Essential Sports Nutrition


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.