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Greenville, SC

Trimarni is place where athletes and fitness enthusiasts receive motivation, inspiration, education, counseling and coaching in the areas of nutrition, fitness, health, sport nutrition, training and life.

We emphasize a real food diet and our coaching philosophy is simple: Train hard, recover harder. No junk miles but instead, respect for your amazing body. Every time you move your body you do so with a purpose. Our services are designed with your goals in mind so that you can live an active and healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Trimarni Blog

A blog dedicated to exercise, nutrition and my life

Your Questions, ANSWERED!

Marni Sumbal

I receive questions from blog readers on a weekly basis and I love hearing your concerns, questions and ponderings in the areas of nutrition and fitness. As our teachers always said "there are no silly questions" and I fully believe that if you have a question, you are not alone in not knowing the answer. Thanks to your questions, you always keep me on my toes..constantly learning (and trying new things) in the field of nutrition, health, wellness and training.
Here are a few questions that I'd like to share with my blog readers. Feel free to email me @ with your questions, concerns or comments..I LOVE emails!

Q: I recently read about a Carbohydrate Intolerance test through Phil Maffetone's book on endurance training. Have you heard about this test? Have any of your athletes/clients performed it?

A: haven't heard of this test until now, but thanks for emailing me about it. I went to the website and all I can say is that it is a great way to jump start a cleaner way of eating.... but in terms of testing carbohydrate intolerance, I think this idea is just breaking down the "typical" American diet what it is doing to our nation. Please don't take this as an angry email, because it is not. From my perspective, all of his do's and don'ts and "feelings" for needing to take this test result from people over-emphasizing processed food. Simple as that. It's easy to blame "carbs, wheat and dairy" for food intolerances, GI upset and weight gain but rarely do you see a person with a wholesome, balanced diet, complaining of feeling awful from eating too many fruits and veggies. It's likely that fruits and veggies make up a small component of the daily diet, thus leading to feeling "awful" and the feeling of diet-out-of-control. Through a balance diet (that means portion control and recognizing the individual strengths and weaknesses in the diet, exercise routine and in life), I believe would would all be able to not "fail" at the carbohydrate intolerance test. With balance, we would all have better blood sugar control thanks to wholesome eating and we would end up with more energy and a better relationship with food.
The biggest focus on the diet righ now, is cleaning up the diet to include more wholesome food, rich in fruits and veggies (plant based meals) and then complementing the meals/snacks with portioned controlled whole grains, a variety of plant and animal-based quality protein (depending on your dietary preferenes) and heart-healthy fats.

I enjoy using the USDA plate method with my clients as I find this is the best representation of how to plan your meals without seeing food as "bad" or off-limit as well as to bump up the nutritional quality of the diet. The plate method doesn't include a spot for fat so I like to include it in the middle, making up 25-30% of the daily diet. Thank you again for passing along this site..I really appreciate it and I like learning about new "thoughts" on food.

Q:I am training for the Iron Girl in Boulder as my first tri. I have done a half marathon for the last two summers and I am ready to try something new. My questio is about bikes. I need an affordable bike that I can pull my kids around in the trailer with and train with and use in the event. Is this reasonable? Right now I am riding a bike I got off Craigslist and doesn't fit me properly. I know nothing about the types of bikes, etc. If you could give me just enough info to take to the store for a fitting or hit Craigslist with I would really appreciate it.

A: Thank you for emailing me! Congrats on taking the next step and entering the multisport world! I believe that life is all about challenging ourself and getting out of our comfort zone. You are a wonderful role model for your kids and I'm sure you are a great inspiration for your friends as well.
As for your bike question, I will be honest and say that this will likely be your first of many tri's so please keep that in mind when making any purchases with a bike. While a craigslist (or used) bike may fit your needs right now and may help you get through the upcoming race, it's important to get a quality bike (which can be found on craiglist but in the right measurements for you) that will keep you safe, injury-free and to keep you enjoying the sport.
First off, you can attach the kids trailer to any bike but for what you are describing, it sounds like most of your rides are for "fitness" for the time being. You can certainly train for a triahlon in spin classes as well as getting comfortable riding the a bike on the road. Therefore, a fitness style bike will be the best fit. You can still ride on paved trailes, side wallks etc. so you may want to seek a fitness specific bike.

If you are ready to jump into triathlons for a season but aren't sure if you are ready for the geometry and positioning of a tri-bike, I would strongly encourage a road bike which can be used year-round for fitness, leisurely riding and for training. I also recommend that all triathletes eventually purchase a road bike to break up the monotony of being "aero" and to encourage safe riding when training in group rides.

For sizing and fitting (which is most important), you will need to go to your local bike shop and have them size you and give you recommendations. This is my best suggestion for you so that you can find out your options for a bike. Don't let them talk you into a carbon tri bike or even a carbon road bike, unless you know 110% that is what you want (for the time being, I don't think it is necessary). The fitness bike is very close to a hybrid bike but it isn't as heavy as a hybrid and doesn't have the hybrid components such as suspension front fork or seat post. It is lighter and geometry is very close to regular road bike.
Here is the link to Trek fitness bikes page: (I ride Trek and my husband is the GM of the Trek store so we are big fans of Trek) but of course you can buy a different brand ....but at least this will give you a look at what bikes you may want to consider
Again, don't be afraid to spend a little extra money on a new or gently used bike from a store that has a lifetime warrant, can give you the best fit bike as well as good customer service to give you tune-ups and help you out with changing tires, getting accessories, etc.

I hope this helps! Congrats and best of luck!
(Thanks to Karel for helping me with the technical bike components of this question).

Q: I do have a quick question I hope you could help me with. After workouts I usually make a shake, Soy milk, PB, banana and ice. I feel I need to add more protein to my recovery. I know many people use protein powder and have used it in the past when I played soccer.
My question starts because my daughter loves sharing the shakes with me and loves helping make them! If I were to add protein powder would it be a big deal if she still got her own little glass of it (she is 5) and basically are the powders safe for kids (obviously it is a small dose and she would only have some when I made a shake). Also what brand would you recommend and how much should I add?

A: Thanks so much for checking out my blog and for emailing me with your question.
That is great that you are making a recovery shake and it sounds yummy. I would recommend to include protein powder to bump up the amino acid content (aka "quality" of your protein that is being absorbed) as well as the usefullness of your "recovery" drink...especially if you struggle with getting adequate quality protein into your body during the day. Greek yogurt is also high in protein so this may work as well (I recommend plain 0% or non fat plain yogurt with no added sugars or artificial flavors).
Smoothies not only make a great recovery drink but they are also an effective way to eat a balanced "meal" in a drink. You can certainly take the typical USDA "plate method" and turn it into a yummy smoothie.

As for your recovery drink, before I make suggestions, it's important to know wha workouts you are using it for, in terms of recovery. I find that some athletes can just benefit from a glass of milk or 1 scoop protein and water (or milk) if the average training load is small on a weekly basis or the workout is less than an hour. There are also some opportunities when a recovery drink is more advantageous than others - in terms of what you are putting in it. The big focus is on the protein for recovery but if you were using it as a meal AND to recover, you can bump up the nutrition by adding fruit, veggies, milk, nut butter, seeds, oils and yogurt.

As for your daughter, I do not feel the protein powder would hurt her but I do not encourage supplement usage on children. Unless there is a reason to do so for medical reasons (advised by her primary care physician), your daughter would be just fine by using milk (or greek yogurt) and passing on the protein. Milk contains calcium AND vitamin D to help with bone growth, whereas most "milks" and yogurts will contain calcium and the protein content may vary. I personally use whey protein isolate (which is an animal protein) but if you would like a different protein to do the similar job, soy protein and hemp protein would be my recommendations. I have not found great success, personally, with pea or rice proteins (VEGAN) but they are other options.

To make your smoothie with your daughter (which is great!) I would first make her portion with ice and water and have her help you pick ingredients such as kale, spinach, carrots, pumpkin puree, nuts, seeds, yogurt, milk and nut butter. After you blend for her, then add your protein powder (and perhaps a bit more water to help with mixing) for yourself. But again, if you are only using your smoothie as a recovery drink, a glass of milk is perfectly fine (for calcium and protein) for recovery and to curb cravings later in the day (as well as overeating). And, unless the smoothie is being used as a meal replacement, I recommend a balanced "meal" to finish off the tissue repair and glycogen restoring process.
Thanks for the email and enjoy!