Essential Sports Nutrition


Don't miss my next Facebook live chat - Top 10 nutrition tips for athletes

You are invited to attend my "Top 10 nutrition tips for athletes" presentation, on March 6th, 2017 from 7:00-8:00 pm EST. This is a FREE presentation for all fitness levels.

Are you bummed that you are not local and can't attend? Well, not to worry!

This is a Facebook live chat so yes, I will be live, you don't need to show up to the store and you can watch it from anywhere in the world!

This also means that you can ask me questions anytime during my presentation. No matter what you are doing, you can "join in" on this interactive nutrition presentation.

To access the live discussion, just refresh the Run In Facebook page at 7:00 pm and turn up your volume. I will be speaking and my friend Dane (manager of the store), will be alongside me to read off the questions from the comment section as they roll in.

For the presentation, I will be discussing: 
  1. How to organize your diet as an athlete
  2. Incorporating whole grains into your diet
  3. Daily hydration needs
  4. Natural anti-inflammatory foods
  5. Incorporating more vegetables into the diet
  6. Easy to digest pre-workout snacks
  7. How to master post-workout nutrition
  8. Tips and tricks for dialing-in during workout fueling and hydration (for triathletes and runners)
  9. How to make your own energy bar out of real food
  10. Why it's important to create a great relationship with food and the body

Be sure to LIKE and follow Run In on Facebook. 

"See" you on Monday evening! 


Athlete Spotlight: Nicole Manning - Balancing triathlon training, a social life and a High School education.

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Name: Nicole Manning

Age: 17 

City/State: McLean, VA

Primary sport: Triathlon

How many years in the sport: One year

What Trimarni services have you used: Nutrition consult, sweat testing


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

Growing up I swam competitively and played a little water polo, but swimming was my main focus. I would say that I was a decent swimmer. I was pretty involved in athletics in middle school, but running was not something I enjoyed -- I would do anything to avoid it! A common phrase for me was "I do not run!" When I started specific strength training for my swimming soon after I began high school, I started working with a triathlon coach (my now tri coach). Swimming was going pretty well for me, but I hadn't reached a level I was hoping to attain. I knew the triathlon team existed, but never did I give much thought to it until my strength coach brought it up towards the end of my sophomore year (just about a year ago!). He asked me to come try it out and at first, I thought he was kidding and then when I realized he wasn't, I was so super hesitant - land sports were pretty foreign to me! AND, this meant that I would have to run! I finally decided to try running and cycling as cross training for swimming. At that time, I had no running or cycling background besides middle school gym class warm-up runs (which kinda counts as running) and family bike rides to the local coffee shop as a kid, but I actually took to it really quickly. After a bit of triathlon training, I had my first race, where I ran my first ever 5k, which was at the end of a swim and a bike! This was so crazy to me! Within a few months, I became fully invested into the sport of triathlon. I am now finding myself improving and experiencing athletic success and I am having the time of my life! Who would have known I'd love this sport so much!?!

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What keeps you training and racing in your current sport?

I believe it's my personal drive as an athlete, but also the support of my coaches and teammates. With their help, it definitely makes it a lot easier to stay committed! I love the personal challenge, the competition aspect and it's so much fun! With the three sports and the recovery, nutrition, learning, strength training and everything else that goes into it, it's hard for triathlon to get boring! There's always something to focus on and you can develop so much. The feeling I get after races is SO worth every hard part of training. But also, I really enjoy the hard workouts too. It's also an added bonus that most triathletes are super interesting and nice. Triathlon is such a great community with some pretty hardcore people! 

Tell us about your school life
I'm a high school student at a private school in Virginia. That's a full load! On the weekends, I enjoy coaching and instructing younger kids for swimming.

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How does your school life affect training and how do you balance school and training?School definitely has its challenges to training, with long days of learning and the inability to control a good part of my daily schedule. Managing homework, studying, a training schedule, and recovery is no easy feat, but I do my best to be really efficient with the time I have throughout the day. I try to get things done for school earlier in the day so that I don't have to worry about assignments when I'm training. My coach helps me plan my training schedule to work with my busy and more relaxed school days. This has definitely given me more energy to focus on my schooling and training, without feeling overwhelmed. Also, asking for and accepting for help, by my parents, siblings, friends, teachers, and coaches has proved to be a big asset for me.

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

There will always be things that you don't want to do, when you have to do them, but sometimes you just have to suck-it-up and not procrastinate.
Do you have any siblings? 
I have two dogs and two brothers.

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How do you balance triathlon training with your parents and siblings? My family isn't all that into the sport of triathlon, but they're still super supportive of me in it. They're learning along the way with me, but sometimes, it's clear there's a barrier and they don't always get it. My parents help me understand my responsibilities and I communicate to them with what I can really handle with both school and training.Fortunately, my parents are super supportive and they help me with certain responsibilities when I'm really crunched for time. I am super grateful for my parents and I don't mind asking them for help. People can't offer help if they don't know that help is needed.

Any tips for other young athletes when parents may not "get it"? Definitely be honest about your goals for triathlon but make sure you know what your responsibilities are and what your parents expect from you.

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How do you balance triathlon with a social life?  
My social life and training is pretty connected. I'll be the first to admit, however, that sometimes my social life gets pushed to the side when it comes to training or the few extra hours of sleep that I need as a triathlete. But this is OK to me because I try to use my time wisely and still make time for my friends. If I don't have a lot of time between workouts or I know I need to wake up very early in the morning for a training session, I can't be out too late with my friends. Instead, I'll plan to see my friends for lunch the next day. Or, instead of going shopping, I'll invite my friends over to watch a movie. Allowing myself the time to work on my athletic goals is a priority, but when I have time and energy available, I enjoy my social time. But then again, it doesn't take a lot of energy to do something small for someone else, especially a friend.

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Do you have a recent race result, notable performance or lesson learned that you'd like to share?
I've learned that transitions can be super key on race day, so don't overlook those as a triathlete! Practice transitions in training. Also, double checking everything on race day morning, like that your chain is all set or your laces on your shoes are how you like them to be, can save you a lot of time and worry on race day!

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What are your top tips for athletes, as it relates to staying happy, healthy and performing well?
-Listen to your body and what it's telling you. With that, definitely don't neglect your recovery, stretching and foam rolling! -Eat to fuel yourself.

-Give yourself the occasional off day or recovery day for both a mental and physical recharge.

Sometimes I just want to go go go, but assessing what's actually best for me long term is a lot more constructive. Connected with that, staying on top of your homework and maintaining good relationships with those around you, makes for a lot less stress in your life outside of training. It allows you more energy to push outside of your comfort zone in your training sessions.

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How would you define athletic success as it relates to your personal journey?Athletics are something that have become a really important part of my life and it is part of my identity, so success as an athlete is really important for me. But, just enjoying the journey along the way is something that helps me grow as a person, and something I'll look back on and really appreciate as I get older.

What's your favorite post-race meal, drink or food?So hard to say! I'm a huge sushi fan, but immediately post race PB and J or watermelon always seems to hit the spot!

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What key races do you have planned in 2017?I have quite a few races on my schedule, but some of the bigger races (hopefully) include: Jr. Elite Nationals in August, possibly Age Group Nationals, and then Age Group World Championships in Rotterdam in September!

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What are your athletic goals for the next 5 years?I'm not really sure! I don't want to limit myself. I want to really push myself in triathlon and see where that takes me. I'll be a senior in high school next year and looking at colleges, so I will see how triathlon fits into my future plans. Staying healthy and enjoying what I'm doing is the most important.....but future successes are super welcomed!



Too focused on race weight?

Are you counting down the weeks until your first triathlon race of the upcoming season? I am itching to race!!

As it relates to athletic performance, changing body composition will only offer a performance advantage if goals and methods are appropriately established. With many attractive approaches for fat loss, triathletes should be cautious of weight loss strategies that promote quick results as there is great risk for losing lean tissue, bone mass or gaining body fat, lingering fatigue, illness, injury, compromised recovery and performance decline.  Additionally, a weight reduction program may trigger disordered eating habits, paving the way to an eating disorder. 

Typically, low energy availability occurs when athletes consumes less than 30 calories per kilogram of fat free mass per day. For women to stay in good metabolic and hormonal health, this number is typically around 45 calories per kg of fat free mass per day.

I'd like to think that every triathlete understands that being in low energy availability will not promote gains in fitness/performance but time and time again, athletes will train through excessive fatigue from an energy deprived body and despite the red flags that the body is not in good health, athletes arrive to race day with an underfueled and undernourished body, expecting to perform well because they reached "race weight".
And we should not overlook the athlete who doubts his/her athletic race day potential because race weight was not reached. Who says that a weight will tell you how well or not well you will perform?

With so many endurance triathletes putting more focus on body image and training hours/miles than on making sure the body can perform high quality training sessions, while recovering well from every workout, I can't stress it enough that obsessing over a "weight" will not provide an athletic advantage if your methods and strategies for body composition change are damaging to your overall health. And plus, with so much energy that is needed to balance training with life, why spend that extra energy worrying about your weight?

As it relates to low energy availability, athletes can intentionally or unintentionally not meet energy needs. 

Intentionally - athlete wants to make “race weight”, get leaner or change body composition and goes about it in an extreme way, restricts certain foods/food groups, creates dietary food rules, limits carbs and fears consuming sport nutrition/food before, during and after workouts.

Unintentionally - athlete inadvertently does not meet energy needs due to poor nutrient planning, uneducated on proper fueling/hydration strategies, never learning how to eat like an athlete, busy schedule, poor meal planning, lack of appetite, lack of food availability, stress/exhaustion.

Knowing that an underfueled or undernourished body will not perform as well as a well-fueled and well-nourished body, understand that your ultimate athletic goal for every race is to achieve a race ready body. Your body becomes ready for race day through consistent training, good recovery, life balance, mental strength, great sleep, smart training, enjoyment for your sport and a strong and resilient body.

It’s pretty incredible what you can do with your body when it is healthy, injury free, properly fueled and well-nourished nourished.  

If body composition is your main goal, you are chasing the wrong athletic dream.

A trained, happy, confident and healthy body will always trump a tired, stressed and energy deprived body.

Considering that extreme, obsessive and ritualistic eating may increase the risk for disordered eating patterns and eating disorders, do yourself a big favor this season and focus on what your body can do, and not on what it looks like. With the entire season ahead of you, keeping your body in good health requires a lot of work. Not eating enough will not make it work any better. 


A training weekend to remember - be proud of your accomplishments

It's crazy to think that this is my 11th year of endurance triathlon racing and for the last five years, I have been sharing it with Karel as my training partner. We have had highs and we have had lows but that's all to be expected when you are a competitive athlete, always wanting to give your best, stretch your comfort zone and push your limits. 

Over the past few years, I have learned that it requires a lot of work and time to see performance improvements, so I am never quick to assume that my training is or isn't working. I continue to focus on the process and with so much gratitude to my strong and healthy body, no workout is taken for granted. Some workouts are so-so, some I want to quickly forget and others go into my memory bank to be remembered on race day. 
I've also learned that time goals, paces and watts are not worth chasing nor is a specific body image, but instead, I must continuously focus on something more subjective and meaningful to keep me motivated to train and race. 

Since I am not racing an Ironman distance triathlon this season (I've raced 6 Ironmans since 2013 and 2012 was the last time I took a season off from IM racing), but instead focusing on half IM distance racing, I've been creating a list of triathlon goals for myself that will keep me focused on the process of training rather than the outcome of race day. 

With so many years in the sport of endurance triathlon, I can admit to spending many of workouts criticizing my weaknesses and not focusing on my strengths. Sure, we all need to be honest, and somewhat critical about needed areas of improvements but I believe that many athletes doubt their own potential for success during the times of training weakness, bad workouts, a plateau in fitness gains, inconsistency or injury/sickness. But every athlete has room for improvement and the harder you work, the more consistently you train and the more processed driven goals you set for yourself, the bigger the chance that you will improve. 

If you find yourself crushing a workout, noticing your fitness improving or experiencing something new about yourself, like an improvement in your mental game, better execution of pacing or better application of sport nutrition, don't be shy about it. 

Since race day only comes but just a few times a year, give yourself permission to indulge in your own athletic triumphs every now and then. 

Let's get real - you train early in the morning before the world gets up, you squeeze in workouts whenever you have the chance, you organize your diet to support your training and you give your best, even when no one is watching. Don't wait until race day to "hope" it all comes together. You deserve to celebrate your personal victories NOW, in training. 

Athletic improvements will happen but they won't happen with a quick fix, magic potion or one or two epic workouts every now and then. Consistent training and hard work will pay off but improvements take time. 

The next time that you find yourself "wowing" at yourself, be proud of your accomplishment and share it with people who care about you and who have helped you along the way. 
No matter how big or small, take note of these special moments in your training journey as those are the moments that you work so hard for and that you will remember the most on race day. 


My weekend to remember actually started on Friday. I have been feeling very frustrated with my swimming lately, struggling to consistently swim under 1:20 per 100 yards. While I can knock it out every now and then, I have felt like the effort I am putting forth to swim those sub 1:20's is just too much. In other words, every time I try to swim fast, I feel like I should be going much faster than what I am seeing on the pace clock. Let's just say, my swimming has been frustrating to me over the past few weeks. 
Sometimes I find myself in these swimming ruts where finding 2-3 extra seconds to knock off my swim times seems near to impossible. And then I see Karel, swimming next to me, improving in what seems to be, every single swim workout! I suppose I know better as I have been swimming for 25 years and Karel has been swimming for all of five so his gains appear to be much bigger than mine. 

Well, finally the day came when it finally happened. 
On Friday morning, I swam by myself at Furman and the main set was as followed: 

MS 5x's: 
3 x 100's strong w/ 10 sec rest
30 sec rest before repeating

My times hoovered around 1:14-1:17  with the last 3 x 100's all at 1:14. 

Then to finish the 3500 yard swim, I had to do 1 x 100 all out (from a wall push off)


I was so excited that I couldn't wait to call Karel after my swim and tell him that I finally had a good swim workout. Although I love being in the water, no matter how slow or fast I swim, I was really excited about that workout. 

Later on Friday, I had a very tough bike workout. Like so tough, my legs felt shredded at the end. 

The main sets were as follows: 

 MS #1: 
5 x (4 min all under 50 rpm, build effort from Z3 to absolutely max
3 min EZ spin between)

MS #2
8 min Z2 endurance 

MS #3: 
3 x (6 min at Z3+ all under 45 rpm) w/ 3 min EZ, fast rpm between)

Holy moly that was tough!

Karel did his bike workout first thing in the morning and swam in the evening. We both finished with a quality day of training but wow, we were exhausted come bedtime. 

On Saturday morning, I joined Karel, Thomas and Al for a ride up to Caesar's head before the guys would carry on for a 5 hour ride. Karel did not want me riding that long two weekends in a row so I was ok with riding back home by myself and doing my own thing. 

Well, sadly, Thomas's bike was having some trouble and even after a few fixes by Karel (always ride with your bike mechanic!), the bike was still having issues. It wasn't too long after Karel adjusted the derailleur as much as he could, that Thomas's bike chain eventually broke from getting stuck between gears (it was one of those mechanical issues that couldn't have been fixed on this day). What a bummer. Thomas handled himself really well as the situation put a damper on his morning training but our friend Brian picked him up and Thomas ended up getting in a quality brick on the trainer (on his road bike), later that day. 

Since Thomas was not longer with us, Karel decided that him and Al would continue to ride with me for the rest of the ride. Of course, Karel lead the way so we just followed. 

It was a beautiful route and like usual, the cars were friendly to us cyclists on the road. I feel so safe on our roads and it is always so much  fun to be on our bikes in and around Greenville. 

The big money maker was going strong for almost 6.5 miles up to the top of Caesar's head. Karel wanted me to pace myself for the first 3 miles and then when the road leveled out before it kicks up again, he wanted me to go strong to the top. 

While Al and Karel kept it conversational pace behind me, I found my rhythm and rode it very steady until Karel took the lead and pulled me to the top. I couldn't believe how "fast" I rode to the top, in my personal best time for that climb. I was also shocked to see that I could stay on Karel's wheel all the way to about 1000 meters to go when Karel kicked it up a notch and I didn't have that punch in my legs. I was huffing and puffing to the top and I was so excited to tell Karel about my time. 

Yep - celebrating 10mph for almost 6.5 miles! 

Al was riding really strong and a few minutes later he arrived to the top to join us. It's always fun training with our athletes. 

After the ride, we went for a 21 minute, 2.7 mile run around the rolling hills of our 'hood and the focus of the run was to build throughout. I wasn't sure how my legs would perform after 3:58 miles, 7078 feet of climbing (after elevation correction on TP) and 66.5 miles but once again, I was shocked that my form was good and I could find my rhythm. I was not able to hang with Al or Karel but I still had a great run off the bike. Karel ran super speedy and he looked good for his entire run. 

It was certainly a brick to remember. 

I was super exhausted from one of my hardest bricks but that's too be expected, especially since my body is doing things that it has never ever done before. These fitness gains, especially on the bike, have been a loooong time coming but even Karel is so excited about how strong I have been getting on the bike. 

Even though I am not a napper, Campy convinced me to lay down for a little bit and I took him up on his napping suggestion. Thank goodness for Campy, who is a professional recovery coach. 
(Karel took this pic while I was resting my eyes and tired body). 

As for Sunday, my "long" run was on the treadmill and it was a nasty workout! 

3 x 12 minutes as: 
2 min Z3, 4% incline
2 min Z4, 4% incline
1 min Z4, 5% incline
30 sec Z5, 5% incline
30 sec max at 6% incline
2 min EZ walk/jog
4 min Z2 endurance 

That was tough! 
I ended up with 7 miles and 1:15 total running time for this "long" run and my legs were toasted. I could not have been more proud of my body and I am incredibly thankful for my good health and what I can do with my body after 11 years of endurance training and racing.