Essential Sports Nutrition


IMFL Travel Day

Panama City Beach holds a special place in my heart.
Not because it was where I spent my spring break in 2000 for my senior year of High School but because it was the location of my first Ironman.
I had my mom and dad with me for support as well as my boyfriend Karel (dating for 5 months).

With less than a mile from the finish, Karel yelled to me "Babe- you are going to Kona!"
I never saw Karel run before so I was smiling and laughing at him (although he had no trouble keeping up with me).
And then, without thinking, I yelled back "I Love you!"

It was the first time that I told Karel that I loved him but it just felt right. Not only was he out on the course supporting me but I just knew he was the one for me because he "got me."
It's hard to explain to someone why anyone would want to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles or run 26.2 miles for what looks like all for a medal and a t-shirt.
But it's so much more than that.
I can't describe this lifestyle that so many of us choose and why it makes us feel so healthy, balanced and emotionally complete but I can say that it's extra special when you can share it with someone else. No matter of that someone is on the sidelines or on the course, I feel so luck that I can share this lifestyle, that started back in PCB in 2006, with Karel.

It only took 7 years of Karel being on the sidelines at my races but now Karel "gets" the multisport lifestyle and loves it. 

So here we are, back at PCB to watch our athletes race at IMFL.

We left Thurs morning for a long drive (thanks to ATL traffic) to PCB. Campy did not mind the trip as he loves a long road trip. 

I always travel by car with a cooler and food bag so it was nice to be able to eat when the belly says "feed me."

Karel and I took turns driving while listening to a variety of triathlon-related podcasts.
Did I mention that Campy is the best travel partner?  

Once we arrived to PCB we went straight to Doris's house so Karel could set up his mobile shop for a few bike tune-ups. It's always amazing what Karel can find on an athletes bike before the race that needs tweaking or fixing. Thank goodness for Karel and his expert bike mechanic skills.

Campy enjoyed all of the new smells and supervising the scene. 

After a few hours of tune-ups for Karel and me chatting with our athletes, Karel and I were so hungry and could not wait to eat some local food.
After checking into our pet-friendly hotel, we asked the guy at our hotel front desk where we could find some good Mexican food. He suggested Guadalajara Mexican was amazing. 

Karel got the chicken supreme burrito and I got the vegetarian fajitas.
I just love how they loaded up our plates for a very satisfying meal and the food was not salty or overly cheesy. It was perfect for a happy tummy meal. 

As a vegetarian (not a sometime vegetarian but a 23-year, for the rest of my life, vegetarian) it is really important that when I eat out, I know what I am eating. Mexican can be a little scary for me as I don't know if the beans and rice are cooked with pork fat or chicken broth so I always make sure I ask. So for the vegetarians traveling to PCB, the rice and beans are vegetarian and they are not stingy  on the veggies.
I also like ordering fajitas as I can load up my tortillas as to how much of each add-in. 

After dinner, we rested a bit in the room before it was time for bed at 9pm central time (10pm EST). 


Decision making with social media

As we wind down the 2015 season, I find this a great time to talk about how social media may affect your decisions over the next few months. 

First off, I'd like to share a little story. 

Nine years ago I was training for my first Ironman. I was 23 years old when I registered for IMFL and I met Karel on my birthday (when I turned 24). 

Even though I had a lot of friends who were triathletes, I didn't know a lot of people who had finished an Ironman. I was a swimmer, turned runner, turned triathlete. I knew about the history with the Kona Ironman (World Championship) but every Ironman race seemed like an extreme challenge.

Karel and my parents thought I was out of my mind for wanting to put my body through a 140.6 mile event but they still supported me. In a weird way, it was really cool to feel like I was the "only" one who was doing this crazy distance triathlon. 

Now you may be asking how this is even possible to feel alone in an Ironman journey, especially with the sport of triathlon being so popular and the Ironman distance being so iconic. 

First off, I wasn't actively involved with social media. In 2006, Facebook was still in it's infancy, I didn't blog (or know about other blogs) and the only triathlon forum that I was familiar with was Beginner Triathlete. 

Back then, I didn't find myself comparing my journey to anyone else because I had nothing to compare it to. I didn't ask myself "am I doing enough" because I didn't know any other way than to just follow my training plan (which I found on the internet for free). I didn't feel inclined to buy new wheels for my bike, new running shoes or use different nutrition products just because a professional or a top age grouper was using those products. I didn't read blogs or forums to learn how others were fueling, training or racing but instead, I gathered most of my information from books and magazines. Back then, the information was often quite simple (and repetitive) as there were few experts in the area of endurance triathlons. I didn't know of better shoes, a better bike, better nutrition or better training because I wasn't spending any energy on what other athletes were doing. 

But somehow it all worked out. 

I won my age group (18-24) by almost an hour, missed breaking 11 hours by less than a minute and qualified for Kona in my first 140.6 mile event.
I didn't wear a watch in the swim, I used a cat eye to see my speed and distance on my bike and used a HR monitor (without pace) for the run.
I didn't even have a race strategy. I just went out there with the goal of finishing. 

I still remember race week and race day like it was yesterday. I had so much confidence in myself simply because I was not focused on anyone else. I was so committed to finishing the race that I didn't feel any extra pressure from anyone else. In fact, only my close friends that frequently talked to me (face to face) knew that I was doing the race.
After the race was over, I called people to tell them the exciting news.
My boyfriend Karel still thought I was crazy for wanting to do another Ironman the next year. 

For many of us, social media is part of our life. For Trimarni, it is an integral part of our business and how we connect, educate and inspire other athletes. You probably found us through social media and we appreciate you "following" us via the Trimarni blog, instagram, twitter and Facebook pages.
Social media has it's benefits even for the every-day person as it can be motivating to see what others are doing and to share personal and professional accomplishments, birthdays and joyful occasions with others.
I love being able to connect with people, from all over the world, in less than a minute. I absolutely love pictures (and taking pictures), quotes and happy moments and I love sharing experiences with others.
Oh, and I also love funny and/or cute animal videos.
There are never too many cute animal videos.

But there is a downside to social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, websites, Instagram) in that it can make you feel as if you are inadequate and can affect your thoughts. As if you are not doing the right things or making good decisions. Isn't strange how social media can make some people feel as if they aren't good enough?
 You are not traveling enough, making enough money, training enough, happy enough, accomplished enough or in love enough. It may seem like everyone is having the best life/day ever and your life is no where near as exciting or rewarding.

Social media has the power to be uplifting but it also has the power to negatively affect your self-esteem and decision making. 

As you end the 2015 year, I encourage you to think about social media and how it may be positively or negatively affecting how you live, eat or train and your decisions. 

Social media is a snapshot of real life. If you have found yourself anxious, stressed or overwhelmed by the lives of other people, especially as it relates to how you train or eat, I encourage you to take a break or simplify your social media outlets. It is important that you learn how to connect with others in real-life exchanges and how to "follow" people, professionals or experts that will help you be a better person.  And always be sure that your connections and relationships with others on social media are authentic, genuine and honest.
And when you have a personal issue, problem or setback as it relates to making an important decision affecting your training or health, avoid using social media to find the answer. 

Reach out to an expert when you have a question or need help.

Now moving forward, as it relates to your decision making around the holiday season and into the New Year, here are some topics that you may find on social media: 
-Lifestyle habits

Over the next few months, social media is going to be flooded with personal statements/photos and sponsored advertisements as to what people are trying, doing or using, relating to health, weight loss and training. You will likely hear about the following: 
-The best diet ever
-The best shoes ever

-The best bike ever
-The best lifestyle choices ever

-The best race schedule ever
-The best training plan ever
-The best team ever

For whatever reason, your "friends" on social media will boast about what they are trying (for many, likely for the first time) and their instant feedback will be shared,likely with lots of exclamation marks and bold/capitalized words, as to how much they love what they are wearing, eating or doing.
I'm trying this new diet and it's amazing!!!!!!! It's only been a day but I FEEL SO GOOD!!!

 But the question is.....
Are these changes necessary and beneficial for you? 

It is important that you do not become jealous, envious or overly interested in what other people are promoting. We must remember that over the holidays and into the New Year, social media has a tremendous amount of power in convincing you that you need to change.

Friends and followers become very interesting when they try something new but don't be fooled that you need to jump on every new fad, plan, product or gear, just because someone else is using it.
Yes, we learn a lot when people try new things but just because something is new or trendy, doesn't mean it is the best for you right now. 

As you continue to use social media to make your life better, be sure that you are not measuring your own successes by comparing your accomplishments to someone else.
You must remember that social media provides people with the opportunity to share a moment, a thought or an experience.
A snapshot of life for someone else is not your reality. 

I encourage you to become more self-aware in 2016 and now is a great time to start. It's time to stop comparing your life to others on social media, especially as it relates to your athletic journey. When was the last time you confidently said "I trust what I am doing and the decisions I am making"?

You don't need reinforcement from hundreds of "friends" on social media to confirm that you are making the right decisions. You don't need dozens or hundreds of LIKES to make you feel good about a workout or picture. If it makes you feel good, that's all that maters.
You've lived long enough to know what it feels like to make good choices that directly and positively affect your life.
By all means, please share your personal accomplishments and high moments on social media as you are likely inspiring a lot of people. But as it relates to questioning what you are doing every time you read a post/blog from someone else, this is when you need to stand up for yourself and stop doubting your personal choices that may be working for you. 

Perhaps this is more of a disclaimer than a suggestion as it is important that you use social media wisely as it has the potential to positively or negatively affect your decision making over the next few months. 

Every year, Karel and I hear about athletes who quickly change running shoes because of a professional athlete endorsement, makes an impulse purchase on race wheels or a new bike to be faster, sign up for a race because everyone is doing it (or because it is a "fast" or "easy" race) or trying a new diet fad in an effort to become leaner, a better fat burner or stronger.
Sometimes the decisions work short-term for some athletes but most of the time, these changes do not come with positive outcomes because they are not the best decisions for you. 

Choose your social media outlets wisely.
Don't let someone else make you believe that you need to change. 

Keep being inspiring and motivating with your active and healthy lifestyle.

Enjoy being you!

And thank you for reading this blog.
We appreciate you following Trimarni. 


Meal planning - theme meals

Meal planning can be tough after a long, exhausting day of life.

The other day, I was talking to a friend/athlete about meal prep and they mentioned about how they plan their week with theme meals.

For anyone who loves to cook, a theme meal each day of the week may not be necessary but for those who are not so creative in the kitchen, theme meals can be extremely helpful for extra inspiration and motivation when it comes to cooking (especially when it comes to grocery shopping and meal prep). 

Consider having a theme for each dinner meal of the week.
Here are a few ideas:
-Brinner (breakfast for dinner)
-Comfort food
-Ethnic (Italian, Mexican, Asian, European)
-Quick and easy
-New recipe

Any other ideas?

When it comes to deciding what to make for your theme meal, search blogs, recipes, websites, magazines, cook books or books for inspiration.

You can search by meal, theme, dietary preferences or even single ingredients like eggs, tofu, goat cheese or asparagus.

In today's society, you can't really use the excuse "I have no idea what to make for dinner?"

Inspiration and ideas are all around you - all you need to do is make the time and effort to get in your kitchen and start cooking.

What's for dinner tonight? 


Road bike fun in the off-season

After spending the past 10 years living all over Florida (Davie, New Port Richey, Dunedin, Jacksonville) I welcomed our first experience (in a long time) of seasons when we moved to Greenville, SC in May 2014. By October, the trees were changing colors and the weather was getting cooler.

We are now getting our second opportunity to enjoy the fall season and like most triathletes, the fall coincides with the off-season.

Whereas cyclists often swap out the road bike for a mountain and/or fixie for cross training, the off-season for triathletes is a great opportunity to improve cycling skills and to have some fun on two wheels....without being in an aero position. 

Although it is not required that you rush out and buy a road bike (the sport of triathlon is expensive enough as it is with one bike!), if a road bike purchase is an option or you have been neglecting your road bike in your garage/storage room over the past year, I highly recommend giving your triathlon bike an off-season break as you appreciate riding a road bike in the off-season. 

If you have ever gone on a ride with Karel or seen him in a race, it wouldn't be a shocker to guess that Karel comes from a cycling background. After spending almost 2 decades of his life on a road bike as a bike racer, Karel uses his previous cycling experience when he trains and races on his triathlon that he has transitioned to the dark-side and rides a tri bike.
Although Karel is still trying to master the balance of being strong on the bike and being able to run strong off the bike, the biggest difference between Karel and many other triathletes is how well he can ride his triathlon bike due to his exceptional bike handling skills. 

Even though I have learned a lot from Karel (relating to triathlon training/racing) in our 9.5 years together, he wouldn't hesitate to tell you how horrible of a bike rider I was when we met. Over the years, however, I improved my confidence on the bike but I am no where near the level of Karel. 

Every season, I find myself more comfortable and efficient on my tri bike which ultimately helps me cycle stronger and run better off the bike. 

But because of the set-up of a road bike (versus a tri bike), it is much easier to control a road bike in all terrain, especially descending and cornering. At all types of speeds and in all types of road/weather conditions, it is much easier to maneuver a road bike on the road versus a triathlon bike.
Additionally, when riding a road bike, you are engaging the hamstrings a lot more than on a triathlon bike and because of the seat position relative to the handlebars, a different hip angle on the road bike works the glutes a bit differently with every pedal stroke to develop stronger glute muscles.  Also, it is easy to work on pedal efficiency while riding a road bike.
Lastly, because of the set-up of a road bike, bike handling skills are easy to work on which translates well to better triathlon bike handling skills. As examples - grabbing/rotating bottles, riding with one hand, riding in the wind, taking corners, descending, etc.

Here are three of our top tips for triathletes who have a road bike:

1) Enjoy your off-season on a road bike. For most triathletes, this will last 4-6 weeks. It's ok if you don't get on your tri-bike during this time but it's also ok if you want to get on your tri bike for a few rides. Use this time to have fun on two wheels and to work on your skills.
Also, consider joining a group ride (at a similar fitness level) for a fun riding experience. If you are riding in a group setting for the first time, let others know as they can give you some tips.

2) When you transition into your more structured training training after the off-season, we suggest to transition back to your triathlon bike to begin to wake-up and train your primary triathlon muscles. Because muscle memory is so important throughout the season, it is important to train on your primary racing bike for the majority of your bike workouts in your training plan.
But because you can still benefit from riding a road bike in the first month or two of your training plan (after the off-season), an option is to dedicate your weekly rides to your tri bike (or set-up your tri bike on the trainer if you typically train indoors in the winter) and to enjoy your road bike every now and then for a longer ride on the weekend Certainly, you can switch this up based on weather and your training regime. Ideally, after 4-8 weeks of more structured training at the start of your season, you will want to dedicate all of your bike training to your tri bike (with the occasional easy spin or group  ride on the road bike). 

3) Work on your skills and get comfortable being uncomfortable. It's far too common that triathletes can get themselves extremely fit through indoor riding but lack the skills and confidence to ride a triathlon bike safely and efficiently in a straight line outside and around other athletes. Allow yourself a break as you don't always have to be on your bike with a mindset to just "train." You can never do too many skill-focused workouts on the bike. Whereas the off-season presents you with many opportunities to change up your normal cycling training routine so that you can exercise on any type of bike, triathletes who need to improve cycling skills should spend at least one or two sessions per week (10-30 minutes) during the season just working on specific cycling skills on the tri bike.

Here is a great video with a few skills to work on (in addition to descending, position and corning) - remember, safety first!!