Essential Sports Nutrition


Are you making a New Year diet change?

Fasting, detoxing, cleansing.....

It's no surprise that after the holiday season and the start of the New Year, weight loss is a top priority. However, weight loss involves a lifestyle change and for many people, there are many psychological barriers that prohibit the "right" changes from being made. 

Motivation in the New Year to eat better, exercise more or live a healthier lifestyle is not uncommon but is this going to be the year when it's no longer an attempt but rather a start to a new, maintainable healthy lifestyle?

Of course, you may have said it once before...

"THIS will be the year when I stick with my new habits!!"

But we all know that making a lifestyle change is challenging and when people can't follow a diet plan, they feel like they failed. When people succeed it a diet plan, they feel great success. 

But unfortunately, many people will go year after year, diet plan after diet plan, never realizing that these plans were not ideal for their lifestyle. So much money, time and energy invested in trying to be good with a plan that was never ideal for your lifestyle in the first place!

But don't worry- I want to help you out so failing or short-lived success is not an option this year.  

Diet fads make it easy. 
Eliminating food and following a restrictive plan that tells you what not to eat is one of the easiest and most effective ways to losing weight. 

But as we all know, diet plans don't work because they are designed for the masses and not for you and your life. 

And especially for athletes, you do NOT fit in with the normal population because you are doing extraordinary things with your body that the normal population does not have to consider when modifying the diet.

For athletes, your diet must support your metabolic needs so that you do not compromise your health as you attempt to improve your performance. 

If you really want to commit to a healthy change this New Year and follow through with your attempt at breaking old habits for a better lifestyle, you have to have a plan that prepares you for success.

It can be extremely tempting to follow the crowd and follow the same plan that thousands and thousands of other people will follow, but is it the right plan for your lifestyle?

If you are really serious that you want to change your diet in an effort to lose weight, change your body composition, improve your health or maximize performance, here are a few tips to employ in the first week of the New Year:

1) Create a positive food and body vocabulary and avoid negative language when it comes to food and your body. Stop calling yourself fat, ugly, disgusting or gross and instead, speak positively about your body and what  it has allowed you to do or what you want it to help you accomplish in life. When it comes to food, stop the bad, horrible, off-limit food list. See food for what it is as it nourishes your body, fuels your workouts and gives you pleasure when you eat.

2) Create order with your diet. The number one reason people fail with a diet plan is because they can't maintain it. There are so many reasons why diet plans don't work and it's time, once and for all, that you remind yourself that you need to establish an eating style that works for you. Do not try to change too much at once. Restriction and food elimination will not last long. Focus on only the following to start a new style of eating: Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time, reflect on your meals and snacks to decide if they are working for you (do you feel satisfied after you eat?) and consider how your emotions, busy life and workouts affect your food choices (or are impacted by your food choices).

3) Eat real food. Aside from a diet plan that endorses bars, shakes, pills and other marketed products with their diet plan, almost every diet has one thing in common - eat real food. Our society has a very big problem when it comes to how and what people eat and real food is often not to blame. Before you decide to do anything drastic with your diet, just think about how you have been eating for the past 6 months. That's it - just think about what was or wasn't working for you and then ask yourself if eliminating carbohydrates, restricting calories to 1000 a day, fasting, juicing or detoxing is really going to be the change that you need. Ask yourself, what are my most major struggles with my dietary habits that are not helping me with my weight, performance or health goals?
4) Eating should be a positive experience. So many people see eating as a miserable, stressful and overwhelming experience. In other countries and some in the US (although it is rare in our society where so many people have an unhealthy relationship with food), where people have a great relationship with food and the body, meal time is a positive, enjoyable and happy experience. Life stops for meal time and it often happens at a table and not in the car, behind a computer or on the go. Next time you do a search on the internet for "how to eat healthy", check out how people eat around the world, especially those who have increased longevity due to their food choices (because that is why we all want to eat healthy right, to live a long life, free from disease). 

5) It's a lifestyle change. Speaking of how other people in the world live their life, a healthy lifestyle is more than just eating "well." People who seek a high quality life embrace many components that  bring happiness and good health in life. Are you really going to be happy avoiding carbohydrates, eating 1000 calories a day, fasting every 2 days, not eating fruit or a dessert ever again or not being able to eat around other people or out of your home because your strict eating habits are well, too strict? A healthy lifestyle means managing stress, sleeping well, staying active, moving the body as much as possible (reducing sedentary time), making "me time", being around positive people, giving and receiving love, finding joy in a career choice, eating a diet that bring happiness (and not restriction), being out in nature (or outside), traveling and experiencing new things in life. If eating better is important to you, consider the other components that you can change that will make you feel like you are living the best life possible for your body. 

If you are struggling with your eating or body image, seek a healthy diet or body composition change or want to improve your eating habits without affecting your performance or want to excel as an athlete by fueling your body properly, send me an email - I would love to be part of your lifestyle journey.

 I do not offer diet plans because I treat every athlete that I work with as an individual. The style of diet consulting that I offer is not trendy, sexy or mass-marketed but it works because it takes YOUR lifestyle, your habits and your goals into consideration. 


2015 - A year in review

Another year has gone by and another year awaits us.

I'm not one for New Years resolutions so instead, I see the New Year as a time to reflect on the past and to get excited for what awaits in the future.

2015 was filled with a lot of highs and a few lows.
We worked a lot, we traveled, we raced and we made a lot of memories.
Not a day was wasted.

Here is a recap of our very busy and exciting year.

January is always a busy month for us as it follows December. Our athletes start their training plans for the upcoming season and my nutrition services needed for athletes who are taking the next step to better their health and/or performance with a dietary intervention or change. Karel continued to be in high demand for Retul bike fits in Jacksonville so for almost the entire year, every 4-7 weeks he would travel to Jax for 3-4 days of all-day fits.

This was our first time experiencing a winter after living in Florida for the past 10 years so we enjoyed shopping and wearing new winter clothes for training.
It was also nice to bundle up and even see snow twice this winter! It didn't stay long but it was pretty while it lasted.
We also took advantage of our awesome city by exploring new routes on our bikes (there are so many places to ride here!) and making our way to downtown by foot as we only lived 1 mile from downtown.
We also confirmed our sponsors for the 2015 Trimarni team and we received our new Canari kits, which came out amazing! Karel is such a great designer and we love working with Canari.
My mom was settled into her rental home about 20 minutes away from us. Although her life has changed since losing my dad in May 2014, she is doing an amazing job staying strong and moving on with her life. She joined a lot of local groups and has more friends than we do! It's great to have her so close and Campy loves seeing his grandma so often.

February was special because we planned a trip to see my 92-year old Grandpa in Tahoe but first, a stop in Sacremnto to visit our close friends Gloria and Ken. After being friends for over 3 years, we finally got the opportunity for us all to be together. We had so much fun swimming, eating, laughing and hanging out - even if it was just for 1.5 days before heading off to Tahoe.
Although the snow was sparse, we were able to get in a little time on the snow with some downhill skiing/snowboarding and XC skiing (my favorite). It was nice to make some memories with my grandpa and his wife. Karel and I honeymooned in Tahoe in Feb 2009 so it will always be a special place for us.
We also held a private training camp for a small group of triathletes in NC and oddly enough, it snowed the first morning of the camp! We almost cancelled the camp but (most of) the snow melted and our athletes had a great time, even though it was a bit chilly. 

And the travel begins! March is the month of our annual Clermont training camp at the NTC and this year was a bit different as we had a bit longer of a drive as we were traveling from SC and not Jacksonville, FL. We had my mom come with us so we could bring Campy (and so she could help us out) and we also needed her car as we had too much stuff! I absolutely love putting on our training camps but it is a lot of work. This camp was our biggest camp ever with 23 campers (our athletes). But it was all worth it. Memories were made and our athletes trained a lot....and even raced an Olympic distance triathlon on the last day of camp! 


Back to FL again!

Karel raced Haines City 70.3 and we had a big group of Trimarni athletes racing too. It was a lot of fun to be on the sidelines and cheer for everyone. Karel had a great race and I started to get excited about our upcoming racing season.
It was great to feel the spring air in Greenville as it was a welcomed change from winter training.
And April was a month to remember as we bought our first home! We had been saving money ever since I finished my dietetic program and when we thought it was time to start looking, we found our house while riding our bike. We figured if we rode by our future house, it was in the perfect location for us. Closer to the mountains was our goal for our house and we found the perfect house, in the perfect location and just big enough for the 2 of us + 3 furry little ones. Since buying our home, we (mostly Karel) has tackled several fun house projects, like painting walls, turned our garage into a bike studio (and epoxied the floor) and of course, experienced a few "oh-no" moments where we wish my dad was here as he would always know what to do.
It's so nice to have a home to call our own and we love welcoming our home to guests (especially when they come to train with us).

May is a happy but sad month as it is my birthday month and I love the weather in May but it is also the  month when my dad passed away from cancer, three days before my birthday in 2014.
I'm not sure how I will handle May in the future but for this year, May was a tough month but it did have it's happy moments.
Campy got a very expensive present from us - a fence! With a big backyard backing up into the woods, we gave Campy the present we promised him for the past 7 years as we told him "one day" we will give you a real backyard and lots of room to run. Campy loves his yard, especially in the warm summer when he can sit outside all day and look for birds and squirrels.
Although Campy is not one to complain, we did notice that Campy was not acting normal after we got our yard treated (as we were told that's what new homeowners needed to do). A few days later, Campy had a seizure. He did not vomit or defecate on himself but instead, while we were walking, Campy barked at the UPS truck and then froze, raised his left paw as if it was broken and then lost his balance. His eyes were wide-open and he wobbled when he tried to walk. I had no idea what was going on but this was the first of many seizures over the summer. Campy would go 2 weeks without us seeing one and I thought everything was ok and then he would have one and it was scary to witness. We took Campy to the vet several times without a clear reason why this was happening and they told us when the seizures start to happen more often (3 within a week) that he would need to be on medication. We tried everything to keep Campy calm, cool and relaxed but the seizures would often come out of nowhere but I could always tell when he was about to have one.
On a lighter note, I placed 2nd at Challenge Knoxville Half but that was not the memorable part of the race - running across the finish line with Campy and Karel was the biggest surprise and was a great memorable moment as Campy was the first paw across the finish line.

It looked as if all was going well  but all of a sudden, Karel hurt his foot on a track workout. It happened instantly and this was the start of a very stressful summer for me. Although Karel was bummed to learn he has a partial tear in his plantar fascia a few weeks later (after a MRI confirmed it), it was actually me who struggled with his injury as I had had my shares of injuries but never had to be on the other side with my side-kick being injured. I didn't handle it well and I let it affect my training too.
But on the bright side, it was special for Karel to be with me in Williamsburg as I placed overall female amateur on an extremely hot (120 -degree heat index) day. This was my third half IM win and I had a PR with my fastest 56-mile bike split ever and I finally broke 5 hours.
We finished the month with our first ever Trimarni Greenville camp and it was just the break that Karel and I needed with our own training and life as we just love working with our athletes - and we couldn't wait to call the Swamp Rabbit Lodge our homebase for our campers and to show them Greenville. The camp was extremely tough as it was enduranced-focused and our campers were so amazing. We are so excited for our next Greenville endurance camp in July 2016. 

After learning that Karel was not allowed to run with a tear in his fascia, we were all filled with a variety of emotions as we (including my mom) made our 2-day drive to Lake Placid. Karel was looking forward to Lake Placid as he absolutely loves the course and felt like he was getting into great training shape to place near the top but plans changed. We tried to make the most of it as the drive up north was absolutely beautiful and we got to see so many different sights and even see some friends (Katie and Chris M and Anthony and Peggy and Brutus)  along the way. Plus, we had several Trimarni athletes racing Placid and we were all sharing a house which made it a lot of fun to be around our athletes.
I had a great mini training camp which kicked-off my IM Kona training. 

Race day was tough to see Karel only race in the swim and bike but he had a really strong performance in both which brought him some confidence. Also, Karel stopped his race on the bike to help an athlete who had passed out and fallen off his bike so it kinda meant to be that Karel was in the race and could help out another athlete.
It was really awesome to see our athletes in action and we made a lot of memories in Placid.

Swim and bike done...time to refuel and cheer!

Karel and I had always wanted to join our Gearlink friends (from when we lived in Clearwater) for their annual trip to CO to train and watch the USA Pro cycling challenge and this year was the year we could finally make it happen.
After several weeks of rehab, Karel was finally able to start running (easy) and I was over the moon, enjoying all of the trail running in Boulder. We enjoyed seeing our friends Kristen and Trent, Lisa and Curt and meeting new faces and training in new places. We biked A LOT and there were a lot of epic moments during our trip. I came away from this trip exhausted but I also gained a lot of confidence as to what my body could handle with training. Plus, I thanked my body a lot as training in the altitude was tough!

Just a few more weeks left before our trip to Kona for the IM World Championships. Karel wasn't able to get in quality run training (or longer runs) but he was able to run which was reassuring that hopefully he could finish his first IM Kona. It was fun to finish our training in Greenville and to head to Kona 1.5 weeks before race day. Campy and the cats stayed with my mom which was so helpful for us to know that they would be in good hands for the 2 weeks that we were away. 

Well, if you are a reader of this blog, you probably kept up with my daily recaps while we were in Kona. Although it was a big unknown as to what Karel's foot would do on race day, he didn't let it get to him one bit as we both made lots of memories in Kona, experiencing everything we could before and after the race. Although my race didn't go as well as I had hoped, it was a very special experience to race in Kona together and to finish my 4th IM World Championship.
October was also exciting because two of our Trimarni athletes qualified for Kona (Leigh Ann and Justine) so we are excited to get back to Kona in 2016 to cheer on our athletes as spectators (hopefully Karel will be racing Kona if he qualifies at IMMT).
Thanks Kona for the memories!!

With a little break in training, the traveling continued to IMFL, NYC, Myrtle Beach, Lexington KY and then Ft. Wayne. Every weekend we were somewhere else. Oh and Karel squeezed in another trip to Jackonsville for RETUL bike fits. 
We made our annual trip to IMFL to cheer on our athletes and it was exciting and motivating as always.
We were invited to NYC by Clif Bar for the premier of the NBC IM World Championship and that was extremely inspiring.
I went to Myrtle Beach with my mom for a quick weekend trip and then we headed off to KY and then Indiana to visit my hometown and then to celebrate Thanksgiving with my aunt, uncle, cousin, brother and his wife. My brother and his wife Dana are expecting their first child (boy) in Jan!


Campy started phenobarbital meds in late November and they seem to be working to control his seizures. Campy started to get them almost ever day in early November so after another vet visit, he finally got the meds to help him out. He was retested after a few weeks to make sure the dosage was tolerable in his small 13-lb body and all was ok. Although we have to give him the meds morning and night for the rest of his life, it is worth it as he isn't suffering with the seizures anymore. Plus, he still has his normal energy and he hasn't stopped enjoying destroying his bears and chasing the birds.
In our off-season and the start of more structured training, we took advantage of riding our road bikes, hiking and even participating in a "fun" 20K running race over Paris Mountain (we finished as "fastest couple" and Karel was third overall!).
And as you probably heard/saw, Karel surprised me with a beautiful custom paint job on my Trek bike.
Oh, and my mom now lives 1 mile from us in the next neighborhood which is great that she is so close...we love walking there with Campy.
With the start of building our foundation with our training, alongside staying extremely busy with  coaching and nutrition and RETUL bike fits (for Karel), we look forward to what 2016 has in store for us as we know life will be exciting, memorable and challenging.

Thanks for sharing 2015 with us and we look forward to being part of your 2016!