't let yourself or anyone else complicate the process. Don't let the path of someone else detour you from your own development. Keep yourself honest and patient in your journey and never stop having fun. Be open to modifications/feedback especially when it helps you stay on track. 

4) Celebrate success - The future is uncertain but you can certainly celebrate the small milestones that are experienced along the way. Your team should help you recognize when you are making/have made improvements. Goals require hard work, effort and perseverance. Don't let yourself get stuck on the end result that you don't enjoy your journey. 


Enjoy eating out!

Yesterday (Tuesday) was our first time eating dinner at Roost in Greenville. 
I had an outstanding (very spicy) vegetarian entree that made me yum out loud!

Fall Harvest Vegetable Bowl - made with seasonal veggies tossed in a red coconut curry with fragrant basmati rice. I had the option to add a protein so I choose tofu (it's not too often that I get to pick a plant strong protein like tofu on a menu!).
I finished half of this meal and saved the rest for the next day.

Karel got a cranberry apple stuffed chicken entree (as well as our athlete Jim who was visiting us) which was on top a roasted beet risotto brie cream.
Karel had a Pilsner beer but it was too light so he switched (or round 2) was a local IPA. 

I realize that eating out can be a calorie and sodium loaded affair with heavy portions that can often make you feel, well a bit stuffed after eating (and maybe the next 12 hours too). 

So why in the heck would I advocate eating out and even put the word "enjoy" in the same sentence as eating out? 

Karel and I have found ourselves eating out a bit more than normal since moving to Greenville but with over 100 restaurants downtown (many are locally owned or farm-to-table), it's hard to resist the local eatery's especially when our friends visit. 
Since eating out for us is not a habit but instead, reserved to special occasions or when friends visit, in all honesty, it doesn't happen all that often. 
So to say we are eating out a lot more than normal, that should be taken with a grain of salt.
We "normally" dine-out less than 10 times per year, locally (any more is just when we travel) and almost 99% of the time is dinner for special events.
We don't eat out just because it is the weekend, because we are too tired to cook or because we are too busy. As much as we love food, we aren't foodies who love eating at restaurants, just-because it's a restaurant.
When we eat out, we are giving up the opportunity for us to prepare foods that fuel our body, in the composition and portion that we feel will work best for our health and fitness goals. We don't have to wait for a table, leave a tip, wait for food or pay for a meal (as oppose to paying for ingredients from the grocery/farmers market). 

In my opinion, I much prefer eating at home because I love to cook. Karel feels the same way too as we both enjoy home-cooked meals.
We like to be the chefs for our bodies.  

So if I am going to eat out, I want to love the experience, the service, the food and most of all, how the food makes me feel during and after the meal.

Here are some things I enjoy about eating out: 

1) The flavors - I'm no trained chef so my creativity in the kitchen is simply based on my learned culinary skills. I love it when I have a bite of something for the first time and it's a flavor explosion in my mouth. I read a menu option and it sounds delicious but I have no idea what it will taste like when it reaches my mouth. I just love the experience of tasting new flavors. 

2) The presentation - It's no surprise that I love to take pictures of my food/meals. I love to capture the meal before it meets my mouth. When eating out, I have no idea how a meal will taste yet I take a picture of it before I even have the opportunity to yum over the first bite. There's something to be said about a beautiful food presentation. 

3) Inspiration - Karel once told me that it is rude to tell someone that a home-cooked meal tastes like restaurant quality. Of course, I think he was speaking about someone who lives outside of the US (perhaps in Europe where he grew up with 98% home-cooking for all of his life while living in Czech). When I eat out, I love trying something that I can attempt to re-create at home. Having a trained chef inspire me is exactly what I seek when eating out. There's no need to order a plain salad when I can eat/make that anytime. Instead, I order something that sounds amazing but challenges me to find a way to prepare it at home (I can't wait to try out the Roost beet risotto!) 

Certainly, I have ordered a few meals in my time that have not given me memorable experiences. There are times when the flavors do not meet my expectations, the presentation lets me down and I am not inspired.

Sometimes the menu options (or restaurant choices) are not vegetarian-friendly and sometimes I am forced to play it safe (or boring) due to the eating circumstances (work trip, event, etc.)

But if it's up to me/us, if we are going to eat out, we want to buy something that leaves a positive impression on our mind as well as in our tummies. 

No need to rush out and create a habit of eating out but if you can make eating at home a priority, you have the wonderful opportunity to make your next eating out experience one to remember (and enjoy)! 



Carrot Ginger Soup & Celery (in your) smoothie

Julia Child was fearless and creative in the kitchen. If there was one person I wish I had the opportunity to meet, passed away or alive, it would be Julia Child. I could not think of a cooler experience than being in the kitchen with Julia Child and then yumming over a meal with her.

She had this special gift of helping people feel comfortable in the kitchen. And no matter your cooking skills, she made cooking easy and fun no matter the recipe or food.

I have been challenging myself in the kitchen by making homemade soups. I sure do love Amy's Organic soups but my New Year resolution was challenging myself more with recipes. And since I am not one for resolutions, I started this challenge a few weeks before the New Year.

I found this recipe on the Whole Foods Market website and actually followed the entire recipe. I'm not giving up my creativeness in the kitchen as I am not one to follow a recipe or all the ingredients included but I gave this one a go and it came out great!

Don't be afraid in your kitchen. As Julia Child would agree, don't just eat, enjoy your cooking experience!

  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 pound carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Heat 1/2 cup broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in ginger, carrots, potato and remaining broth and heat to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender. In batches, carefully puree in a blender. Add water or broth if needed to thin to desired consistency. Reheat soup if necessary. Stir in lemon juice and garnish with chives.
               Nutritional Info: 
Per Serving:130 calories (5 from fat)0g total fat0g saturated fat0mg cholesterol220mg sodium,28g carbohydrate (5g dietary fiber9g sugar)3g protein

And speaking of being creative.... smoothie-making has no limits! 

It may not be your first choice for a smoothie ingredient but let me tell you how much nutrition you add to your smoothie by adding a stalk or two (chopped) to your smoothie.

You may think it's a "diet" food and has no flavor but celery is perfect for a body in motion.

It adds fiber, potassium, natural sugars and sodium, vitamin A and Calcium and it also acts as a natural anti-inflammatory!

It does not have a strong taste in your smoothie but certainly if you aren't use to this ingredient in your smoothie, you may taste it at first. But, once you learn to appreciate it's powerhouse of nutrients, you will never leave it out of your next smoothie creation. 

2015 diet tip: Accept and re-create your environment

                                              Accept and re-create your environment

Healthy living is extremely important when it comes to supporting your training/exercise, nutrition and health goals. Everyday, you put yourself into several different types of environments like commuting, traveling, work place, social/volunteer activities, training/working out and most of all, your home so it is obvious that if you want to change something in your life, you need environments that have structure but also accessibility to things that move you closer (not further away) to your goals.

We live in a world where many people blame outside forces (their environment) as the main reason why it's difficult to maintain new lifestyle habits. Oddly, most people have the motivation and drive, at first to create new habits, but it's very easy to let "easy, comfortable, familiar or the norm" bring a person back to square one when it comes to developing and keeping those healthier living habits. 

If your work was within walking distance from your home AND you had a safe walking or biking path for commuting, would you choose feet/legs over car?

If your work allowed you 1 hour of paid workout time per day, would you find yourself working out more?

If you could hire a chef to prepare you and your family a healthy, balanced and delicious dinner built from locally sourced foods, every evening, would you find it easier to eat healthier?

If you could have someone clean your house, fold your laundry, pack your lunch (and the kids), pay the bills, shop for food and clean the dishes every day, would you go to bed earlier and sleep better? 

Just image what life would be like if you could walk/bike to work, workout while you are at work, not worry about what's for dinner at night and have someone take care of all the things that often keep you up late at would be amazing, right?

Not only would you feel better, but this type of lifestyle presents environments that would be conducive for healthier living. 

Some people already take some of these steps, some consider them impossible to do or to pay for and some people consider them a necessity. So what about you?

Can you live a life like this?

Is this the environment you want but just can't have?

Does this mean you are doomed forever because you will always say you never have enough time, enough money, enough energy, enough motivation to create and maintain healthy habits to reach your goals?

Absolutely not!

If the closest natural food store is close to an hour away, it's going to be very difficult to create an eating environment that includes the foods that are listed on some diet plan. 

If tomorrow happens to be a 10 hour work day, plus 2 hours of commuting, whereas the time for that 90-minute workout on your training plan plus that meal that requires 60 minutes of food prep and cooking?
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your own personal journey is not accepting the environment that you live in. You can't live with the mindset that your situation needs to be perfect for you to start something or that you wish you had it easier. You must accept what you are given and focus on what you can do with what you have right now. 

Once you make peace with the fact that this is your life, find ways to set yourself up for success.
You have to re-create the environment that you live in so that it is conducive to your health, fitness and body composition goals. 

 Life will change a lot in the next 12 months so understand that some days will present as "easier" days to get things done. But don't throw all your hard work out the window when your environment doesn't feel conducive to change. 

Create an environment that works for you.

No more should you go through life hoping to be better tomorrow.

Create a positive environment no matter where you are at, who you are with or how busy life may be. 

It's your life. 
Accept it and make the most of it. 

Re-create your environment tips
1) Lay out your workout clothes the night before.
2) Have a go-to bag for the gym that is always filled with make-up, shelf-stable bar/recovery drink, underwear, etc so even in a hurry, you won't forget something. 
3) Prepare leftovers at dinner and spend 10-minutes preparing breakfast or lunch for the next day. 
4) Have lots of tupperware containers for storing leftovers. And a few go-to cook books/blogs/websites for cooking inspiration.
5) Keep healthy snacks at your work place for healthy eating. Have go-to places for eating out when traveling or work events so you are prepared. 
6) Prep your dinner in advance for easy cooking and shop every 3-4 days for groceries so you can maintain a varied diet. 
7) Invest in cooking products (ex. crockpot, panini press, waffle maker, variety of pots/pans, blender, etc.) that will help you with the cooking process. 
8) Walk as much as possible throughout your day, especially when you just can't squeeze in a workout. A 10-minute workout still counts as a workout. 
9) Plan ahead in every situation. Write out your day before it happens and then think of your plan A, B or C for situations that often make you feel "off". 
10) Stay on top of things. Do a little of something every day so you don't feel as if you are behind on one thing in your life. This can be for any area in your life from cleaning, organizing, bills, calling/writing your close friends, writing thank you cards or laundry or simply making an effort to eat healthy and workout.

Bonus tip: You need a positive workout environment. If you don't have a treadmill, elliptical, weights, stationary/spin bike/trainer at home, then your options are to workout outside or get a gym membership. Make your investments wisely - if a gym membership is not practical due to location/hours/limited use of equipment or fees, then consider creating your own workout environment at home.