Essential Sports Nutrition


2017 Trimarni coaching - apply now!

If you are reading this blog, there's a good chance you already know a lot about us.

You know that we are full-time triathlon coaches and that we specialize in coaching endurance triathletes.

We are also experts in sport nutrition (Marni) and cycling/bike fitting (Karel).

You can ask Karel to help you with your diet but you will probably get no help....

Unless you like beer. 

We are serious about our coaching and helping our athletes optimize performance. 

  But we also believe that the sport of triathlon should be fun and that every athlete deserves to be part of a great triathlon family.
You know we love to eat, we love to travel and we love Campy.
(You probably don't know that we have two cats and that's because Campy gets all the attention) 

First paws across the line!

You probably know that we raced together in Kona last year at the 2015 Ironman World Championship.
And this year, we both had huge PR's at Ironman Austria (9:13 for Karel, 10:06 for Marni).

I achieved my season race goal of placing on the podium at Ironman Austria.

And Karel did it 8 weeks later at Ironman Mont Tremblant.

 We also hold several triathlon training camps throughout the year, where our campers can learn, be challenged and break away from the normal stressors of life to focus on swim/bike/run/eat/sleep in order to improve skills and to take fitness to that next level. 

But just in case you need a little refresher on who we are at Trimarni Coaching......
Marni and Karel are a husband and wife team who specialize in endurance coaching. They are dedicated to helping newbie, experienced, elite and professional athletes maximize sport performance.

Between them both, they have successfully finished 17 Ironman triathlons and have qualified for the Ironman World Championship six times.

Currently, Karel is training for his 2nd Ironman World Championship and Marni will be enjoying her 5th trip to Kona for the IM World Championship as a first time spectator.
Don't worry - she is trained and fit and ready to spectate on the big island. 

Marni is a board certified dietitian with a Master of Science in exercise physiology. She specializes in endurance triathlon coaching and nutrition, race planning and execution, individualized sport nutrition, training and racing fueling and hydrating planning, nutritious daily eating, plant strong diets, body composition changes and helping athletes improve their relationship with food and body image.
She is also a qualified speaker and experienced writer.

Karel is a skilled bike mechanic with a precise eye for detail. He has decades of experience in the bike industry. Karel is an experienced RETUL bike fitter and provides a wealth of knowledge to age group and professional athletes in the areas of triathlon training and racing, cycling skills, equipment/gear choices and appropriate bike fits.
As a former cat 1 cyclist, with no swimming or running background, Karel is now an  accomplished endurance triathlete who recently finished IMMT with the fastest male amateur run split of 3:08. And, he now actually likes to swim (well, sometimes).

  As elite athletes, Marni and Karel bring years of practice, education and skills in their own athletic careers and apply that experience and knowledge to athletes of all levels.

Trimarni philosophy:
Our goal is to help athletes reach performance goals without compromising health.
We incorporate scientific research with practical ideologies and apply to real world settings so that we can take your training and racing to the next level.
Let us help you perform at your best by giving you the individual and personalized services that you and your body deserve. 

If you are an endurance triathlete who is interested in being coached by Marni and Karel for your 2017 triathlon season and you want to be part of the Trimarni coaching team, here's your one-time chance for next season....


Get motivated

You’ve likely heard the saying “you won’t regret a workout when it’s over.”
Getting the workout started, however, is often the hard part.

It may seem like motivation is something that you have to find and either you have it or you don't.
When you have motivation - you crush your workouts.
When you don't have motivation - it's a struggle to get started and to stay committed to your workout.

Sometimes, the body has the energy to train but the mind has a dozen excuses to skip (or not finish) the workout.
And sometimes the mind is eager to accept the upcoming workout challenge but the body struggles to find energy with each movement.

If you agree with one or both of the statements above, you are normal.
Every athlete, from age grouper to professional, will fight for motivation at least a handful of times throughout the season.

To help you out, here are three simple ways to get yourself motivated when mind says “let’s go” but the body screams “heck no!”

A proper warm-up
Give yourself a chance to wake-up your body before you convince yourself that you are too exhausted to train.
To rev your cardio system as you transition from being sedentary to moving your body, allow 5-15 minutes of mobility and dynamic exercises to target the key muscle groups being used in your upcoming workout. Hip hikes, light foam rolling, walking lunges and leg or arm swings are a few examples of simple exercises that you can perform before your workout to slowly increase the heart rate and to improve range of motion.
This is extremely valuable for early morning sessions as well as when you workout after a long, stressful day of life.
Also, during peak season, you'll find that you need a bit more of a warm-up before you start feeling energized before a main set. Don't count yourself out of a good workout based on how you feel in the first 15 minutes of your warm-up. Give yourself 10-15 minutes more to get the endorphins flowing and you may surprise yourself.

For an instant pick-me-up, there’s research to support that music can positively affect motivation and mood.  Don’t believe me?
Turn on your favorite jam before a workout and then envision yourself fist-pumping your way down your next race finish line.
Just like that - you have motivation.
Regardless if you prefer an enlightening or funny podcast to distract your brain during a workout or need the strong beats of techno, hip hop or alternative to get your heart pumping, the stimulating effects of music can help with many emotions, including minimizing low-spirited thoughts that often decrease the motivation to train.

It seems obvious that what you eat (or don’t eat) can affect your energy levels, digestive system and mood but with so much on your daily plate, nutrient timing, snacking and real-food meal planning can often be an afterthought for athletes.

To initiate a positive dietary change, always prioritize what you will eat before and after your workouts. By giving your workouts the spotlight, the effort is made to focus on food as fuel, which will help you train well and recover better. To ensure that you never train on empty, be sure to stock your workout bag with extra sport nutrition so you are always prepared. 
As for when you aren’t training, plan and prep a variety of wholesome real food options for easy meal prep so you can keep your body energized and in good health.  


Become a better triathlete - focus on the bike

It's hard to find me not smiling when I'm on my bike.
Especially when I'm riding in Greenville.

Views like this make me so happy to be outside, in the mountains, surrounding myself by nature, on two wheels. Yes, our riding is challenging and it's not easy to settle into a rhythm but it's impossible to get bored and there are endless cycling routes to choose from, with so much to see, on two wheels.

I feel SO lucky to live in Greenville, where our roads are bike friendly and the views are spectacular.

It's common that many triathletes assume that to be a better triathlete, you need to be a better runner. While there is some truth in this statement as triathlon is a 3-sport event, but far too many triathletes remember the last sport as the sport that was the "failure" when it's the bike that allows you to deliver yourself to a good run.

Far too many triathletes fail on the run simply because of what precedes the run....the bike.
Sure, some triathletes are just "better" runners than others but some triathletes are better trained and skilled cyclists than others, which makes for better running off the bike. 

Now I believe that this blog needs to have some context as it's easy to go off in several directions on this topic. While I am not saying that you should stop trying to be a better runner and put all your focus on the bike, there are a few ways that you run better off the bike, simply by becoming a better cyclist.

1) Make sure you are properly fit on your bike. This should a non-negotiable investment that you don't even think twice about getting done as soon as you get a new bike and then at least 2-3 re-fits over the next year. When you are fit properly on your bike, you are more comfortable riding at higher intensities and for longer volumes. Your fit will help you ride more efficiently, thus you can run with "fresher" legs off the bike. A proper fit will also help you ride safer on your bike as you will feel more "one" with your bike (instead of feeling like you are on a bike that doesn't fit you - imagine that logic).
While any bike fitter can call him/herself a "professional fitter" it is important to do your research to ensure that your bike fit specialist/expert not only has experience but also has consistent testimonials, among all types of cyclists, who would confidently recommend this individual as an experienced fitter.
Lastly, once you get your fit, you need to do your homework. Many triathletes get very comfortable with a bad fit and when they are properly fit, they go back to old habits (ex. sitting on the saddle in the wrong place, not rotating the hips when aero, putting too much tension in the arms while firmly holding the base bars, etc.). It is important that you recognize that it takes time to get use to a good fit, especially after you got comfortable with a bad fit.

2) Make sure your bike is in good working conditions - Imagine where all that sweat goes when you are training? Or what happens inside your bike when you ride in the rain. Now imagine what happens to the efficiency of your ride when all that rust builds up inside the inner-workings of your bike. Now think about how great your bike rode when it was brand new.....overtime, without keeping your bike in good working condition, your bike becomes more difficult to ride as you train for your upcoming races. Without realizing it, you have to actually ride harder and put forth more effort when your bike is not maintained. A detailed tune-up is more than wiping off your bike frame and lubing the chain. Not only will your bike be safer to ride when you keep it in great condition throughout the year but it will ride more efficiently, thus allowing you to expend less energy to go faster. Your bike is an expensive machine and you need to take really good care of that machine. Don't assume that your speed on race day is all based on your fitness - a tuned-up bike is a fast and safe bike.
(I am incredibly lucky to be married to one very detailed bike mechanic. Karel will spend over 2 hours taking apart almost every part of my/his bike to keep it in top-notch condition, almost once a month, every month throughout the year)

3) Always work on your cycling skills - For many years, Karel always told me that I would be a better all-around Ironman triathlete if I was faster on the bike. His approach to make me faster was simple.... improve my horrible cycling skills. This was years in the making but I can finally say that I have good bike handling skills and great management of the terrain when riding.
Understanding how to best climb, descend, pace yourself, how to change gears, when to break, how to navigate in windy conditions, how to efficiently stand or sit, how to position your hips on the saddle, how to rotate bottles on your bike, how to take turns, working on a variable cadence and riding comfortably on any and all terrain will not only make for more enjoyable (and SAFE) riding but you will find that you save a lot of energy when you ride, thus helping you run better off the bike. When you know how to ride your bike efficiently, you are not as fatigued when you finish the ride, thus it makes for better-feeling legs when you start the run. Sadly, for many triathletes, riding on the trainer or riding in a straight line, on flat roads, doesn't improve bike handling skills and terrain management. If you want to be a better cyclist to be a better runner, you have to ride outside a lot.
For any individual who did not grow up riding on a bike (which is most triathletes living in the US), it can often feel like your bike is a foreign object that you are sitting on (which likely doesn't feel good when you sit on it when you are not fit properly) and then you have to control this expensive and fast object when you are on the road.
When you ride scared or tense, you can't control your bike (thus "speed wobbles" - it's not the bike, it's you causing the bike to wobble).
It is important to feel one with your bicycle.
I will be the first to tell you that my skills have improved greatly BUT I am still working on my cycling skills. I have improved tremendously in the last two years, since moving to Greenville as we have little flat terrain and a lot of different types of roads to ride on.
For most triathletes, working on cycling skills will pay off more than checking off your "long" ride workouts or thinking that running longer will make you a better triathlete (or more prepared). These long workouts are great for your confidence but they may falsely validate "readiness" before a long distance triathlon IF your skills are not up to par.

4) Have trust in your fueling/hydrating plan - A poor bike fit, coupled with a bike that is in poor working condition, combined with not-so-good cycling skills....sorry, but no amount of sport nutrition, even from the best sport nutrition expert, will ensure success on race day.
As you continue to work on tips 1-3, it is important that you continually work on your fueling/hydration plan in training to build confidence for race day. There is no reason why you should arrive to race day and have no idea how to fuel as you have months to practice, practice and practice. Above all, sport nutrition should be tolerable but you don't have to love it. Sport nutrition serves a function whereas real food in your diet is what you should love.
To ensure that your fueling plan works, I encourage you to include some race-prep workouts (around 3.5-4 hours for Ironman athletes and 2.5-3 hours for half IM athletes), which help you test your current fueling/hydration regime on the bike to see if your pacing and nutrition will set you up for a good run.

5) Make every ride a meaningful ride - Have a purpose for every ride and ride a lot. You are allowed to ride your bike for more than just a workout. When was the last time you took your bike outside and just explored a neighborhood without a Garmin to clock your speed and miles?
How about taking your bike for a spin (outside or trainer) to get warmed up before a run? How about riding your road bike for an EZ spin or just simply ride your bike for 20 minutes to work on your cycling skills? Are you riding to gain fitness, strength, speed or endurance or are you riding to improve your foundation and to work on weaknesses and skills? You can do both!
If you are always riding to check off workouts, in order to reach x-miles each time you ride, you are not riding with a purpose. At the end of the day, everything that you do in training should be designed to help you perform better as a triathlete on race day. If you are chronically underperforming on race day on the bike or always running far below your potential off the bike, ask yourself if there is something you can do in training to help you train smarter. Sadly, running more isn't the answer to being a better triathlete.

For any triathlete who wants to be a better all around athlete, take note of the middle portion of a triathlon (swim BIKE run) so that you can ride your way to a successful triathlon performance. 


What we can learn from Paralympic athletes

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I don't believe that life is perfect and that you always need to be happy to live a good life.
But I've always considered myself a positive person, trying to see the bright side in every situation.

My dad was always happy - he never seemed to have a bad day. Nothing ever bothered him. It was truly remarkable how he lived his life, which was sadly cut short due to cancer at the young age of 67. 

Now more than ever, I try to live with a mindset similar to my dad's, where I always try to wake-up excited for another day of life and look to experiences, nature, travel and other people for inspiration.

As you know, I am extremely passionate about sports, specifically swimming, cycling, running and triathlon. 
I just love watching the human body in action.

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I'm not sure if you are following the paralympics, as there is little TV coverage in the US (aside from NBC sports) but I strongly encourage you to watch and follow these incredible athletes in action.

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Sadly, you won't see many of these athletes interviewed on TV, in magazines or in a commercial because most of the press supports able-bodied athletes.
It's as if a disability discriminates against what it means to be a true athlete, thus the lack of attention from the media on the paralympic athletes in Rio.

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Athletes are always a source of inspiration because of their hard work, dedication and ability to overcome the odds.

But I can't imagine a better group of deserving individuals to look up to than the paralympic athletes (or any athlete with a disability for that matter).

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The world does not cater to disabled individuals. It can be hard to find accessible ways to get around easily and safely and it can also be very costly to be a disabled individual.

For the disabled or impaired individual who is also an athlete, it can be very difficult to find access to coaching, therapy and other services, not to mention the cost of specific gear, clothing and travel.

But, as we all know, sports are an outlet for many individuals and for the disabled, sports have shown these incredible human beings that there is ability within a disability. 

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I feel that this world needs to witness more amazing sporting achievements by paralympic athletes. I feel our world would be a better place. You watch an athlete swim without arms and suddenly, your "bad" swim workout isn't really worth complaining about.
Or, you complain about not having energy to train yet imagine how much work it takes a swimmer, with no arms or no legs, to not only swim but get to the pool and dress for swim practice.

The next time you find yourself complaining about something meaningless, stressing over something small or worrying about something that is not important, I consider you to think about the athletes who have learned how to rise up from hardship with focus, determination, a positive mindset.
It doesn't matter who you are as an athlete, but you must have the strength to move forward in life, without excuses for what could have or should have been.

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Paralympic athletes push the limits as to what is humanly possibly by the human body.
These athletes are living life to the fullest because they are not willing to settle.
They have goals and you better believe they find a creative way to reach them.
They are overcoming disabilities in order to live very productive, meaningful and happy lives, all while inspiring others in the process. 

When an individual becomes an athlete, he/she gains self esteem, determination, courage and confidence. 

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For those who are missing a limb (or three), are visually impaired, have brain or nerve damage, cerebral palsy, MS or have a learning or movement disability......

We must remember that these athletes are human.
Even if an athlete has physical or mental impairment, we should treat them with the same respect, attention and notoriety as the able-body athletes.

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The next time you are having a bad day or you feel like nothing is going right, I encourage you to change your perspective of your current situation.
Is it really the worst day of your life?
Is everything really going wrong right now?
Do you really wish that you were not alive right now?

It's ok to be mad, upset or frustrated but sometimes it doesn't hurt to think a bit differently and remember the people in this world who may not have the easy life that you are living, yet refuse to give up on making the impossible possible.