Essential Sports Nutrition


In case you missed it! Recent podcast interviews.

It's always a special opportunity for me to share my words in a podcast interview. Of course, a great podcast interview requires a great host and I was in great company for my two podcast interviews over the past two weeks. Enjoy!

I COULD NEVER DO THAT - Carrie Sapp Barrett

Marni Sumbal prides herself on dreaming big and working hard. It's evident in her work as a Board Certified Sport Dietitian with a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology in Greenville, South Carolina, where she also runs a successful multisport and nutrition coaching practice. 

It's also displayed daily in her athletic endeavors as a 14x IRONMAN finisher and 6x World Championship Qualifier.
Today, she discusses the fruits of her latest dream come true - her new book called Essential Sports Nutrition - A Guide to Optimal Performance for Every Active Person.
Essential Sports Nutrition is the new authoritative reference to eat right for an active lifestyle.
Sports nutrition is a vital element for reaching peak physical performance. To maximize workouts and athletic ability, Essential Sports Nutrition offers the most up-to-date nutritional guidance along with delicious recipes to make eating right for an active lifestyle, easy.
Gritty Genius features it's first ever guest with Marni Sumbal M.S., R.D. CCSD, LD/N, Author of Essential Sports Nutrition (2018), 6x Ironman World Championship qualifier, Board Certified Sport Dietitian, Master of Science in Exercise Physiology, and 14x Ironman finisher.
Marni and Dr. P discuss how grit, persistence, and passion played a role in Marni's journey to publishing her new book, Essential Sports Nutrition. Also, how the loss of her father motivates her daily to be the best person she can be and to inspire others for a healthy lifestyle. Dr. P discusses how TriMarni helped her uncover her personal genius and coached her to a podium spot at 2014 Ironman Texas. They also discuss mental health and encourage athletes to break the stigma.


4 hydration mistakes you are probably making

As an athlete, if your diet and hydration meets the training demands placed on your body, you will perform at your best, reduce risk for injury and illness and improve longevity in your sport. If you suffer from flat training sessions, subpar race performances, inconsistent training efforts, fatigue, injuries, chronic niggles, digestive issues, sleep disturbances and a reasonable amount of cold symptoms, you probably lack the essentials of a training diet that will boost your immune system and encourage optimal training enhancements.

In my book, Essential Sports Nutrition, I start the first chapter discussing the topic of hydration. Why hydration?

Despite not providing the body with energy (in the form of calories), water is the most essential nutrient in a healthy, performance-focused diet. Every tissue, organ, cell and body system requires it. Whereas you can survive for over a month without food, you can only survive but a few days without drinking water.

Because your body systems (hormonal, neurotransmitter, metabolic, enzymatic) are put into high gear as they experience great stress through training , you want to look for ways to optimize these processes. One of those ways is through consistent hydration habits.

If you happen to be one of the many athletes who are neglected your hydration needs, here are a few mistakes to stop making.

  1. Not drinking enough water during the day - The average adult is 50-65% water. If you weigh 150 lbs, you are likely carrying around 88 lbs (or 40 liters) of fluid inside of your body. Even though you are made of water, you still need to pay attention to your daily fluid intake when you aren't training/exercising. Because muscle tissue is ~75% made of water and bones are around 30% water, it makes sense to keep your muscles and bones well-hydrated (fat tissue is low in water, only around 10%) so that your body is primed to perform during exercise. Water is also the main components of your blood and blood carries hormones, oxygen and nutrients (like glucose) to your cells. Aim for 90 ounces a day for women and 120 ounces a day for men. Eighty percent of this amount should come from water and the rest from water-containing foods (watery fruit, vegetables, soup) and beverages (Smoothies, milk). Spread your intake over the course of the day and cut back around 2 hours before bed to avoid night-time bathroom trips. You should be fully emptying your bladder 4-5 times throughout the day. If you feel the urge to urinate every hour, you are drinking too much (and/or not consuming enough sodium in your daily diet). If you can easily go 3-4+ hours without the urge to urinate, you are not consuming enough fluid. 
  2. Not rehydrating properly post workout - Although fluid (and sodium) losses vary, often based on environmental conditions, fitness level, gender, diet, intensity/volume, etc., it would be a mistake to only drink what feels like "enough" after an intense/long/sweaty workout. When you sweat, you lose a lot of fluid. Sodium loss varies. However, when you complete a session where you've lost a lot of fluid, your blood volume (volume of blood, specifically plasma and red blood cells) and total body water has decreased. Conversely, sodium content in blood increases. Simply drinking plain water after a fluid depleting session will quench your thirst but you will dilute your blood before blood volume has returned to normal values. The end result is that you will urinate a lot of diluted urine (to bring the concentration of blood to a normal level) but you will have neglected to rehydrate yourself. Consuming drinks with sodium after a fluid-depleting session will optimizing rehydration. Ideally, consume 20-24 ounce of a sodium-rich fluid post fluid-depleting training, for every pound lost during exercise - spread over several hours. 
  3. Hydrating with the wrong types of beverages - Plain water is your ideal fluid choice - it's free of sugar, caffeine, calories, food dyes and artificial ingredients. If you have yet to appreciate the benefits of plain water, you can choose carbonated or mineral water (both of which are a great alternative to regular and diet soda). As long as your bubbly beverage is free of citric acid, sugar and phosphorus, there's little risk to your health. If you experience discomfort in your gut (or gas/belching), you are likely drinking your carbonated drink too quickly. As for alcohol, these calories are not used for energy like the macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat) found in real food. Alcohol is metabolized in your body as fat - alcohol by-products are converted into fatty acids and after being stored in liver, those fatty acids are sent to the bloodstream. While moderate alcohol consumption may be combined in an otherwise healthy training diet, alcohol consumed before, during or after training can impair recovery, affect motor ability, impair vitamins and mineral usage, increase dehydration (it acts as a diuretic), and may interfere with glycogen storage in the muscles and liver. Alcohol is also a vasodilator, meaning that it causes the blood vessels to expand. Consuming alcohol after a competition (or intense workout) may compromise healing and recovery, especially if soft tissue damage has occurred.  If you choose to drink, avoid before/during/after heavy training days (and competitions) and stick with one drink - 12 ounce beer, 4 ounce wine, 1.25 ounce of liquor. 
  4. Not consuming water with gels - Gels and chews act as a convenience source of fuel during running workouts. However, the lack the sodium needed to maintain fluid balance. The typical gel contains around 50mg of sodium (compare that to a 90-120 calorie serving of a sport drink that contains 250-500mg sodium). Additionally, because gels and chews act as a portable, yet concentrated, source of carbohydrates, they must be combined with water to provide the optimal environment to optimize gastric emptying. Although a gel or chew may give you the boost you need when experiencing the effects of hypoglycemia (low blood glucose), for a sport nutrition product to work effectively as your primary fuel, electrolyte and fluid source, it should be equal to or less than the osmolality of the blood to create a favorable osmotic gradient. Only than can the produce effectively deliver fluid, carbohydrates and electrolytes to the working muscles. If your stomach is unable to empty consumed carbohydrates from a gel/chews (concentrated carbohydrates), the risk for bloating, gas, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramping, fatigue and dehydration increase. More so, once you get dehydrated, gastric emptying is delayed and any attempt to hydrate (or consume needed calories) will only upset your tummy even more. The ideal sport nutrition product should contain sugar/carbohydrates (10-14 grams) and sodium (at least 120 mg) for every 8 ounce fluid. 


Customized painting for high performance bikes, helmets and wheels

When you purchase a high performance bike, there's a good chance that you'll become quite attached to it. So attached that you'll want to make sure your bike sets you apart from all the other bikes out there. When Karel was approached by Mike Furtek about a custom paint job, Karel couldn't turn down the offer. Mike was finishing a 31-year career providing one-of-a-kind services in customized painting, welding/fabricating of motorcycle parts and building/designing motorcycles for customers for show or for personal enjoyment. To help launch his new career, Mike offered to provide Karel with a complimentary paint job on his bike, helmet and wheels to showcase his talent. When Karel saw the finished products, he was shocked by the detail. And now, Karel's bike, helmet and disc wheel is unique to him and stands out in a crowd of triathlon bikes. 

A little more about Mike: 

Mike Furtek owned and operated MandD Custom, Corp. for 31 years in South Holland, Illinois. He has been providing one-of-a kind services in customized painting, welding/fabricating of parts for motorcycles, and building/designing of motorcycles for customers to show or for personal enjoyment.
He has forty one years of experience in the world of customizing and has operated three successful customizing shops: The Abbey, MandG Collision, and MandD Custom. Although primarily working with motorcycles, Mike has also customized Corvettes at "The Abbey" in Riverdale, Illinois as well as the National Champion Show Car Award and numerous Professional Race car teams in NHRA. He has created custom paint and designs to Harley Davidson Motorcycle Company for use in their custom paint program and custom paint work for Speed Limit Motorcycles in the sport bike industry, numbering in the thousands.
Throughout his career Mike has acquired several awards and publications have shown his much of his work as well as receiving acknowledgement from national peers.

If you are interested in a hand-painted, personalized paint job for your bike (road or triathlon), helmet or wheels, reach out to Mike Furtek to discuss your customizing needs: 

To learn more, visit the Kcycle design website: CLICK HERE.


"Cooking" with a slow cooker.

Trimarni athlete Stephanie shared this beautiful picture on Facebook of my Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Quinoa Curry from my book Essential Sports Nutrition
So far, this recipe has been the most favored recipe in the book! 

What's not to love about the slow cooker? Purchase and prep your ingredients, add to the slow cooker, press a button and your work is done. That's the wonderful part of using a slow cooker - you don't have to cook! 

In addition to a slow cooker being a very simple way to ensure that a home-cooked meal is ready when you return home from work, slow cookers bring out the flavor in food and use less electricity than an oven. From meals, soups, stews and casseroles, a slow cooker is a must-have kitchen appliance. 

To ensure that you get the most out of your slow cooker, here are a few tips from a past Trimarni newsletter.  
  1. Choose the right size - Slow cookers come in a wide range of sizes, from extra small (2-quart) to extra large (8 1/2-quart). A one- to three-quart crock pot is perfect for one to two people. If you need to feed more than three people or want leftovers, you will probably want a four- to six-quart model.
  2. Don't overfill - For the best results, don't overcrowd your slow cooker. Ideally, fill between one-half and two-thirds full. This will ensure that your meal is finished in the estimated time on your recipe, that the meal provides the best flavor and to avoid food-safety hazards. If your cooker doesn't accommodate your recipe, don't eliminate ingredients but invest in a larger cooker. 
  3. Plan ahead - If you plan to use your slow cooker in the morning before you head off to work/school, be sure to cut and trim meat, chop veggies and measure the dry ingredients and sauces the night before. Do not refrigerate components in the cooker insert or add frozen ingredients to the slow cooker. Instead, refrigerate in separate containers. In the morning, add the ingredients to the cooker (per the recipe). As a general guideline, for even cooking, cut food into uniform size pieces and place firm veggies on the bottom and place meat on top. If you know you won't be home by the end of the cooking time (ex. 2 - 8 hours), make sure your slow cooker has a warming setting, once cooking is complete.
  4. No peeking - Every time you open the lid, heat and moisture escape. Resist the urge to remove the lid until your recipe creation reaches the low end of the recipe's suggested cooking time range. At this point, you can then open the lid to check on the temperature and tenderness and continue to check on the dish every 30-45 minutes afterward. Unless your recipe suggests otherwise, constantly lifting and stirring the ingredients in your dish may delay cook time.
  5. Care for your pot - As with any other kitchen appliance, proper care and cleaning is important. Before cleaning, allow your cooker slow cooker to cool off (unplugged of course). Clean glass lids and removable stoneware inserts with hot, soapy water or in the dishwasher. If hand cleaning, use sponges and cloths instead of scouring pads or abrasive cleaners (this includes vinegar). Do not wash the stoneware with cold water when it is hot and never immerse the heating base in water or in any other liquid. You may also want to invest in disposable BPA-free liners.
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