Essential Sports Nutrition


2019 Trimarni skills camp - 3 slots left!

In case you didn't's MARCH!! Am I the only one that feels like January is twelve weeks long and then boom, it's the spring??

We are just a few weeks away from our first camp of 2019 which means triathlon season is coming soon!! 

I've lost count of how many group camps we have put on over the past seven years but the group camp experience is something we look forward to every year. While they are stressful and time-consuming to plan, it's always a rewarding and special experience when we see our campers in action, supporting one another and stepping out of their comfort zone and into their courage zone.

We only have a few slots (3) left for our March Skills camp so don't miss out on this incredible opportunity to train outside in a group setting (especially if you've been training indoors), improve your swim/bike/run skills, learn valuable information to apply to your training and racing and stretch your comfort zone as you prepare for your first triathlon race of 2019. Oh yeah, we also have pretty cool swag for our campers. What triathlete doesn't love swag??

When most of your training is done by yourself, you can certainly focus on your own journey. But, as a result, your training environment becomes very controlled and familiar. Bad habits can develop and you may find yourself struggling to step out of what's comfortable and "easy". 

A group camp also brings out the best in you. You are less likely to make excuses and you give a lot more than you think you would ever be capable of giving. 

Whereas many training camps focus on accumulating miles, we believe in a nice mix of training, education and skill development. Ultimately, our goal at our camps is to help our athletes explore their true physical and mental capabilities with education, application and real-world training experiences. 

Although we have a lot of fun at our camps, we spend a lot of time on posture, running form, swim technique, terrain management, up and downhill running, bike handling skills, descending, cornering or terrain management – all things that may be new, unfamiliar, uneasy/uncomfortable or rarely practiced. 

Lastly, a group training camp also provides you with the opportunity to experience what it is like to train when you are rested (good sleep), fueled (good eating) and present (mentally strong). It is important to us that our campers return to their home environment with a better understanding of how important good sleep, proper fueling, nutrient timing and application of sport nutrition, alongside better mental strength, can assist in athletic development and optimal health.  Imagine what you could do with a body that is well rested, well fueled and mentally focused without distractions??

A training camp is a big investment, requiring time away from work/family but what you get in return is an inspiring, education, fun, challenging, memorable and life-changing experience.

To learn more and to register for a Trimarni camp, click this link. 

Photos taken by our amazing camp SAG and photographer Joey Mock.


The wrong way to change body composition

Many athletes believe that a change in body composition will improve speed, power, fitness and performance. Whereas some athletes are genetically made with a body composition that is suited for a specific sport, most athletes put a lot of work into trying to reach a body composition goal.

This leads me to the point of this blog post...athletic success requires work but how much work is too much work? Should athletes have to "work" on changing body composition on top of the training that is required to physically prepare for an event? 

This is why I caution athletes to be careful how they go about body composition changes. The body should change naturally as a result of a solid foundation of eating, nutrient timing and proper use of sport nutrition products. It's also important to make sure your idea of how you think your body should look isn't based on the idealized image seen in media - one that emphasizes little to no body fat and extreme leanness and/or muscular definition. When athletes have a strong desire to change body image, extreme changes often result. As a reminder, restrictive eating alongside excessive exercise is counterproductive to the performance goals of becoming a stronger, fitter and faster athlete.

Consider the example of a triathlete who wants to become a strong and resilient to tolerate the training load for an upcoming Ironman. Building muscle while obtaining optimal body fat levels may help optimize fitness and race readiness. In order to build strong muscles, you need to optimize your muscle-building efforts (ex. strength training, cardio-based strength work). You do the "work" in the gym, but what happens next? To become stronger, your body requires enough calories so that your body can actually build muscle. For the athlete who is constantly worried about eating "too much," restrictive eating measures in attempt to lose body fat may actually prevent you from building lean muscle mass. In sport nutrition 101, one of the most important nutritional guidelines for building muscles is to eat enough calories and to time specific foods with your training. This isn't just about protein (more protein doesn't build more muscles) but the combination of protein and carbohydrates -in the appropriate amounts, timed well with your workouts.

By neglecting to eat "enough," the diet becomes limited in nutrients and energy. Consequently, a greater the loss of muscle occurs alongside a decrease in your resting metabolic rate. In other words, your body becomes sluggish and weak instead of energetic and strong.  This is why it's highly advised not to make extreme changes in your diet, especially when you are training for an event.

Consequently, the strategies that most athletes take to change body composition are unsafe, extreme, health damaging and performance sabotaging. I find that most of the nutritional tips that athletes follow to try to change body composition are from uneducated or poorly trained nutrition "experts" with little to no background in sport nutrition or exercise physiology.

Food is your fuel. Your body can't perform at its best when its fuel stores are inadequate. Because a race-ready weight is more about how you perform than how you think you should look, consuming adequate calories is key to providing your body with the energy and nutrients that it needs to perform at its best, while maintaining optimal health on a consistent basis.


Building athletic resilience

I can't believe we are only six weeks away from our first triathlon of 2019!! While a long season ahead (ending with the Ironman World Championship in Kona in October), I'm so excited to race!!

After nearly 13 consecutive years of endurance triathlon racing, I still love the process of training. Before every race, I still feel all the butterflies in my stomach and wonder what obstacles I'll have to overcome during 70.3 or 140.6 miles.

 a well-designed training plan will have the proper mix of stress and recovery to ensure that the right type of training occurs at the right time, every athlete handles training stress differently. My body thirteen years ago would not have been able to handle the type of training that I do now. 

Building a durable athlete takes time, careful planning and a lot of patience. This is not easy because athletes want results now – to be faster, stronger, leaner. The end result is an overworked body that fails to make significant performance improvements and health suffers. 

Athletes (and coaches) skip steps only to rush the process out of urgency or impatience. This only increases the risk for injury, sickness, fatigue, burn out and a noticeable performance decline.

There’s no secret sauce to speeding up the process of gaining resilience for an endurance event– it just takes time. An athlete with ten years of consistent Ironman training can absorb a lot more training stress than an athlete training for his/her first Ironman. Even if an athlete is "fast" on paper, past history of illness, sickness and burnout should be considered when designing a training program. 

At Trimarni, we spend a lot of time building resilience before adding intensity and volume into training. We also overstress the importance of good daily lifestyle habits like sleep, good nutrition, mobility/strength, stress management, fueling, hydration and recovery to support training. Even if an athlete has a race on the schedule, an athlete can’t absorb “more training” volume or intensity if their foundation is not strong, durable and resilient.

Every athlete wants (or feels the need) to train hard and long
 but a better approach is to apply the minimal effective dose of training needed to elicit the most beneficial performance response. And with this in mind, you should always be asking yourself  "can I absorb the training stress?"  By creating resiliency now, you can better tolerate the harder stuff later. While you can't put a timeline on when that time will come, it's important that your training always leads into positive training adaptations – without sickness, injury or burnout.

When I hear of athletes who get sick a lot, with poor sleeping habits, inconsistencies with training and have lots of niggles/injuries, this tells me that the athlete is lacking resilience. There's a good chance that she/he is also rushing the process of trying to gain fitness in a fragile body.
For the fragile athletes, the training approach needs to be more cautious and careful until athletic durability improves -  which takes time (and requires patience). 

As an endurance triathlete, durability will take you far. While you won't become an overnight success, you will get results with time. With so much on your daily plate, there’s only so much time and energy that you can dedicate to training. 
In my opinion, endurance athletes train way too hard and way too long. Put your time, focus and energy (and money) into the right strategies that will build your resiliency so that come race day, you arrive fit, healthy, strong and hungry to race. 


Prisma Half Marathon Race Report

In the thick of triathlon training, Karel had his second (and last planned) running race of 2019. The first was a 5K in January. This past Saturday, Karel participated in the Prisma Half Marathon.
Karel loves to race and he actually receives a performance boost from his races. Despite no specific training for these road races (ex. intervals/speed work), Karel has been able to outperform his expectations and bounce back quickly into his structured triathlon training. I am the opposite - running races take a lot out of me, physically. Although I've been injury free since 2013, my body is resilient but I have to be very careful and strategic with my run training (volume, frequency and intensity). I actually feel that I am a more efficient runner off the bike than in a stand alone running race. If I'm going to do a road race, I'll select a fun one to do in the end of the season (after my triathlon season is complete, like I did this past year in October) as I know I've accumulated a lot of fitness and durability at that point.

The alarm got us up at 5am after a good night of sleep. It's always nice to sleep in your own bed before a race. Karel kept to himself doing what he needed to do to get himself race ready (espresso, oatmeal, more espresso, a short jog, bathroom, mobility work, etc.) By 6:30am, he was out the door and drove himself a few miles down the road for the start of this point-to-point race. With an hour easy run on my training plan, I jumped on the treadmill at home around 6am so that I could get my run done early in order to watch Karel finish near downtown Greenville. With my bag of food packed the night prior (and recovery drink/food for Karel), it was a quick transition from my sweaty indoor run to shower to car. By 7:45am, I was in the car in route to the grassy field outside Carolina Triathlon, near downtown Greenville (~8 miles away). With the 5K finishing around the time I arrived, it was easy to find parking near the finish.

The weather was cold and dreary and it was only a matter of time until the rain was coming. I tried to stay warm inside my swimming parka but wet shoes from the muddy grass had me shivering.

Around sixty-five minutes into the half marathon race, the leaders were coming. It was a sprint for the finish! With no idea of how fast Karel would run (his previous PR was 1:21 in 2013), I knew that Karel's secret goal was to break 1:20. As the minutes passed by and several more young male finishers crossed the finish line, it started to rain and in the distance, I spotted Karel. He was pacing off another guy and I could tell he was fighting hard to stay with him. Nearing the finish line, Karel managed to sneak right passed him.

Not knowing Karel's exact time, I couldn't wait to ask him. Karel was having a bit of a coughing attack from the effort so as soon as he calmed down, I asked him his time and I couldn't believe it - 1:15!!! His official time was 1:15.24!!

Here's Karel's race report in his words:

Wow! I really didn't think I can go this fast. My secret goal was to break 1:20 which would be my best time. Going almost 5 min faster is just nuts :-) So, when I read the race pacing suggestion from my coach of starting at 5:45 min/mile and then settle into 6 min/mile and that it would feel easy I was like, what? I don't think I can do that! Sure enough, starting at sub 5:40 and then staying in sub 5:50's mile after mile was crazy - I couldn't believe it was happening. I ran behind another runner who I thought was running stronger and I was just drafting behind him. It was just 2 of us. All I did was stay behind him and try to hang on. He did a few surges to get rid of me but that didn't work. I felt really good and felt like I'm cruising fairly comfortable behind him. Not that I could go any faster but it wasn't a blow-up pace. Then sometime in the 2nd half of the race, this guy started to slow down a bit. I thought he was just playing games with me but then I realized he is really slowing down. Luckily for me, another guy just bridged to us and after a brief break, this other guy took off. I went with him and we lost my original "pacer" really quickly. My new pacer was running much faster and it started to get much harder to stay with him. The last 3 miles was a real struggle and I was playing all sorts of mind games with myself to try and stay with him for just a little longer and a little longer. The rubber band was about to snap but I kept managing to come back to him. I stayed with him and then sprinted pass him to the finish line. The finish was crazy as it was on a muddy field. Very slippery and impossible to really give a strong sprint.

Overall I'm super stoked about this run. Big time PR but I'm ready and happy to do triathlon racing now. It is amazing how much a 75 min running race can hurt!

For the video recap...                                            

Quickly after Karel finished, he changed into warm clothes (not to Karel, don't forget an extra pair of running shoes after you finish a running race!) that I brought for him in my car and then we drove a mile down the road to the Kroc center for a swim. We paid a one-day entry for each of us in order to use the pool (which was much more convenient than driving back near our house to swim at Furman). Karel needed to work out the stiffness (as advised by his coach) and we had about 2 hours to kill before the awards. I had a swim workout as well, which was much longer (4850) so after Karel was finished with his float, he walked back to the awards around 11am. 

After I finished up my swim, I picked him up and we headed home for snuggles with Campy, food and Super League Triathlon!

Karel's stats according to his Garmin:
13.2 miles
1:15.36 (5:44 min/mile)
93 cadence
169 average HR

Mile 1: 5:35 
Mile 2: 5:52 
Mile 3: 5:35 
Mile 4: 5:51 
Mile 5: 5:46 
Mile 6: 5:47 
Mile 7: 5:41 
Mile 8: 5:50
Mile 9: 5:55 
Mile 10: 5:43 
Mile 11: 5:42 
Mile 12: 5:38 
Mile 13: 5:40 
Mile .2: 5:20 pace (176 HR) 

1st Male Masters, 12th overall. 

Shoes: Nike Vapor Fly Knit 4%
Hydration belt: Naked Running Band
Sport nutrition: 1 packet Maurten 160 mixed into a 500 ml bottle of water and then divided into two x 8 ounce flasks + 1 packet Enervitene liquid gel