Essential Sports Nutrition


Happiness destination syndrome

Do you suffer from happiness destination syndrome?

  • You struggle to commit to something just in case something better comes your way. 
  • You believe that when you reach your goal, you'll be happy. 
  • You are always rushed and in a hurry. 
  • You can't let yourself slow down. 
  • You are always anxious and overwhelmed about what's next on your to-do list. 
  • You never let yourself relax. 
  • You are constantly counting down the days until ___. 
  • You want to live in the future instead of accepting where you are now. 
  • You are always thinking about the next big thing in your life. 
  • You'll feel more at ease when you get ____ done. 
  • Your mind is always wandering. 

If you suffer from this type of destination thinking, you may believe that success is a destination - and only in the future is when or where you can be happy. Life quickly passes by as all of your focus is somewhere else - in the future.

Think about how you go about your week. Are you constantly on the go, wishing for the weekend or waiting for the summer in an effort to be happy? Have you convinced yourself that you can only be happy when you reach a certain fitness level or body composition?

Happiness is not a destination or an outcome. You must enjoy the day - not just survive the day.

There's a lot of great stuff happening in your life right now. Nothing is promised in the future. If you are constantly thinking that happiness is somewhere else, you're going to miss out on many great moments, experiences and opportunities.  More so, there's no point of arrival. By constantly being in pursuit of some type of future happiness or success, you are going to find yourself constantly dissatisfied.

Learn to live in the moment and with purpose. Instead of thinking about the end result, focus on the process. Stop rushing through life as quick as possible with the belief that somewhere in time, you'll enjoy your life more than you do right now.


Slow Cooker Whiskey Barbecue Beef

Slow Cooker Whiskey Barbecue Beef
By Joey Mock, RD, LD, CLT

Are you ready for the Big Game? If you are a football fan, you may be planning to watch the Rams take on the Patriots in the Super Bowl. With any good Super Bowl viewing party (whether it’s for the game, commercials, or half time show), good food is a must. This Slow Cooker Whiskey Barbecue Beef makes a tasty option for your party that won’t require a lot of cooking and cleaning up during the game. Prep everything in the morning and let the slow cooker do the rest of the work (well, most of it). Serve on your favorite rolls/buns or tortillas.


For the Whiskey Barbecue Sauce: (can be made ahead of time and refrigerated if desired-yields about 2 ½ cups so you will have leftovers to use on chicken or wherever you enjoy barbecue sauce)

½ medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup bourbon whiskey (blended Canadian whiskey works great too)
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups ketchup
¼ cup tomato paste (from an ~6 ounce can-reserve the remainder of the can for the beef)
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon paprika
3 dashes cayenne pepper (can use more if you like a little more heat)
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
½ cup packed brown sugar
⅓ teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste

For the Beef:
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
~2 pound top round (London broil) roast, with visible fat trimmed off
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon canola oil
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon paprika
1-14 ounce container reduced sodium beef broth
2 cups water
Tomato paste, remainder of the ~6 ounce can of tomato paste from making barbecue sauce

  1. To make the barbecue sauce, in a large skillet over medium heat, combine the onion, garlic, and whiskey. Simmer for about 10 minutes until onion is translucent. 
  2. Mix in the remaining ingredients. 
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from pan, cool, and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Place chopped onion in slow cooker.
  5. Salt and pepper both sides of beef. Heat canola oil in large skillet and sear all sides of beef roast. Transfer beef to slow cooker.
  6. Add minced garlic, paprika, beef broth, water, and tomato paste to slow cooker and stir until all are combined.
  7. Cook on low for about 6-7 hours until done.
  8. Remove roast from slow cooker and shred meat.
  9. Remove liquid from slow cooker straining off and reserving onions and then reserving liquid.
  10. Add shredded beef, strained onions, and ~1 ½ cups of the Whiskey Barbecue sauce back to slow cooker. Use reserved liquid to gradually add back to slow cooker, stirring between additions, until desired consistency is reached (you will only use a small amount of the liquid until the beef/barbecue mixture is moist but not too liquidy).
  11. Cook on low for about 30 minutes until heated through. 
  12. Serve on your favorite rolls/buns or tortillas and enjoy!


Athletes - be careful of trending diets

It seems like fasting is all the rage these days. Although not a new concept for athletes (fasted workouts have been studied by researchers for several decades), not eating has grown in popularity over the years as a way to enhance and optimize fat burning and to promote weight loss. There's also the claim that fasted training can improve athletic performance in endurance athletes - although according to consistent research, that doesn't appear to be the case.

One of the major reasons for a massive shift in how athletes eat is an overwhelming obsession with energy, performance and body image. Athletes are also hungry for direction, guidance and quick fixes.

In addition to fasted training and intermittent fasting, there is a wide spectrum of diet ideologies these days - ketogenic, vegan, clean eating, Gluten free and Paleo to name a few. What's interesting is the culture around these diets and their "communities."

The dieting behaviors embraced by followers is worth discussing for eating ideologies is very cult-like. It's almost as if athletes are joining a movement and you are either in or you are out. Behind every diet is a number of extremely passionate individuals. The more rules, the greater the devotion among followers. Advocates of certain diets (or styles of eating) can often get very defensive when methods are questioned. Sadly, within every diet is a lot of unhealthy and unethical information. Question your dedicated followers and you'll quickly be attacked.

Interestingly, those who are successful with a diet often become more credible when it comes to offering advice. It's almost as if those who can succeed the best are given higher authority to promote the diet. Sadly, this is almost always independent of nutrition background. Often, those who lose the most weight, can fast the longest or perform the best on a certain diet quickly become an expert and chief advocate of the diet. As a very important reminder, what works for one person doesn't give that person a right to give advice on nutrition.

As a professional in this field (with a license to prescribe dietary advice), I find it important to not be tied to one diet belief. While there are healthy eating components that everyone should follow, dietary choices and patterns can differ. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to eating - especially when it comes to health, weight loss, body composition or performance. Genetics, metabolism, culture, emotions, economics and health status all influence eating patterns and should be concerned when personalizing a diet that is sustainable and health and performance promoting.

If you are following a diet hot topic and its working for you - that's wonderful. But if you are questioning if you should be doing fasted workouts, putting your body into ketosis, going vegan or giving up sugar, dairy and grains, be mindful that diet does play a role in health and performance but food is not the answer to every health and performance concern. There's great power in food but food isn't the be all end all. Your diet needs to be flexible and shouldn't take over your life. If you experience shame, guilt, anxiety or stress because you can't be perfect with your diet, you are falling into a dietary trap that isn't right for you or your body.

Diet hot topics will never go away - especially when athletes are eager to find the "next best thing" to help improve performance or body composition. Athletes are overwhelmed by choice so it makes sense that athletes will seek a style of eating that has strict rules and a diet "leader" to reduce confusion. As a human being, you have a responsibility to your body and that means not believing everything that you hear. There's a lot of bad (and sometimes dangerous) advice out there - especially on the internet, in forums, on Youtube and from podcasts. When you are vulnerable for a health change (or performance boost), it can be difficult to decipher good from bad advice.

It's important to take charge of your health and find ways that work for you to help you reach your performance goals. That being said, be cautious with online diet communities, forums and podcasts as the advice you receive may be counterproductive to your health and performance goals.

If you have a health or performance concern or question, consult with a knowledgeable and credible professional, such as a Board Certified Sport Dietitian.


Information overload: 10 Tips for Triathletes

When starting a new athletic journey or wanting to live a healthier, more active life, it's normal to try to find as much information as possible on a given topic. Information overload is common in today's society. Although it's easy to get information from the internet, it can easily prevent athletes and fitness enthusiasts from taking action or making sensible decisions due to too much information to consume. And more so, so much of the information available provides conflicting advice.

Given all the advice, tips, hacks and plans that are available, many people fail to start (or stay in) a sport, exercise regime or a more healthy style of eating because they are afraid of doing something wrong. For example, the simple task of finding the right pair of running shoes, warm-up routine, swim goggles or pre-workout snack can feel overwhelming.

Most of the time, the best way to minimize information overload is to focus on the most simple path to get you started, keep you healthy and to maintain consistency. There's no one-size-fits all when it comes to what will work (or not work) for your health, training and fitness journey.  While it's great to learn, always listen to your body and figure out what works best for you.

As part of our event "Triathlon Night," each expert had an opportunity to share their top tip related to their area of expertise. I wanted to share a few simple, practical and realistic tips that I heard from the experts in our Greenville community:
  1. Don't expect or look for quick fixes. 
  2. Never neglect sleep. This is where growth happens. 
  3. Don't diet. Eat right and give your body what it needs to perform. 
  4. Don't neglect your mental and physical health while training for a triathlon. 
  5. Keep up with prehab. Regular massage therapist or PT work should be part of your regime. Don't wait until you are injured to start treating your body. 
  6. Make time for strength training - especially core strength. A strong body performs well.
  7. Work on your breathing and movement patterns - many triathletes don't know how to breath properly or to move efficiently. 
  8. Keep the sport fun. If you start to feel overwhelmed, take a step back and remember why you started. 
  9. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Invest into a team of experts to keep you on your path. 
  10. Your bike fit and shoe choice should be unique to your body - not based on what other athletes are using. 


Triathlon Night - helping to grow the sport

In late December I told Karel that I wanted to put on an event to help grow the sport of triathlon in our Greenville community. It was a large undertaking but at the conclusion of the event last night, I feel like it was a great success. We had over 100 people attend from all over the area. The focus of the event was to put all types of triathlon experts and resources together in one room, combined with new, future and experience triathletes. All in an effort to help new, future and experienced triathletes get more out of their personal triathlon journey.

Although I've only been in the sport for a little over twelve years, I've seen a lot of changes over the years. Triathlon is a fast growing sport - in 2017 there were ~4 million participants in triathlons in the U.S! However, triathletes make up a very small community compared to runners. Because the sport of triathlon is still evolving, there's a lot of confusion with the best practices for training, nutrition, racing and how to incorporate a 3-sport activity into an already busy and stressful life.

This lead me to the purpose of this event. With so many barriers to entry and misguided and extreme practices, it's hard for many people to get into the sport....and stay in the sport. Triathlon is an expensive and time-consuming sport but if you equip yourself with the right people, you'll find yourself getting the most out of your triathlon journey - without sacrificing your relationships, health or bank account. Triathlon is a motivating, inspiring and fun sport but far too often it can become all-encompassing, health destroying and viewed as a chore. I don't believe that the later has to happen if the right experts are in your corner.

After earning my Masters in Exercise Physiology, I become a triathlon coach. Although I've been a coach since I started the sport, my knowledge in the sport has grown tremendously over the past few years. While Karel and I have a lot of coaching experience, never would we say that we know it all. We are constantly learning by making the effort to surround ourselves with experts who know a lot more than we do (and have much more experience than we do). Through these experts and resources, our athletes can become better athletes and we can coach them better. Whether it's a proper bike fit, massage, sport dietitian or physical therapist, every triathlete can benefit from being part of a team of experts. This team can help to reduce the risk for setbacks, can instruct on the most appropriate gear and equipment to fit your budget and can treat you like an individual so that you can get the most out of your triathlon journey.

To help grow the sport of triathlon, it's starts within the community. But within every community, cliques can easily develop. One expert feels threatened by another expert and the athlete is forced to take sides. While this may never change, I do feel that within each community, we need a more inclusive feel of experts - especially by coaches. By focusing on what you are good at, not going against your philosophy and what you believe in and being open to new ideas, thoughts, methods, be proud to welcome people who have great educational and real life experience in an specific area that you don't excel in. This is all in an effort to help your athletes excel. When we start on the community level, it's easier to grow the sport on a more global scale.

To ensure that this event was inclusive, I welcomed any and every local "expert" to the event. This event was free of ego, judgement and cliques as we had several "experts" of the same area in the room. Every expert had the opportunity to introduce themselves, share a little about their business or specialty area and provide info on how athletes can contact the individual. This event was great for newbie and future triathletes as well as for the experienced athletes and experts.

I love this sport now as much as when I started back in 2005-2006. It's my hope that we can get more people in the sport of triathlon and keep them in the sport for many more years to come. It all starts with every athlete having an all-start team of experts.
A huge thank you to those who attended the event. Thank you Randy for opening the Carolina Triathlon store to us for over 2 hours on a Sunday evening. And wow - the raffle prizes were incredible! Thank you to the following companies for donating to the event. 
  • Katouff Supplements
  • Run In 
  • Xterra
  • Sam Smith
  • Katie Malone
  • Brad McKay
  • Joylynn Simmons
  • Set Up Events
  • Zealious
  • Clif Bar
  • Time to Tri
  • USAT
  • Mg12
  • Veronica's Health Crunch
  • Kelly Vanleeuwen 
  • Frigid Cryo
  • Carolina Triathlon