Essential Sports Nutrition

3/28/19

Comparison - how's it working for you?



It's often said that comparison is the thief of joy. In other words, social comparison is a big part of how we determine our own level of happiness. 

If you find yourself in a daily competition with the achievements of others, it's time to direct your energy elsewhere. Start caring about the things and people in life that are meaningful and purposeful to you.

Life is filled with sadness, stress, pain, disappointments, insecurities, anxiety or depression. It doesn't matter who you are, life can be tough. However, this idea that life is far from perfect is far from the picture-perfect life that is often depicted on social media. While you may envy over someone's highlight real, you never know what the behind-the-scene moments look like. 

I encourage you to have less comparison to others and more compassion toward yourself. 

Although it is inspiring and motivating to see the success stories of others, do not let the triumphs of someone else trump your own personal accomplishments and achievements.  

3/26/19

Struggles with mental health


The past few days have been incredibly tough for us at Trimarni. We lost an athlete who took his own life. Although we know that depression can be life-threatening, never have we experienced something like this before. It's been an emotional time for us - with several days of carrying around a very heavy heart. While this is an incredibly sad time for us, it's also an opportunity to re-address mental health illnesses. These are real illnesses that are often hidden behind a smiling or "successful" person. Never underestimate the importance of taking care of your mental health.

Athletes often feel a strong connection with their body. The mind-body connection can be extremely powerful as it relates to optimizing performance.

However, by constantly existing in a state of high expectations, your emotional well-being could become compromised. When you feel as if you must perform physically and mentally at your best - in both training and in life (work, family, friends), this may exacerbate feelings of anxiety and depression. Mental health illnesses include biological, psychological and environmental factors. Depression can drain your energy, optimism, and motivation. Depression isn't something you can simply "snap out" of and you can't just "look on the bright side." Depression clouds judgment and distorts realistic thinking. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of depression and anxiety.

Mental illnesses often come with the stigmatized belief that those who struggle with depression or anxiety are weak and fragile. This conflicts with the idea that athletes are strong, resilient and healthy. Athletes may feel shame and embarrassment for having to struggle with mental health issues but because this illness affects how you feel, think and behave, leading to a variety of emotional and physical problems, it's important to seek help. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not a weakness. There are many mental health services available for mental, emotional and social concerns. With appropriate care, you can go on to live a meaningful and rewarding life. Carrying for your mental health is just as important as taking good care of yourself physically.

In today's visual and connected world, you may hold yourself to high expectations and standards. Too much time spent scrolling through social media can be destructive to your mental health. It's very difficult to avoid making comparisons of others perceived success, physical appearances, happiness, finances, relationships/friendships and career achievements. Social media can be healthy if you are taking advantage of ways that you can positively connect with family and "real" friends, but many times, social media is destructive to mental health.

Treat yourself with kindness and respect. Don't be too critical of yourself. Surround yourself with good people who make you feel good about yourself. Never stop giving to yourself. Identify the triggers that make you feel anxious or depressed. Make time for you. Don't be overambitious with your goals and avoid putting too much on your daily plate. Don't over-schedule yourself and be willing to say no. Let the little things go. Learn safe and healthy ways to deal with stress, anxiety and depression to help quiet your mind.

For more information on this topic, here's a recent article with several pro athletes who have suffered from depression. 







3/24/19

Private Camper Diane - bike terrain management


Last week we had the pleasure of spending three packed days with our athlete Diane. Coming from Chicago, Diane was thrilled to ride outside. We made sure to give her plenty of time outside on two wheels with three long rides (3 hours, 2.5 hours and 3.5 hours). We have been coaching Diane for over a year and we've seen her develop into a very competitive age-group triathlete (50-54 age group). As a very experienced long-distance triathlete - having completed ten Ironman distance triathlons - we know Diane is a hard-working triathlete. She's motivated and determined. Therefore, we don't need her to train any harder or longer. Instead, she's at the point in her triathlon journey where we just need her to train and race smarter. While we were able to have a big breakthrough in her swimming over her 3-day training camp, we spent the majority of her camp on terrain management and riding skills.

Here are a few pictures from Diane's 3-day private camp. 







Many triathletes have great cycling fitness from indoor riding but when it comes to riding outside, many triathletes fail to transfer that fitness to real world conditions. Even if a triathlete does ride outside, the environment is typically controllable and familiar. It isn't until the athlete arrives to a new or unfamiliar race course and lack of proper bike handling skills often increase anxiety, stress or lack of confidence.

Knowing how to manage any type of terrain is critical when it comes to showcasing your physical abilities. More so, the better you manage the terrain on your bike, the better you'll run off the bike. 

In a world of gadget obsession and virtual indoor riding, it's becoming much more common that triathletes are lacking (or losing) the skills to confidently, safely and efficiently ride outside. Realizing that many triathletes don't have access to safe roads, being confined to the indoors can come at a cost when it comes to knowing how to properly ride your bike outside.

When Karel was young, he road his bike every day. He had no power meter or GPS watch or HR monitor. He learned how to ride his bike on different terrains and in different weather conditions. He gained valuable bike handling skills at a very young age and today, those skills are second nature. When he's on his bike, he is one with his bike. 

Most triathletes didn't grow up riding and racing bikes - particularly in the US. In turn, the bike becomes an expensive piece of equipment that is not well-utilized when taken outside. You need to know how to interact with your bicycle, change your gears, navigate the terrain and be very comfortable on two wheels in order to get the most out of this pricey-ticket item.

Lucky for us, we live in an area that has very challenging (yet beautiful) terrain. Greenville has every type of terrain (except flat) to practice bike handling skills. We like to call our terrain "punchy."
For example, here are the elevation files from our three rides with Diane. 

3632 feet elevation gained

2300 feet elevation gained

4780 feet elevation gained

Cycling outside can be scary depending on where you live. But to improve your cycling skills, you need to ride outside. Seeing that every triathlon is outside, gaining the most basic skills of learning how to get out of the saddle, descending, shifting your weight when corning, changing your gears and drinking/fueling while riding can boost your confidence, improve your safety and improve your joy for cycling. Most of all, your hard work from training will noticeably pay off on race day. 

Happy riding!