Essential Sports Nutrition

5/31/19

73 questions for my 37th Birthday


1. What are you most excited about these days?
That it's summer and the weather is warm! 

2. What’s your favorite holiday?
Thanksgiving.

3. Favorite season?
Summer. 

4. Where does one go on a perfect road trip?
To a race. 

5. What is the best activity when home on a rainy day?
Writing. 

6. If you could switch lives with someone for a day who would it be?
Campy. 

7. What is the best thing that happened this year?
I signed a contract to write two more books!

8. What’s your New Year’s resolution?
I don't set resolutions.

9. What’s your favorite exercise?
Swimming.

10. Best way to decompress?
Talking Campy for a walk. 

11. What’s your favorite country to visit?
Europe.

12. Last country you visited?
Europe.

13. Country you wish to visit?
South Africa.

14. What’s your favorite ice-cream?
Mint chocolate chip. 

15. What makes you smile the most?
Animals. 

16. What’s the coolest thing in the world?
Nature. 

17. What is the cutest thing in the world?
Baby animals. 

18. How do you know if you’re in love?
I never get tired of being with that person. 

19. If you could go to any concert past or present, what would it be?
The Beatles.  

20. What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
Homemade or personalized gifts are my favorite but today, Karel gave me the gift of a baby gorilla adoption as part of the Ellen Fund. Here's a video of our gorilla adoption. 

21. Favorite fashion trend of all time?
Scrunchies. 

22. What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Charlotte's Web. 

23. What was the movie that made you cry?
I can't remember. 

24. If you could make a documentary, what would it be about?
Animals (but it would be a happy documentary). 

25. If you could have one superpower what would it be?
Go back in time to relive certain moments of my life. 

26. What is the skill still unmastered?
Skiing. 

27. What is the best thing that happened to you today?
Celebrating my birthday!

28. Do you like surprises?
Yes. 

29. If you could do a flash mob where would it be?
Any public space where people need to laugh/smile. 

30. Do you like cupcakes?
No. 

31. Do you usually bake cupcakes?
No. 

32. What’s your favorite desert?
Carrot cake. 

33. Is there a desert you don’t like?
Pie. 

34. What’s your favorite bakery?
Anywhere in Europe/Czech. 

35. What’s your favorite food?
Blueberries. 

36. It’s brunch, what do you eat?
French toast. 

37. You are stuck on an island, you can pick one food to eat forever without getting tired of it, what would you eat?
Pretzels. 

38. Favorite color?
Pink.

39. Favorite superhero?
Super Grover. 

40. What do you usually order in Starbucks? (or in your favorite café)
I leave that to Karel. I share whatever he gets. 

41. Who is the last person you texted?
An athlete of mine. 

42. What’s your favorite activity to do in your hometown?
Ride my bike. 

43. What’s the next book you plan on reading?
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. 

44. What do you love in your pizza?
Mozzarella and basil. 

45. Favorite drink?
Water. 

46. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
Dark chocolate

47. What’s your favorite band?
I like all music with a good beat. 

48. Favorite solo artist?
Pink. 

49. Favorite lyrics?
Not sure. I like quotes a lot though. 

50. If your life was a song what would the title be?
Don't waste a day. 

51. If you could master one instrument what would it be?
The harp. 

52. If you had a tattoo where would it be?
I have one tattoo on my ankle but if I got another one, it would be on the inside of my wrist. 

53. To be or not to be?
To be. 

54. Dolphins or koalas?
Dolphins. 

55. How do you like your coffee?
Not too strong with a little milk. 

56. What’s your favorite curse word?
I don't curse - I leave that to Karel ;) 

57. What color of dress did you wear to prom?
Purple. 

58. Diamonds or pearls?
Diamonds. 

59. Cheap shampoo or expensive?
Cheap but good ingredients. 

60. Blow dry or air dry?
Blow dry. 

61. Heels or flats?
Do running shoes count? 

62. Pilates or yoga?
Pilates. 

63. Jogging or swimming?
Swimming.

64. One thing you can’t live without?
Being outside/nature. 

65. What’s one cause that’s dear to your heart?
I have three - animal rescue, mental health and body image. 

66. Who would you want to shoot a love scene with?
There are a few male professional triathletes that I will leave nameless....Love you Karel :) 

67. What’s your favorite sport?
Triathlon. 

68. Do you have a morning beauty ritual?
Put my hair in a poof on the top of my head. 

69. What’s your favorite thing to wear?
Sweatpants and a hoodie in the winter. Shorts and a tank top in the summer. 

70. What’s the priciest thing you’ve ever splurged on?
Not sure but probably something travel related like comfort seats for a long plane ride. 

71. Do you play any musical instruments?
Not anymore but I played the piano for over 8 years. 

72. What is your favorite book of all time?
Goodnight moon.
73. What is something you always travel with?
My computer. 

5/29/19

A necessary recharge - taking a break.


Going into IM 70.3 Chattanooga race week, our coach told us that we would be taking a week break from triathlon training before getting into our training for Ironman Canada. Karel and I were really excited for this break. While we love training, we aren't injured and we aren't burnt out, we know that a physical and mental removal from sport is a necessary part of being an athlete. Certainly, it's much easier to enjoy a planned and intentional break than a break that is forced and unplanned due to injury, sickness, life or burnout. In other words, a necessary recharge is a way to help the body better adapt to training stress.

We were told from our coach that we could swim, bike and run (since these are great activities for overall health) but the goal is to return to training on Monday the 26th feeling excited to put in some hard work for the next 8 weeks. We were also given guidelines as to what we could do IF we did swim, bike or run in terms of duration per workout and total duration spread over the week.

Here's what my recovery week looked like:
Monday - planned 65 minute ride to spin out the legs from the race/travel
Tues - 20 min outdoor pool swim
Wed - 70 minute EZ spin
Thurs - 30 min strength + massage
Friday - 28 min outdoor pool swim + dry needling with my PT
Saturday - 2 hour kayaking
Sunday - 80 min bike + 18 min run
Total: 7 hours and 15 minutes of "exercise"

This break was just what we needed - mentally and physically. Campy got to go on a lot of walks, I swam outdoors twice in my mom's neighborhood pool (without lane lines and a lot of current flowing around) and I rode my road bike three times.

Throughout this week break from training, I enjoyed living a slightly different lifestyle. One week of minimal exercise does not result in any change of muscle mass, strength and endurance so I never felt the need to do more exercise to maintain fitness or significantly alter my nutrition because I was worried about weight gain. If anything, I've worked my body so much over the past six months that it deserved a break and lots of nourishment to help with recovery.

I also liked having a bit more time and energy to get some extra things done around the house and some to-do's that have been lingering on my to-do list. I also enjoyed having more free time. I enjoyed not having to wake up with an alarm and having a workout plan for the day. It was nice to have a normal appetite throughout the week and to have a more low key evening - with a bit more time relaxing on the couch. I don't believe that athletes should have massive changes in the diet between peak training and off-season eating for the foundation of the diet should always be a healthy and nutritious diet and then when training increases, it's supported by additional calories/carbohydrates and sport nutrition. In other words, there is always wiggle room in the diet when an athlete increases training volume but you shouldn't feel like your diet needs to be restrictive when you go from 10+ hours of training a week to less than an hour a day.

If you are feeling unmotivated to train, training feels like a chore, you are constantly feeling flat, you are a bit more moody than normal, your appetite and sleep habits have dramatically changed and you struggle to put together quality workouts, you are in need of a break. If you have been struggling with health issues, remind yourself that training breaks the body down. If you are already broken, it's very hard to adapt to training stress. Let the body repair itself before you start training again. While exercise may help improve your health, if you continue to train with compromised health, you may be putting in double the work for half the (or no) results.

There will be times in your season when you need to train in a fatigued state. You must still do everything possible to support the training (nutrition, sleep, fueling, hydration) as your body will be tired, training may not always be "fun" and your muscles will feel sore and heavy. But if your body is unable to recover from sessions, you feel like it takes a lot more work to experience performance gains, you train through sickness/health issues or you are no longer seeing positive adaptations from your training investments, you've crossed the line from quality training to haphazard training.

Every athlete needs a break - mentally and physically. Don't be afraid to temporarily step away from structured training so you can maintain longevity in your sport. Physical overload is good to a point but too much progressive training without proper recovery does more harm than good. Most of all, if you do take a break, make sure you really enjoy the break so that you return to training feeling recharged.

The break was just what I needed. I started the week feeling exhausted, sore and enjoying a break from training and now I'm rejuvenated, healthy, rested and excited to train again.

5/28/19

Adventures with Campy


It's no surprise how much I love Campy. For the past 10+ years, Campy has been living the best life ever as I've made sure that no day is ever wasted for my furry little pooch. Because a dog's life is so short compared to us humans, I always make the effort to make memories together.

Campy and I love being outside and exploring nature. The hotter the weather the better as we both love the heat. Campy loves being in the car and he's always up for a road trip. He loves smelling/exploring new places.

As part of our week-break from triathlon training (more on this in a future blog), Karel and I decided to do a different outdoor activity - Kayaking! Of course, I couldn't imagine being outside, making memories and enjoying the sun without Campy.

We all had our first experience Kayaking at Lake Jocassee and we had a great time. Not only is this lake absolutely beautiful but it's also pet friendly. Kayaking gave us a great workout and it was a nice change from our normal Saturday routine of triathlon training. The water was refreshingly cool and the views were incredible. I'm not sure exactly how Campy felt about his life jacket and being on (and in) the water but he was really chill throughout the adventure and he slept like a champ for the rest of the day. Most of all, Campy loved spending time with us as we enjoyed this adventure together.

I love adding memories to Campy's book of life. At 11.5 years of age, I'd say he's got a rather filled book so far but there's still plenty of years to keep the memories coming. What should we do next?

Here are a few pics from our recent adventure with campy:













5/27/19

Sport nutrition application - the year-long fueling approach


It's well-documented that if a workout is less than 60 minutes, there is no need to take in any carbohydrate. However, for workouts lasting more than an hour, carbohydrate has been shown to improve performance.

Despite scientific literature telling athletes when fuel is or isn't needed, I encourage my athletes to use sport nutrition all-year long, regardless of the workout duration. For me and Karel, we never train without eating before a workout and we always have sport nutrition in our bottle(s) when we workout. 

While this may appear as if I don't understand exercise physiology or that I am putting my body at a metabolic disadvantage, that couldn't be further from the truth.

Consider these facts:

  • It can take up to 8 weeks to train your gut to adapt to the mechanics of fueling and exercising.
  • It can take several months of trial and error to figure out which sport nutrition products have the right types / amounts of carbohydrates and tastes for your personal preferences and needs.
  • It can take several weeks to find the right hydration set-up and hydration belt/pack to make fueling/hydrating simple and effective while exercising.
  • Training and racing in cold weather is significantly different than training and racing in hot weather. Carbohydrate absorption is highly compromised if it doesn’t occur with the correct amount of fluids and sodium, particularly in the heat. Learning how to take in sport nutrition in cooler temps is critical before fine-tuning your sport nutrition in hot temps.
  • Nutrition is typically the most common reason/excuse why athletes fail to perform to their full abilities on race day. Interestingly, the athletes who often struggle to take in nutrition on race day have yet to master fueling in training. 

With all this in mind, athletes who routinely practice with sport nutrition in the early part of the season find it easier to adapt to peak/race-specific training. The gut is more primed to take in nutrition, there's no need to guess as to what sport nutrition products may work during workouts and with appropriate fueling, workouts are easy to execute which means more consistent training and faster fitness gains. 

Although research may say that, physiologically, you don't need to take in calories during your short workouts, consider the many performance benefits of practicing with sport nutrition for several months before you really need it.