Essential Sports Nutrition


Looking back on 2016

2016 was an eventful year for us.
It was hard to select our top moments so here are a few of our favorites memories each month (with links to the blog post) from last year.

Our first real snow day !

Our new kit design

Vegetarian article in Triathlete magazine
 Toughman half triathlon- Karel's first overall half IM win

How do I fuel article - my longest ever article
Our new BOCO hats and visors
Lake James 50 triathlon - our first double triathlon win
Rev3 Knoxville and Mountains to Mainstreet half ironman
My 34th birthday (and the 2 year anniversary of my dad's passing)

European race-cation (Ironman Austria and visiting Karel's family in Czech)


IM Kona - Karel finishes his 2nd IM Kona (and we have our first two Trimarni athletes finish their first IM Kona)
Hincapie Gran Fondo


Trimarni athlete spotlight - new feature at Trimarni
New Trimarni services for 2017

Thanks for reading about our year and for following us along.
We are excited to share 2017 with you!

Happy New Year!!


New Year = New Trimarni services!

Happy Birthday to us!
Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition is turning five.
And to celebrate, we have 7 (yes seven!!) NEW nutrition services to offer athletes!!! 

I can't believe that our business has been up and running for the past five years. It's crazy to think where we were when we started on January 1st, 2012 and where we are today.

Stay tuned because on Monday January 2nd, 2017, we will be revealing our new nutrition services, the 2017 Trimarni sponsors and affiliates and an updated media page full of educational content on the Trimarni website. Also, be sure to sign up for our Newsletter as mid January will start the new Trimarni Newsletter with tips and healthy fitness-focused recipes to help athletes create healthy habits to achieve athletic excellence. 

So how did I get to where I am today?
It sure didn't happen overnight!

Here's a snapshot of the past 17 years of my life. 
2000-2004 Undergrad – BA in Exercise Science, minor in psychologyStrength & Conditioning focus
2004-2006 Graduate – Master of Science in Exercise Physiology -Strength & Conditioning and nutrition focus
2006 – 4-month internship with Ironman corporation - Nutrition focus
2006 – 2007 – YMCA Wellness Coordinator – Nutrition/health and training/coaching focus
2006 -  Boston Marathon & Ironman Florida finisher – Sport nutrition, coaching, speaking and writing focus

Lessons learned over 6 years:
-Pursue higher
-Don’t be persuaded by money. Follow your passion.

-Use real-world experiences to guide your career path: internship, paid work, mentors, volunteer. 
-Don’t wait for the perfect time to continue your education
(Start now, don’t let time pass by!).
-Your career path will be influenced by a variety of life
-Don’t change your career path simply based on
wants, dislikes or trends.
-Don’t chase the easy route.
-Keep yourself healthy. Don’t put your athletic/fitness aspirations on hold. 

2007-2010: Back to school (again) Accredited online dietetic classes (UNCO – distance education) and local pre-req classes.
2010-2011: 10-month, 1200 hour internship (Marywood University – distance education)
2011: Eligible for RD exam. Passed 2.5 hour, 125 question RD Exam (June 2011)
2011-2014: PRN Inpatient Clinical Dietitian (Baptist Medical Center Beaches)
2012: Started Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC. Karel switches from Cat 1 bike racing to triathlon. Marni wins her first ever overall titles (Irongirl Half marathon and Branson 70.3). 
2014 - 2015: Moved to Greenville, SC. Full-time at Trimarni coaching and nutrition. Karel comes on board to work for Trimarni full-time. Karel offers RETUL services in Jacksonville, FL once a month and locally in Greenville. Marni and Karel qualify for their first IM World Championship together. 
2015: Applied to take CSSD exam (Certified Sport Specialists in Dietetics). Passed 3-hour, 140 question exam (June). Karel now only offers RETUL services in Greenville. Athletes drive/fly to visit Karel for a professional bike fitting experience. Marni and Karel compete in their first Ironman World Championship together. 
2016: Trimarni coaching creates a triathlon team and specializes in endurance coaching. Trimarni now offer several triathlon group and private camps, key Trimarni events, training plans and an educational membership "coaching" option. Marni has now completed 11 Ironman distance triathlons and Karel as completed 7 Ironman distance triathlons. Between them both, they have completed 18 Ironman distance triathlons and have qualified for and competed at the Ironman World Championship 6 times.
2017: gets an update with seven NEW nutrition services and an updated media page full of educational content. Trimarni also now offers a newsletter to help athletes create healthy habits to achieve athletic excellence. 
Lessons learned
-Be willing and ready to make a lot of sacrifices. 
-Your first real job doesn't have to be your forever job. Enjoy finally making money for at least 
 a year or two. 
-Education gets you a job. Experience and continuing education makes you great at a job.
-Create strengths and skills that make you valuable, before pursuing a career. 
-A job makes you money. A career is a pursuit of a lifelong ambition. 
-Owning your own business means that you never stop working. 
-Hire people when you need help or when you need something done that is not within your specialty. 
-Never stop learning and be open-minded. 
-Find and use a mentor.
-Don’t work so much that you can't keep good health and enjoy your life. 


Get back on track with healthy eating

What does "healthy food" mean to you? 

To me, healthy food is included in a varied, nutrient dense diet which keeps my body functioning well. 

But in a world where unhealthy food is so available, it can be difficult to define and follow through with healthy eating. 

Busy schedules, misinformation, poor planning and low motivation can make healthy eating extremely challenging. 

Here are a few tips on how you can get back on track with healthy eating. 

-Stop the dieting and food rules. Restriction and deprivation doesn't work as it's not a sustainable style of eating. 

-Plan and prep ahead. When you are prepared, you make better food choices. Plus, by learning how to be a great meal/snack planner, you will create long-lasting "go-to" strategies for maintaining healthy eating habits even during your most busy, stressful and exhausting times in life. 

-Don't make your meals too complicated. Keep healthy eating simple and eat to feel satisfied and energized. 

-Eat with a purpose beyond weight/body composition. Learn to eat mindfully. You deserve to eat enough food to honor your biological hunger but you also deserve to eat food that you enjoy. Eating should be pleasurable experience. You should love your diet. Healthy eating is so much more than just eating to look a certain way but instead, eating to do amazing things with your body. Define your eating purpose behind every meal and snack in your diet. 

-Create one new "healthy eating" goal each week and don't set a new goal until your previous goal becomes a habit. For example, your goal can be to eat breakfast every morning, to bring an afternoon snack to work everyday, to have a recovery snack after every workout, to drink more water, to cook dinner at home two nights per week or to more vegetables at lunch. The idea behind a healthy eating goal is to create new strategies for change. If you have a goal of making dinner, you must figure out how you will make this happen. Stop the saying and start the doing. The only way you can sustain healthy eating is by creating a new lifestyle. 

-Leave space in your busy day for meal planning, prep and cooking. If you tell yourself that you do not have time to eat healthy, you need to adjust your priorities. Healthy eating may feel overwhelming if it is not yet a priority in your life. You can use a food delivery meal prep service or search through cookbooks for inspiration, but in order to eat healthy, healthy food needs to be available. By prepping and planning ahead, you will find yourself eating food that you love and feeling great about the foods that you put inside your body. 


Trimarni athlete spotlight: Albert Cardona - A year of self-discovery and PR's!

This is a new weekly feature on the Trimarni blog where we will be shining the spotlight on one of our Trimarni athletes (coaching or nutrition) every week.

We hope that you will feel inspired by the spotlight athlete as you learn a few tips and tricks to help you reach your personal athletic and nutrition goals.

Our athletes are normal individuals choosing to do exceptional things with a healthy body.

NameAlbert Cardona

Age: 37

City/State: Morristown, NJ

Primary sportTriathlon

How many years in the sport: 8 years

What Trimarni services have you used: 
Nutrition  - 2 x sport nutrition consults while training for Ironman Kentucky


Describe your athletic background and how you discovered your current sport?

As a kid I played just about every sport from wrestling to golf and everything in-between. My primary sports were always soccer and hockey. I just couldn't get enough of them and that continued all the way through college. I was also very dedicated to excelling in the sports that I participated in.

What keeps you training and racing in your current sport?

I love the sport! Yes, it can be extremely frustrating as you try to learn form and technique for all three disciplines but I find it much less frustrating than golf, that's for sure! I love the fact that those that have success in the sport of triathlon achieve their success through hard work and determination. This is not a sport that comes easy to anyone. It's about putting in the hard work to reap the rewards.

What do you do for work?

I work within higher education running the housing and residence life office at a private university.

How does your work life affect training and how do you balance work and training?

Work typically doesn't affect training too much, except during high peak times. When it's busy I have to be very diligent on how I plan my day. I might try to squeeze in a lunch time swim or run while on campus. There are some days that I might start the day before 5am in order to get my training in. Typically though my alarm rings between 5-5:30am everyday, within an occasional 7am alarm on one of the weekend days.

Any tips/tricks as to how to balance work and training?

Plan your day in advance! If you don't take a few minutes the night before to pack your bags, write down your workouts chances are it's not going to happen. I often leave my house with three bags; one with lunch, and two workout bags (swim and gym/running stuff). If I left the packing for the morning hours, I would be so scatter that I am sure I would forget something. I have been guilty of showing up for a group bike ride within my cycling clothes and crocs. Riding for a little over an hour in crocs is not fun, so plan ahead.

Do you have kids?

No, not yet but we have a bun in the oven!

If married or in a relationship, how do you balance your training with your partner? Any tips or tricks for keeping your partner happy while you train to reach your personal goals?

I am married and I am incredibly blessed to have found someone who understands the inward drive that I have to be the best that I can be within the sport. Thankfully, she is also involved in the sport of triathlon, so she gets it. We get spend a good bit of time training together when indoors. Our bikes are setup on trainers in our pain cave side by side and it's great having her there with me. We both make an intentional effort to support and encourage each other.

But over time I have learned that when I get "the look" that enough encouragement. :)

In regards to tips/tricks - try to split up tasks as best as possible. It's always best if you know what your spouse/partners expectation is of you, and knowing this will help in your relationship and get things done around the house. I often relate this to the book The 5 Love Languages. The more you understand about your spouse/partner the better you will be.


Do you have a recent race result, notable performance or lesson learned that you'd like to share?

This year was fully of pr's and positive race results! I started the season with a 3rd AG finish at Rutgers Half Marathon, followed by 1st OA win at Jerseyman (short distance - in-between sprint/olympic) and finished up the season with 6th AG finish at Ironman Louisville and narrowly missing the podium by 43 seconds and missing kona by a little less than 2 minutes. It was a great year! This year was definitely a year of discovering just how mentally tough you need to be in order to be competitive in your AG. In years past I have had tough workouts that I thought prepared me to be mentally tough, but this year was a whole different level. One motto that I had this year that helped me achieve this was, "be present". I recited this to myself countless number of times and each time it may have had a slightly different meaning. During workouts where I was day dreaming about Kona, I would say it and pull myself back to focus on the workout of the day and remind myself that it's about one day at a time. Days when I was feeling really good and wanted to push harder during my workouts I would say it and pull myself back to the prescribed pace. Days of long bike rides where my mind would start wandering or I would be so ready to just be done, I would say it an regain my focus.

In order to achieve your goals in the sport you have to "be present" and face the obstacle that is immediately in front of you. Don't get caught up thinking about your current weight, pace, threshold, stress about work, blah, blah, blah. Just think about what is directly in front of you and that is putting on your shoes and pushing yourself out the door. If you can focus just on being present, you will be amazed to see how far it can take you!

What are your top 3-5 tips for athletes, as it relates to staying happy, healthy and performing well?
  • Sleep - you will be amazed at how much better you will feel if you get enough sleep every night.

  • Set attainable goals. Unless you are a freak of nature you will not be able to go from 200th in your AG to 1st, so be honest with yourself. By setting realistic goals and meeting them it will bring a smile to your face and make it more enjoyable. Also, share you goals with others. Its great when friends and families provide encouragement along the way.
  • Be sure to spend time with family. Family has a way of pulling you back to reality and reminding you of what is really important in life and that this sport is "just for fun."
  • "Let go and get help". Sometimes it is just easier to ask others who are knowledgeable in the sport for help. You don't have to figure it all out on your own. By letting go and asking for help it gives you time back into your day to spend time with family, focus on work or get out an train. This season I took this approach and asked Marni for help with nutrition. Marni was great in helping me with my daily nutrition and more specifically gaining and understanding of training and racing nutrition needs. This paid off greatly! In 2015 I finished 12th in my AG at an IM and in less than one year to be able to cut the field in half and finish 6th is huge!

    Through Marni's advice I was able to have more productive training sessions and which lead to me getting stronger and faster. But the biggest success for me was figuring out why I was experiencing a drop in blood pressure after long runs. Marni helped me figure it out and on race day at Ironman Louisville, I posted my fastest marathon time ever. Beating my open marathon time by 7 minutes. My nutrition was much better this time around and when I got to the marathon I had the fuel in my body to keep me running. 
    Orange Mud makes terrific hydration backpacks that made it possible for me to carry the needed fluid ounces on my long runs, thus making sure that I was not getting dehydrated. I liked their pack so much that I even wore it on race day.By asking for help it really simplifies life and training, so if you are wondering about your self created training plan, nutrition plan, bike fit, go pro swim videos, etc. Just do yourself a favor and get someone to help you. Paying someone to help will reap greater rewards than buying yourself a new carbon "whatever". 

How would you define athletic success as it relates to your personal journey?

Doing the best that I can do on the day! I have learned that I can set my goals but each race has it's own set of challenges and you can never predict what you will face. But I have learned that on each race day, if I have given it my all and raced in a manner which I would have no regrets, then it's been a great day! There is nothing worse than looking back on a race and kicking yourself for walking for no real reason.

What's your favorite post-race meal, drink or food?

Burger, fries and chocolate milk shake and/or beer. Mussel and Burger Bar in Louisville has some of the best burgers ever! After my IM, I had 3 of their hamburgers within a 15 hour window.

What key races do you have planned in 2017

Haven't set the full race schedule yet. But planning on racing Rutgers half marathon, and looking to do an early 70.3 with the goal of qualifying for Worlds 70.3 in August.

What are your athletic goals for the next 5 years?

I would like to continue giving back to the sport however I can, mentoring others that are just getting started, develop sponsored relationships with various companies, and focus on hitting my goal of taking a trip to the Big Island! :)


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How to make training work in your busy life

Being an athlete is tough, especially if you are an adult athlete.

As an adult athlete, it can feel very overwhelming to try to dedicate enough time to every important component of your life. 

While it’s important to identify yourself as an athlete while training for your upcoming events, your primary role in life is much more than just being an athlete. Being an athlete is a choice and your training is a hobby. As you train your body for your upcoming athletic event, it is important that you do not neglect your parent, spouse, family or job responsibilities just to be an athlete.

In life, human beings have to make a lot of lifestyle choices. These choices help people function better in life with improved energy, mood, productivity and health.

As an athlete, these choices are extremely important as they help you adapt to training while keeping you in good health, but they help with the flow of your extremely busy life.

Life as an athlete is tough. It’s busy, it’s rushed, it’s packed and it involves a lot of decisions and planning. As an athlete, your life is like a puzzle and each piece of the puzzle makes up your ability to function well in life. Sometimes, it may feel like all the pieces are there and sometimes it may feel like there’s always a piece or two missing.

As an athlete, you don’t need every piece of the puzzle to be perfectly in place for you to function well in life but you need the pieces of the puzzle to be there. And for those pieces to be present, you do need to make a lot of decisions on a daily basis. These decisions will always be tough because there’s a lot of moving parts to your life - you have a responsibility to your family, spouse and job to show up, be present and take care of others but you also have a responsibility to your body to prepare for your upcoming event.

As an athlete, sometimes you will make decisions that are very easy and sometimes you will make decisions that are very, very hard. For you to achieve athletic excellence, you must be motivated to make decisions all the time – no matter how easy or hard.

For example, 6 weeks out from a key race, athletes are very motivated to make decisions. Athletes will not skip workouts, they will cut out alcohol and sweets, they will pay attention to the diet, they focus on good sleep and they remove outside stressors. Decision making is a great priority. These athletes are still great parents, they show up to work on time and they are great people, but athletes prioritize the decisions that are made, all in an effort to help with race day preparation.

Right now, making decisions is probably pretty tough as it relates to race preparation. It’s cold, you are too busy, races are far away, it’s no fun running on the treadmill, riding on the trainer is boring, the pool is too far away, it takes too long to cook, etc.

One of the easiest ways to make better decisions is to focus on the many lifestyle factors that can help you feel less overwhelmed with your training.

Although it's hard to change lifestyle habits, I can tell you that when you focus on good sleep, a healthy diet, good recovery, daily mobility, stress management, communication with your family and consistency in training, it’s a lot easier to function in life. Even though this may look like a lot to focus on, life actually becomes less overwhelming when healthy lifestyle habits are in place.  There are less missed workouts, you feel less overwhelmed, your body isn’t as tired and your body is more prepared when you get to that next stage of training. Your week just seems to flow very smoothly when you make good decisions with your lifestyle.

And let’s be honest – training makes you feel good and function better in life. So why push training aside when you feel overwhelmed??

It all comes down to your lifestyle choices. 

Training should not be a chore or an obligation but something that you want to do because it makes you feel good, it makes you happy, it makes you feel less stressed, it makes you a better parent and feel less overwhelmed and you are being a good role model to people around you.

I know that it’s hard to balance training with life and sometimes, training adjustments will need to be made and workouts will need to be missed. But, by being an active participant in your life and making great lifestyle choices (ex. plan ahead, be creative, communicate, manage your time well, be practical), you will find a way to make training less overwhelming in your busy life.

Training is not always fun but it's important that you enjoy your athletic journey so that one day in the near future you can look back and tell yourself that it was all worth it. 


Are you ready to change your lifestyle habits? Start TODAY!

Do you feel like there's a lot on your to-do list but today is just not a good day to get done what you need to get done?

Do you find yourself constantly waiting for the perfect moment, the right amount of energy, enough motivation or the best resources to start something and well, today just isn't that day?

The truth is that there is never a perfect moment to start something. Yes, that means on January 1st, that day will be no better or worse than today, tomorrow or March 21st.

The biggest obstacle that most people face when changing habits is getting started. The first step to getting something done today is to just get started.

If you have found yourself slipping into some bad habits over the past few weeks or you feel like it's time for a change in your life, here are a few tips to help you get started so that you don't put off until tomorrow, what you can get started/finished today.

1. Have a plan - Write out your day before it happens so that you can plan for what needs to get done today before today turns into tomorrow. Before you add anything else to your to-do list, prioritize your tasks. Make schedules and deadlines for yourself so that you hold yourself accountable to your plan. Don't over-complicate your life by giving or accepting more responsibilities than you can handle in one day.

2. Schedule time for yourself - Putting everyone else first will leave no time for yourself. If you are spending too much time pleasing or taking care of others, you will lose a sense of your self and what you need to do to create your own happiness in life. This commitment to yourself will improve your well-being and overall productivity.

3. Organize your life - Are there times in your life when you have asked yourself "there must be a quicker way to do this?!?!". If yes, establish a practical daily routine that helps you get more things started and finished in a timely manner. Meal prep, exercise/training, sleeping, house/job organizing, scheduling and cleaning all require a bit of effort and work but once you create a routine, you will feel like life is more organized and thus, you can get more done.

4. Think small - Big results are the sum of many small changes. Avoid the common mistake of trying to go big and make extreme changes in your life, especially when it comes to diet and exercise. Make your changes so incredibly easy that it's nearly impossible to fail. For example, instead of telling yourself that you will work out for 90 minutes every morning this week, aim to work out for 20 minutes three mornings this week. You will likely get more accomplished over the course of 7 days, thus helping you create better habits to support a future early morning exercise routine. Same goes for cooking at home. If you want to cook more at home, don't overwhelm yourself by trying to cook 7 days a week. Aim for two or three nights of following a recipe from a cook book (and shopping and prepping ahead of time) and for the other nights, give yourself some slack and be ok with semi-homemade meals. Sustainable habits are a product of daily habits.

5. Reward yourself - We are more likely to keep doing things that make us feel good. This is why we don't want to change too much at once or make extreme changes. It is important to celebrate new behavior changes or a new routine by acknowledging that you are making progress. Rewards should always make you feel good and should keep you motivated to create a new lifestyle. Once your behavior becomes a new habit or part of your lifestyle, it's time to reduce the rewards. I encourage you to not use food as a reward but instead, treat yourself to a massage, a movie, a new workout item/equipment, something cozy for sleeping or something personal that will help you keep up with your new habits for intrinsic purposes - because it makes you feel proud, healthy or self-confident.


Reframe your thinking over the holiday season

When was the last time you beat yourself up for “cheating” on your diet or for missing a workout?

Athletes are typically very determined, passionate, focused and hard working and when put into certain life situations, athletes can be very on or off. Either choices are a success or a failed attempt.

Because of this natural tendency to want to be "on" all the time, it’s understandable that many athletes feel a loss of control around the holiday season as it relates to succeeding with healthy eating and consistent exercising. 

With 365 days in a year, there’s no reason to be extreme with your dietary and exercise habits around the holiday season. But at the same time, you can maintain great health and wellness over the holidays with a little shift in your thinking.

All you need is a little reframing to help shift your mind out of negative thinking. 

According to Molly Kellogg, RD, LCSW, and author of Counseling Tips for Nutrition Therapists, “Reframing a problem involves placing it in a different context (or frame) and thereby changing its meaning. Often, this means taking something seen as bad (problem) and shifting either its content or its context so it can be seen as useful rather than bad. The new perspective leads either to acceptance or to creativity about what to do differently.”

For example, instead of saying “I can never control myself around sweets during the holidays” say, “I feel so lucky that so many people care about me and want to bake me cookies for the holidays.” Or, instead of saying, “I have so much to do, I can't even find time to exercise” say to yourself, “I’m thankful to have a family to care for and I deserve to take care of myself so I can be a better parent for my family.”

Holidays present a wonderful opportunity to enjoy different foods you likely would not consume on a daily basis and to change up your routine training regime. This may feel like an uncomfortable and overwhelming time of the year due to all the changes in your eating patterns and exercise routine but bringing behaviors of extreme discipline and restriction will only make you feel more anxious about the holidays.  Because your thought processes are creating beliefs and assumptions that this is an uncomfortable and overwhelming time of the year, it's important that you recognize that you are simply associating a negative thought to every situation out of your control.

Because the holidays are a time to share love and create memories with others, the most powerful thing you can do for your mind, body and soul is to stretch your boundaries when it comes to approaching specific situations. 

I encourage you to step away from rigid thinking (all or nothing) and think about how you can successfully navigate your way through the holiday season with a healthy mind and body.  

Instead of saying, “I hate how I feel when I eat so much bad food” say, “I am equipped with the necessary tools to indulge responsibly and to eat until I feel satisfied."

Without even realizing it, you have probably reframed countless situations in training to finish a workout or on race day, in order to cross the finish line. For example, instead of saying "I am so tired, I should give up now" you say "I may be tired but I can rest when I am done!".

In your ongoing quest to become a smarter, healthier and stronger athlete, consider the negative thought patterns that are keeping you from finding better balance in your life. 

This is a great quote from Molly Kellogg you may want to keep in mind as we approach the holiday season.

"It takes courage to demand time for yourself. At first glance, it may seem to be the ultimate in selfishness, a real slap in the face to those who love and depend on you. It's not. It means you care enough to want to see the best in yourself and give only the best to others."


Healthy Weight vs. Race Weight? A must read for performing at your best.

Athletes are constantly being told to lose weight.

Whether it's directly from a coach or from the messages and images viewed on social media and in articles and on TV, we live in a body obsessed society.

With so many different body types and so many different styles of eating (aka "diets"), driven by misconceptions about food, body dissatisfaction and misguided strategies for eating "right", it doesn't surprise me when I see the health and performance of competitive, body conscious, goal oriented and driven athletes, deteriorate.

Most athletes have no idea how much energy is needed by the body to perform at a high level. Most athletes do not feel they deserve to eat "that much food".

Now more than ever, most athletes are very obsessed with how much they weigh. Due to so many false statements relating to body weight and performance, athletes are constantly trying to be thinner, leaner and lighter, while trying to get faster and to go longer.

As it relates to your healthy weight, it's very hard to define a healthy weight as an athlete. Most charts (ex. BMI) do not account for the extra muscle and denser bones that you will develop through training. I know for myself, I am always on the high end of a "healthy" weight for my height because of my athletic build and from my genetics. For much of the year, a healthy weight is one that puts you at little risk for disease or illness, is a weight that allows you to function well in life without following dietary rules or restrictions, is one that allows you to have great energy throughout the day and is a weight that is easy to maintain with your activity regime.

Unfortunately, many athletes try to maintain and achieve a weight that is based on a look or a number on a scale for much of the year, often comparing this "ideal" image to one that was achieved in peak training. Self-identity to a body image is often a struggle for athletes because your healthy weight may not be the one that you accept for what it looks like, but it may be the best weight for you to maintain great health for much of the year. My advice for athletes is to work on body acceptance and to not try to fight for a certain "lean or defined" image, size or weight. Through good lifestyle habits and a great relationship with food and your body, a healthy weight will be easy to achieve and easy to maintain regardless how much or little you are training.

So now we get to the topic of race weight. As it relates to the topic of athletes being obsessed with weight, far too many athletes are using a number on the scale to determine athletic readiness for an event. Unfortunately, this approach does not tell athletes what type of weight is being lost - is it fat, muscle or water?

Your body composition provides very specific information about your body make-up, much more than simply looking at a number on a scale. As it relates to body composition, you are focusing on the proportion of fat and lean body mass in the body.

Your body is made up of body fat and lean body mass.

Body fat can be found as storage fat and as essential body fat.

The human body stores fat in the form of triglycerides within fat (adipose tissue) as well as within the muscle fibers (intramuscular triglycerides). Through endurance training (without any dietary manipulation), there is an increase in fat oxidation from intramuscular triglycerides. As exercise intensity increases, fatty acid mobilization from adipose tissue slows but total fat oxidation increases due to the increase use of intramuscular triglycerides. Let's not forget that dietary carbohydrates influence fat mobilization and oxidation during exercise.

Storage fat is located around organs and beneath the skin, which protects the body and acts as an insulator. I don't need to tell you this but excessive accumulation of visceral fat is associated with health issues, which is why it is important to keep your body composition within a healthy body composition range - not too high but not too low.

As for essential fat, this is fat found in the marrow of bones, the heart, lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys, intestines, muscles and lipid rich tissues throughout the central nervous system. Essential fat is critical for normal body functioning. Women tend to have higher essential fat compared to men.

Your lean body mass represents everything in your body that is not fat - the weight of your muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons and internal organs. Certainly, you don't want to lose any of this "weight" through dieting or exercising.

As you can see, athletes should not be using a scale to assess a "healthy weight" and a number on the scale is an impractical method to determine "race weight." 

Let's continue on with this discussion for application purposes....

Athlete A is motivated to lose weight in order to improve athletic performance for an upcoming endurance event. This athlete does not want to hire a sport dietitian but has his/her own methods for weight loss. Let's not forget to mention that this athlete is not aware of how much energy is needed to support the metabolic demands of training and this athlete does not have a practice method of lowering body fat while retaining lean muscle mass. This athlete only uses the scale to asses weight loss. Seeing that a number of key hormones play an important role in the regulation of body composition and energy production, the glands in the endocrine system (ex. adrenal, hypothalamus, ovaries, pancreas, parathyroid, pineal, pituitary, testes, thymus, thyroid) are slowly being compromised. Athlete A has no professional guidance on his/her quest to weigh less and through diligent dietary adherence and structured intense and high volume training, this athlete loses weight. While this athlete may have arrived to race day at his/her race weight, this athlete will now spend the next few months or year, trying to fix his/her overtaxed, overloaded and damaged endocrine system. It's worth mentioning that even for athletes who are not seeking weight loss but do not understand the energy that is needed to support endurance or high intensity training, may end up unintentionally damaging hormonal or metabolic health by not "eating enough" or timing food appropriately with training, to support training stress.

So how about Athlete B. This athlete follows his/her training plan and works with a sport dietitian to better understand how to time nutrition with training, to understand individual energy and nutrient needs and to learn how to use sport nutrition properly to support long and intense training sessions and to maximize recovery. This athlete can train consistently throughout the entire season and notices a change in body composition over an extended period of time through sustainable healthy eating habits and a well-laid training plan. This athlete increases lean mass while reducing overall body fat without intentionally trying. This athlete recognizes that although the number on the scale has gone up by a few lbs, this athlete has actually lowered his/her body fat and has gained muscle. This athlete is in great health, has a leaner yet healthy and strong body and will arrive to race day confident and prepared.


A change in your body composition is the outcome of a well planned and executed fueling and training plan. When a healthy change in body composition is desired, it involves a team approach from a coach, sport dietitian and possibly an exercise physiologist for body composition testing and a doctor for lab work. Most athletes do not take this approach as they want a quick, inexpensive and easy approach to weight loss.

It's far too common that athletes will step on the scale and respond with "I'm too fat/heavy" or "I can never perform well at this weight". This triggers the need for control and immediate action and leads into overtraining, calorie restriction, carbohydrate elimination and improper fueling and hydrating.

Seeing that this approach places the athlete at risk for losing lean tissue, bone mass, depleted energy stores and a possible gain in body fat, why would any athlete want to compromise the body through this approach?

Isn't the point of training to become a better, stronger and faster athlete?

How can this be done with a body that you can't do anything with?

I hear about it all the time but unsupervised, uneducated and poorly guided athletes are most at risk for illness, injury, poor recovery, decreased performance and a host of hormonal, bone, cardiovascular and metabolic health issues. All of which negatively affect training and can compromise overall well-being.

For you to perform at your best AND to adapt to training, while functioning well in life, focus on achieving a healthy weight and let your race weight take care of itself. With optimal fueling and hydration strategies, a healthy and well balanced diet, consistent quality training, good sleep and great recovery habits, you will not only reach athletic excellence but your great daily habits will continue to bring you long-term health benefits.

Fat metabolism during exercise
Metabolic adaptation to weight loss
Getting a grip on body composition
Diets gone too far


Trimarni athlete spotlight: Tracy Kuhn: Mom of 3 conquers a marathon!

We are excited to announce a new feature on the Trimarni blog where we will be shining the spotlight on one of our Trimarni athletes (coaching or nutrition) every week.

We hope that you will feel inspired by the spotlight athlete as you learn a few tips and tricks to help you reach your personal athletic and nutrition goals.

Our athletes are normal individuals choosing to do exceptional things with a healthy body.

Name: Tracy Kuhn

Age: 37

City/State: Lexington, SC

Primary sport: Running

How many years in the sport: Off and on for the past 7 years, steady for the last two. 

What Trimarni services have you used: 
Nutrition  - 2 x preparation nutrition services and 1 x race week/day nutrition planning service
Training plan adjustment (Tracy used a run training plan from the Internet and purchased a consulting service for Marni to adjust workouts for more specificity and individualized training)


Describe your athletic background and how you discovered your current sport?

I discovered running after having our twins in 2010. I started running in 2011, just after their birthday when I saw myself in a picture.  I didn't have a lot of time to take care of myself and never really enjoyed a gym. I discovered I could lace up and head out the front door and get a workout in without too much effort. Once I realized I could run a mile the love was born. Before I knew it I was pushing the double jogger down the trail and signing up for my first 1/2 Marathon.

What keeps you training and racing in your current sport?

Running is always a competition with myself - faster, stronger, further, more hilly. There is always a way to make it more challenging. Running is a fun, healthy way to spend quality time with friends and something my entire family can get involved in.

What do you do for work?

Operations Director for an Electrical Contractor.

How does your work life affect training and how do you balance work and training?

My work schedule is always different and requires a lot of day travel. But it also has some flexibility built in that helps me balance it all. I do a lot of early morning workouts before my family is awake. Sometimes I work from home and can fit a run a little later in the morning or at lunch time when no one else has to smell the results of my workout.

Any tips/tricks as to how to balance work and training?

Planning. I try not to schedule out of town, early morning work meetings on heavy workout days - that requires too early of a wake-up call. I also pack a gym bag some days and hit the road running before I head home for the day.

Do you have kids?

Yes, Allison and Henry (almost 7) and Benjamin (almost 4). 

How does having kids affect your training?

I'm really lucky to have a supportive husband. Most mornings he handles getting the kids off to school so I can focus on my workouts and get to work on time. We also turned our playroom into a workout room with a treadmill. The kids have their own yoga mats and small weights so they can do their exercises; and I have learned to pull Leggos apart, tie jewelry, and settle the kid's arguments while getting my run on. Occasionally, we need help and aren't afraid to call on the grandparents for backup. 
I sign up for mostly local races that my family can attend or participate in. The kids love getting medals and demonstrating their speed.

What tricks or tips do you have for other athletes who struggle to balance training with family?

Ask for help, involve your family, and get up early and get your workout done before the real responsibility of your family kicks in.

Do you have a recent race result, notable performance or lesson learned that you'd like to share?

I recently completed my first full marathon! While I did not set any speed records, I overcame serious stomach upset and finished healthy and feeling strong. Marni told me that there was a chance for tummy issues in my first long distance running event so she prepped me with tips and tricks of how to best manage issues if they came about. The training and preparation worked and I am so proud of this bucket list accomplishment.

What are your top 3-5 tips for athletes, as it relates to staying happy, healthy and performing well?
  • Workout buddies - our local FiA run group has been an invaluable support and inspiration system. I have formed such great friendships and learned a lot from these ladies. It is fun to train together and share in each others' successes.

  • Plan and commit - schedule the time and stay committed to yourself, your workouts and food preparation. 

  • Take care of your body - fuel it with yummy and nutritious foods and give it the rest it needs.

  • Enjoy the journey - keep workouts fresh and challenging, and try new things.

  • Get the help of a professional! The nutritional plans Marni helped me with gave me energy and helped me learn to fuel my body with a great daily diet and pre/post workouts too. Having a professional help me plan safe, effective training, that I can fit into my lifestyle, guiding me through my unique challenges, and preparing me for overcoming obstacles that may arise has given me great confidence and a strong mind.

How would you define athletic success as it relates to your personal journey?

I finally consider myself a "real" runner. Investing in myself this year has been life changing. I am happier and more confident. I'm also more patient and have more energy to give to my very deserving family and friends, and to my work. I hope my athletic journey is just beginning and that I will consider myself a "real" athlete by the end of 2017.

What's your favorite post-race meal, drink or food?

Ice cream. Ice cream. Ice cream.

What key races do you have planned in 2017?

I'm just recovering from my first marathon but have my eye on P200 if spot opens on one of our teams, Triple Crown (3 half marathons in 3 months) in the Spring, Lexington 1/2 Marathon in the fall, and another full Marathon late 2017 or early 2018.

What are your athletic goals for the next 5 years?

To enjoy the journey, keep my body healthy, and increase my strength and speed. 

Where can others follow you on social media:

Facebook: Tracy Molzer Kuhn
Twitter: @tkuhn0217


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