Essential Sports Nutrition


18 memorable moments in 2018

I always enjoy reflection as I close the chapter to one year and welcome in a new year. As we roll into 2019, here are eighteen of my most memorable moments in 2018.

1. Karel became a US citizen.

2. I qualified for my 5th Ironman World Championship.

3. Karel qualified for his 4th Ironman World Championship.

4. Karel finished the 2018 IM World Championship after completing the 112 mile bike on only one gear.

5. We spent 5 amazing weeks in Europe, visiting Karel's family in Znojmo, Czech Republic, racing in Austria and Prague and traveling to Frankfurt, Germany. 

6. Karel stuck to a strict ice cream diet while we were in Europe. One ice cream a day for over 3 weeks!

7. We brought Karel's mom back to the US with us and she enjoyed 3 months with us! We took her to Madison, WI, Augusta, GA and Kona, Hawaii.

8. I wrote my first book!

9. People purchased my book! 

10. Campy survived his first dog attack. We are so thankful that he is ok!

11. We took full advantage of our off-season and enjoyed a few fall hikes. 

12. Karel and I stayed injury free in 2018!

13. We had over 30 Trimarni athletes racing at the IM 70.3 FL Triclub championship. And we placed third in division IV. 

14. On behalf of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, you helped us donate $532 to the Greenville Human Society.

15. We survived two days without power after a strong snow storm hit Greenville, SC.

16. We celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary.

17. I got a new bike!

18. My Grandpa turned 95!

Lastly, a big thank you to all the Trimarni athletes and team members, our friends and family and the many Trimarni followers for your ongoing support!

Cheers to a great 2019! 


Our 2019 Race Schedule

A lot of thought, consideration and planning has gone into this schedule, specifically our love of travel, challenging courses and racing with our athletes. Although our first race of the 2019 triathlon season feels forever away, we are excited to officially share when and where we will be racing in 2019.

Ironman 70.3 Haines City
Karel and I will be sharing this race course with many of our athletes as this will be our first Trimarni team  race of the season. We like this venue because it's super spectator friendly. The race also provides a great no-pressure vibe to kick-start the season and dust off the rust that accumulated over the winter. This race will serve as a gentle reminder of the suffering that goes into racing for 70.3 miles.

Ironman 70.3 St. George
Although I love, love, love this race venue, I chose not to do this race this year so that I can focus on Chattanooga 70.3 as my early season key race. Karel, on the other hand, will be participating in this challenging event for the 3rd year in a row as he loves to race himself into great fitness. I'll be staying home so Karel will be traveling solo and meeting up with a few Trimarnis who are racing.

Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga
This will be our first time racing the 70.3 distance in Chattanooga even though we've been to this race venue several times in the past two years. Karel and I had raced well on the course at 2017 Ironman Chattanooga (I was overall female amateur and Karel was the 2nd overall male amateur) and liked the set up of the race. We love how the city really welcomes this race. Although the swim and bike are not challenging, the run will be a great test to challenge us mentally and physically. We decided to use this as another Trimarni team race as we like the idea of having our athletes race two half IM distance events fairly close together (4-6 weeks). We feel athletes learn so much from the first race of the season and most of the time, athletes will outperform themselves in the second race by digging a little deeper, mentally and physically.

We will have three training camps in Greenville, SC in 2019. Our camps are open to the public and registration is now open.

March 27th-April 1st - Skills camp
June 26th-July 1st - Advanced endurance camp
August 21st-26th - Endurance camp

To learn more about our 2019 camps, click HERE.

Ironman Canada
We are so excited to finally check this race off our race bucket list. With nearly 8000 feet of elevation gain on the bike, over 1000 feet on the run, mountain views and a ski-town vibe, we knew this was a must-do race-cation for us! The coolest part about this race is that the full Ironman distance is on the same day as the half M distance. This made for a great reason to use this as another team Trimarni race. Our athletes can support one another, irregardless of which distance they want to participate in. Plus, this is a race where time goals can go out the window and athletes can truly race for the challenge and joy of racing. Since Karel and I have already qualified for the 2019 Ironman World Championship, we will use this as a race to test our fitness, practice pacing and nutrition and gain more tools for IM Kona. There's always something to learn when racing for 140.6 miles and racing in a beautiful race venue makes it even more memorable. Plus, we want to be reminded of the hurt that comes with racing an Ironman before we gear-up for the big dance in October.

Sept - undecided??
Karel and I were originally planning to race IM 70.3 Augusta with our athletes in late September but now that the race in only 2 weeks before IM Kona (one week later than last year), we have decided that it won't work well in our schedule as we will be in Kona that weekend. Our assistant coach Joe will be there in Augusta as a participant and supporting our athletes. I will likely use August/Sept to focus only on my training before Kona whereas I'm sure Karel will be itching to race again as he has proved to himself that he does well when can handle racing back-to-back races (and it actually benefits him).

Ironman World Championship
With no set plans to race after October, Karel and I will be finishing our season in Kona, Hawaii. This will be my 5th time racing the Ironman World Championship and Karel's 4th time. The island continues to be a challenge for us both as neither one us have felt like we have mastered it. After completing Ironman Canada, IM Kona will be my 16th Ironman and Karel's 14th Ironman - for a combined 30 Ironman distance races between us! Although the Ironman is an extreme distance that is far from predictable, it's a distance that suits us well (mentally and physically) and we are both looking forward to sharing the course together and seeing what we can both do on October 12th, 2019.


Top 10 anti-bloating foods

Many people complain about bloating. That feeling of feeling full, tight, gassy and uncomfortable in the belly. With many causes, a few of the top reasons include constipation, IBS, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), gastroparesis and gynecological conditions. 

With several treatment options, looking into the diet is a great first line treatment plan.

In a recent Bicycling article, I was given the opportunity to provide a few of my thoughts on this popular topic. You can check out my tips along with the top ten anti-bloating foods.

Anti-Bloating Foods


YOUR gift to the Greenville Humane Society

As you may know, we love all animals. These creatures bring so much happiness and joy and a smile on on our face every single day. At our home, we are loved by Madison (cat - ~10.5 years old), Smudla (Cat - almost 16 years old) and Campy (dog - 11 years old). We also have a 75-gallon fresh water fish tank of African Cichlids. Our house backs up to a nature preserve filled with wild deer, squirrels, birds and the occasional coyote howl.

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, we are also greeted by the cute faces of farm animals on almost every single bike ride. You don't have to go very far from our house to see horses, cows, goats, sheep, chickens, pigs, buffalo and llamas.

Prior to 2018, it was important to me that we give back to the Greenville community on behalf of our business, Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition. When discussing my idea with Karel, it made a lot of sense for us to give back to the Greenville Humane Society. Seeing that all three of our furry children are rescues, it was only right for us to help support a place that works hard to give all animals a loving home.

A few facts about the Greenville Humane Society;

  • Founded in 1930.
  • One of the largest no-kill shelters in the Southeast.
  • They receive no government funding and operate solely on donations and sponsorships.
  • One of the largest low-cost Spay/Neuter Clinics in South Carolina.
  • They offer a variety of low-cost services. Check them out here.
Because of your Trimarni purchase(s) in 2018, we were able to give a donation of $532 to the Greenville Humane Society. Thank you for helping us give back. Together, we are all making a difference in this world for our furry friends.


Just the other day, we received a thank you letter from the Greenville Humane Society, signed by Kim Pitman, Executive Director, and within the letter was a personal story about Spot.

"Thanks to your support, the Greenville Humane Society is the second largest No-Kill facility in the Southeast behind Atlanta. Through our network of over thirty-five partner shelters, we have lowered the euthanasia rate throughout the entire Southeast. Your support also helps us offer essential and affordable services to our community in our new Medical Center, which is life-saving for animals like Spot.

Spot came to us with a terribly painful leg injury which required an expensive and difficult surgical repair. Without the procedure Spot faced the options of losing his leg or living a life of pain. Because of generous donors like you, enough support was raised to not only fix Spot's leg through a very successful surgery, but also to provide a foster home for five weeks while he was in the healing process. Today, Spot is living a life free of pain and has found a new home with his forever family, including his new doggie sister!" 

Greenville Humane Society 2017 Year in Review:

  • Capital Campaign: Completed the first successful capital campaign in the Greenville Humane Society’s 87 year history. The campaign raised $3.3 Million to fund the construction of two new critical buildings: The Medical Center and The Healing Place. The campaign was completely dependent on contributions from individuals, Foundations and area companies. The Greenville Humane Society does NOT receive any government, United Way or national animal welfare funding.
  • Medical Center and Healing Place: Completed construction of our groundbreaking Medical Center and Healing Place on September 28th, 2017. As of January 1st, 2018 over 500 animals had already been treated for illnesses in our Healing Place.
  • Fiscal Responsibility Ratings: Recognized as the number one Humane Society in the United States by Charity Navigator. Received a perfect score based on our finances, accountability and transparency. We also have a Platinum GuideStar rating.
  • Adoptions: Adopted 6,158 pets into forever homes and set a historical record for most adoptions in one month: 663 adoptions in December 2017. Average return rate is only 5% which makes the Greenville Humane Society the largest no kill facility in the Southeast just behind Atlanta.
  • Admissions: In 2017, 44% of Greenville Humane Society animals were owner surrenders and 56% were transferred from other animal shelters. We now partner with 35 high euthanasia shelters in five states to pull animals. By doing so, we are helping to lower the euthanasia rates in the entire Upstate.
  • Spay/Neuter Surgeries: 14, 363 surgeries in 2017. This is a 4% increase over 2016. 8,205 of these were public surgeries.
  • Vaccine Clinic: 49,901 vaccines were administered at the Greenville Humane Society.
  • Foster: 2,246 animals were treated for serious diseases and illnesses (in homes and onsite).
  • Volunteer Program: 40,708 total volunteer hours donated in 2017, a 2.1% increase over 2016. On average, 318 active volunteers each month.
  • Community Outreach: 46,493 individuals reached this year, a 6% increase over 2016; over 118 schools, community centers, retirement/nursing homes and hospitals visited.
  • Greenville Humane Society Website: 707,531 visitors in 2017 – a 15.13% increase over 2016. Of these visitors, 42% were new.
For more information on donations, fostering, volunteering and adoption, click HERE. 


Self-Care - are you taking care of yourself?

You probably know the importance of taking care of yourself - mentally and physically. Healthy eating, good sleep, stress management - all of these can help to improve your quality of life and optimizing health. However, it's very easy to put yourself last when you have so many things on your to-do list. When was the last time you put your own needs to the side in order to take care of everyone else's needs?

It's only when your needs are taken care of that others can benefit from you and your good health.

Are you a victim of putting your own needs last?
  • Unhealthy eating habits
  • Inconsistent exercise
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Relying on caffeine and energy drinks to survive the day
  • Failing to put your needs first in order to please others 
  • Excessive use of alcohol. 
  • Exhausted from too much on your daily plate
  • Stressed from always saying yes to everyone
While you may have a lot of reasons why you are too busy to take care of yourself, don't wait until you are impacted by a illness or injury to start taking responsibility for your own well-being. 

To take responsibility for your own care, it's important to remove any barriers, beliefs and excuses that may be standing in your way. 
  • It's not selfish to have "me" time. 
  • You don't have to feel guilty to put your needs first. 
  • You are allowed to ask for help. 
  • You don't have to get everything done right now/today. 
  • It's ok to not have control over everything. 
  • You are never too busy to take care of yourself. 
Remind yourself that you can't function well in life if you are not well. To take care of your family, to be productive at work and to be a good caregiver to others, you must look after your own mental and physical health. Don't ignore (or overlook) your own needs.

Every day, give yourself the time you need to take care of yourself. And no, it's not selfish to eat well, exercise daily, calm your mind and to get restful sleep. With a little bit of effort to your own self-care, you'll feel more attentive to the world around you. 


Holiday gifts under $22

Are you on a budget or looking for a last-minute holiday gift?

I've compiled a list of a few of my favorite products from a few of the small businesses that are proud supporters of the Trimarni coaching team. 

Amrita Bars Starter Pack - $16.99
Discount Trimarni

MG12 Sport - $10.95-$14.95
Discount Trimarni

Discount ZupTrimarni18

Veronica's Health Crunch - $7.95-$21.50
Discount Trimarni2018

Run In - So many options!


It's time to break up with your food rules

I am a huge proponent of guidelines. By definition, a guideline provides boundaries. A guideline provide direction to take action. In contrast, a rule tells you what you are and are not allowed to do. Rules must be followed or else there will be negative consequences. Rules bring anxiety and stress.

Most of the time, there are no real consequences to breaking a guideline. However, rules are typically set as a way to enforce the right way that things should be done. If not, there are serious consequences.

In your everyday life, you likely adhere to both rules and guidelines - at work, in society, at home, with your family, etc.. For example, when you race in an athletic event, there are rules to ensure safety and fair play. At work, you may have guidelines to ensure a positive, safe and supportive work culture.

But what about food rules? Do you constantly live life following rules as to how you should and shouldn't eat?

As a board certified sport dietitian, I don't believe in food rules. I couldn't imagine living my life with rules as to how I have to eat unless it was for medical reasons. Sure, I have healthy eating patterns that I adhere to on a daily basis but I also know that nothing bad will happen when I enjoy the occasional treat. Sadly, many athletes don't live this way.

With good intentions, you may be adhering to food rules as a way to eat better and to improve performance. For example, a rule to always refuel after a workout is great advice. But a rule of "no carbs after 7pm" or "fruit is off-limit" is worrisome. When you live with food rules, every food-related situation or decision becomes stressful and brings anxiety and stress. Seeing that athletes often take guidelines too the extreme, there can be great consequences to adhering to food rules.

Following strict and unrealistic rules can result in physical, emotional and psychological issues, including nutrient deficiencies, hormonal disturbances, anxiety, depression and obsessive thinking.
Food rules can result in extreme preoccupation with food and body image. This can be exhausting - mentally and emotionally. For an athlete, the stress you place on your body through training is more than enough for your body to handle. Food rules have no place in an athlete's diet.

Do you feel as if you are a prisoner to your self-imposed food rules? 

Is the thought of deviating from your strict food rules causing you great anxiety, fear, worry and stress?  

Food rules create structure, order and control. This is why diets, like Whole 30, work.....temporarily. Food rules keep you "on track" by taking out the guesswork of eating. At first, food rules make eating easy, but eventually they come with a consequence. Either you break your food rules and go back to unhealthy eating habits or you become even more obsessed with eating, which increases the risk for disordered eating, which may develop into an eating disorder.

Breaking food rules can be very difficult for you've likely become rather accustomed to your food rituals. During your break-up period, it is very important that you do not focus on your body as your body is likely in a state of undernourishment. You've probably become out-of-tune with your body signals. Your digestive tract may be compromised due to disordered eating. When you've ignored your body cues and signals for fear of breaking a rule, the first step in your break-up is giving your body the nourishment it needs to heal from the damage that has been done by restrictive eating and disordered eating patterns.

Eventually, likely with the help of a professional, you will be able to engage in healthy, structured and enjoyable eating patterns that are not rigid, strict, controlled or obsessive. Health should improve, alongside body composition and performance. Once the break up is behind you, you'll be on your way of creating a personalized style of eating, free of guilt, anxiety and worry.

Are you ready for a break-up?


No Bake Jingle Balls

With so much on your holiday to-do list, you may be rolling your eyes at the thought of baking another holiday treat.

If you like quick and tasty, read on.

This no-bake recipe is easy to make with the family and it's sure to be a tempting crowd pleaser at your upcoming holiday party. Or, if you like to indulge in the occasional homemade treat, this recipe is for you. The best part..... you probably have most of the ingredients at home.

With so many overly sweet desserts around the holidays, you can feel great when eating your Jingle Balls. 

Jingle Balls
By Joey Mock, RD, LD, CLT

2 cups old fashioned oats
½ cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut flakes (plus an extra 2 Tablespoons reserved for rolling finished balls if desired)
¼ cup ground flaxseed meal
⅓ cup M&Ms Minis (red and green holiday ones)*
¾ cup almond butter (or peanut butter)
⅓ cup honey

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. 
  2. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes to set (this will make the balls easier to roll).
  3. Remove the bowl from the refrigerator. Use a tablespoon to scoop mixture** and roll into about 25 balls. If desired, place extra shredded coconut flakes on a plate and roll some or all of the balls in the flakes (for “snow” covered Jingle Balls). 
  4. Place on wax paper (or a sheet pan).
  5. Store balls in an airtight container or ziploc bag in the refrigerator or freeze for longer storage. 
  6. Enjoy.
*I found the M&M’s Minis in the holiday candy area (1-1.77 oz stocking stuffer sized tube is a good size if you don’t want a lot of leftovers). If you can’t find the Minis, coarsely chop the regular sized holiday M&M’s.

**Time saving tip: One of my favorite kitchen tools, an OXO 1 ½ Tablespoon cookie scoop, works great to quickly scoop the mixture into evenly sized balls. This tool would make a great holiday gift for anyone who regularly makes energy balls (and/or cookies :-)). 

For more recipes and healthy living tips, subscribe to our free newsletter HERE.


Recipe: Skillet Pesto Steak and Pasta

Skillet Pesto Steak and Pasta
By Joey Mock, RD, LD, CLT

This recipe includes your carbs, protein, and fat in a one pot and one skillet meal. Not a red meat eater? Try substituting chicken and chicken broth or tofu and vegetable broth for the steak and beef broth. This dish is very flavorful and the leftovers are delicious! 


1 lemon, for zest (2 tsp) and juice (2 Tbsp)
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1 lb. beef steak (such as sirloin or round)
~1 ½ tablespoons butter or olive oil
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp dried parsley
¼ tsp dried basil
¼ tsp dried oregano
~5 oz dry pasta (such as bow tie, rotini, or penne)
8 oz presliced fresh baby portabella mushrooms
6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
½ cup chopped pecans
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 cup reduced sodium beef broth
1 (5-oz) package fresh baby spinach
¼ cup shredded Italian cheese blend

  1. Zest lemon (2 teaspoons) and squeeze for juice (2 tablespoons).
  2. Combine pesto, zest, and juice. Coat steak with 1 tablespoon pesto mixture (reserve the remainder for later).
  3. Preheat a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat about 2–3 minutes. 
  4. Place butter, garlic powder, parsley, basil, and oregano in pan and swirl to coat. Add steaks and cook 3-8 minutes on each side or until brown and they reach desired doneness.* Transfer steaks to cutting board; let stand about 5–10 minutes before slicing.
  5. Cook pasta following package instructions in a separate pot. When cooked to desired doneness, drain pasta and set aside.
  6. Meanwhile, increase heat to medium-high on the same pan used to cook the steak.
  7. Add mushrooms, minced garlic, pecans, and salt. Cook mushroom mixture 3–4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender. 
  8. Stir broth, spinach, pasta, and remaining 3 tablespoons pesto mixture into mushrooms; simmer 3–4 minutes or until sauce thickens. Slice steaks and stir into pasta mixture.  
  9. Divide into serving bowls and top each with cheese and serve.
  10. Enjoy! 
*For medium-rare (an internal temperature of 135 degrees F), medium (140 degrees F) or for medium-well (150 degrees F). For beef steak, the USDA suggests a minimal internal temperature of 145 °F (62.8 °C) and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes.

Adapted from: Aprons Pan-Roasted Steak Pasta with Pecans recipe.


Thoughts on the Dumplin Netflix Movie

I'm a sucker for a feel-good movie with a happy ending - especially one that promotes positive body image and learning to love yourself for who you are. I recently heard about Dumplin as a movie and decided to give it a watch.

As for the movie itself, there are a lot of great messages spread throughout the movie. Here's a general review on the movie: 

"To be sure, the strength of Dumplin' is very much in its true-to-life depiction of a plus-size teenage girl and how her self-image is both reflected in the way she views the world and her presumptions of how others see her. Willowdean is at the center of a complicated web crafted by society's expectations for how young women should look - expectations constantly upheld by her mother Rosie, who spends much of her own life focused on staying thin - and the empowerment and self-love her Aunt Lucy tried to instill in her from a young age. Willowdean struggles to not be defined by her weight in a world where she feels constantly defined by her weight, and the insecurities that arise from that struggle inform much of her story and the actions she takes. As a result, Dumplin' is one of the best coming-of-age films (if not the best) about a plus-size girl... though, frankly, very few such stories actually exist in Hollywood."

The movie has a very strong message of self-acceptance. I would encourage parents to watch this move with your child/teenager, as instilling self-acceptance at a young age is extremely important.

After watching this movie, I wanted to share my thoughts relating to the message behind the movie. T
he media puts a lot of focus on thin/lean/skinny - leading society to believe that this "ideal" image is worth striving for because if you reach it, you'll be happy and successful. This movie is challenging and removing the stigma around the "perfect" body image - sending the message that you can be successful and happy at any size. Seeing that this ideal image is an unrealistic and unhealthy ideal, often causing feelings of shame, guilt and low self-confidence, I appreciate that there is a movie encouraging body acceptance.

As a Sport Dietitian, I never tell my athletes that they need to lose weight. When an athlete wants to work with me on nutrition, I never put the attention on weight or use weight as a barometer of progress/success. Instead, I strive to teach athletes about behavior modifications and and principles of proper fueling. I help athletes overcome psychological and lifestyle barriers that may be keeping the athlete from reaching personal health, body composition and performance goals. I focus on long-lasting changes, not quick fixes. Ultimately, I want athletes to focus on their health and physical and mental well-being and to have a desire to live a healthier lifestyle, instead of trying to achieve a "look."

In reference to the Dumplin movie, here are a few tips to help you with self-acceptance if you are struggling with your body image:

  1. Have compassion for everyone. When you treat other people with respect, you'll have more respect for yourself. 
  2. Be kind to yourself. Often, the voice in your head loves to beat yourself up. Instead, be more compassionate to yourself. 
  3. Take the focus off your weight. Celebrate your strengths and abilities, regardless of how you look. You are worthy, no matter what. 
  4. Accept and like yourself the way you look right now. Don't try to change your body to fit the way you think you should look. You are more than a weight/image. 
  5. Respect yourself emotionally and physically. Focus on your whole self, not just your body. 
  6. Surround yourself with people who recognize your qualities and like you just the way you are. 
  7. Feeling overwhelmed, stressed, depressed or anxious in life? Don't take your feelings out on your body. 


Homemade apple cinnamon oatmeal

What's not to love about apple cinnamon oatmeal? The smell alone can make your tummy smile.

Resorting to a package of apple cinnamon oatmeal may be more nutritious choice than an apple danish, but your best choice is making your own batch of apple cinnamon oatmeal from scratch (it's a lot easier than you think).

Let's look inside the ingredient list of a store-bought package of apple cinnamon oatmeal:


One nutritional downfall with flavored instant oatmeal is the added sugar. But you'll also find added preservatives, coloring, artificial flavors and stabilizers - all of which shouldn't be in oatmeal. Although quick/instant oats are more processed than rolled oats, nutritionally they are similar. Instant oats are pre-cooked, dried and then rolled and pressed. Because they are thinner than rolled or steel-cut oats, they cook more quickly - which can be great for the time-starved athlete.

In our recent Trimarni newsletter, Joey dished up a delicious apple cinnamon oatmeal recipe, rich in flavor and nutritional value. A perfect comfort meal on a cold day. If you are not a subscriber to our newsletter and would like to receive a weekly recipe and healthy living article, you can subscribe HERE. 

This recipe makes 2 servings. Leftovers reheat decently (with the addition of a little extra water or milk if it gets too thick when refrigerated).

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
By Joey Mock, RD, LD, CLT


1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (such as Quaker Oats Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats)
1 cup cow or soy milk
1 cup water
1/8 teaspoon Himalayan Pink salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 medium sized apple, diced (about 1 cup diced)
1-2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup (or a little of both to desired sweetness)
2 Tablespoons chopped pecans
  1. Combine oats, milk, water, salt, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. 
  2. Stir in diced apples and reduce heat to low.
  3. Simmer uncovered for about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened and apples are tender.
  4. Remove from the heat. Divide equally between two bowls. Drizzle each serving with honey and/or maple syrup. Top with pecans and serve.
  5. Enjoy!


5 athlete tips for mindful holiday eating

For athletes, social eating at holiday parties can be difficult, especially as you try to nourish and fuel your body to support your training sessions. Even with the best intentions, it can be tough to stick to your eating plan when you are overwhelmed by so many delicious choices.  Because it would be wrong to skip your work holiday party, your child's holiday function or your team end of the year social, here are a few tips to help you feel good about your eating choices, despite all the large meals, alcoholic beverages and mouthwatering deserts. 

  1. Don't workout just for the calorie burn- Thinking beyond performance, your workout is also a proven stress reliever, self-esteem booster, energy giver and endorphin pusher. With so much going on, don't put yourself last. Because it's very easy to eat mindlessly, out of boredom, stress or emotions, remind yourself that eating is for enjoyment, but also for nourishment and for fuel. Make sure you are not training/exercising to give yourself permission to overindulge at your holiday meal.
  2. Don't skip meals - Athletes feel and perform the best when they eat every 2-3 hours. Going too long without eating will result in overeating. Starting with breakfast, make sure you are eating every few hours, with substantial meals and snacks to keep you satisfied throughout the day. If you want to "save" a few hundred calories, swap out processed snacks for vegetables. In the big picture, eating a few hundred extra calories here and there over the month of December will not negatively affect your health, performance or body composition.
  3. Be choosy with choices - With so many options, you may find yourself with larger-then-normal servings. You may even go back for a second or third helping. Before serving yourself, take a look at all the options. Instead of trying a little of everything, select your top favorites. If there's a food that you can eat anytime, pass on it. Yum over the occasional eats that you can only find but once a year. Make sure to include nutrient dense options on your plate and eat until you feel 80% satisfied, not 110% stuffed. A good trick is to eat as if you are about to workout in the next 2 hours (as an example). Eat enough, but not too much.
  4. Eat slowly - Sit down and truly enjoy what you are eating. As you hold a conversation with others, make sure you aren't inhaling your food without even tasting it. Eat with intention, purpose and gratitude. Make sure to drink water as you are eating to help with digestion. Position yourself far away from the food table as you'll think less about all the food and you'll have to put in that extra effort to go back to the food table.
  5. Don't go into a meal starving - Do yourself a favor and eat before you eat. You're more likely to make better choices and eat less when you have a small snack (or even a meal) in the 30-90 minutes before your holiday event. When planning your pre-party meal or snack, consider the food options that will be available at your event and compliment those foods. Considering that most holiday parties are loaded with alcoholic drinks, sweet treats and carb-dense buffet-style appetizers and meals, consider a salad with a protein of your choice as your pre-meal snack. 
For many athletes, food anxieties and weight stress are heightened during the holiday season. For athletes with a history of dieting, eating disorders or disordered eating, holiday eating may trigger uncomfortable feelings, emotions and unhealthy coping mechanisms. Remind yourself that you are allowed to indulge responsibly and feel great about it. Give yourself permission to enjoy foods that you love. Make sure you don't get into a habit of developing rules or an off-limit food list during the holidays (or in the month of January) for food rules and "bad" food lists often pave the way to a vicious cycle of restriction - overeating. 


In Case You Missed It!

Choosing to eliminate meat from the diet is a lifestyle that many individuals and athletes choose to make for reasons other than what’s hot, new, or popular. Because it is a lifestyle, it requires commitment and knowledge to make the diet work for personal health and performance goals.
A few years ago, I wrote an article for Girls Gone Strong which received a lot of attention for it's a common struggle for strength or endurance athletes to find the right formula to boost performance while following a plant-strong diet. This article is not persuading you to become a vegetarian athlete to boost performance, nor is it telling you that your health and performance will automatically improve should you choose to remove meat from your diet. 
This article is simply an informative way to help you understand how to eat to be a healthy endurance athlete if you choose vegetarianism.
All endurance athletes must understand the importance of consuming a balanced, wholesome diet and this article will clear up any confusion you may have in regard to how to nourish your body as you fuel for performance. But, even for the omnivorous endurance athlete reading this article, hopefully you can use the following information to fill in any nutritional gaps that may be keeping you from reaching your full fitness potential.

                                   RUN TO THE FINISH - Debunking Nutrition Fads
Despite quality research and advancements in nutrition science, nutrition myths don't seem to be going anywhere. If you have been confused about dietary fads like working out on an empty stomach, all the keto chatter and excelling as a vegetarian athlete, click on the link from RunToTheFinish where I discuss a few popular nutrition trends that may be destroying your health and training. 


Snow day! Surviving during a power outage.

We live in a beautiful area just outside of Greenville, touching on Traveler’s Rest. We picked our house/neighborhood because we can bike/run from our doorstep and be on our way to the mountains (by bike) in less than 40 minutes). We encounter minimal traffic while exploring country roads. But living in a tree-filled area with a lot of cables intertwined between tree limbs comes at a cost – we easily lose power.

On Sunday morning around 6am, we woke up to a beautiful scene outside – several inches of white puffy snow. For Greenville, this is a rarity as it only snows once, maybe two or three times per year. Although the weatherman predicted the snow, we didn’t expect so much of it. 

Campy was not impressed with this situation. 

We warned Campy that his worst day ever was about to happen as soon as he got out of bed. He woke up to a nightmare. Typically, Campy does his morning business in our fenced backyard but we knew he wouldn’t go anywhere in the front yard once he saw the snow. I put his collar on him (just in case) and when we opened the front door for him to explore the great outdoors without a leash, he sprinted all but a few steps outside before he turned in the other direction and ran back inside. It literally took us until 11am for him to pee outside (his last pee was around 9pm the night before). Campy wanted nothing to do with outside and even clearing the ground for him, walking him outside and showing him that nothing would happen if he peed in the snow, he wanted nothing to do with the horrible cold white stuff outside. I guess when you are tipping over 10 lbs and you are 11 years old, you deserve to be a little over-dramatic.

Our morning was going as planned until the lights started to flicker. Then the cable/internet went out. Then the power went out. Although we hoped it wouldn’t happen, we kind of expected it. Luckily, Karel had his morning espresso (or three of them) before the power went out. Seriously – this saved him for it would have been a very rough day for him without his morning coffee.

Luckily, my Tack Neo trainer can power itself without being plugged into the wall so I was able to get in my 75-minute heavy-gear interval workout. After I was finished, Karel put his bike on my trainer and he was able to get in his workout as I did about 20-minutes of ECFIT strength.
As for the rest of the day, I stayed very productive cleaning and organizing our office for several hours. Then, we went for a long walk through the snow.

We saw three two big trees that fell over the power lines – which were also blocking the road. To get Campy outside, he walked a little but most of our hour walk was me carrying Campy so his feet wouldn't freeze.
We finished the day with a delicious hot dinner made on our outdoor grill. We roasted veggies, cooked frozen pizza and cooked eggs on a pan – all inside the grill. It was so nice to have a warm meal. We then each read on the couch, close to the gas-fire and by candlelight (and a headlamp) until we started to get very tired around 7pm. Since it was so dark in our house, it only seemed appropriate to go to bed as we had nothing else to entertain us. We slept a solid 10.5 hours in our cold house, snuggled under the blankets and with all three furry kids on the bed to keep us warm. We woke up to another morning without power and now just waiting to see when life will get back to normal for us.

It’s an interesting experience to lose your normal routine due to a loss of power and cable/internet. During times like this, it’s easy to take for granted how often we flip a switch and rely on power. It’s also crazy to think how connected we are and how much we need the internet. Karel and I are inundated with emails and work tasks after just one day of not having the internet. Although we can go without the TV, our life/business revolves around the internet. It’s interesting how gadget/electronic obsessed our world is becoming and yet, we can’t have any of these “things” without power. While most our designed to make living easier, quicker or more productive, it’s easy to forget that none of these “things” work without power. Long gone are the days of simplicity where a small radio, camping gear and batteries are the "simple" everyday things that help you survive a snow storm. Of course, living in the "south", it is rare for us to get a snowstorm like this but then again, it's happened to us almost every year. Perhaps it's time to invest in a generator?

Take some time today and take note of your normal routine. 

How long would you be able to survive without power/cable? 

We would like to send a HUGE thank you to our athlete and friend John S. who provided a generator to us to help power our 75-gallon fish tank. We nearly lost over a dozen fresh water fish this morning as they were without bubbles and in very cold water. We have a battery bubble operator but they were still so cold. Thank you John! Our fish are swimming happy (and Karel can now have his coffee). 

Also thank you to our friend Kristen and her family for letting us steal her internet for most of the day. Campy, of course, took over the house. It was nice to get some work done in a house that was warm and cozy.