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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

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Reflect, Rejuvenate, Refuel - it's the off-season!

Marni Sumbal

I'm currently finalizing the last parts of the newest pre-built plan at Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition. The Trimarni 5-week off season transition phase training plan includes 5 weeks of strength training, hip/core work, specific workouts for swim, bike and run to improve form and efficiency as well as 5 weeks of nutrition tips!! This plan has taken a while to put together but I am so excited to offer it to athletes and fitness enthusiasts in the next few weeks to help everyone improve the chance of having a great consistent 2014 season.

In the mean time...enjoy my latest article from my monthly column at

Reflect, Rejuvenate, Refuel in the Off-Season
By Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N
Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC

Hard works feels amazing when it pays off. Although training for an event can be hard on the body,  the positive energy that you receive at a finish line is worth all the sacrifices.  

It's important that your off-season compliments your racing season. The key to the off-season is to enjoy a well-needed break from structured activity but to not lose the fitness that you gained throughout last year.

Here are a few tips on how you can feel great about your 4-6 week, planned off-season:

How'd you feel about last season? Did you try a new event or distance or are you still chasing a PR or podium spot? Address any limiters that can be worked on with strength training, flexibility or with a change in your weekly routine. As you plan for next season's races, consider weather, terrain, time of the year and distance to highlight your strengths.

Save your energy for when it counts. You do not need to be "in the best shape possible" 365 days a year. To get faster and stronger, the body needs training stress so the off-season is the perfect time to exercise just for health benefits. Consider trying something new to meet other fitness enthusiasts or, take an active trip. Although strength training, hip and core work is recommend year round, the off-season is the perfect time to reduce risk for injury and improve power with strength training, functional exercises and/or plyometrics.

Refuel  The celebratory post-race foods should only last a few days until your body will request a more balanced, nutrient dense diet. Whereas many athletes fear the off-season for unintentional weight gain due to reduced training volume, I recommend looking forward to the off-season as a time to develop a healthy relationship with food, to discover your culinary creativity and to get to know your body and true hunger signals when you aren't excessively burning calories. Learn to create a more real food diet which is filled with lots of seasonal fruits and veggies and complimented with whole grains and fiber-rich starches, quality protein and heart healthy fats. If you struggled with energy/fatigue, body composition and/or your relationship with food and the body during the past year, consider using this time to work with a dietitian that specializes in sport nutrition.

Travel to race: Nutrition tips

Marni Sumbal

So there was a lot going on this past week, hence the lack of blogging. BUT life is continuing to move forward and no day is being wasted. I have lots to catch up on via the blog but for the mean time, how about an old Iron Girl article of mine regarding nutrition when traveling for a race. Enjoy!!

In route to Kona, (Honolulu airport) for the 2011 Ironman World Championship.

TRAVEL TO RACE: Nutrition Tips

Pertaining to nutrition, the overall mission of an Iron Girl athlete is to develop a healthy relationship with food. Although body composition goals are often primary reasons for embarking in the Iron Girl lifestyle, longevity, performance gains and a commitment to keeping your body healthy are top priorities when creating lifelong, practical dietary habits. For the nutrients that you put into your body will help fuel your fitness routine as well as reducing the risk for disease or illness.

If you prioritize heart-healthy choices on an everyday basis, you should welcome traveling (or when celebrating a special event) as an opportunity to try new foods and to enjoy a temporary change in routine. While it is advisable to maintain a few healthy habits to control blood sugar levels, maintain energy and limit overindulging, it is important to be "ok" with not abiding to your every-day eating routine. By feeling confident with the foods that you put in your body on a daily basis, you should find yourself at ease when eating on the road.

Regardless if you are traveling for an athletic event, for fun or work, a little creativity will help you apply your personal healthy eating habits while on the road. If you haven't quite figured out how to balance everyday eating with eating on the road, here are a few helpful tips to get you started before creating your own routine for traveling nutrition:

1) Plan ahead to have an idea where and when you will eat. Google the surrounding area to have an idea of your dinning/grocery/food options. Do not go into a meal starving.
2) Bring along single-serving and/or portioned-controlled snacks such as fruit, veggies, yogurt, canned fruit/applesauce, trail mix, cereal, string cheese, nuts, homemade granola bars, sandwiches and water (if traveling for an event, don’t forget to bring water for race day!)
3) Pack your own meals for the road. Make your own wrap, bagel or deli sandwich (purchase a quality cooler and/or insulated lunchbox).
4) Be creative. Gas stations typically have microwaves, fill up on gas and cook your oatmeal, minute rice or heat your potato and choice of protein.. Also grocery stores have many pre-chopped/washed options for easy snacking or meal additions. If your hotel doesn't have a microwave/fridge, think outside of the box. Use your ice bucket to keep small items cool and invest in portable electric water kettle for coffee/oatmeal.  Don't forget plates/bowls and silverware.
5) Be frugal. If you are going to spend your money on a healthy meal, it’s suggested to pass on the $8 lettuce and tomato salad. Create a meal that will make you feel most satisfied. Consider a yogurt parfait, a PB&J or egg and veggie sandwich at a bagel shop or mix and match at a local grocery store.
6) Snack on fruits and veggies. It's really easy to have a colorless diet when you travel, not to mention lacking in variety. Ask the locals for the nearest grocery store and pick up a few servings of fruits and veggies for a colorful and fibrous snack.
7) Don't forget about protein. It’s really easy to indulge in carbs while on the road (especially if you choose to not eat meat, or a varied diet). Mom-and-pop restaurants (or diners) often cook-to-order. Cottage cheese, yogurt, tofu, skim milk, tofu, veggie burger and egg whites are great sources of protein to add to your meal.

Happy Traveling!

Recovering from your event tips

Marni Sumbal

 To cap off three quality days of training, Karel and I joined a group ride in the Clearwater/New Port Richey area (while visiting my family) to see our second family - the Gearlink Cycling team. Karel and I were set up on a group ride in 2006 on my birthday and we are so lucky to have them all in our life. What great people.....who also taught me how to enjoy riding my bicycle!

After a 4:15 ride (with around 60 minutes or so with the 80+ rider fast group ride), it was time to cool off in the pool with my favorite furry friend.

My latest article from Iron Girl has to do with a few tips on recovering from an event to ensure that your hard work during a race does not leave you sore, depressed or injured after the race. Enjoy!

Recovering From Your EventBy Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N
Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC

No matter how hard you push, there is stress on the body (emotional, physical and mental) during racing. Since it takes a long time for the body to prepare for an event, keep in mind that it also takes a time for it to recover.

Many athletes rush back into training too quickly and experience injuries, sickness or burnout a few weeks to months down the road. Recovery depends on many factors and not always can you "feel" yourself being 100% recovered. Here are a few tips to kick start the recovery process.
  1. Relax - Take your time post-race and move around, celebrate, cool off, rehydrate and refuel.
  2. Exercise – You can't train a damaged body or one that is low in fuel. Exercising is fine but give yourself at least 3-7 days before you do anything structured. Stick to non-weight bearing, gadget free activities.
  3.  Recovery tools - Compression, ice, epson salt, elevation are great to boost recovery.
  4. Sleep - Even if you experience post-race insomnia, try get a little extra sleep with an earlier bedtime for a few nights or with short naps when possible.
  5. Refuel - Replenish glycogen, hydrate and help with tissue/muscle damage by focusing on a mix of low residue carbs w/ a little quality protein and water with electrolytes (ex. fruits). Eat/hydrate every few hours for the next two days, as tolerated and monitor the color of your urine for hydration purposes.
  6. Natural anti-inflammatories- Pass on the bottled anti-inflammatories and choose ginger, pineapple, celery, fish and cherries to help with inflammation.
  7.  Protect your immune system - You are highly susceptible to illness and infections post-race. Be sure to keep your immune system healthy by keeping chaffing areas clean and being aware of any blisters or lost toenails.
  8.  Goal setting - Set a goal so you are motivated to train again but wait at least 4-6 weeks before racing again. The body and the mind need recovery and with new goals, a bit more training. You have plenty of time to race again, be patient and respectful to the body.
  9. When in doubt - give yourself 2 more days after you feel 100% recovered before you return to structured training. It's always better to take it easy for a few extra days and give yourself a little more time to soak-up your recent accomplishment and to thank your body.

Read more: HERE

The best tip for "healthy" eating - because you've tried everything else

Marni Sumbal

Every person in this world has his/her own definition of "healthy" eating. For some, it's as simple as making sure there is food on the table so that no goes hungry or starved throughout the day. For others, it is much more complicated, often involving words like organic, raw, macrobiotics, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, whole, clean, super-foods, natural, all-natural, probiotic and energy-boosting. For others, it's just a way of living life to the fullest. 

According to Medical News, 

"Healthy eating means consuming the right quantities of foods from all food groups in order to lead a healthy life. Diet is often referred to as some dietary regimen for losing weight. However, diet simply means what food we eat in the course of a 24-hour, one week, or one month, etc. period. A good diet is a nutritional lifestyle that promotes good health. A good diet must include several food groups because one single group cannot provide everything a human needs for good health. Balanced diet - or a good diet - means consuming from all the different good groups in the right quantities."

Not sure about you, but I read that paragraph and found myself a bit more confused as to what is "healthy eating". 

Because that made me confused I decided to search for another definition. But this time I googled "How to lose weight fast" because for many, that means "healthy". 

According to (a website that has an article for any topic possible), 
"The speed of your success depends on your determination and ingenuity. You don't have to have a gym membership or any fancy equipment to exercise or lose weight, and can often make do with not only your own body power, but with common household items to add resistance and weight to exercise moves. To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume daily, so once you have done that--and added a regular exercise routine--you'll see not only a fast drop in weight, but a drastic reduction in inches."

Ok - so now we are getting somewhere. This makes "healthy eating" much more simple. So, what are the tips we should follow to lose weight quickly according to the article?
-Exercise every day, even if it's in small chunks of time
-Cut back on your calorie intake. Try not to go below about 1,200 calories a day for long-term weight loss management, but you can dip lower for short periods of time for extra fast weight loss
-Go for a short 15- to 20-minute walk every evening or morning for an all-around mental and physical workout. 
-Drink plenty of water, which will help prevent dehydration, which will also prevent your body from shutting down processes to conserve water.

That's it??? That's all we have to do to lose weight quickly? That doesn't seem extreme enough and by now we are all a bit frustrated because haven't we all tried to eat "good" or tried to cut back on calories and exercise and move more and drink plenty of water?

So much for taking the "healthy" approach. Now it is time for extreme measures because we have wasted days, if not weeks and months, trying lots and lots of "healthy" simple tips. 

Ok, now we are talking. A website called "Weight loss and training: Extreme weight loss tips" 

This author suggests that "Extreme weight loss goals are often met with disaster, interrupted by lack of motivation, unrealistic expectations, or plateaus that feel impossible to overcome. So that’s why I’m offering up my best extreme weight loss tips. These ones are guaranteed to give you serious results fast! 

- Restrict Your Carbohydrate Intake - Restrict yourself to 3-4 small carbohydrate servings a day (no more than a piece of bread each). 
- Fill Up on Fiber - If you have a hard time getting enough fiber in your diet, try a good fiber supplement like Myogenix Pro Fiber. It’s an easy fix and can help you shed the pounds! 
-Seriously Suppress Your Appetite - Appetite suppression is a great way to lose a lot of weight quickly. weight loss success, and understandably so. There are actually some great natural appetite suppressants on the market. Hydroxycut South African Hoodia is one that’s gained a lot of attention in recent years, derived from a root that’s been shown to reduce hunger. 
-Boost Your Metabolism - there are a number of eating habits that are totally effective for enhancing your metabolism. Foods like protein, fiber, and many spicy foods will all work. But one of the best things you can add to your diet is matcha green tea. It’s one of the best natural metabolism boosters around, and it also naturally suppressed your appetite! Check out one of the best extreme weight loss supplement on the market, Magic Matcha Green Tea. 
-Sleep Better!

So, with a several tips mentioned and a few supplements and tips suggested that may be extremely harmful to your health and functioning in society, it's likely that you feel more at ease that there is an extreme way to be "healthy". For so many people wanting to change habits to be "healthy" likes (more like, LOVES) rules because when you have rules, you don't have to trust yourself, let alone listen to yourself. You put all your trust into the other person who is telling you exactly what to do to be "healthy". 

Imagine saying this:
"I don't have rules in my diet. There are no lists of food that are off limit and there is no "best time" to reward myself with food. There is no emotional, stressful or mindless eating or feeling guilty after eating."

Do those thoughts make you feel more at ease with yourself, perhaps even around food and your body? 
This entire blog up until this point was all an example as to how overwhelming "healthy" eating can be in today's society. There is always something new to try or to consider and many times, it does not involve focusing on yourself, your own needs and your own goals. Many tips out there are helpful and can be triggers to promote a more healthful lifestyle. But many times, people are so rushed in the thought of being "healthy" (or improving performance, losing weight, improving fitness) that they bypass one of the most important tips, rules, suggestions and concepts of having a healthy relationship with food. 

Mindful eating. 

Here is a recent article that I did for Iron Girl that I'd love for you to read. After practicing the exercise, try to apply a similar thinking to your every day food choices. Because I believe that any fitness enthusiasts or athlete should develop a healthy relationship with food before even considering to tweak sport nutrition or to focus more on specific training/exercise, here is another great read to help you out: Mindful Eating

Please email with any comments, questions or concerns. If you can tackle this basic (yet often challenging) idea of mindful eating (either alone or with the help of others), I promise you that you will have nailed the best tip for "healthy" eating and all parts of your life will be improved from mood, relationships with others, functioning in society and fitness/performance. 

Eat More Mindfully - It's Not a Diet, It's a Lifestyle By Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N

There’s food everywhere and likely, you have your favorites. You are constantly being told to “eat healthy”, but as an athlete, it can be overwhelming and confusing. For in today’s society, it’s hard to define “healthy” when it comes to eating as the more people worry about nutrition, the less healthy we appear to become.
As you work toward a “healthy” real-food, balanced diet, consider eating more mindfully to help you feel more at-ease with food.
Eat more mindfully
Practice this exercise. Take a Hershey kiss (or small chocolate) and place it in front of you on a desk. Observe it, your surroundings and how you feel. Now touch it. How does it feel in your hand? Unwrap the item and observe it again by touching it and then smell it. Now, take a small bite from the top. Place the other half of the inside of the wrapper and place it out of sight. Suck on the chocolate and close your eyes. Savor your treat, making it last as long as possible without chewing it. Are any special past memories coming to mind as the chocolate melts? Now open your eyes. Did you stay present and in the moment? How long did it take to fully appreciate a small bite of a piece of candy/chocolate? Did you enjoy it?

Mindful eating is being in an active state and releasing all fears, worries or concerns about food. It’s about making choices that will give you an enjoyable eating experience in the present moment. Mastering mindful eating is not easy, especially with our quick-fix, diet-fad, food-trendy society. But with many disordered eating habits and body image concerns, your hurried and stressful lifestyle may make eating time a difficult, uneasy and overwhelming experience.

To bring some joy to eating, both inside and outside of the home, mindful eating should be practiced often. Instead of fearing certain foods, bring attention as to why you are eating to result in more control and enjoyment with what you are eating. Keep in mind that mindful eating will differ for everyone for eating is a very personal experience.
Consider working on this exercise with other types of foods/meals as a way to reduce any possible stress or anxiety with food as you learn how to eat in a way that is favorable to your individual goals.

Food trend - plant strong athlete

Marni Sumbal

If you are like most individuals, you are not surprised by the number of new, trendy, hip or cool foods on the market. From fresh to processed, our culture loves to eat trendy foods, companies love to profit it off of them and the media loves to talk about them. (perhaps I have reversed this timeline as the media has a major influence on how, what and why we eat). 

Coconut, kale, gluten-free, greek yogurt, juicing, quinoa. Just a few that come to mind when you think of the recent foods that are most talked about when discussing "healthy eating" or dieting. Anyone remember Olestra?

Did you know that there are over a dozen types of lettuces? I wrote a blog a while back on the many types of green leafy options that you can add to your current diet. 

How come the media isn't obsessing about Mâche, Mesclun or Mizuna and how come the grocery stores aren't carrying them for us to enjoy? 

When I work with individuals on the diet, specifically for performance or health purposes, it is very important to me that I treat each athlete/fitness enthusiast as an individual. But in our quick-fix society, it is so easy to want to be like the masses - do like others to receive the same results. 

In the past 20 years, I have "worked" on my diet to create a diet that gives me food freedom and peace with food. Comfort with my food choices without obsessing about calories or portions or food preparation. I have worked on mindful eating the most in that keeps me constantly in the moment when it comes to eating. I know how it feels to overeat and it doesn't feel good. So I don't do it. I don't get cravings or drops in blood sugar because I have tweaked my diet in a way that prevents these issues from happening. It may not work for others how I eat but my body is happy and my body is healthy. Why should I try to  follow a food trend or diet if I have created my own diet that allows me to function well in this world (and performance to the best of my ability during training/racing)? 

 At age 10-11, I decided to not eat meat for animal reasons and since then, I have learned how to eat as a healthy and active athlete/health conscious individual. I call myself a vegetarian because I don't and will never eat meat. It isn't a fad or a temporary trend. 

I know how to maintain my diet when traveling, eating on the road, eating at events and eating at home. I am always excited to better myself with my food choices, especially when it comes to bettering my health and performance but I am not "trying" new ways of eating as if I need to fix what is not broken. I have never fasted, cleansed or detoxed for my body never gets out of whack. 

I see nothing wrong with trying new things and tweaking the diet. Some styles of eating that are trendy (Ex. Mediterranean, vegetarian) actually come with a host of health benefits but that doesn't mean that you have to follow them strictly to still receive health benefits. That is how I work with others for I believe that learning how to create a healthy relationship with food is best mastered when you recognize what foods make YOU feel the best and enhance your lifestyle. Although adding kale and greek yogurt to your diet will not override other dietary choices, certainly there are many great foods out there that without the media, perhaps we would have never seen in the grocery store or recognized at farmers markets. 

When you think about the food trends in 2012, I am sure you have tried those foods or have adopted a diet that includes those foods (some or all). Nothing wrong with that as I hope that you are still working on your diet to support your individual needs and goals and not eating something temporary or for a quick-fix because the news, a celebrity, coach or nutrition guru told you that if you eat this, you will be "healthy". 

As I mentioned above, my plant-strong diet is with me for the rest of my life. It is not something that I will deviate from but instead, enjoy it as it helps me live an active lifestyle. But in the past 20 years, I have worked at it and I invite you to do the same for your own diet. 

Elimination diets are very trendy and I am not a fan. I feel that spending your energy on what not to eat is only going to set you up for failure and restriction in the diet and lack of flexibility with eating (especially around others). Banning food is not the way to go if you want to "be healthy" so instead, I invite you to think about what you aren't eating, possibly what you could be eating instead, as a way to create a positive relationship with food and perhaps, stop blaming the outcome or effect and instead, direct your positive energy to the missing link(s). 

I love writing about plant strong eating because not only do I practice what I preach in consuming a plant-strong diet for health and performance benefits but also, because we all need to do a great job, every day, of making sure we nourish our bodies with real food, mostly plants. If you feel you have "bad" food in the diet, perhaps you just don't have room for other foods (or not making room or the time to consume them) and it is within those other foods that you can make a positive impact on your health, mood, body and performance. It isn't as if one food is better than the other and certainly, no food is "bad" when consumed on occasional eats/treats but take some time - a few weeks at the minimum, to give a little thought to your diet to make sure that you are not "working" on your diet to be like others or to "fit-in" but instead, create a diet that works for you and is here to stay.

Is Plant-Strong "Healthy" for an Athlete? By Marni Sumbal

Healthy eating can be confusing when it's aimed to the masses. With many research-supported guidelines for "healthy" eating, a plant-strong diet is often celebrated as the most effective way to reduce risk for disease and manage a healthy weight. Although it is not required that you give yourself a dietary title as to what you don't eat, consider a variety of health promoting plant-strong foods to fuel and nourish your active lifestyle.

Protein is essential to assist in growth and repair of muscles, bones and tissues, keeps hair, skin and nails in good health, is helpful for the immune system and helps to keep the metabolism, digestion and brain in optimal health.

For most athletes, meeting recommendations for protein (1-1.5 g/kg/d) can easily be accomplished through a varied diet. To ensure a decrease in fat mass (and not lean muscle mass) if striving for weight loss/body composition changes, do not neglect quality, portioned controlled protein at meals, snacks and for workout recovery. 

For proper digestion and absorption, satiety and control of blood sugar with carbohydrates, all individuals should aim for around 20-30g of protein per meal and addition protein with workout recovery/daily snacks to meet your individual daily recommend protein intake.

Nutrition plays a major role in your training regime and the choice for a specific dietary regime (or any variation) should not sabotage your training plan. Because you can't out-train a poorly planned diet, your diet should keep you healthy, active and happy. If your eating today is restrictive based on how you ate yesterday, ditch the diet plan mentality. 

Maintain a healthy relationship with food and consider a more plant strong, balanced diet as you enjoy the creativity, freedom and flexibility that come with eating a variety of whole foods.

Meat or no meat, choose foods that are simple to prepare, convenient, safe, wholesome and pleasurable as you support your healthy lifestyle with consistent fitness/performance gains.

Here's a protein-rich, plant strong meal which has an extra bonus:  many valuable vitamins and minerals within this meal aside from protein!

1 cup mushrooms - 2 protein
2 cups cooked broccoli - 8g protein
1/2 cup farro - 4g protein
1/4 cup black beans - 3.5 g protein
3 ounce tofu - 7g protein
1 cup cherry tomatoes - 1g protein
1/2 cup peas - 3.5g protein
1/2 ounce pumpkin seeds - 2.5g protein
Total: 31.5g protein

Read more: Iron Girl

Eat for performance, not reward

Marni Sumbal

2011 Ironman World Championships, Kona, Hawaii - warm-up ride on the Queen K

Nip not-so-constructive eating habits in the bud this spring with a fresh approach to food.

by Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N
The minute you sign up for an IRONMAN event, you’re no longer an “exerciser,” you’re an athlete. And whether you train eight, 10, or 18-plus hours a week, athletes ask a lot of their bodies. In the cycle of training and adapting, it’s imperative that you don’t lose sight of your body’s key nutritional needs: what it requires to support metabolism, reduce your risk for disease and assist in building a healthy body composition.
Many new athletes too often find themselves in a pattern of haphazard, mile-focused training and a coexisting “reward-food” style of eating (aka “I earned that cookie”). But before you progress any further with your training this year, consider any recent or ongoing habits that may be causing you to struggle with your performance, overall health or body composition goals.
We all know how easily food becomes a replacement for other things. Regardless of how much your legs burn in a workout, if you’re eating for comfort, out of anxiety, or simply because you have no idea how to properly time your meals with your training routine, something probably needs to change.
Here are some key strategies for constructive eating throughout your upcoming race season.

Redefine “reward”

If you eat well most of the time you don’t have to worry about the rest of the time. It’s okay to chow down on chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream as a treat after your hardest monthly bike ride or grab the occasional take-out pizza after a long run, but it’s important not to make these choices habitual. Routinely choosing such post-training “rewards” puts you in danger of missing out on key vitamins and minerals needed to support the metabolic processes required in training.
Remember that the most appropriate time in your day to properly fuel your body is around your workouts—to assist in energy support, recovery and repair. If you can’t help but associate a successful training session with a food-based reward, consider focusing on the body-benefiting nutrients instead of the "prize." A recovery smoothie that’s properly timed with your training will do more for you than that late night burger run, for example.

To read the rest of my tips, check out my latest Ironman Column article HERE 

Is your body ready for a running race?

Marni Sumbal


Running is a gift. Despite growing up as a swimmer (loving water activities more than on land), I really enjoyed the freedom that running gave me when I started and perhaps that is why I have grown into a triathlete. 

But it is true that running is a gift and it isn't for everyone. Some don't enjoy it, some can't do it. For myself, running has been taken away from me many times since I started running and that is why I feel that I am more of a triathlete, than a runner. I love to run, but I rather do it after a swim and a bike. I was born with a body that was not designed to be a "runner" and I'm cool with that. It's not about finishing times, but the lifestyle. I like to be active and triathlon's give me challenges and happiness and I never take a workout for granted. 

I am so excited to announce that the first race of the 2013 Athleta Iron Girl event series is on April 14th!
I won't be attending this year but I suppose nothing can top last year as it was my first time winning a running race (with my triathlete body)  and what better than at my favorite all-women's racing series!

I absolutely loved writing my race report - appropriately titled "The race report I never imagined I would get to write.".

Knowing that running is a lot of fun when you are healthy, I guess I have a different outlook on run-training in terms of not taking any "workout" for granted. To help out those of you who are interested in running/walking in a running race, wanting to step up your running training or struggle with injuries/overtraining/burnout, I hope you enjoy my latest article from my monthly Iron Girl column.

Happy Running!

Is Your Body Ready for a Running Race? By Marni Sumbal
Running can great for the body and mind. However, a weak, poorly nourished, sick or injured body can leave you questioning your ability to get to a running starting line. In contrast, a well-trained, fueled and motivated body is an amazing piece of work, designed to reach goals and to live a healthy, quality life. Here are a few suggestions to make for a fun and active running season.
Quality training – have a plan
A training plan will not only improve your fitness but will keep you on a schedule that focuses on quality training, thus eliminating the junk miles (which leading to injuries, burn-out and overtraining).

Build slowly
Allow ~4 weeks to gradually adapt to running. Focus on running drills, cross training (ex. elliptical, swimming, cycling, yoga, anti-gravity treadmill) and functional strength training. Don’t forget to stretch your hip flexors regularly and warm-up before starting your workouts

Extra tips
- Don’t hesitate to include a walk/run strategy into your training/racing strategy to reduce residual fatigue and to enhance recovery.
-Avoid being strict on miles, time, heart rate or pace. Perceived exertion can be a helpful training “tool”.
-Even if you desire a change in body composition, do not fear sport nutrition to assist in quality training, before, during and after activity.
-Invest in quality training/recovery tools, such as a GPS-enabled heart rate device, massages and compression gear.
-Can you comfortably run (or run/walk) 45 minutes? Consider adding a mix of intervals (ex. track), tempo workouts (maximal sustainable pace) and long runs (group runs are encouraged) to boost aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
-Don’t rush the “intro” phase to help prepare the mind and body for the upcoming training plan. Also, don’t overlook the importance of rest and active recovery.
-Give yourself at least 3 months of periodized (base, build, peak, taper) training to prepare for your upcoming race. The more time you have to gradually progress with training, the fitter, faster, healthier and stronger you will be on race day.
- It is easy to overlook your current health status when you have ambitious and exciting fitness goals. Be sure to consult with your physician prior to starting a new physical challenge.
-The ultimate goal is to train consistently well, with a trained body and to have the mind as the only limiter on race day. Good luck and have fun!!

Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N

Marni works as a Clinical Dietitian at Baptist Medical Center Beaches, is the owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC and provides one-on-one consulting in the Jacksonville, FL area. Marni is a Registered Dietitian, holding a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN). As an elite endurance athlete, she is also a Level-1 USAT Coach and a 5x Ironman finisher. Marni is a 110% play harder, Hammer Nutrition, Brooks ID running and Oakley Women brand ambassador. Marni enjoys public speaking and writing, and she has several published articles in Fitness Magazine, Women's Running, Men's Journal, Bicycling Magazine, The Florida Times-Union Shorelines, Lava Magazine, Hammer Endurance News, CosmoGirl magazine and Triathlete Magazine, and contributes to, USAT multisport zone and Lava online.


Comfort zone, trail mix and Oakley Radar Lock

Marni Sumbal

I am a big believer that we need to protect our eyes when we are training/exercising. I can't tell you how many athletes or active individuals I see not wearing sunglasses while training. But we don't want just any sunglasses, we want protection from flying objects and from the sun....not just a cheap pair of shades that "look" competitive or expensive.
The entire package of quality shades can not be found in all shades and if you are thinking of saving some money on a pair of glasses, I recommend do not think twice when it comes to protecting your eyes and investing in your eye health. Although many things with the body can be replaced or fixed, the eyes are two body parts that you do not want to mess with (trust me - my dad is an optometrist...he'd be very upset if any of my Trimarni readers were not protecting their eyes).
Here's a great video to learn more about why Oakley makes the BEST sunglasses out there (I am not paid to say this - I have been wearing Oakley's for 6 years and Karel has worn Oakley's since his days racing bikes as a young teenager in Europe): ROLLING O LAB

While at the VIP Oakley Progression Session: SAN DIEGO, I had the opportunity to try on the 
 Radar Lock Edge. A Trimarni follower emailed me regarding a sunglasses pair that was not heavy and fit around her check bones without feeling tight. I tried on several pairs at the Oakley event to find her the perfect pair and although I LOVE my commit shades because they fit my small face and feel like nothing when I am riding and running long hours, I really fell in love with the Radar Lock Edge shades. I really like the vents on them and this is something that Karel loves in his Radar Lock shades. I highly recommend these glasses if you are have a small face but are looking for protection around your eyes in a light pair of shades that doesn't slip or move. Also, they have a nice competitive look which is always important if you want to race fast :)

Has anyone ever asked you what food you could never live without? For me, that's hard. But I'd have to say that trail mix is one food (hopefully it classifies as a "food") that I could live on and still feel "healthy" and satisfied. I love the many combinations of trail mix that you can make from adding cereal and granola to dried fruit and all types of nuts.

Here's a yummy trail mix I enjoyed today: Goji berries, pumpkin seeds, raisins, cranberries, walnuts, granola bites. YUMMO!

I always enjoy providing content to USAT Multisport Zone. I have a great editor and friend who allows me to share some of my blogs and recipes on the website and I love connecting with triathletes from around the world. Here's a recent blog that I wrote on moving out of your comfort zone...something that I have learned to do over the past few years and believe me, it seems scary at first but it's up to you to determine your attitude and plan of action with everything you do in life. Embrace change.

Moving out of your comfort zone

Foundation of fueling - how's your diet looking?

Marni Sumbal

Cooking in compression gear in Kona, Hawaii.

Food is fuel. 
I have studied the body during activity for nearly 13 years but I am still learning as the body is extremely complicated. But as an athlete and clinical dietitian, I am constantly reminded that food not only fuels our workout routine but also our life. That is, if we don't have the right balance of nutrients on a day-to-day basis, our workouts will suffer. The picture above is from the 2011 Ironman World Championships. Just another day of cooking in my condo before the biggest endurance event in the world. Although the event may be extreme, cooking is nothing complicated to me and surely it helped me get to the starting line of my past 4 Ironmans (including Ironman #5 and my 2nd Ironman World Championship). While in Kona, I wrote an article for LAVA on "taking your plate to the big island" which was a lot of fun for me to write as I believe that we should never stop fueling our body with fuel and nutrients.,,,,even on the days leading up to an endurance event.  

When it comes to the daily diet and sport nutrition, there needs to be an understanding that although sport nutrition products can help give you a competitive edge, we must always respect the body with food on a day-to-day basis and then address the priorities for the body during exercise, when it comes to sport nutrition. I love helping athletes with the daily diet because once we figure out a solid foundation on a day-to-day basis, the sport nutrition becomes much easier to understand. I do encourage athletes to take advantage of well-formulated sport nutrition products during training (ex. sport drinks and gels) and to prioritize a pre training and recovery snack. I am not for training on an empty stomach to "burn fat" (specifically during build and peak training) or to train with only water during training (this is something I believe should never occur, specifically if a workout is intense over 1 hour or moderate intensity over 75-90 minutes). I believe we must respect the body with the right fluids, electrolytes and carbs to support metabolic processes and I feel in today's society, the body is overly stressed with poor sleep, stress and eating habits and thus, athletes have no idea how to fuel throughout the day thus compromising performance during training.

I hope you enjoy my latest article from my monthly column with Iron Girl. Thanks for reading.

Foundation of FuelingBy Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N

To succeed in sports, every athlete should address the building blocks of great performances. As you train to improve fitness, skills and mental strength, it is important to commit to providing your body with the right types of nutrients to fuel your body. Remember – A well-fueled body is a happy body.
Carbohydrates (like fruits, veggies, starches and grains) provide useful energy to fuel and refuel from activity. Protein (like dairy, meat, fish and lentils) helps the body repair and rebuild for future training sessions. Lastly, heart-healthy fats are essential components of a balanced diet to support overall health.
Refuel/Fuel – Carbohydrates.
-50-65% of the daily diet should be from primarily heart-healthy carbohydrates. Veggies, fruits, grains, beans, legumes, low-fat dairy and starches provide the body and brain with energy, vitamins and minerals to fuel workouts and to assist in recovery.
Rebuild/Recover – Protein.
-18-25% (or 1.1-1.5g/kg body weight) of the daily diet should be from lean/low fat quality protein. Beans, nuts, seeds, poultry, fish, meat, tempeh, tofu and low-fat dairy repair damaged tissues and muscles throughout the day and help reduce the risk for injury by keeping muscles strong and growing.
Satisfy/Protect - Fats
-25-30% of the daily diet should be from heart-healthy fat. Nuts, seeds, oils, nut butters, cheese and fish protect organs, transport nutrients within the body and keep your tummy happy.
Don’t forget your water to stay hydrated before, during and after workouts and throughout the day. Aim for at least 8 – 12 ounces water with meals, snacks and before/after training. Consume around 20-28 ounces fluids during each hour of training, sipping every 10-15 minutes.
Meal examples:
*Breakfast: Oats + low-fat milk (or yogurt) + berries + flax seeds (ground) and cinnamon/cloves + chopped nuts.
*Snack: String cheese and fresh figs.
*Lunch: Mixed greens/veggies sautéed in olive oil + protein (ex. beans + fish or tempeh) topped with a little cheese or avocado. Served with whole grain tortilla, pita bread or whole grains (ex. millet, brown rice, quinoa, bulgur).
*Snack: Apple (or fruit) + nut butter
*“Breakfast” for Dinner: Scrambled eggs + veggies + fruit + whole grain bread or waffle.
*Dessert/snack: 1 ounce dark chocolate + strawberries.
*Pre workout – Whole grain toast (if sensitive stomach – rice cake) + nut butter + banana slices
*Post workout snack: 8 ounces low-fat/non-fat milk (or ½ cup low fat yogurt) + small fruit (or handful favorite cereal) OR 8 ounces low-fat chocolate milk.

You aren't eating celery???

Marni Sumbal

Celery isn't the most cravable food. There are those who love celery and those who - well, hate it. Their words, not mine as I am a lover of celery.
I suppose there isn't much to hate about it as it doesn't provide many calories and it is quite tasteless but for some reason, celery isn't the choice when it comes to needing something to snack on throughout the day.

In my recent article for, in my new column "The Triathlete's Kitchen" I choose celery for the reason that it may be neglected in the athlete's/fitness enthusiasts diet. I find celery to be a remarkable food for what it offers the body and the creation I made (Celery, Apple and Strawberry Salad with Coconut Yogurt) is so delicious that you don't need to be sold on the health benefits of celery to add this veggie to your daily diet.

Here's the article and recipe:


Also - I just finished a 4-month journey with News Anchor Melanie Lawson-Minor. If you are someone who feels stuck and needs some motivation in changing body composition, getting fitter and improving the diet, check out Melanie's story. I had a great time working with Melanie as she was part of the Baptist Heartwise for Women program which involved getting herself screened for her cardiovascular health, taking part in regular exercise and learning more about nutrition. I was not alone in her journey as there are several of us (RDs, RN's, MD's) that are dedicated to changing the lives of women in the Jacksonville community.

Here are the most recent TV segments:
Big reveal: Part 1
Big reveal: Part 2


Quick update...

Marni Sumbal

A few updates since my mind and muscles have been staying busy lately....
Campy is still cute as those ears!

What a yummy creation! Grilled eggplant with mixed veggies (corn, onions, spinach) and  topped with grilled tempeh and pistachios. Delicious!

Karel just got a new toy! The Garmin 510 which replaced his Garmin 500 Edge. I love the edge on my bike but just hearing about the features of the 510, I'm hoping that with a few more yummy creations, I will have a 510 on my bike as well :)
What's great about the 510 is that the touchscreen Garmin 510  is compatible with your smartphone for instant uploads to Garmin Connect and live tracking. Once Karel plays around with it for a while, I will write a review on it.
Speaking of Karel, he joined thousands of runners (and 4 of my amazing Trimarni Coaching athletes) in Jacksonville for the Donna 26.2 Half and Full Marathon. Karel ran the half marathon and placed 9th overall male and 2nd age group!!! He had a PR and missed first age group by 3 seconds. Finishing time 1:21:37 (6:14 min/mile pace). Karel enjoyed running with the Elite marathon females for half of the race, on his way to run a 1:18 half marathon but the wind was tough and the last three miles, along with the bridge and sand throughout the race, made it a tough race for consistent efforts. However, Karel made sure no girl would "chick" him before the finish line. I guess Karel is really enjoying his new multisport lifestyle! Karel is incredibly talented but he also works hard. He trains and races very smart and hopefully I can get a race report about his race on this blog in the next few days. I'm so proud of him and all my amazing athletes..and all the runners who raced for a great cause!

A little social media......yay for 110% Play Harder for making it into this month's Fitness Magazine!

And I'm LOVING Oakley Women new ads! Are your comfortable sweating in your cute workout clothes? Oakley has stylish gear that is made for working out.
Also - need a good race-prep, 1 hour swim workout? Here's my workout, featured on Triathlete Magazine online:
Workout HERE

Time to go finish up my prep for my final segment with News4Jax and the Baptist HeartWise for Women program. I'm really excited to be part of this program and to see how Melanie has made some amazing changes in her overall health. I'll post the link when it is available online.

Endurance swim workout, beets and sport nutrition articles

Marni Sumbal

It's not hard to get me in a pool at 6am in the morning. I have been "a swimmer" for almost 20 years and I don't think I have gone more than 2 weeks without swimming in the past 20 years. I love being in the water - it's my comfort zone. Sure, I have my ups and downs with swimming and some weeks I am ON and have great workouts and others, I'm just happy I am in the water and still enjoying swimming. But, I'm sure you will agree that a new swimming accessory makes it easy to get excited for a workout.

Thanks Nootca for sending me and Karel new swim caps. I absolutely love silicone swim caps because they fit well and don't break like the other "racing" caps out there. This cap fits my head perfectly so I think if you have a larger head, this cap may be a bit tight or won't fit around your ears properly. However, I feel this cap will fit most people and you will really like it.

The swim set was great today at Master Swimming - just what I needed. Lots of variety and yards. 

1000 warm-up - stretch it out

Main set 2x's:
(rest as needed)
200 EZ
150 moderate
100 fast
50 all out

200 EZ
150 moderate
100 fast
50 all out

200 EZ
150 moderate
100 fast
50 all out

100 cool-dowtn. (I did an extra 400 as I was having one of those days and wasn't ready to get out to start my strength training). 

Total yards above: 4100
(if you are a new swimmer or training for shorter distance, I recommend 500 warm-up and do only 1 round of main set for a 2100 main set)

I have a few articles published that I wanted to share with you for your reading pleasure. As always - send an email if you have any questions on a topic or individual concern to

Inside Scoop on Sport Nutrition

Triathlete's Kitchen - BEETS (my new monthly column on

(in case you missed it - my beet smoothie recipe.)

Train Smarter to Reach Success Faster

Lastly.....I am SO excited about this!!!

Are you in the Southern California, Boulder, or Dallas area and interested in becoming an Oakley Women Brand Ambassador? Oakley is giving 200 lucky winners the opportunity to attend an exclusive VIP Oakley Progression Session, in which they will be on the search for our newest ambassadors.

Visit for details on the Oakley Progression Session events in these areas and to enter for your chance to win! 

I look forward to seeing you there and having you take part in my nutrition seminar, along with an awesome yoga session with the amazing Lacey Calvert and Cari Shoemate to lead you in an awesome boot camp class. I am so lucky to be an ambassador with the other inspiration Oakley Women ambassadors and I hope you can be one too!

Train smarter to reach success faster

Marni Sumbal

Back in September 2012, I spoke to a group of active women on the topics of eating and nutrition and performing beautifully. The focus of the talk wasn't to tell people what to do to reach performance goals or to lose weight but rather how to be smarter in the action steps or thought process to reach personal goals. If you are interested in checking out my recap of the event, here is the first of a series of blogs on the lecture. 

Not too long ago, I went to Iowa to talk to a group of runners at their annual banquet on the topic of "common mistakes made by runners - "how to train smarter to reach success faster." The event went better than I thought because I had no idea how many runners struggled with understanding topics such as designing a personalized training plan, how to understand and use training gadgets and how to focus on other aspects in life that can positively impact training/fitness gains beyond just focusing on the training miles. 

So, now that I am recognizing that triathletes and runners are becoming more and more overwhelmed, confused and exhausted by the sport....and everything that comes with it (training gadgets, gear, plans, sport nutrition, daily nutrition, stretching, strength training, sleep, mile-obsessed, periodized training)....I am trying to do my best to help others better understand how to train smarter to reach success faster. 

I am SO excited to  have the opportunity to speak at the upcoming Hammerhead Triathlon Club monthly meeting which has been connected with Trek Bicycles for a great, entertaining and educational evening. Trek Travel will be speaking about their upcoming travel trips and training camps and I will be talking about "Triathlon boredom - how to train smarter to train harder." If you can make it - we'd love to have you there! The event is free to the public and as always, come to meet other like-minded individuals who share a similar lifestyle and passion. You do not have to be a triathlete to attend - just someone who has fitness goals and a desire to reach them. 

For a little preview of some of the topics I will be discussing at my talk on Wednesday, I dedicated my latest Iron Girl article to the topic. I hope you enjoy it and thanks for reading! 

Train Smarter to Reach Success FasterBy Marni Sumbal MS, RD, LD/N

Are you an active individual who feels confused as to the smartest sway to train for your upcoming event?
Participating in a race requires more than just putting in the miles and finishing a workout with sweaty clothes. You should always feel deserving of your “athlete-in-training” status as you are no longer an “exerciser”. Instead of trying to be like everyone else, take into consideration a few simple suggestions of how you can train smarter to reach success faster.

1. It’s not just about the miles – Consider the many variables in your life that can positively affect your training consistency and health. Among the top priorities: Sport nutrition before, during and after training to assist in intentional physiological stress. Strength training to enhance your cardio-focused routine. Stretching to encourage proper range of motion and injury prevention. A restful sleeping routine to help control appetite, quicken recovery, assist in stress and attitude management and to encourage stable energy throughout the day. Intentional active recovery and rest to prevent overtraining and to encourage consistency in training. Purchase, use and a basic understanding of training gadgets (ex. GPS and HR-enabled devices) to avoid haphazard training.

2. Developing a healthy relationship with food and the body – Eat a wholesome and balanced diet for fuel and for health. When it comes to changing body composition to encourage performance gains, your body will take care of itself when you are performance-focused, not scale obsessed. Avoid words like “off-limit, bad, guilty, chubby, fat and ugly” to guarantee that you are appreciative of what your body is allowing you to do on a daily basis and that you fuel and nourish your body adequately. Always thank your body for giving you a tomorrow and for crossing finish lines.

3. Don’t rush the journey- To make the most physiological training adaptations with the least amount of training stress, focus on your individual response to training. Training adaptations vary between individuals and there is no perfect training (or diet) plan. A properly planned training routine and well-planned racing schedule will ensure well-timed, peak performances due to progressive, individualized overload. Your training routine should take into account your current level of fitness, frequency, intensity and duration of workouts, past successes and regrets, available hours of daily training, number of weeks until your A-races, short and long term goals, past or potential injuries/health issues and ability to recover properly between workouts.

Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N

Marni works as a Clinical Dietitian at Baptist Medical Center Beaches, is the owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC and provides one-on-one consulting in the Jacksonville, FL area. Marni is a Registered Dietitian, holding a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN). As an elite endurance athlete, she is also a Level-1 USAT Coach and a 5x Ironman finisher. Marni is a 110% play harder, Hammer Nutrition and Oakley Women brand ambassador. Marni enjoys public speaking and writing, and she has several published articles in Fitness Magazine, Bicycling Magazine, The Florida Times-Union Shorelines, Lava Magazine, Hammer Endurance News, CosmoGirl magazine and Triathlete Magazine, and contributes to, USAT multisport zone and Lava online.


Create your positive environment

Marni Sumbal

Happy New Year!!

Who's ready for the new year and a better you? I am excited to continue my journey of life, to better myself in all areas and I can't wait to keep making memories from all types of experiences. I still expect challenges to come into my life and I feel every day I get stronger (in mind and body) at learning how to overcome obstacles and maintain a balanced lifestyle.

I am really looking forward the upcoming year in so many ways but I know that with all my goals that I have in front of me, I can not expect to reach any of them without hard work and consistency. Now, when I mention this word "hard work", there is a special appreciation that I have for hard work. I suppose hard work comes with sacrifices and discipline but the work that I put forth to reach my goals does not sabotage my enjoyment for an active and healthful life. My mission every day is to make for a better tomorrow so although sometimes I may not be feeling "it" at the moment, I know whatever I choose to do is helping me for a better tomorrow and to get me closer to my goals. I always think "big picture."

I wrote my latest Iron Girl article on a topic that I feel has been really helpful for my own personal journey of living a balanced lifestyle and more than appropriate for the start of the new year. We love to talk the talk of reaching goals but as we all know, it's hard to keep up the motivation and desire to work, work, work to reach those goals, day in and day out. When you love something, it doesn't feel like work but let's be honest, we all have our up and down days.

As athletes, we all know about fear-based training when you put off the work to make progress overtime and feel pressure to squeeze in those last minute workouts or long miles because the big race is approaching. If you are focused on body composition, it's likely that you've said "oh well" a few too many times but when you get fed up or feel frustrated or stressed, you take it out on your body and wish for a quick fix to happen yesterday.

I believe that the best tool in your handbag is to create a positive environment to move you closer to diet, health and fitness goals. This is something that needs to be done daily for every day is different. To accomplish things in life, you have to have the pieces in order to put together the puzzle. Don't just wish for the finish project because you can imagine what it will look like. Be sure to dedicate time to create your own personal positive environment whether it is at work, home or elsewhere. Believe me when I say that your life will become so much more enjoyable because you will stop the hoping and wishing and find yourself actually getting things done and enjoying the process.

Creating a Positive Home Environment

By Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N

When it comes to improving health-related habits, it’s important to create a positive environment that allows for change. We live in a society in that we are constantly being told what to do but without the right tool-set, it’s hard to put the pieces together in order to create long-lasting habits.
If you can’t run 5 miles today, how can you expect to run 10 miles at a race next weekend? Long-term habits require small daily changes. Small changes will bring you closer to a better way of living but never forget that you cannot rush the process.

In welcoming the New Year, you are likely excited, motivated and committed to work hard for your goals. Hard work is a concept that should be applied year round but it can become quite tiresome if you expect to make extreme changes in one week and hope that they last for the next 11 months.

Understanding that food should fuel your active lifestyle and exercise should help keep your body in optimal health, here are a few tips to help you create a positive home environment in order to keep you on track throughout the New Year.

-If you want to bring your lunch to work, invest in quality Tupperware to make it easier to plan for leftovers at dinner, for lunch the next day.
-If you struggle with eating a variety of fresh foods on a daily basis, keep 1 leafy green, 2 washed veggies and 2-3 washed whole fruits in the refrigerator at eye level to make it easy for daily meal prep. To avoid spoilage, pre-slice/chop 2-3 cups of fresh veggies/fruit once or twice a week for easy snacking or for a quick salad. Non-seasoned frozen or bagged fruits/veggies are acceptable choices to make it easier with these new changes.
-If you struggle to stay hydrated, prepare 3 x 16-20 ounce water bottles in your refrigerator every day, to make it easy to stay hydrated before, during and after workouts.
-If you currently eat out 4 or more times a week, try to reduce that number in half. Recognize the value of eating food prepared at home and gradually work on reducing your intake of restaurant/fast food so that eating out becomes a special occasion, not a daily habit.
-If you struggle with portion sizes, re-think your dishes. Use large bowls for plant-strong meals and smaller dishes for more calorie-dense options. Occasional treats like cereal or ice cream for “dessert” can be portioned-controlled in a small coffee cup.


-If you have a weight-related goal, let your lifestyle be your guide and not the scale. It is recommended to weigh yourself no more than 3 times per week, understanding that body weight fluctuates 3-5 lbs on any given day. Consider what you are able to do with your amazing body as you work toward your weight-related goal instead of directing all your energy on a number on a scale.
-If you are committed to working out/exercising 7 days a week, strive for three days of quality workouts at a moderate – high intensity (be sure to consult with your physician prior to starting a new or returning to an exercise program). The other days should include walking, yoga or any type of movement that will also help your body become more metabolically active.
-If you struggle with getting out of bed in the morning to exercise, lay out your clothes (and charged gadgets) the night before. Prepare the coffee, make your breakfast and lunch and lay out your work clothes as well before bed in order to enjoy a non-rushed morning routine.

Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N

Marni works as a Clinical Dietitian at Baptist Medical Center Beaches, is the owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC and provides one-on-one consulting in the Jacksonville, FL area. Marni is a Registered Dietitian, holding a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN). As an elite endurance athlete, she is also a Level-1 USAT Coach and a 5x Ironman finisher. Marni is a 110% play harder, Hammer Nutrition and Oakley Women brand ambassador. Marni enjoys public speaking and writing, and she has several published articles in Fitness Magazine, Bicycling Magazine, The Florida Times-Union Shorelines, Lava Magazine, Hammer Endurance News, CosmoGirl magazine and Triathlete Magazine, and contributes to, USAT multisport zone and Lava online.

Meaningful numbers - focus beyond the scale

Marni Sumbal


It took many of swim sessions to brainstorm about the topic of my Iron Girl monthly column, December article. With so much emphasis on tips and rules throughout the holiday season, I wanted to bring focus to a very important component of healthy living....knowing your numbers.
Although body composition can give some insight on your overall health, it doesn't paint the entire picture. Since being involved with the Baptist Heart Wise program as a clinical RD, I've heard some amazing stories from women who were screened for their heart age and never realized that they had a cardiovascular-related issue because they felt "healthy". I love working with athletes and fitness enthusiasts for that very reason. Health is something that you feel. I've received many emails from my nutrition and coaching athletes telling me how their lab values have changed due to exercise and nutrition modifications (thus impressing their primary physicians) but these changes came secondary to learning how to develop a healthier relationship with food and the body. There are many ways to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle....therefore, it's time to direct your energy away from the scale.

For my January Iron Girl article, I will be provided some tips on how you can create a positive home environment to accomplish your New Year goals but in the meant time, read the following article and discuss with your team of health professionals as to how you can learn a bit more about your overall health.
Meaningful Numbers- Focus Beyond the ScaleBy Marni Sumbal

In a recent gender and body image study, 1,800 U.S. Women over the age of 50 years were asked a series of questions pertaining to the body. Of the participants, 27% were obese, 29% were overweight, 42% were normal weight and 2% were underweight.
Results of the study:
-4% binge eat
-8% purge
-70% diet to lose weight
-36% dieted ~50% of the time in last 5 years
-41% check body size daily
-40% weigh themselves at least twice a week
-62% report body weight negatively impacts their life
-79% report body weight affects self-image
-64% think about their weight daily
(source: Environmental Nutrition Sept 2012, Vol 35, No 9.)

Around the New Year, the bathroom scale gets a lot of action. Whether the scale is seen as an enemy or supporter, it’s likely that your body image is on your mind and you are validating your health by a number on a screen.

Never forget that developing a healthy relationship with your body (and food) is a vital component of living a quality life. But, you cannot overlook a few very important numbers that can give you a good representation of your current health status. Knowing that the upcoming year will likely bring new changes, challenges and goals, your healthcare team (ex. primary physician, registered dietitian, OBGYN, dentist, optometrist, dermatologist, psychologist, and/or physical therapist) encourages you to understand your numbers in order to make it easier to drive behavior change. You can’t manage your cholesterol, reduce risk for heart disease or reduce risk for diabetes if you don’t know your numbers. Make an appointment today to get the truth behind your health.

Recommended tests:
1) Blood pressure
2) Weight, BMI and waist to hip ratio
3) Bone density scan (ex. DEXA) – for women 65+ years as well as postmenopausal women. Other individuals at risk for osteoporosis include individuals with history of bone fractures, smoking, vitamin D deficiency, excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption, early menopause, eating disorders, low body weight, physical inactivity, taking medications known to cause bone loss (x. prednisone or Dilantin), hyperthyroidism, low estrogen.
4) Lipid profile – including cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides
5) Blood glucose (fasting plasma and glucose tolerance test)
6) HbA1C (glycosylated hemoglobin – average blood sugar control for the past two to three months) – for individuals at risk for diabetes
7) C-reactive protein – to screen for heart disease risk if your lifestyle choices place you at risk for a heart attack or stroke.
8) Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estradiol test
9) Mammogram, breast exam, pap test, colonscopy and pelvic exam – discuss with your primary physician or OBGYN on how often you should be tested/screened and at what age in order to reduce your risk for cancer.
10) Dental exam and cleaning (don’t forget to floss and brush your teeth daily)
11) Eye exam by physician or optometrist
12) Skin exam by physician – if at risk for skin cancer, consult with your dermatologist.
13) Complete metabolic panel and complete blood count (CBC)
14) Food allergy or intolerance– there are many ways to identify food related allergies or intolerances, often without the need for a “test”. It’s recommended to meet with a Registered Dietitian who can evaluate, assess, diagnose and treat your symptoms and to help you create a balanced diet to fuel your active lifestyle.
15) Vitamin D

For more information:

Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N

Marni works as a Clinical Dietitian at Baptist Medical Center Beaches, is the owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC and provides one-on-one consulting in the Jacksonville, FL area. Marni is a Registered Dietitian, holding a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN). As an elite endurance athlete, she is also a Level-1 USAT Coach and a 5x Ironman finisher. Marni is a 110% play harder, Hammer Nutrition and Oakley Women brand ambassador. Marni enjoys public speaking and writing, and she has several published articles in Fitness Magazine, Bicycling Magazine, The Florida Times-Union Shorelines, Lava Magazine, Hammer Endurance News, CosmoGirl magazine and Triathlete Magazine, and contributes to, USAT multisport zone and Lava online.



In case you missed it....

Marni Sumbal

Wow - can you believe it is almost Thanksgiving? Time is flyiiiiiinnnnngggg by and before we know it, 2013 will be here!!!

Any big plans for 2013?

Since November just started and is almost finished, I wanted to provide you with a few things, in case you missed it.

First off...another pic of Campy sleeping. I can never get enough of him and never will I say I have too many pictures of Campy. Thankfully, I don't only take pictures of Campy but I make memories with him. This was after he ran a 5:40 min/mile (for half a mile) with Karel at the end of our long run on Sunday. Apparently, I have been running too slow for Mr. Greyhound.

In the Winter 2012 issue of Food & Nutrition Magazine, there was a product in the "New Product" section on pg 8. that caught my eye.

PlanetBox - Stainless steel, BPA-free, bento-style lunchbox

This box is designed for adults and kids and its three compartments hold a variety of foods in thoughtful portion sizes.
Last month I was quoted in Runner's World Magazine for the grocery store article by Matthew Kadey. This month, I was quoted in Runner's World for One-pot wonders. Check out the magazine available on news stands for some delicious recipes by Matthew Kadey, MS, RD.
I just finished up my next article for my Plate Not Pills column for Lava Magazine online. I am so excited to share with you all my yummy creation to go along with my article. As always, I will share on my Facebook page when the article is published.

But for now, in case you  missed it, I have a new monthly column on which is dedicated to health and wellness. For my first article, I decided to discuss a topic that is all too common to athletes....body image.

My monthly Iron Girl column comes out with the  monthly newsletter at the 1st of every month, but in case you missed it, here's my article on holiday eating.

Mission Possible: Holiday Eating

Also, I try to contribute to USAT Multisport Fuel Station as often as I can, so this month I decided to do another article on holiday "thinking."

 Reframe for the holiday season

Ladies, looking for a community that supports, encourages and inspires women to perform beautifully in all aspects of their lives?  I recommend signing up for Oakleypbc.
You can earn points for prizes by being involved on the website and spreading the word about products and gear.

Lastly, Karel and I were looking for an early season Half Ironman. We were hoping for a Rev3 event for March/April but with the 2013 schedule just released, we were sad to not to see an early triathlon. That's ok - the rest of the series looks amazing and depending on how things go after Ironman Lake Placid we can think about the rest of the season if Kona is not on our horizon.

If you are interested in an early season triathlon in Florida for a great price, I recommend

HITS triathlon series

Karel and I signed up for the half ironman on March 23-24th for a fantastic price of $75 (EACH). The price will increase on 11/19/12 so be sure to register early. We are really excited to dedicate our energy to a half IM as it can be exhausting to think about an Ironman distance triathlon for an entire year. We have a lot of work ahead of us and as usual, working on speed and endurance, without the higher volume IM training is key for a successful year of racing and training. For the past few years, I have dedicated 14 weeks specifically to Ironman training so I look forward to another year of dedicated my energy to two big races - one half IM, early season, a mid season 1-2 week break and then IM specific training.

Ok...I think I caught you up on everything. Have a great rest of the week! Off to do my daily evening stretching and cuddle with Campy....

Does your daily plate fuel you?

Marni Sumbal

I can't believe one year ago, I was checking myself in at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Hopefully one day I will earn my way back to the Big Island for Kona #3.
Karel enjoyed his vacation by exploring on his bike, finding the steepest mountains on the island. Perhaps one day he will be racing in Kona on a tri bike?

Last year, I had the opportunity to write a piece for LAVA online, taking your plate to the big island.

I asked my editor if I could take a break from my monthly Plate Not Pills Column and dedicate an article specifically to fueling the body for an Ironman. But, my intent was not to write an article specifically for Ironman athletes.
I hope you enjoy my article that will inspire and motivate you to create a plate (3 a day) that will fuel your lifestyle. Keeping in mind that it is the synergy of nutrients that helps improve overall health and provide fuel to the body, never overlook the importance of emphasizing a real food diet.

Eat smart now for your best day on the Big Island

The 34th IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, this Saturday will be an exciting day for athletes around the world. As the top age group, professional, and lottery athletes put their arduous training to the ultimate test, envious triathletes from near and far will have the opportunity to volunteer and spectate on the big island of Kona or watch the race on IronmanLIVE on
Over the past few decades, very little has changed in the world of sport nutrition before, during and after competition. Consistent intake, nutrient timing and experience are the keys that unlock great performances. There’s no novelty in the importance of a well-planned approach to fueling our races. Fluids, electrolytes, carbohydrates and calories should never be overlooked by the athlete who wants to perform well race day. We all know that having a well-planned sport nutrition plan is a critical component to racing strong.
To execute our most solid performances, however, our daily diets also ensure that we’re receiving the right amounts and types of macro and micronutrients to support the metabolic processes that get us to the start line healthy. Not specific to the injured, over trained or burnt-out athletes, the daily diet is the cement and the core of consistent training. In between obsessing about the miles accomplished in training, don’t forget to pay a little respect to the body with real food, thanking it for what it allows you to do on a daily basis.
Training for an IRONMAN is no joke. Excessive oxidative stress, a weakened immune system, a foggy brain, lethargic muscles and frail bones can often trump the positives of a stronger cardiovascular, respiratory and muscular system. Over the next few days, choose to fuel your body not only for race day’s unique demands, but for longevity and overall health.

Foods to fuel a … 2.4 mile swim

As soon as you enter the water at Dig Me Beach your well-fueled body will experience a quick jump in heart rate. Blood vessels will begin to dilate and your body will flood with emotions. Body marked and lathered in sunscreen, your previously calm belly may become unsettled as your legs tremble down the stairs to enter the water.
For the next 2.4 miles, swimmers quickly realize how much they value oxygen and the freedom to breathe for the next 138.2 miles. Because muscular strength and respiratory endurance are required to overcome the resistance in the water, every swim training session starts to pay off. Consider including the following swim-supporting foods in your daily diet as you approach the race:
Nitrates – to dilate blood vessels choose arugula, choose beets, spinach, rhubarb, and dark chocolate
L-arginine – to improve blood vessel functioning, choose watermelon, beans, and tuna
Probiotics – to aid in a healthy gut, choose plain low-fat yogurt, tempeh, sauerkraut, and kombucha tea
B12 – to help with the production of red blood cells choose oysters, chuck steak, and swiss cheese
Fiber – to help with digestion choose lentils, bran, and pears
Chromium – to help maintain normal blood sugar and insulin levels choose bulgur, oatmeal, brewer’s yeast, and potatoes
Water – despite being surrounded by it, swimming causes your body to perspire. To also help with digestion before a race, be sure to focus on a healthy hydration strategy on the days leading up to a race

Foods to fuel a … 112 mile bike

As swimmers exit the water to prepare for one of the most physically and mentally draining, yet beautiful rides of their life, it’s time to focus on the next leg of this exciting journey.
Enter the lava fields and the out-and-back bike route becomes anything but boring. You’ll battle the blazing heat, the legendary taxing climb to Hawi, and the persistent cross winds. For many, this is the most overlooked energy-costing portion of the race. At no other time in your cycling career will you be forced to show off your exceptional bike handling skills and never will your body beg for so many fluids, electrolytes and energy-boosting carbs as it will here. Consider including the following bike-supporting foods in your daily diet as you approach the race:
Chromium – plays a key role in neurotransmitters involved in memory and muscle function; choose eggs, chicken, dried parsley, Brussels sprouts, skim milk, flax seeds
Folic acid – to help with red blood cell creation, DNA synthesis and repair, prevention of anemia and cellular growth; choose spinach, asparagus, papaya, pinto beans, avocado
Magnesium –to help with heart rhythm, muscle and nerve functioning and bone strength; choose brazil nuts (1 per day), quinoa, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, black beans
Potassium – playing a role in fluid balance, blood pressure and cardiac functioning choose bananas, sweet potatoes, crimini mushrooms, prunes, milk, salmon
Sodium – important for fluid balance; visit your favorite Big Island pizza or pasta restaurant for a delicious sodium-rich pre race meal
Vitamin A – needed for optimal vision, healthy skin and to boost the immune system; choose paprika, carrots, kale, dried basil, butternut squash
B1 – to help the body metabolize carbohydrates and for a better mood; choose wheat germ, lean pork, pecans, brown rice, tuna
Vitamin C – to protect cells from oxidative stress and help the body form collagen; choose yellow bell peppers, thyme, broccoli, kiwi, oranges, strawberries
Water – to help regulate temperature, loosen joints, transport nutrients, help with digestion and move waste throughout the body, water is the essential component of the foundation of fueling (fluids, electrolytes, carbohydrates, calories)

Foods to fuel a … 26.2 mile run

So you thought electrolytes were important on the bike? It isn’t until you step onto the hot pavement on Ali’i drive that you are thankful that you have fueled consistently. All the liquid calories will have helped with hydration status and blood pH to support nerve, cardiac and muscular functioning. With the volunteers and spectators giving you more energy than can be found in a cup of cola, you find yourself buzzing with emotion on this, the final leg of your 140.6 mile journey. As you shuffle your way up Palani Road, the rolling hills on the Queen K appear much longer and taller than they did on the bike. Questioning your energy with each step, you finally make a left turn toward the Energy Lab, which sucks the energy from even the well-fueled athletes. Not once in training has your body had to battle central and peripheral fatigue like it will for the last six miles of the marathon. Overcome with mixed feelings, your body is screaming as you make your way back to town. Nevertheless, the amazing volunteers keep you going, despite every muscle group wanting to surrender.
With less than two miles to go, the crowds are two and three rows deep and Mike Reilly is waiting for you on that notorious white line. Suddenly, your weak body perceives an unfamiliar amount of energy and you sprint (so you think) the last 100 meters in the finishing chute.
As you high-five the children who aspire to be you one day, you raise your hands in the air to signify that you are now an Ironman World Championship finisher!
Two volunteers support your sweat, gel and sport drink-covered body to the massage and food tent and, with a well-earned medal around your neck, you thank your body for taking you on this indescribable journey.
After the pain fades, you are asking yourself “what is next?” As you set your sights on another thrilling race season, never forget that a diet filled with energy producing, immune-system boosting and important vitamins and minerals will allow your body to maintain this life-changing lifestyle for the rest of your life. Consider including the following run-supporting foods in your daily diet as you approach the race:
Iron – a key component of red blood cells and energy production; choose sardines, lean meat, pumpkin seeds, tofu, baked potato, and molasses
Calcium – essential for bone growth, muscle contraction and transmission of nerve signals; choose soy milk, hard cheeses, yogurt, almonds, and figs
Copper – important for the metabolism of iron, reduce oxidative stress and help with bone and connective tissue production; choose cocoa powder, tahini paste, sundried tomatoes, marjoram, barley
Phosphorus – to help regulate calcium and for making ATP (energy); choose rice bran, edamame, pine nuts, halibut, mozzarella cheese, wheat and rice bran
Niacin (and tryptophan) – to assist in the conversion of foods to energy choose turkey, spelt, peanuts, and soybeans
Zinc – playing a role in digestion, energy metabolism, eye health, insulin sensitivity, wound healing and appetite,a choose beef chuck or shank, oatmeal, chickpeas, and sesame seeds
Water – making up about 60 percent of your body weight, every system of your body requires water; never overlook the importance of liquid calories during training and racing
Marni Sumbal is a clinical dietitian, writer, and public speaker who specializes in sport nutrition. She is the owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC, a five-time IRONMAN finisher, and a two-time IRONMAN World Championship finisher. Earlier this year, she won the amateur race at Branson 70.3 and the Iron Girl Clearwater Half Marathon. Enjoying an active and healthful lifestyle, she enjoys vegetarian cooking and running with her furry best friend, Campy.

Read more: Fueling Kona: Your Daily Plate : LAVA Magazine
Don't have LAVA? Subscribe today!

Fall into Seasonal Nutrition

Marni Sumbal


I may live in Florida but I LOVE the change of seasons throughout the year. Although we (Floridians) may not rake the leaves or shovel the snow, the hot humid temps will eventually go away and the cooler temps will grace our bodies as we bundle up for "winter" bike rides and runs.
Just like I love the change in temps (which reminds me that it is officially my off-season), I also love the change of produce. Enjoying seasonal produce keeps my creativity going throughout the year to avoid eating/cooking-boredom and I always look forward to the dark colors in my meals and robust flavors that fill my house. My crock pot, oven and panini maker get a lot of action in the fall/winter but before I know it, it'll be spring again.
My latest article from my Iron Girl column comes at a perfect time. With my best triathlon season ever ending on a high note, the next 3-4 weeks of unstructured activity allow for lots of (extra) time in my kitchen. Although we all need some downtime from structured training (for both body and mind), we must never forget the importance of nourishing the body with wholesome food.
I hope you enjoy my latest article.....happy cooking!
Fall into Seasonal Nutrition
-Marni Sumbal MS, RD, LD/N
Fall is around the corner but not to rush it, the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is already in season. At 370 calories and 49g sugar (12 tsp sugar), make the Grande, 16-ounce Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks an occasional indulgence and save money (and time) by making your own.

Combine ½ tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp ground allspice (or cloves) and 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg to make 1 tsp pumpkin spice. Sprinkle a little of this mixture on coffee grinds before brewing and instantly, comforting pumpkin spice coffee to sooth your system on a cool fall morning.
From the smells of the crockpot filling your house to spiced ginger tea after a chilly morning run, the bold flavors and strong scents of the fall are not to be ignored. What more could you ask for when it comes to fall nutrition?
A few of my fall favorites

1) String Beans - an excellent source of vitamin C to keep the sickness away, as well as a good source of vitamin A and folate. Beans should be bright in color and should snap easily when you bend them. Use within 5 days of purchasing, stored in the refrigerator. For easy cooking, boil ½ lb beans in 1.5 quarts water for 10-12 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. When ready, stir in a little sunflower oil until golden brown and after cooking, toss in a little feta and sundried tomatoes for a sweet, salty side dish.
2) Broccoli Rabe - a good source of vitamin C and iron to keep you energized throughout the day. Choose bright, crisp and tender leaves with beautiful broccoli-like florets. To maintain moisture, wrap unwashed greens in paper towel and place inside a plastic bag (or vegetable fresh bag). Keep refrigerated for up to 3 days and rinse before using. For a satisfying dish, combine with whole wheat orzo or quinoa and season with oregano and crushed garlic.
3) Celery root - an excellent source of vitamin C and to keep your body strong, a good source of calcium and iron. Celery root should be smaller than a softball, without bruised skin. Keep in a cool, dry place for up to a week. When ready, wash and peel before using. Add celery root to your favorite vegetarian stew or try it raw in your best potato salad recipe.
4) Winter squash - an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and fiber and a good source of folate and thiamine. Squash should feel heavy and skin should be without bruises. Keep for a few weeks, in a cool, dry place. Slice squash in half and remove seeds. Sprinkle with a dash of sea salt and drizzle w/ olive oil. Roast for 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until lightly golden on top and tender inside. Add to Add cooked or chilled to any stir fry, pilaf or salad.
5) Apples - an excellent source of fiber to help control blood sugar and to ensure a healthy digestive system and a good source of vitamin C. Apples should be firm without blemishes. Store at room temperature for up to 7 days or for a few weeks in the refrigerator. Raw apples make for a great afternoon snack (especially with nut butter) or toss in a recovery smoothie or oatmeal for a dessert-like, filling meal.

To reduce inflammation and improve overall health, consider adding anti-oxidant-rich herbs and spices to your current diet:
-All spice
More information about fall fruits and veggies can be found here:
Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N

Marni works as a Clinical Dietitian at Baptist Medical Center Beaches, is the owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC and provides one-on-one consulting in the Jacksonville, FL area. Marni is a Registered Dietitian, holding a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN). As an elite endurance athlete, she is also a Level-1 USAT Coach and a 5x Ironman finisher. Marni is a 110% play harder, Hammer Nutrition and Oakley Women brand ambassador. Marni enjoys public speaking and writing, and she has several published articles in Runner's World Magazine, Fitness Magazine, Bicycling Magazine, The Florida Times-Union Shorelines, Lava Magazine, Hammer Endurance News, CosmoGirl magazine and Triathlete Magazine, and contributes to, USAT multisport zone and Lava online.

Nutrition on "rest" days

Marni Sumbal

Campy helping me recover after my long run on Monday morning. What a successful, fun and performance boosting 3-day training load over the long weekend. Nine and a half hours of training in three days all thanks to proper training structure during the week and well fueled bodies for the planned weekend. With 5.5 hours during the week -1 day off (mon), 1 active recovery day (swim tues), 2 swim workouts (wed and fri, light strength on wed) and 1 hard track run + recovery spin (thurs), the focus was body training stress over the weekend (not during the week) in order to adapt effectively to boost fitness. Certainly, this was not possible without special attention to recovery days - over the past few months (as you have been reading in my training recap blogs).

When I start gathering thoughts for my monthly Iron Girl column, I keep my eyes and ears open as to what athletes are discussing. With no plans as to what I will write about each month, I try to provide practical, effective and useful information for all fitness levels and ages.

When it comes to nutrition on rest days, I feel this is an overly-emphasized topic and perhaps too much attention is on the topic of "rest" days. Logically, we all know in order to get stronger, the body needs to be stressed but must recover. For you don't get lean, lose weight or change body composition immediately after a workout but rather when the body starts to refuel and recover in order to get heal itself in order to do it all over again.

It could be that athletes don't trust their diet/appetite on off days and excuse eating because they trained/worked out/burned calories so they struggle w/ taking a day off. This struggle often turns into an overly tired body that struggles to keep up with the training plan. Sadly, no amount of nutrition can undo a broken down body, in a short amount of time.

Perhaps athletes focus on nutrition on rest days because they really do want to get stronger and they want to make sure they are fueling for upcoming workouts. But from what I hear, I feel the main reason why athletes struggle with the day off nutrition is because they don't have confidence in the daily diet (ex mindful eating) or in their training.

I feel I could have taken many different directions with this article but my goal is to provide advice that you can use today to set yourself up for a better tomorrow. I believe everyone is different and everyone recovers and trains differently. This is an area that I love when it comes to working with athletes and fitness enthusiasts. There's nothing more rewarding than helping an athlete w/ "sport nutrition" or the daily diet and having him/her train harder and smarter for quicker and consistent performance gains.
Of course, I'm an athlete too. I get it. I have goals and I love to train. It's important to me, however, that I use my education wisely and not just use it on myself. Knowing how great it feels to train injury free, feel fueled and healthy throughout the day (and never get sick) and feel my body getting stronger, I want us all to enjoy this journey together.

If you have any questions,or concerns, feel free to email or comment.

Nutrition on "Rest" DaysBy Marni Sumbal

Athletes consistently place stress on the body in order to reap optimal performance gains. Here lies the difference between training and exercise. The moment you set your eyes on an event finish line, you are titled as an "athlete" and no longer exercising "to burn calories". Ultimately, to reach fitness goals, the body needs to rest and recover in order to train harder.

To train consistently and reduce risk for injury and illness, focus on ~5-6 days of weekly structured training, with one or two voluntary rest (or active recovery) days. By rewarding your body with at least 4-8 days a month to repair the body and mind, the most important question should be, "how are you eating on the 27 days a month that you are placing stress on the body?"
As a general guideline: consume ~ 120-200 calories pre-workout (30-50grams(g) carbs before a workout + a few grams protein and/or fat - ex. whole grain bread + peanut butter, milk and oats/cereal) and ~200-400 calories (around 15-25g protein + 30-60g of carbs - ex. 8-12 ounces low fat chocolate milk or homemade protein smoothie) post workout, (and a sport drink during the workout as needed, generally if training is >1hr). Gearing up for a rest day? Simply remove the pre, during and post training nutrition and resume your "normal" balanced diet.

You don't have to be a mathematician when it comes to fueling for sport. Consider estimating your daily caloric needs (adjust pending your current BMI - body mass index) by using either the Mifflin-St Jeor, Ireton-Jones or the most commonly used, Harris Benedict equation, to understand your needs as an athlete, depending on your training routine. Here's a simple link to get you started: BMI calculator

It's very easy to overthink the diet when you are active. For if you consume a recommended 55-60% of daily calories from carbohydrates (or 3-7g/kg/body weight) in a 2000 calorie diet and try to decrease to less than 45% on an "off" day, you are merely reducing your daily 275g total carb intake by 50g. In other words, there's no need to eliminate 50g of carbs (200 calories) from nutritious carb-rich meal and snack options like fruit, veggies, whole grains and low fat dairy from your "normal" diet. Just remove the "sport nutrition" and consider re-arranging the composition of meals/snacks to help with fuel storage, hunger and cravings. 

 Restricting heart-healthy foods is never warranted during rest days or taper weeks. Keep in mind that even if you choose to decrease caloric intake to accommodate the occasional day of rest, you are still fueling to prep for another week of quality training.

If you struggle with inconsistent training, injuries, unhealthy food/body relationships, body composition or nutrient deficiencies, it's recommended to consult with a qualified sport registered dietitian to help you fuel and perform like an athlete.

Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N

Marni works as a Clinical Dietitian at Baptist Medical Center Beaches, is the owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC and provides one-on-one consulting in the Jacksonville, FL area. Marni is a Registered Dietitian, holding a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN). As an elite endurance athlete, she is also a Level-1 USAT Coach and a 5x Ironman finisher. Marni is a 110% play harder, Hammer Nutrition and Oakley Women brand ambassador. Marni enjoys public speaking and writing, and she has several published articles in Fitness Magazine, Bicycling Magazine, The Florida Times-Union Shorelines, Lava Magazine, Hammer Endurance News, CosmoGirl magazine and Triathlete Magazine, and contributes to, USAT multisport zone and Lava online.