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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

Filtering by Category: "Sport nutrition"

Proper fueling during workouts: TIP

Marni Sumbal

Time for a TRIMARNI tip!

It's late afternoon and your body is asking for a snack.
Skip the diet coke or energy drink!

Isn't it amazing that a calorie free, chemically-filled beverage can make you feel "full" and can help with headaches/nausea when your blood sugar is low?

Kinda crazy how the food industry knows what you want and will find some way to put ingredients together in a factory in order to have it ready for you at the nearest grocery store or gas station. Too bad our media doesn't stress the importance of real food from farmers like it does for a 40+ billion dollar weight-focused industry. 

As for real food, no problem to honor your hunger. One of my tips for proper snacking is to never watch the clock. If you listen to your body after working really hard to create a balanced diet that leaves you satisfied and happy, you can get your body into a rhythm as to when it will be receiving meals and how to snack appropriately. Our society does a real good job of not eating when you are truly feeling a sense of hunger yet eating when you are truly full or not in the need of food. 

 But let's talk sport nutrition for any individual who is exercising over a 90 minutes (moderate intensity for health/calorie burning purposes) OR for any athlete training their body over an hour (aside from off-season).

The next time you find yourself working out without a sport drink, and not fueling your body during a 1+ hour workout, address your eating later in the day?

Do you find your hunger more intense as the week goes on as an effect of not fueling properly during workouts?
Do you find yourself not recovering well post workout? Maybe lingering fatigue?
Do you find yourself with fluctuating blood sugar, changes in mood, extreme hunger/cravings?

Here's my take on sport nutrition for the active individual who wants to respond favorably to training stress and to get stronger, faster and healthier (anyone not want this?)

If you are not giving your body energy when your body is under intentional physiological stress, ask yourself what's more valuable to your overall health and performance? 

1) Being sedentary (or fairly active) with a low resting HR throughout the day and "fueling" your body to continue doing minimal "work" with your body (or to pass the time because you are bored, stressed, emotional)
2) Moving your body with an elevated HR and "fueling" your body to maintain energy, postpone fatigue, stay alert/focused and to help with recovery and immune system health. 

When I work with athletes, my goal is to ensure that the athlete who is training for an event, is fueling properly for performance gains and to perfect race day nutrition.
When I work with athletes or fitness enthusiasts who are looking for a more balanced lifestyle or modifications in the diet, I focus on creating a good foundation diet so that when it comes to "training" nutrition, the ONLY thing that should be modified significantly should be the nutrition you consume before, during and after the workout to support the workout training stress. 

Every day offers an important time to fuel and nourish your body for your life depends on your ability to maintain a healthy metabolism and keep your immune system in good health. But because you do not have to run a marathon, do an IM or even run a 5K to be "healthy" consider the risks you take every time you push, challenge or force your body to perform during moderate to intense exercise?

I feel that with the rapid increase of endurance/multisport/running events, athletes are easy persuaded to train for an event but they have little to no idea as to how to fuel their body to support the new training load. From weight gain, to missed menstrual cycles (women), to rapid weight loss, brain fatigue/fog, low blood sugar, to muscle cramps, to a decrease in bone density to cardiac, muscle and brain issues. Why is it that so many athletes feel they don't "need" to fuel with some type of easy-to-digest/absorb, effective, safe sport nutrition during workouts? I feel that for many athletes, they consider these negative, yet health damaging, side effects as normal parts of training...but they are not and highly not encouraged when training for an event.

Swim, bike or run - if you want your body to perform and to adapt..... fuel it when it needs it the most. 
6am track, swim or bike workout. Your body needs fuel.
9pm. Your body probably doesn't need a bowl of ice cream, cookies or cereal. 

A well formulated, safe and effective sport drink will support your heart, brain and muscles by providing fluids, electrolytes and carbohydrates. Considering the complexity of the human body at rest, never overlook the value of fueling properly before, during and after your workouts and how it can significantly impact your health, eating and mood the rest of the day (and week and life). 

Need help? Contact a RD specializing in sport nutrition to figure out the best fueling strategy for your personal health, body composition and performance goals. 

Happy fueling!

Athletes and fitness enthusiasts: a few good reads

Marni Sumbal

I remember this day like it was yesterday. 2006 Ironman Florida.

Months and months of training were put to good use when I crossed my first Ironman finishing line in PCB Florida. What an exciting day...a day that I will never forget. Everyone thought I was crazy for "racing" 140.6 miles but my 24 year-old mind and body fell in love with endurance triathlons and since then, I still continue to find myself  looking forward to another IM journey.

I've been a bit busy with work at the hospital, my business and training...oh, and of course, cooking and snuggling with Campy. Luckily, I get to spend many "dates" with my hubby these days as we are swimming, biking and (not at the same speed) running together on a daily basis. We get to share the highs and lows of Ironman training together and I have really enjoyed every moment (the good and the lessons learned) since signing up for IM Lake Placid last July.

(2006 Ironman Florida - Karel and I were dating. He made me this will see a few important references such as a burger from McDonald's to make me laugh, animals to make me smile and a sign pointing to Kona to keep me focused at my first Ironman). 

Here are a few articles that I have been quoted in as well as a few helpful articles that I wrote for all the athletes and fitness enthusiasts out there who are working toward individual health, fitness, diet and body composition goals. 

Move out of your comfort zone
Hydrate yourself for summer training

Clearning up confusing with healthy eating and sport nutrition

Marni Sumbal

There's a lot of confusion when it comes to healthy eating and sport nutrition. I know this from my own experience in learning about the topics in graduate school while earning my Master of Science in Exercise Physiology as well as in my dietetic program as I earned my Registered Dietitian credential. But now as I work with athletes from around the world, I clearly see how confused and overwhelmed people are when it comes to eating for fuel and for health. Don't be!

I could spend many blogs on this topic and as a writer, life-long student and lover of putting words in my head on paper, I am not sure if I can contain myself in one blog post, sharing everything I know about healthy eating and sport nutrition. But, I learned when I became a RD that it is not my job to tell everyone everything I know in the first counseling session or when asked about nutrition in a group setting. Instead, learn to treat everyone as individuals and understand that everyone has different needs and goals and what works for one person doesn't always work for someone else. Science is amazing and so is research but the truth of the matter is that if we don't love and enjoy the changes we are making in life, it's unlikely that we will stick with them as we work hard to achieve our goals and live a quality filled life.

Health first, performance second.

If you are a fitness enthusiast or athlete, there's no denying that the body needs fuel to support metabolic processes. There are plenty of great videos and textbook chapters dedicated to exercise physiology so rather than share my excitement about the kreb cycle, anaerobic glycolysis or cellular respiration, I will keep this as simple as possible. The foods we eat, primarily carbohydrates, gives us fuel. Protein assists in recover, repair and rejuvenation and fats assist in hormones and protecting organs. Certainly these foods offer more than what I just listed  and they all contribute to a balanced diet to keep us nourished, satisfied and healthy. Of course, depending on what you choose to eat within those macronutrient categories may and will affect your performance but I don't need to tell you that real foods are the best source of food for your active body and health. Not too much, just enough.

I find that many active individuals fear nutrition around workouts simply for the fact that they are most vulnerable to their body at that time. You likely wear tight clothing (or showing more skin than in work clothes), you compare your body to others and you are very in tune with your overall body composition as you feel your heart beat and muscles work to let you have a great workout. And of course, the assumption if you lose weight either through extreme activity/food restriction you will magically be healthier or faster. Not always the case. 

But here lies the problem with many active individuals. Whether you admit it or not, unless you can honestly say that 100% you eat for fuel and for health, you are likely thinking about calories consume, calories burned and weight around your workouts. There's nothing wrong with that considering that's why many people get involved with sports at an older age but when you are possibly compromising your health and workouts because of feeling as if you don't need energy dense foods around your workouts, this becomes a bigger issue than just being confused on how to eat for fuel and for health. Should I mention that as you neglect to eat/drink appropriately around workouts you likely find yourself "deserving" to eat with reward food later in the day or find yourself with a "just don't care" attitude when you aren't in your workout gear but instead, bored/stressed at work or exhausted in the evening.  Jeopardizing your body's potential for performance gains is only the beginning of issues that can occur when you aren't supporting your body with the right foods at the right times.

Energy dense foods like fruits, potatoes, cereal, granola, bread, honey are just a few of the many low fiber, low fat and high carb (or energy dense - packing a lot of fuel in a small quantity) options that can be consumed around workouts to fuel your body. There is not one right protocol for pre during and post training nutrition so without spending an entire blog on this topic - keep it simple to prepare, simple to digest and easy to tolerate. It's not a pre trianing meal unless you are eating 2-4 hours before a workout. Call it what it is - a pre and post training snack to fuel your upcoming workout and to help you recover. 

But Marni - these foods you listed are not going to help me loose weight!!! The media tells me these foods are bad!!! UGGGH, I'm so confused. 

So here's the deal. Health first, performance second. Support your body with nutrient dense foods on a day to day basis and when your body is most active, support your body and brain with energy dense foods.

Considering how sedentary our lifestyle is these days (even with "training/working out" 8-20 hours a week) we spend much of our days sitting and for many, only getting up to go get something to eat. We are not sitting down to eat from being extremely active with our job and needing that 'break' to recharge our body to support 4-6 more hours of "working". Instead, we are sitting or moving just a little and not supporting our body with the right foods to leave us satisfied and nourished (thus leaving us grazing and over snacking). Of course, not everyone will fit this mold - there are people who undereat, those who can't put on weight, those who choose to underfuel/restrict and those who have a great diet. But for the most part, active individuals are not supporting workouts properly and thus overeating at certain times (ex. evening before bed) and not recovering/fueling properly when the body needs fuel to assist in metabolic processes and sometimes not able to be consistent with workouts due to feeling sick, exhausted and burnout without feeling as if the training routine is intense enough to warrant those issues. However, for many athletes, training volume is excessive and not of quality and with a diet that is not properly planned, this is another topic to discuss in another blog.  

Now this isn't to say that we should restrict calories on light or off training days or that we should have good and bad food when working out. The bottom line is that we need to identify the times when our body is most active and we need to support it properly with "energy". All other times, we need to think about nourishment and what many people don't do, is feeling satisfied - not stuffed, not guilty and not restricted.

Here are a few of my recent creations for you to enjoy. I am not sure if this blog clears up any confusion but I hope that this gets you thinking a bit more about what your body allows you to do on a day to day basis in terms of life and with exercise/training. Your body doesn't have to let you do what it does and often we take for granted how complicated our body is when it comes to its physiology during exercise...let alone daily life.

To keep it simple - focus on yourself. You've read the articles on the internet, you have the books and you have resources. Eat the right foods at the right times to support your workouts and don't be afraid of gaining weight as it isn't that 30g of carbs during a 1+ hour workout or that banana w/ PB before and glass of milk post workout that is causing you to gain weight. Keep the food easy to digest so you don't experience GI distress and find what works for you before, during and after workouts for every type of scenario. When it comes to the daily diet, accept what a portion looks like of grains, fats, dairy, protein etc. and rather than having a black or white mentality - be appreciative of what food can offer your body instead of thinking about what's so bad about food. And most of all, remove pressure to eat a certain way for weight loss. Your body will take care of itself as you find yourself eating for fuel, health and for pleasure. 

Creamy broccoli slaw
1 package broccoli slaw
2-3 spoonfuls pineapple Chobani Yogurt
Salt/sugar to taste (~2-3 tsp sugar, pinch or two of salt)
1-2 tbsp sunflower seeds

1. Mix together and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving (it will be better the next day!)

Veggie stacked pizza creation
1 frozen pizza (or local cheese pizza)

1. Preheat oven to recommended temp on box (or 400 for veggies).
2. Toss veggies in a little olive oil and place on non stick pan.
3. Bake veggies for ~15-20 minutes.
4. Bake pizza (top with pineapple)
5. Top pizza with veggies. 

Fruit salad with baguette
1 serving fresh baguette (toasted and sliced in half)
Dark green mix
Protein of your choice (cottage cheese in picture)
Fresh fruit - pineapple, red pears, orange slices
Veggies - onions, carrots, peppers
Coconut shreds

1. Toss and enjoy. Serve with balsamic or salsa or hummus on the side. 

Fresh fruit = electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, medicine, hydration, yumminess

Salad with brown rice and cottage cheese

Mixed greens
Green pepper
Purple onion
Sunflower seeds
Grain of your choice - brown rice as pictured)
Balsamic and Olive oil

Creamy yogurt dressing
1/2 cup yogurt
1-2 tbsp favorite dressing
Veggies of your choice

1. Mix together and refrigerate. 

Check out the current issue of Fitness magazine for a few of my fueling tips for your upcoming triathlon in the 6 page spread dedicated to training for your first triathlon. 

Happy eating!

Food is Fuel - keep your tank full.

Marni Sumbal

Don't start, continue or finish your workout on E just because you feel you don't "need" any fuel. Training requires an expenditure of energy above resting levels as oppose to sitting around by your TV or computer and feeling the "need" to eat. This required mechanical energy is provided through the conversion of metabolic fuels into ATP, the base currency of chemical energy. The sources of chemical energy that fuels exercising skeletal muscles are available through endogenous sources (intramuscular glycogen and triglycerides) or exogenous sources (plasma glucose and free fatty acids). Rather than worrying about extra calories put into your body while you are expending energy, consider how important it is that these exogenous and endogenous fuel sources are replenished through dietary intake. Next time you think about needing "energy" around mid afternoon because you are tired from sitting all day, consider important relationship between diet and fuel metabolism in skeletal muscle before, during and after training.

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 

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.

Pre-race nutrition tips: Running

Marni Sumbal

Picture taken by Stefanie S.

Less than 1 mile from the 2011 Ironman World Championship finishing line. I couldn't smile any face hurt just as much as my body. There was no secret or magical food that allowed me to finish the 2011 Ironman World Championships but rather a body that was trained to perform. 

Choosing the wrong foods, eating at the wrong time or eating too much (or not enough) may negatively affect your racing performance in training and racing. And without a doubt, I'm sure you don't want your training to go to waste on race day. Isn't racing all about putting the training to the test? 

So, what should we be looking for when it comes to pre-race foods?

The research behind the pre-race meal (on race day) is to make sure your fuel tanks are full by the start of the race. You should have plenty of fuel in your muscles by reducing your training volume (or tapering) before a race and sticking to a well-planed race week diet  but sleeping depletes around 50% liver glycogen. Eating a small carbohydrate-rich snack before a race will help to sustain energy and postpone fatigue as well as keeping your brain motivated and focused. However, there are a few guidelines to follow when it comes to planning your pre-race snack. Certainly, research in a laboratory can tell us what may work under a controlled environment but how many of us feel like our lifestyle is controlled every day, all day?

Considering that many athletes struggle to understand the difference between sport nutrition vs a healthy, balanced diet, there is often a lot of confusion as to how to fuel before a race and to avoid GI distress as well as postpone fatigue and prevent cramping, bonking or dehydration.

1) Eat your pre-race snack at least 2-3 hours before the start of your race, and don’t forget water. Your digestive tract needs blood and fluids to help with digestion and nerves can affect intestinal movement. Aim for around 150-300 calories before a 1-2.5 hour event, primarily carbohydrates (at least 30-60g of carbohydrates and around 12-16 ounces of water) with a little fat/protein to slow down digestion.You don’t want to be full, stuffed or starving before the start of a race.

2) I know it isn’t what you are use to but you are not aiming for a heart-healthy diet. Limit the fat, protein and fiber (which help keep you "full" and satisfied on a daily basis and choose foods low in volume and carbohydrates that will empty quickly from the stomach. No “diet”foods or artificial sweeteners as those may cause diarrhea, bloating or gas!

3) Focus on yourself, your race day intensity, the race day conditions, recent dietary patterns, nerves, excitement. I’ve worked with many athletes who can tolerate foods just fine on a daily basis or before training sessions but once the nerves kick in, they can not tolerate them on race day.
Sport nutrition before and during a race is very individualized. As an athlete myself and working with a variety of athletes, I can tell you that there is no "perfect" way to eat before a race....even if research tells you otherwise. I feel that the athlete who succeeds the best is one who feels confident with his/her pre-race snack and has a practical and realistic race day plan. It should be noted that previous eating habits have a major influence on race day nutrition so if your daily diet isn't under controlled, there's no point in developing a "perfect" race day fueling plan. Health first, performance second. 

Because sport nutrition will differ and I don't encourage you to try new foods on race day, here are a few examples that may help you narrow down your options for pre-race snacks.

Snack options for the high intensity runner or with a high HR: Key points: blood will be used for the working muscles so we need something really quick to digest so the sugars enter the blood stream quickly and blood is not being diverted to the stomach for digestion. These foods will not be filling so be aware of how fast your body breaks down carbohydrates. Despite this fact, some athletes may do better with low glycemix foods vs high glycemix foods before a high intensity effort.

-Banana, raisins, nut butter (convenient, easy to digest, familiar foods)
-1/3-1/2 cup granola (carb-dense, not a lot of volume)
-Fruit Buddies (ex. fruit puree) + rice flake cereal (low residue)

Nervous belly, GI distress consistently during racing (or pre-race) Key points: liquid options or bland food. Experimentation is key as everyone will be different and perhaps you may find yourself more nervous at a local race vs a destination race. Dairy may upset your stomach and others may handle it fine. 

-Kefir yogurt based drink (avoid meal replacement drinks which are often high in fat and may contain sugar alcohols)
-Pita bread or wasa crackers with a few nuts (instead of high fiber or dense bagels or bread).
-4-8 ounce 100% fruit juice + 1 slice french bread with cream cheese.
-Couscous (unconventional, high in carbs, a little protein and fiber)

Run/walkers, conversational pace (moderate/low intensity) 
Key points: More time out on the course, a little more protein/fat to slow down digestion and to maintain satisfaction before and during race.
-1/2-1 bagel + nut butter + honey
-Oatmeal + nuts + raisins
-Sport bar + orange (or piece of fruit)


Sip on a sport drink (maltodextrin based, ex. Hammer heed) if needed before the race and around 8-10 ounces of water before the start (after your pre-race snack). Recommend no additional food after pre-race snack. Coffee and tea (caffeinated, non-carbonated beverage) is also fine pre race to get the system going, if tolerated and practiced.

Your pre race meal should be easy to find, easy to prepare, easy to consume and most of all, tolerable based on your racing intensity and distance. 
Keep in mind that no amount of pre race nutrition can help you run 7 min/miles if you didn’t train yourself to do so in training. It's recommended to take advantage of sport nutrition during a race (ex. sport drinks, gels) at consistent intakes (ex. every 10-15 minutes) to provide the stressed body with fluids (20-28 ounces per hour), electrolytes and carbohydrates (30-60g per hour). Pace within your abilities in order to better tolerate pre race nutrition which will also help you avoid cramping and an upset stomach. 
Happy Running!
Here's the recent TV segment I did on pre-race  nutrition for the upcoming Gate River Run. 
Pre-race running nutrition tips

(any additional questions or concerns - send me an email.

My secret fueling strategy: gel flask

Marni Sumbal

It's really no secret as I have been using a gel flask for the past few years and if you read my race reports you will notice that I keep my fueling regime as simple as possible. Simple so that I can properly digest and absorb my liquid sport nutrition which is planned based on my racing duration and intensity. Above is me running the fastest run split of the day at Branson 70.3...fueled with 2 gels in my gel flask, topped with water and then consuming water at aid stations. On the bike for longer races and training, I have 3 cages (2 on my frame and 2 in the rear but 1 cage is used for my tubular tire and CO2) with 3 bottles of sport drinks. Because I plan to refill my bottles with water or powdered sport nutrition (Hammer) I like to carry  a gel flask with 1-4 gels topped with water for sipping as needed. In both scenarios (bike and run) I stay hydrated with 20-28 ounces of water but use my sport drink and/or gel for carbohydrates and electrolytes.

I have been fueling with Hammer Nutrition for years (picture is from Hammer Nutrition) as my no-fail sport nutrition company but no matter what sport drink or gel you want to use, the gel flask makes it super easy to take in gels (or sport drink powder) consistently during training and racing to meet your electrolyte and carbohydrate needs. There are many strategies to obtain your fluid and energy needs in racing (Ex. aid stations) so whether you are training or racing, it's important that you prioritize your fluids, electrolytes and carbohydrates to keep your nerves firing to contract and relax your muscles and to keep your liver from emptying stored carbohydrates in order to keep the muscles consistently fueled and energized. Oh and to keep your brain focused and alert.

I got this idea from Karel who was using a gel flask for his cycling races (when races as a Cat 1 a few years ago) as it was hard for him in crits or road races to handle gels due to all the acceleration and attacks. Also, he needed something calorie dense to just take a swig of with his sport drinks as neither of us like to take in solid food during training to meet our nutritional fueling needs. Karel introduced me to the gel flask and then when I found out Hammer had a flask that was easy to hold I knew it was a no-brainer to help me with my fueling regime in triathlons and running races. Thankfully, the gel flask has kept me from bonking and feeling well-fueled without GI distress for many years.

Here are a few great benefits of a gel flask:
-it makes it easy to stay hydrated and fueled when running off the bike in training, even for those 20-30 min "Short" brick runs.
-it is a nice way to supplement additional calories to your sport drink regime, especially on the bike.
-it eliminates wrappers during training and racing which can help you properly fuel without having to spend a few minutes with only one hand on your bike.
-it is easier to take a swig of gel (or sport drink) every 10-15 minutes to help postpone fatigue from a flask than to consume 1 full gel every 40-50 minutes.
-you always have nutrition with you and you can easily refill in training and racing.
-the GI system will find it easier to tolerate a little gel or sport drink every 10 minutes especially in the case of experiencing a high HR in certain parts of training and racing.
-if you don't find a fuel belt comfortable (although I recommend trying to get use to it as I find it a very helpful way to stay fueled/hydrated during long runs or in races with your own nutrition) this can be an easier option to carry with you during training/racing.
-you don't have to worry about wrappers and losing gels from pockets (but always plan back-ups!).

It's also convenient, easy to use, makes training more flexible to meet your consistency needs with the taste of gels (ex. diluting with water), you have less waste and things to carry on the bike and during running (and travel) and less mess.

My favorite Hammer gel is Huckleberry - I was a looooong time vanilla fan but when Huckleberry came out I thought it would be too sweet but I love the taste!

I feel that the best strategy for consistent energy, to control blood sugar and to help reduce risk for injury, burnout and fatigue is to consume sport nutrition at consistent intervals during training and racing. Certainly your ability to tolerate, absorb and digest sport nutrition will affect this strategy but you should not convince yourself that your body can not tolerate sport nutrition as this is a necessity and not a negotiable when it comes to being an athlete. I consider it disrespectful to the body to not consume fluids, electrolytes and carbohydrates with well-formulated sport nutrition drinks/gels when the body is under extreme intentional stress.

Still not convinced you need sport nutrition or feel that consuming just 1 gel an hour or eating a few jelly beans during a long race is enough for your body?

Consider your daily diet. Do you eat at 3pm because you feel tired? Do you eat a snack right after dinner? Do you feel shaky or lethargic when you go several hours without eating and then end up overeating because you went too long without food? Now ask yourself how often you prioritize sport nutrition during training? To give yourself a dessert after a meal or to wake yourself up with a snack around 3-4 in the afternoon but to not feel you need consistent energy intake during a workout or race makes no sense. Fuel your body throughout the day with nourishing food and give a little respect to the body by fueling consistently to keep the body in optimal condition during training and racing.

Any questions - send me an email @

I was not paid or encouraged by Hammer Nutrition to write this blog. However, I work with many athletes (including my own Trimarni athletes) on training and nutrition and I have found great success with myself and other adopting a more realistic and easy fueling regime. I am always excited to share with others what has worked (or hasn't worked) with me......if you are interested, Hammer Nutrition has a special going on until 3/21/13. Mention code HG13 when you buy a Hammer Gel jug to receive a free gel flask. For additional products, email me if you have questions on any sport nutrition products and if you are ready to order Hammer Nutrition, feel free to use my product code for a discount on your first order (see link on right of blog page).

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!

No-guilt nutrition on recovery/off days

Marni Sumbal

Two weeks of quality training are behind me. It doesn't seem like a lot but I still have 6 more months to go before Ironman Lake Placid and without emphasis on recovery, there is no way I can progress with intentional exercise-induced stress and fatigue.

My body is going strong but to be proactive, I will rest my body and mind before I really need it. A solid 9 hours of sleep last night and I know a day off from training was needed since I am not a napper and nighttime is the only time I can rejuvenate and repair. I am a fan of active recovery (ex. swim, non-weight bearing activity) as a replacement for a day off but never when it comes with waking up with an alarm. Seeing that the drive to and from the gym may take more time than the actual swim, alongside feeling rushed, meal prep, etc. I didn't even need to think twice about not doing an active recovery/drill-focused swim this morning since I asked myself last night "What will I gain from this swim?" NOTHING. I'd rather walk Campy and stretch.

Sometimes active recovery does a body good but I do not associate active recovery with body-image control, feeling guilty about eating on off days or feeling "off" without a workout. All I have to think about is my upcoming week of training on Training Peaks and the day off is exactly what I need to help me out with the next 6 days of training.

A while back I wrote an article on nutrition on off/recovery days and I feel it is an appropriate time to share the article again. Seeing that we are almost into February, if you are sticking with an exercise resolution or if you just started your triathlon training/running/cycling plan to gear up for the upcoming season, it is likely that you still going strong and perhaps, haven't considered the beauty in rest and recovery.

The key with off days is to not lose focus of recovery. The idea of a planned rest day (whether Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday - depending on when you need the recovery to ensure a quality, consistent week of training) is to keep up with all the things that you need to do to ensure a great next x-days of training. Sleep, stress management, stretching and diet are key as you can not assume you will recover from the past 6 days or so of training just by not doing cardio or strength training and eating whatever you want and sitting around with tight muscles. Take that control that you have with the diet and exercise/training (which is likely the reason why you struggle with taking planned "off" days) and use that for your recovery day so that you will increase the chance of having consistent training all month long.

Thanks for reading!

Nutrition on rest days from exercise/training

Sport Nutrition Tip + Trimarni Custom clothing

Marni Sumbal

Working out or training for more than an hour today?

Consider the benefits of a pre and post workout snack.

During exercise, energy demand is high. Your body will experience an increase in skeletal muscle blood flow and to get stronger, it will release anabolic hormones (like growth hormone, testosterone and IGF-1, epinephrine) to assist in protein synthesis. Insulin concentrations will also increase post workout as an anabolic "side effect" whereas during exercise insulin sensitivity increases. On the flip side, however, every time you place stress on the body via exercise, catabolic (breakdown) effects take place like glycogen depletion, increased cortisol concentrations, decrease net protein balance and possibly dehydration.

Take advantage of at least 30-60 grams of carbohydrates and a little protein pre workout, along side a post workout snack of 2:1 or 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein (grams) to help the body fuel and re-fuel for a more consistent exercise/training routine as you move closer to your body composition and training goals. Don't think of sport nutrition around workouts as calories your body doesn't need...instead, it is the fuel your body requires to maximize your time training. Consider more what you are eating (or not eating) during the day when your your body systems (cardiovascular, muscular, nervous, respiratory, etc.) are not working in overtime, like they do during exercise to allow you to function properly.

Speaking of using your body......

The Trimarni Store is now open!
The clothing is not limited to Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition athletes but instead, to any person who desires a balanced, healthy and active lifestyle and chooses to dream big. We don't have a date in 2013 for placing another order due to custom orders taking 6-8 weeks. Deadline for orders is December 14th, 2012 so take advantage of the current $1 shipping fee. Thanks for your support.

Learn more HERE
Place an order HERE

More info:
Canari Sizing

Canari dealers

Any questions - send me an email.

How to fuel for a night race

Marni Sumbal

I was really excited to provide my insight on how to fuel for night races when asked by a member of the Palm Harbor Tri Warriors Club.  Although I don't personally enjoy evening races (unless it involves crossing an Ironman finishing line around 6pm), being married to a category 1 cyclist has given me many opportunities to understand how to to eat on the day of an evening race. There's nothing more thrilling than watching an evening criterium and for the past few years, Karel has taken part in some big National Racing Calendar races, which involve racing at your max for 75-90 minutes. With the Athens Twilight being the mack-daddy of them all (Karel has finished it for the past two years, 80K on a 1K course), the only way I can describe the intensity is imagine running 1 mile all out for around 90 minutes, with only a second or two rest here or there - if you are lucky.
With Karel racing at a high intensity in the evening, I always took mental notes on what worked/didn't work for him so that I could always help him out for his race day fueling plan, up until race start. Certainly, every sport (and distance) will differ depending on the athlete and intensity so it took several races to figure out exactly what worked best for Karel.

Here's a video from Karel's Athens Twilight finish last April after almost 1 hour and 40ish minutes of racing. The race officially starts around 9:15-9:20pm on a Saturday night.

I hope you enjoy the interview/article on fueling for night races (with permission from the club to feature on my blog).

Fueling for Night Races
By: Christie O'Sullivan
Some of the biggest running parties happen at night races and so many of us get trained and geared up to run them only to get sick afterward. Some of the biggest races are at night, from the Disney Wine & Dine 1/2 Marathon to the Rock N Roll 1/2s and Ragnar. Running a night race can be tricky because if you don't time your fueling right and fuel the wrong way, you could end up in the bathroom for hours. (Trust us.)

So WHEN do you fuel for it? And more importantly, HOW?

We wanted to find out so we went to our resident nutritionist Marni Sumbal from to help sort it all out. Thanks Marni, for the tips!

One of the most important tips for fueling for a night race is watching your fat and fiber intake. Nerves combined with low blood sugar can cause a big GI problem, so eating a balance of carbs and proteins in small meals throughout the day will help you keep the blood sugar stable.

You should not be “hungry” or famished at any point during race day. That can lead to over fueling and high fat/fiber choices.

The meal that will actually fuel your race won’t be a meal from race day, but the day before. Eat a filling breakfast the day before filled with a balance of healthy proteins and carbs, then eat consistently small meals throughout the rest of the day and on race day.
Your last meal before the race start should be 3-4 hours beforehand and should be small and easily digestible, something you would eat before a morning workout. Piece of toast and peanut butter or liquid nutrition like a shake or drink. Food choices should primarily be from carbohydrates with a little protein/fat to slow down digestion. Be sure to consume at least 8-12 ounces of water with the pre-race meal to help with digestion of nutrients from the stomach.
Keeping your blood sugar consistent will also aid in your post-race recovery.
Be sure that your race day pacing plan is consistent with your current level of fitness. No amount of nutrition or the "perfect fueling plan on race day" can make you run 7 min/miles if you haven't trained yourself to do so in training!

Now that you’ve focused on pre-race nutrition, don’t throw it all out the window during the race. Make sure you’re hydrating and taking in nutrition consistently throughout the long races. During a race lasting more than 45-60 minutes, take in water every 10-15 minutes and 30-60 grams of fuel every hour for endurance races, ½ marathon or longer. Suggestion: combine a gel with water in a gel flask as an easy way to provide your body with electrolytes, liquids and carbohydrates every mile or 10 minutes as opposed to fueling every 30-40 minutes. The more consistently you fuel during the race, the more likely you will avoid residual fatigue and dropping energy as the race goes on.

Find what works for the race! Don’t let race day be the first time you tried the fueling regimen out. Practice fueling some long night runs several weeks before the race. Plan a long run or two in the evening 3-4 weeks out so you can get your body acclimated for race day. Schedule a couple interval workouts at night. It’s hard to fuel for that intensity, so this will help your body adjust to the change.

Be aware of your normal bowel functions. Keep in mind that a nervous stomach alongside a change in racing time can easily throw off your "routine." Even with the perfect race day nutrition and fueling plan, a body that is not comfortable with change may cause you to see the port-a-john immediately after (or during) a race. Understand that evening races are not for everyone and most importantly, as you train your body to cross finishing lines, be sure to recognize what races are best suited for your body.

Good luck out there!! Hopefully this will prepare you to be able to enjoy both the Wine & Dine aspect of the race after the run is over!

Thanks again to Marni for the tips! Find Marni on the web at and on Facebook:

One thing that I forgot to mention is the excessive use of caffeinated beverages that you may be consuming to keep yourself energized and awake before a late evening race start. Although advantageous for the athlete who enjoys the cup of Joe to stimulate the  bowel  movements before a morning workout or race, a nervous belly alongside an excessive amount of caffeine in the evening may cause GI distress before and during your race (which will ultimately make it harder to properly stick to your race fueling plan). Additionally, too much caffeine may cause constipation in some which may cause you to feel bloated throughout the race (alongside overeating throughout the day). Be mindul of your eating and drinking before an evening race, likely experience and practice will be key to finding out what works best for you and your body.

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!

Ladies Tri Night event recap - fuel efficiently

Marni Sumbal

2011 Ironman World Championship    Kona, Hawaii

The world of endurance sports continues to grow. This is wonderful for the ordinary individual who wants to do something extraordinary with his/her life. From a 5K to marathon to a sprint triathlon to the Ironman, from ultra distance swimming to century rides, there's a sport and a distance to challenge the mind and body, no matter the age or fitness level.

One major problem that is occurring frequently over the past few years is the struggle that many athletes face w/ sport nutrition. I do not feel I need to go into the specific struggles that athletes are experiencing but to mind; bloating, GI distress, rapid decrease in energy, brain fog, cramping, injury, bonking, weight gain, dehydration, ongoing fatigue, lethary and burnout. Nothing that can be pinpointed to one cause but rather, the remarkable connection w/ sport nutrition to training is far too often overlooked either due to lack of education/knowledge, confusion or lack of emphasis/importance.

A decade ago there were less endurance events for athletes to choose from and less athletes competing in endurance event.... thus less tendency for athletes to over train and compare training to others. Certainly the prices were cheaper and the selection of reputable sport nutrition products was slim compared to today.

Now a day, the westernized diet is not supportive of athletic performance gains and because of that, I see a direct connection w/ athletes struggling with sport nutrition. For if the daily diet is not under control, it is extremely difficult to believe that a "perfect" sport nutrition plan or product will allow for performance gains, quick recovery and body composition changes. Sport nutrition companies have confused athletes as to what they need or don't need during training, despite fairly consistent scientific research for athletes, over the past few decades.

But with new science comes more confusion and with excitement for a new distance or event, comes the stress of wondering "why isn't my sport nutrition working for me?"

At Ladies Tri Night, I saved my favorite subject for last....SPORT NUTRITION

As an endurance athlete, living with an endurance athlete and as a coach to endurance athletes.....this is one area when I can proudly say "I know what you are feeling when...."

For if it hasn't happened to me, it likely has happened to Karel or my athletes. Therefore, I find it very important that I provide help to others in the area of sport nutrition.  There's nothing worse than seeing the dreams of an athlete unravel because of not understanding the fundamentals of personalized sport nutrition.

Before I post the following tips for sport nutrition, I will be firm in saying that I truly believe that if you are struggling with your training, struggling with your nutrition (daily or sport) OR doing an event or distance for the first time, I HIGHLY recommend working with a qualified professional to help you create a sport nutrition strategy that will work for you at this point in your athletic career. Realizing that most of us are not professionals, we are doing all this crazy training all for fun, a medal and a t-shirt. We pay money to put our body through a lot of stress on race day and we sacrifice a lot to prepare the body and mind for months and months, all for that single race. Never forget that you are constantly fueling and refueling for your workouts during the day but it is around those 30 minute to 2+ hour workouts that your sport nutrition will enhance training so that you can be consistent on a daily basis.

Before you consider sport nutrition, athlete or not, be sure you are always focusing on your relationship with food.

 1. Forget about diets and calories – eat for fuel and for health

 2. Honor
hunger, control blood sugar, nourish your body

 3. Inspire, don’t lecture

 4. Savor food, don’t devour

 5. Food doesn’t solve
problems - temporary emotional numbness

 6. Eat for nutritional
quality, density and value

 7. Good, better, best
system - progress

 8. Think before you
act – hunger scale

 9. Balance – 365 days in a year

10. Create your positive food environment

What is Sport Nutrition?

     ØNutrition around your workout - pre, during, post
Why do you need to prioritize Sport Nutrition?
Øboost immune system, speed up recovery, provide energy, reduce fatigue, metabolize fuel

ØThe quicker you recover ...... the harder you can work.....the more consistently you can train.

How to NOT be confused by Sport Nutrition - keep it simple. What does your body need based on intensity and volume?
ØFoundation of fueling:
Fluids – 20-28 ounces/hour
Electrolytes – Na, K, Cl, Mg, Ca, NaHCO3
Carbohydrates – 1-1.5g/minute, 30-90g/hour maltodextrin or maltodextrin + fructose
Calories - varies

What you need to consider with Sport Nutrition:
1) All products are designed to match the needs of athletes.
-NO PERFECT PRODUCT but rather products with similar ingredients + that extra something to make it "better than the rest".
2) Laboratory setting, controlled environment, trained or untrained subjects.
-RESEARCH SELLS PRODUCTS. YOUR life is not a research study. Take research into the real world and find what works best for you.
3) Fitness level, terrain, weather, intensity, volume, body size, sweat rate, daily diet.
-CAN’T BLAME EVERYTHING ON NUTRITION. If you didn't train your body to run 7 minute miles off the bike, no amount of nutrition will help you do so in your race.

General Guidelines:
*1-2 hour workout:
1.One bottle fluids per 60-70 min of training (20-28 ounces)
2.Electrolytes (full spectrum) - magnesium, chloride, sodium, potassium, as well as calcium (pills, powders, gels, chews)
3.30-60g of carbohydrates (maltodextrin based) per bottle
carbs (maltodextrin + fructose based)
-water + sport drink

water + gel
-Water + sport drink + gel
-Water + sport drink + gel + solid/chews

4.Fuel frequently and consistently for calories - every 10-15 minutes (regardless of sport, intensity or duration). As tolerated!

If you can't digest the product sitting in your stomach, it won't be absorbed and the body will struggle.
*PRE (~30-60g carbs + a little protein/fat) – as tolerated!
-Examples: Cheerios, shredded wheat, oatmeal + milk
-Grains (bread, rice, pita, waffle, wrap, crackers) + nut butter
-Banana +
hard boiled egg
-8-16 ounces of water (a must to help with digestion!) + coffee
(or tea).
*POST** (recovery snack or meal, protein or protein + carbs) – as tolerated!
-8-12 ounces low fat chocolate milk
-Non fat/low fat milk or protein smoothie (whey or vegan (brown rice/pea)
-Omelet + toast
-Cereal + milk
-Cottage cheese + fruit
-16-24 ounces
water (FIZZ) to replace water/electrolyte loss + coffee

Recovery window is open for 24 hours!

**2:1 or 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein post workout.
on intensity and volume of activity)
*Your nutrition before, during & after training is only as good as your ability to tolerate, digest and absorb nutrition around your workouts.
*Always work your way up in nutrition to discover what works/doesn't work. It is not suggested to make yourself bonk during training, allow yourself to progress slowly, overtime (have back-up).
*For a recovery/off day, the only thing that should change in your diet should be the removal of your “sport nutrition” and macronutrient distribution.
*A well designed, balanced diet keeps you well-fueled, nourished and encourages quick recovery.
*Concerned about sport nutrition calories and weight loss? You are always fueling to prep for another week of quality, consistent training.

Ladies Tri Night event - Perform Beautifully

Marni Sumbal

I could not have asked for a better crowd.....a bike shop PACKED with active women who all aspire to train smart, fuel efficiently and perform beautifully. Familiar and new faces filled the room and without enough chairs for the 60+ women in attendance - I'd say that's a great turnout for the first ever Trimarni Ladies Tri Night! An event not exclusive to triathletes but rather, an open invitation to anyone who lives an active lifestyle. And a huge thank you to those who changed schedules to be at the event, who came early and offered to help and to our amazing friends in Waycross, GA who made the drive just for this event. Thank you!

After changing out of my scrubs from a busy day at Baptist Medical Center Beaches, I dressed "up" in my Oakley shine support tank and had all my Oakley Women shades out for display.

The first 40 women who arrived by 5:50pm received a PACKED goodie bag thanks to Hammer Nutrition. Hammer Nutrition has been wonderful in terms of fueling my active lifestyle and I am thankful that they also help me out in many of my speaking events. I've been a loyal Hammer user for at least 5 years and with 5 IM's (2 IM World Championships) and 6 Half Ironman's behind my name, I couldn't ask for a better company to provide quality products to help me fuel my endurance lifestyle. If I had to pick my favorite products they would be Strawberry Heed, Grape Fizz and Huckleberry Gel (+ gel flask). And for supplements, hands down tissue rejuvinator is the best because it takes the place of ibuprofen and keeps me functioning well during my peak training. I have not used an anti-inflammatory pill since 1 week post Kona last October (I never use any type of anti inflammatory during or immediately before any race). Also to thank, 110% Play Harder helps the recovery process thanks to their genius mobile-ice bath + compression.

Without a doubt, everyone LOVED Veronica's Health Crunch. Not a seed or nut left in sight at the end of the event. I'm so proud of Veronica for having a vision and a goal and for making her dreams come true. A few years ago she approached me at one of Karel's cycling races, telling me about her idea for granola. Now, several years later her product is ending up on shelves at Fresh Market (can't wait for it to get to Jacksonville) and she is selling her product online. It is absolutely delicious and the ingredients are so simple, yet perfectly blended. YUM!!
Another big thanks to Chobani for donating Greek yogurt for the event. To introduce the ladies to other types of yogurts, I picked up my favorite plain yogurt, Dannon nonfat which sits very nicely in my tummy and is the perfect compliment to any fruit or smoothie. Both yogurts are packed with calcium and protein and went nicely with the health crunch. Oh, and the pink napkins are super cute.
(don't worry - the dietitian in me made sure all the yogurts were on ice before the event. No need for anyone to get sick)

I'm sure no one forgot about the amazing giveaways.....Hammer, Oakley, Veronica's Health Crunch, 110% and Nootca really hooked us up with some amazing swag. Also, president of the HammerHead Triathlon Club, super star IM triathlete Susan Wallis also provided lace locks to two newbie triathletes, doing their first triathlons this month.
  • Oakley donated the Drizzle and Overtime shades as well as the adorable Carver bags.
  • Hammer went above and beyond with Recoverite and Gel jugs + flask + fizz.
  • Veronica's Health Crunch donated a HUGE bag of her delicious crunch.
  • Nootca donated their amazing anti-fog 207 goggles (which I have been using for the past few weeks and will be wearing at Branson 70.3 next weekend).
  • 110% Play Harder donated the Mercury sock as well as one of their TOP sellers, the calf sleeves. They also provided a visor which is super comfy (Karel and I both have one for the hot summer training).
  • And last but not least, I have to give a HUGE thanks to Trek Jax for opening the shop after hours for the event. Karel is the GM of the San Jose location but his boss Jeff Kopp and his wife Alycia have been super supportive of all my career endeavours. They didn't even hesitate when I asked if I could hold a Ladies Tri Night event, after my friend Sky wanted to have an "informal" nutrition and training talk to 5 of the ladies who she is training for their first triathlon. Who knew it would end up being such a fabulous event with such great support of some amazing companies who embrace an active and healthy lifestyle. I also want to thank Trek employee Nicole for taking time out of her evening to be at the event to answer any female bike-related questions. Courtney P. also works at Trek but she just finished the Las Vegas 70.3 World Championships.

The presentation lasted around 40 minutes so I'd like to recap a little of the first part of the talk....saving the rest for another blog.


I read a study not too long ago which triggered me to begin my talk on the topic of Perform Beautifully, as part of the Oakley Women campaign.

-Gender and Body Image Study:
ØFemales 50+ years of age, 1,800 U.S. Women
Ø27% obese, 29% overweight, 42% normal weight, 2% underweight
Ø4% binge eat
Ø8% purge
Ø70% diet to lose weight
Ø36% dieted ~50% of the time in last 5 years
Ø41% check body size daily
Ø40% weigh themselves at least twice a week
Ø62% report body weight negatively impacts their life
Ø79% report body weight affects self-image
Ø64% think about their weight daily
Environmental Nutrition Sept 2012, Vol 35, No 9.

I struggled making it through my Dear Body letter as I read it allowed but I felt it tied so nicely with the study which shows how women can spend so much of their life focused (and obsessed) on body image - almost wasting life away just to achieve this "perfect" vision of what they feel is "healthy". There's no point in a lean body if you can't do anything with it and certainly, as an athlete, the body is going to change throughout the year and season.
I wrote this letter to myself just a few days before my 4th IM. I found it a life-changing experience and I encourage others to spend the time thinking about what you would say to your body - hopefully positive and perhaps apologetic at times.

 I always try to leave my audience with take-aways rather than just lecturing on what to do. I like to give advice that everyone can use based on their own lifestyle needs. I don't like to lecture, but rather inspire.
Here are a few tips if you are striving to perform beautifully:
*Aim for progress not perfection.
*Love your body not for a number on a scale, but for allowing you to cross finish lines by being healthy and strong.
*Don’t rush life. Every day is worth living.
*Every body is special. Embrace your body and individual needs. Don’t live a strict lifestyle but one of balance, consistency and enjoyment.
*Give yourself a reason to wake up every morning with a can-do attitude.
*Set short and long term realistic goals rather than living a life of regret, failure and obsession. Goals require dedication, energy and passion.
*Recognize your own individual needs based on your current training and lifestyle requirements.
*Be kind to your body so it doesn’t fail you. Thank your body, daily.
*Recognize the rewards of consistent daily exercise. Eat for fuel and for health.
*To perform beautifully, one must be patient. Take pride in the steps that are required to achieve goals in life and find ways to overcome obstacles with beauty, passion and grace.

More to come on how to train smarter......

Sport Nutrition Tip: Nutrient Timing

Marni Sumbal

Wow - I really didn't think I had it in me for another day in the hills of San Antonio FL yesterday morning. After a very challenging ~2:45 ride (challenging in that staying on Karel's wheel for almost three hours on flat ground can be tough - but the ups and downs of hills have me releasing my inner Jens Voigt "Shut up Legs") and a brutally hot almost 1 hour run, I was beat all day on Saturday. I was in bed by 9:30am although I think I could have called it a day around 4pm.
We woke up early on Sunday so Karel could join the group in San Antonio for a little to see if he still had any surges left in his category 1 cycling legs.....while on his tri bike.
When we arrived to the famous San Antonio parking lot (if you are there after 8pm, good luck finding a parking spot as it is filled w/ bike racks and mdot stickers on cars) I was worried about my energy during the ride.  We had an endurance bike on the schedule - almost 4 hours and I was really concerned about my mind and body working together. I hate that foggy feeling in my head during long rides but I kept reminding myself that within the past year and a half - since really focusing on my nutrition before, during and after workouts - I have not experienced that feeling, nor have I struggled w/ recovery, energy or getting sick.
I trusted my fueling and I trusted my mind and before I knew it, I was on Karel's wheel for his warm-up and feeling great. 2 hours and 20 minutes later, I met up with Karel after he pulled me around for about 90 more minutes for an almost 4 hour ride in the hills.
Amazingly - I felt amazing. If you would have asked me to anticipate my energy post ride, at 5:30am that morning, I would have likely said I would be suffering.
After the ride, we did a quick 2.5 mile run and legs didn't feel heavy as I was able to average a steady 7:29 min/mile for 2 miles and then cool down.
A quick stop at the gas station for a chocolate milk and I was shocked as to how good my body felt - considering the possibility of residual fatigue from Saturday.
I felt much better  on Sunday compared to could that be??
Oh - the beauty of nutrient timing.
I've been diligent about my nutrition during workouts (as well as fueling pre workout to help control hunger and help w/ recovery and energy during workouts) considering the constant reminders from Karel "It isn't a contest as to how little fuel you can take in before, during or after a workout" when I consider whether or not I need that swig of gel in the last 20 minutes of a bike before the run, bringing liquid calories w/ me during all runs off the bike or if I need to add 50 calories per bottle during my long rides. Now, it's a no brainer. The better I fuel, the harder I train, the quicker I recover and the easier it is to do it all over again the next time/day in order to get stronger. I don't aspire to be lean...I want to have a strong body that will perform well.

Do you focus on nutrient timing as an athlete? I started to appreciate this topic while in grad school for exercise physiology but it wasn't until I started applying scientific principles to my own training routine, that I started to recognize the vital importance of "eating for fuel". Now I can help others prolong training/reduce fatigue, boost immune system, quicken recovery and improve insulin sensitivity. Here's a little insight in the topic of nutrient timing around workouts:
-During exercise catabolic (break down) hormones (ex. epinephrine, cortisol, glucagon) prepare the body to use glucose (from muscle and liver glycogen) for fuel. They also increase heart rate, blood pressure, cardiac functioning, blood redistribution and respiration rate to withstand stress during training. It is the anabolic (build up) hormones that support muscle growth (hypertrophy), repair tissues, reduce inflammation, regulate macronutrient metabolism (carbs, protein, fat) which include IGF-I, insulin, testosterone and growth hormone.
-Of importance to you as the athlete, especially if you struggle w/ recovery, feel run-down a lot (or get sick a lot) or feel extreme hunger or mood changes post workout: During prolonged exercise, cortisol levels continue to increase, muscle glycogen is gradually decreasing and insulin sensitivity decreases. By focusing on your pre, during and post training nutrition you can boost nutrient transport to muscles (ex. carbohydrates and amino acids), reduce the loss of glyocgen and protein during exercise, enhance recovery (for more consistent training) and reduce muscle damage while strengthening the immune system. 
-Keep it simple:
Pre training: Toast, banana or plain cereal (ex. shredded wheat) w/ PB, milk or an egg.
During: Sport drink, consistently every 10-15 minutes - liquids, calories, carbohydrates, electrolytes.
Post - Whey protein brown rice + Pea (vegan) smoothie, cow's milk (low fat) or chocolate milk (low fat)

Sport Nutrition Tip - Sport nutrition

Marni Sumbal

Ironman World Championships 2011 - Kona, Hawaii

Are you training for an athletic event? If so, do not overlook the importance of trusting and utilizing an effective sport nutrition training plan. For on race day, your body will perform based on weeks, months and even years of training -  not just because you stuck to a "perfect" race day fueling plan.

Consider that the nutrition before, during and after training will energize workouts and will help you recover faster. For the quicker you recover, the more consistently you can train and the easier it is to notice performance gains within training sessions.

Whether you think you don't need them or desire to change body composition, do not fear and restrict calories around workouts (particularly around an hour or more, however there are some exceptions to this suggestion). In today's society, the typical diet of an athlete does not support training for it often lacks in quality nutrients to support metabolic processes and the composition and timing of nutrients keeps a body struggling for energy and a quick recovery.

More often than not, athletes need to address the quality of the diet during the day (on a daily basis) as well as the couple hundred additional calories they are overconsuming later in the day (and/or immediately post workout) on hard or long workout days as well as the restriction of nutrients that may keep an athlete satisfied and well-fueled.

Prioritize electrolytes, fluids and cabohydrates (this is where the calories are coming from - carbs) as a baseline to create a foundation of proper sport nutrition during workouts. Give your body a little fuel before workouts and take advantage of recovery nutrition post workouts. Most sport nutrition products are designed to match the needs of athletes (based on consistent scientific research that hasn't changed over the past few decades), although there is no perfect product on the market (in my opinion) to match everyone's needs, perfectly. Each athlete is unique pending his/her training and body composition goals as well as fitness level and structure of training so always address your own issues rather than trying to match the nutrition of a training partner, coach or professional athlete.

Reccomendations during a 1-2 hour workout:
*1 bottle per 60-70 min of training
*Prep 30-60g of carbohydrates (maltodextrin based) per bottl, or if you need more calories, 45-75g carbs (maltodextrin + fructose based). OK to do gel + water or powder + water - based on toleration and ability to digest and absorb.
*Be sure your product has electrolytes - magnesium, chloride, sodium, potassium, as well as calcium or you may need to add w/ additional powder or pills.
*Sip frequently (common error of athletes) - every 10-15 minutes, regardless of sport, intensity or duration.
*Use additional water to cool body temperature (and for sipping) to help reduce gradual increase in heart rate.

Pre and post training before and after a 1-2 hr workout - keep it simple!
-Cherrios/shredded wheat/oatmeal + milk
-Toast + nut butter
-Banana + walnuts
(around 30-60g carbohydrates + a few grams protein/fat. If tolerable, I find cow's milk (skim) to be the best to help with recovery, but consuming in a pre training snack thanks to the leucine and types of protein in milk).
-8-16 ounces of water (a must!) + coffee (recommended, or tea).
-8 ounces low fat chocolate milk
-Skim milk + whey protein
-Omelet + toast
-Cereal + milk
-Cottage cheese + fruit
-16-24 ounces water (consider adding FIZZ from hammer if sweating a lot or intense workout) + coffee (which has been shown to help with glycogen resynthesis)
(around a 2:1 or 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein post workout. Recommend at least 15-25g protein post workout which would be around 30-100g carbs depending on intensity and volume of activity)
Consult a RD specializing in sport nutrition if you need more guidance on designing an effective fueling routine to enhance your lifestyle and workouts.

Keep in mind that your nutrition before, during and after training is only as good as your ability to digest and absorb nutrition during training as well as your comfort of consuming products/food/drinks around workouts. Always work your way up in nutrition to discover what works/doesn't work. It is not suggested to make yourself bonk during training. Be sure to have back-up in the case that you need more nutrition during a workout - however, the above strategy should be applied conistently so that the body becomes more efficient at using fuels effectively during training.
For a recovery/off day, the only thing that will change in your diet, should be your pre, during and post training. No need to fear a day of off training when you body is trying to recover. A well designed diet will not include "sport nutrition" when you aren't training or needing the body to perform.

Race week tips - Endurance events

Marni Sumbal

May 2006. My very first endurance triathlon - Ironman Florida 70.3. I had no idea if I trained right for the distance or what I needed to be aware of on race day. So, the only thing I had control over was my attitude and at the ripe age of 23 (almost 24), I was overly confident and I was stubborn enough to believe I had done everything right to race my first half ironman.

As for packing my transition bag - well, that was another story. This is totally a newbie picture.

But we all know that race day performances are built on consistent actions. You eventually learn how to train smarter, pace better and plan ahead. Eventually, if you set your sights on your goals - dreams reallly do come true....even if you still feel like a newbie - 6 years later.

For when you train the body to perform, your race day performance is solely dependent on your fitness - on that day.

When I work with my athletes, I thrive off seeing them progress with their training, only to get ancy the week or two before a race. The best feeling I can get as a coach is knowing that my athletes are ready to jump out of their skin to get to the starting and that they are hungry to race.
As for my nutrition athletes, I realize that I am not always working with them on a daily basis, leading up to their key race. Many times, they have a coach. However, I still find it practical to help athletes with race week and race day nutrition in order to perform optimally on race day for many times, not having a well-laid nutrition plan is a missing link in how athletes perform on race day.

I wanted to provide a few of my favorite blog posts on gearing up to an endurance event in order to help prepare others for a successful race day. Knowing that an endurance race is mostly mental, it is critically important to understand the other variables that may affect performances:
1) Attitude
2) Gear/clothing
3) Nutrition
4) Pacing

When you consider the above categories and what you can control on race day, you are going to be in a bette frame of mind and with that, confidence improves and you will race smarter.

Enjoy some of my favorite posts:
(Any questions - please comment or send me an email)

A balanced pre race diet

IMWI race report

IMKY race report

2007 IM World championship race report - warning: I was injured and do not encourage athletes to race an endurance race injured or ill

Keep your mind focused and pace your own race. Getting to the starting line is the hardest part of training. The fun starts and continues until you reach the finish line.

EVERYTHING you need to know about sport nutrition

Marni Sumbal


At the ISSN conference in Clearwater. Dr. Graves was one of my graduate professors and played an instrumental role in my education, especially how to become a better public speaker.

Sports nutrition is a fascinating topic. As a professional in the field, I find it absolutely intriguing and challenging, in terms of understanding the metabolism and physiology of the body during exercise. As an athlete, I know it is one of the few determining factors that can make or break a race (with the other factors being proper training, pacing, attitude and gear/clothing). From an outsider’s perspective, I’m sure sports nutrition is challenging alongside confusing, overwhelming, stressful and unclear.
One of the most difficult parts of "sport nutrition" is the battle between health and body image. According to Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter (July 2012, vol 30, number 5), your cardiovascular health improves if you meet at least 6 of the 7 heart-health lifestyle factors:
  • not smoking
  • being physically active
  • having normal blood pressure
  • normal blood glucose
  • normal total cholesterol levels
  • not being overweight or obese (BMI less than 25)
  • eating a healthy diet
Funny - no talk on eating organic, not eating carb, avoiding dairy, not eating meat or being gluten-free. Just a few simple suggestions to improve overall health.

As a RD specalizing in sport nutrition, the most popular questions I receive are “how many calories do I need before and during training, what’s the best pre and post training snack, how can I recover faster and of course, how can I lose weight while training."
I find active individuals fit into two categories:
1) Believe as if they are not worthy of sport nutrition… or better said, overlook the importance of sport nutrition to support their active lifestyle.
2) Obess about sport nutrition but neglect the importance of consuming a balanced, healthy daily diet.

So, is sport nutrition needed for every active individual? No. However, more cases than not, it may be one of the missing links to reaching your body composition and performance goals. Secondly, you don't have to be a triathlete or runner to live an active lifestyle.

I think you’d agree with me that there are a large handful of people in the world that feel they are “too good for” or don’t need sport nutrition. These are the ones who choose to either just drink water during training and racing or eat a large amount of solid food (jerky, sandwiches, candy bars, etc.) during training to “fuel” workouts. I hesitated to even put training in the above sentence because in my mind, a body that is training (and not “exercising) is working to become stronger and faster and without proper "scientifically formulated" nutrition, would have a hard time tolerating and benefiting from the “nutrition” that people choose to consume before, during and after training.
Perhaps this is where the confusion begins for as science evolves in the modern world, many athletes are able to succeed in sport by blowing off science and let a large ego prevail and choose to “fuel the natural way”. However, I wouldn't recmmend this strategy for when we are exercising we are placing a large amount of stress on the body and the body needs to be fueled properly in order to reap consistent gains.

In my opinion, any athlete or fitness enthusiast that is driven to succeed should seek out suitable methods in order to become better at their sport or activity of choice. Thus, the reasoning for sport nutrition - products to be used during (and sometimes before and after) training and racing. Thus – this  is the clear difference between daily nutrition and sport nutrition. If you want to improve immunity, improve performance, decrease risk for injury and illness and get stronger - you must prioritize sport nutrition.

So, do you have to be an Olympian or Elite athlete in order to justify your need for supplements, sport drinks and recovery drinks?

When it comes to sports, there are no prereqs as to how fast you need to be in order to call yourself an athlete nor are there any rules as to the approach you need to take in order to reach your goals. In understanding the many types of active individuals in this world, I believe this is where sports nutrition becomes so intimidating.
Ethically speaking, would you consider it beneficial to “Supplement” with well-researched, safe and effective  “Sport Nutrition” if it would give you the competitive edge? Or, do you feel as if it is not natural to reward your body with nutrients before, during and after training in order tot support the physiological processes that are needed to help keep you consistent, injury free and energized with your workouts and training routine?

Well - this is a tough area and the questions that I feel many of you are asking yourself. Do I need supplements and sport nutrition if I am not winning races, qualifying for world championships or not even racing?

When it comes to the idea that we should be consuming a more “natural, wholesome, real-food diet” this is where I have to put on my exercise physiology hat just slightly over my RD hat. Although I believe health first, performance second, there is nothing natural about a 140.6 mile race and no research supports a triathlon, running or cycling training plan in order to “be healthy”.

So, maybe the question should be “is it healthy that I put my body through so much training and I DON’T prioritize sport nutrition to keep my body healthy?”
Kona 2011 - Ironman World Championship

30-60 minutes a day is what most researchers are promoting in order to improve overall health. Certainly, something many of you are striving for but for others, a simple warm-up to a 1+ hour workout. So next time you feel guilty that you had to shorten your 2 ½ hour workout or weren’t able to work out twice in one day, perhaps before fearing a loss of fitness you should be evaluating your “sport nutrition” which can help to maximize the time spent in training and to ensure consistent performance gains with all the stress that you put on the body – both during the day and during exercise without having to do more than is necessary to reach your athletic goas.

As you read my condensed recap of the 2012 International Society of Sport Nutrition conference, I encourage you to consider your current fueling routine alongside your desire to live a more healthful and active lifestyle.  I took notes during the conference but did not write down the recent and credible research by the professionals (primarily PhD’s and a few RD’s and MD’s), however, the slides will be posted on the ISSN website and you can check them out for more details and information.

As a professional in this field, my job is to give you practical, safe and effective methods to improve quality of life – both with your health and with exercise/training. Obviously, this is a tremendous amount of research and it is not practical to assume that everyone can take all this information and make it work to your competitive advantage. It is recommended to work with a RD who specializes in sport nutrition to help you find what works best for you, your health and your performance goals.

If you don't feel like reading my condensed yet long summary - here are my suggestions: simple and effective and certainly these guidelines are to enhance your training. To maximize gains in performance, an optimal daily nutrition plan and adequate training regime must FIRST be in place.
1) Have a small snack (or mini meal) 1-4 hours before training. Aim for at least 30g of carbs (~120 calories) + a little protein. Keep it simple and think "race ready" - easy to find, easy to make, easy to digest.
2) Stay hydrated during the day with water and include 8-12 ounces of water w/ your pre-training snack. Coffee or tea is encouraged pre-workout (8-12 ounces).
3) During training lasting longer than an hour (or intense workouts 45+ min), experiment with different sport nutrition products to provide you calories, liquids and electrolytes. At minimum, consume 30g of carbs per hour, sipping every 10-15 minutes (small sip) - aiming for 20-28 ounces consumed per 60-70 minutes. If workouts last 1-2 hours, 30-60g of a maltodextrin drink is encouraged. For 2+ hour workouts, you may consider trying a 2:1 blend of glucose/maltodextrin: fructose containing drink if you feel you need to consume more than 60g per hour (if tolerated).
4) Postworkout recovery is essential: the window for recovery is open for 24 hours but the sooner the better. So whatever ratio you choose of carb: pro that is fine (4:1, 3:1, 2:1) so long as you are consuming the nutrition post workout. Make it simple and see what works best for you:
-8  ounces skim milk post workout if you need something quick and easy to digest to recover and a meal is soon after. Also, this will help if you tend to overeat post workot or crave sweets later in the day.
-Whey protein (or for vegans: brown rice + pea) - 20g of protein is ideal - recommend mix in a smoothie and consume as a meal (w/ carbs)
-Chocolate milk (low fat) - post intense or long duration workout where you need something quick and easy to digest (for some) or tend to crave something sweet (and indulge) later in the day.
-Many companies (like Hammer) offer ready-to-consume products like Recoverite to make it easy to obtain your carbs and protein quickly post workout (especially if traveling or no cooling system for milk - however, likely a gas station is nearby).
5) Spread out your protein throughout the day, aiming for around 20-30g per meal. Recovery is enhanced is you consume a bolus of protein post workout rather than small amounts here or there throughout the day. Don't neglect carbohydrates throughout the day - always consider the workout to best identify how you will vary your carbohydrates (ex. refueling/fueling) on a day to day basis.
6) Focus on good sleep to gain the competitive edge. Yoga, strength training and periodized training are encouraged.
7) Prioritize a whole-food diet and focus on your individual nutritional needs to enhance training. Give yourself a prescription with your food depending on the intensity and duration of the workout.
8) Talk with a RD (specializing in sport nutrition) to determine what supplements are right for you and the ideal nutrition strategy throughout the day.
9) Don't let the scale affect your style of eating - especially around workouts. Eat to get stronger and faster not to purposely lose weight or get lean/skinny.  With this approach, the body will change in a favorable way because it will receive the nutrition it deserves.

Improving endurance w/ strength training and cardio

-To improve endurance, VO2 max, fat burning and increase lean muscle mass, intervals are recommend during cardio training. Strength training as another component of training, is encouraged but should NOT be done on the same day as intense cardio unless the cardio workout is short (ex. in a study 4-5 x 30 sec sprints w/ 4 min rest) and recommended less than 20 minutes. Research shows cycling or short sprinting is better on strength training days if you have to do both in one day. However, to maximize endurance, strength training should be done as the primary workout in order to improve endurance (ex. it’s not recommended to strength train in the morning or in the evening and do a separate workout of an hour running or an intense 2 hour group bike ride. You should allow at least 24 hours to recover from intense exercise, like strength training. To increase endurance and lean muscle mass and NOT muscle hypertrophy (speaking to endurance athletes/triathletes primarily) , power lifting is encourage such as plyo’s or 40-60% 1RM (explosive).


-What are they? Enzymes, scavengers for free radicals and oxidative stress. Many studies study antioxidants in vitro and NOT in vivo. In other words, research is not food-related but rather test tube/plates and not always helpful to compare to the human body.
-Glutathione is a great antioxidant and L-carnitine has some promising outcomes for use by athletes.
-Many research studies with antioxidants are done for a specific duration of time and diet is often not controlled. Although oxidative stress will increase inflammation in the body, antioxidant supplements are not recommended.
-Many supplements include nitric oxide as a supplement and when consumed in high amounts, peroxinitrate results and can increase oxidative stress. Additionally, high fat meals (especially high in saturated fat) can increase oxidative stress because during beta oxidation (fat metabolism) , electron carries in the electron transport chain can increase the production of free radicals. High Sat fat increases triglycerids which can increase RONS generator and too many electron carries at one time which can increase stress in the body.
-Research shows that it can be harmful to consume antioxidant supplements when exercising (ex. vitamin C and/or E) and can decrease defense and performance.
-There is trivial research showing that quercetin is effective as an antioxidant during training, to help with workouts.
-If you want to reduce inflammation, focus on whole food as the first line of defense. The ultimate goal is to train more frequently and to adapt more favorably to training.
-If you are to supplement with antioxidants (although for overall health, research is not supportive of supplementing), it is encouraged to do so with meals and not during exercise. Wine and grape juice also have antioxidants as well as dark chocolate.
-Many research studies with antioxidant use during exercise involve untrained subjects. Oxidative stress appears to be less in women compared to men.
-Final thoughts: Why are you supplementing? Your eating/supplementation strategy should be a prescription based on your lifestyle – every individual is different but food is the first-line of defense as well as a practical training routine that allows an athlete to train more frequently.

Clean nutrition

-Clean eating is a marketing term – organic, ethical, healthy, local, sustainable. Lots of definitions.
-There is no basis/criteria for “Whole Foods Market” “black list” of ingredients not allowed in products on shelves.
-Organic foods are not healthy or better than non organic. Organic foods only prevent use of synthetic pesticides, not from natural pesticides. There are no studies (not one!) on organic diet to improve exercise and performance or to improve the health of athletes. Evidence lacks in consuming an organic diet to improve overall health. Research study by Schuldt (2010) “Organic path to obesity”
-Goal of nutrition is to feed athletes to win. As science moves forward, companies are getting better at understanding who needs what supplements/sport nutrition/foods and how to market for it.
-“if you don’t eat, you don’t compete”
-Weather and soil make it hard to control pesticides and keeping foods organic in a large farm. Research actually shows broad spectrum synthetic pesticides appear better for producing more nutritious and sustainable foods.
-food choices are all about how you feel – for if you feel good when eating it (organic or not), you will improve your well being and performance will likely increase.
-Supplements are necessary and practical but should never contravene doping regulations. Recommend to review supplements and use supplements that are approved by the BSCG, NSF and HFL to control purity.
-There is a major component to feeling healthy which is well-being. If you feel better when eating something, you will likely improve training and performance as well as immune system health.
-Guidelines: food should work for you, Depend on whole foods, processed w/ a purpose (Ex. cereal fortified with iron, bars for traveling, etc.), choose organic if it makes you feel good, supplements w/ third party guidelines.
-You have a personal responsibility to plan, shop and cook.

Sports Nutrition Roundtable

-15g essential amino acids before exercise (if tolerated) has been shown to improve performance during endurance exercise.
-Thermogenesis with weight loss pills? Appetite control pill ingredients are not as effective as they seem. Caffeine appears to be the best way to increase metabolism and the other ingredients are not shown to be as effective. However, with appetite suppressant pills, if used, they may be best utilized by individuals who have lost a great amount of weight and to help with weight maintenance rather than for helping with the weight loss journey. Most pills show an increase burn of 5-20 kcal per hour however this does not last forever. Omega-3’s have also been shown to help with weight loss.
-In order to increase lean muscle mass you need to increase MTOR which increase muscle synthesis. To do this, eat a little protein before bed and get proper sleep and rest.
-Creatine continues to show amazing health and performance benefits (2-3g/day is recommended, loading is not necessary) for neuroprotective benefits, to delay disease and to improve strength. Creatine monohydrate is the best form and if you take it, it is best to split up your dosage twice a day (once post workout and the other late in the day).
-Post workout, 20g protein is the “magic” number with 6-10g essential amino acids. As you age, more protein may be needed.
-Leucine is the hot supplement (branch chain amino acid – BCAAs) and 2-3g/day are recommended. Most researchers study it in a recovery drink post workout.
-Glutamine to help with recovery and digestion – 5g/day
-Beta alanine + creatine are best combined and consumed post workout to improve endurance and performance. Recommended to consume 800mg as a minimum for 1 month, then cycle off for a week.
-To improve endurance – the top “supplements” or strategy’s are: caffeine before and during activity, water (all the time) and creatine post workout (to help optimize glycogen during training) and BCAA’s .
-Do not overlook the importance of physical fitness and mental focus when focusing on your sport nutrition. Everyone is different in terms of how you fuel and how you will perform.
Understanding Sport Nutrition
Source: HERE

-Prevent, build, fuel and protect = nutrition for athletes. Your food
-Omega 3’s recommended (Nordic Natural is a recommended and popular brand) 2-4g EPA + DHA per day.
-Macronutrient recommendations:
Daily: 1.2 – 2g/kg per day of protein
Daily: 3-7g/kg day of carbohydrates
Daily: .5-1g/kg of fat
post workout: .3-.4g/kg protein
post workout: .4-1.2g/kg carbs
(research shows that a 4:1, 3:1 or 2:1 ratio of carbs: protein can help with recovery post workout).
To find your BMR: Harris Benedict x activity factor (ex 1.5-1.6).
-Nutrient timing – focus on foods with high biological value to stimulate protein synthesis (ex. whey protein, milk or chocolate milk). Post workout your body will remain in a negative net protein balance unless you feed it. Carbs + protein post workout will increase muscle protein synthesis.
-The rate limiting step in translation for protein synthesis is MTOR – which helps to signal protein synthesis. You want to active MTOR which can be done with amino acids from protein.
-Chocolate milk post workout can increase glycogen synthesis and help improve subsequent exercise performances, increase myofibrillar protein synthesis.
-Nutrient window is open for up to 24 hours…you are always recovering from exercise and body is sensitive to nutrition for up to 24 hours. However, a little protein before and after workouts and before bed can help with performance. Protein post workout provides the greatest delivery and muscle protein accretion. Phosphorylation of signaling proteins is best 1 hour post workout. Post workout carbs has a direct use for muscle glycogen storage (refueling) and does NOT inhibit fat oxidation and can actually increase the burning of fat.
-The major limiter of endurance is carb depletion and dehydration, which lead to fatigue.

Pre, during, post nutrition
Source: HERE

-Prior  – exercising in a fasted state may decrease performance. Best to consume a meal 6 hrs to 75 min before a workout. There is no difference between high GI vs low GI carbs – it’s all about gut comfort and hydration. Best to record and monitor your foods and workout performance.
-During – the limiting step to prolonged endurance and reducing fatigue is intestinal absorption and sodium transportation.
 -Sport drinks: glucose can be absorbed around 1g/min due to SGLT1 and fructose uses GLUTS (different pathway) and has been shown (when combined with glucose/maltodextrin) to be absorbed at 1.5g/min. A 2:1 ratio of glucose/fructose has been shown to improve absorption rate. But this higher dosage of carbs (more than 30-60g per hour) may not be well tolerated by everyone and that can affect performance.
-Many athletes are dehydrated before they start training. Sweat loss can be 1.5-3L/hr (1L = 1kg loss in body weight). Gastric emptying is around 1.1 – 2 L/hr.
-Best strategy for preventing dehydration is a regimented drink protocol for better performance.
-Post – recovery is dependent on glycogen restoration, especially if you are exercising within the next 24 hours. Recommend a mix of protein + carb post workout to increase glycogen synthesis and reduce muscle damage. Caffeine post workout can help with glycogen storage.
-The goal of sport nutrition is to meet the demands of training, to meet individual goals, to refuel quickly and to be best tolerated for each circumstance of training (ex. environment, pacing, etc.).

(proud to provide this research on milk, especially after this article was published in th NY Times by Mark Bittman)
-There is no credible research that organic milk is healthier or better than non organic. Raw milk is not encouraged and most milks are free of rBST hormone (although research shows that this still hasn’t been proven to cause cancer).
-Milk is an effective recovery drink – it has protein, carbs, electrolytes (sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium), fluids, ca + vit D, B vitamins and 10 essential nutrients.
-Milk is a quality protein – it has amino acids (leucine), contains niacin, riboflavin, B12, vitamin A, vitamin D and phosphorus as well.
-There is a tremendous amount of research showing the benefits of consuming Ca + vitamin D in milk to help develop peak muscle mass in kids and to prevent osteoporosis throughout aging. Without milk, individuals show a greater risk for bone fractures at earlier ages.
-Milk protein is 80% casein and 20% Whey. Casein is slow digesting, whey is quicker digesting. When consumed separately, casein and whey show different metabolic responses. Casein takes longer to plateau whereas the whey helps with protein synthesis immediately post workout. Before bed, a glass of milk can help with recovery during sleeping. 1 glass (8 ounces) skim milk is a great post workout drink.
-Chocolate milk (8 ounces) is a suitable recovery drink but if wanting to lose weight and increase lean muscle mass, calories should not be added to daily diet from chocolate milk so adjust calories to accommodate for this recovery drink. Chocolate milk also has iron in it.
-Purpose of recovery nutrition is to be able to train hard the next day and to stay on your training program.
-No significant difference between 2:1 ratio of carbs: protein vs 4:1 however more carbs are encourage post workout after higher volume or intense workout (ex. chocolate milk for more carbs compared to skim milk after more intense and high duration workouts).
-Milk has been shown to improve fat loss, increase lean muscle mass, increase vitamin D and decrease parathyroid hormone
Talks I attended at ISSN:

Michael Ormsbee PhD CSCS CISSN
Topic: "Chronobiological Eating: Do You Really Know What to Eat Before Bed?"

Jacob Wilson PhD CSCS
Topic: "Exercise and Nutrition Strategies to Prevent the Negative Effects of Aerobic Exercise on Resistance Training

Jim Stoppani PhD
Topic: "Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: Marrying Science with Real World Application"
Sponsored by the ISSN and

Rick Bloomer PhD
Topic: "Antioxidant use by active individuals: Rationale, benefits, and potential consequences"

Tim Ziegenfuss PhD FISSN, Richard Kreider PhD FISSN, Hector Lopez MD, & Rob Wildman PhD FISSN
Roundtable Discussion: "Supplements that promote fat loss, muscle gain,, and performance enhancement"

Amanda Carlson MS RD CSSD CISSN
Topic: "Taking Knowing to Doing – Meal Planning Tools, Strategies, and Systems"

Paul Cribb PhD CSCS
Topic: "The Best of Nutrient Timing"

Topic: "Milk Protein – Why You Should Love it!"

Sharlene Cribb B Ed.
Topic: "Fast, Delicious, Nutritious (FDN)- Cooking Demo for the Lean Physique"

Topic: "Power Eating Clean"

Michael Stroka JD MBA MS CNS CCN
Topic: "Who Can Legally do Nutrition Counseling?: The Credentialing and Licensing Landscape"
I could write a LONG blog about this one. This talk got me steamed up!

Weekend wrap-up

Marni Sumbal

There was a wealth of valuable and credible (key word - CREDIBLE) information provided by a group of brillant individuals at the International Society of Sports Nutrition annual conference. Info presented on research, not found on blogs or from strong-minded nutrition guru's.

Whereas most of the population hears info like this "the amino acids in protein will help you recover faster after a workout", this is what I hear at the ISSN conference from the PhD's:

"Essential amino acids (EAA), particularly leucine, also have been shown to activate the mTOR signaling pathway, which turns on the translational machinery necessary for muscle protein synthesis in both rodent and human models. Recently, it was shown that EAA apparently activate mTOR via a unique class 3 phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), hVps34, which stimulates mTOR by an unknown mechanism, bypassing the insulin-induced activation of mTOR through Akt. However, mTOR activation due to nutrient intake of both essential amino acids and carbohydrate (EAA+CHO) may be accomplished via the insulin-stimulated signaling pathway through PI3K-Akt-TSC2 as well as the insulin-independent amino acid-induced pathway just described (i.e., hVps34).
More recently, we measured mTOR signaling and muscle protein synthesis after ingestion of a leucine enriched EAA+CHO solution. After ingestion of EAA+CHO, muscle protein synthesis increased ~100% within 1 h. The rapid increase in muscle protein synthesis was associated with a significant increase in Akt and mTOR phosphorylation as well as phosphorylation of downstream components S6K1 and 4E-BP1, indicating that translation initiation was enhanced. In addition, eukaryotic elongation factor-2 (eEF2) phosphorylation decreased significantly compared with base-line, suggesting that elongation of translation was also stimulated by this leucine-enriched “anabolic” nutrient solution.
Postexercise nutrient ingestion, in the form of EAA alone or in combination with carbohydrate (EAA+CHO) has clearly shown that muscle protein synthesis is elevated above that measured following resistance exercise alone."
(Source) - this research study specifically was not discussed in the conference but there was a lot of great recent research on leucine and protein for increasing protein synthesis.

Certainly, this is heavy duty stuff for even me to understand in terms of fully understanding the mechanisms of action...I'll leave that to the PhD's. However, in my Master Degree program, we did learn a lot in term of HOW nutrition and exercise affect the body, specifically on a muscular and chemical level.

And, I must add that this is why it is so very important for the public to consult a qualified professionals to help with training, nutrition or health for research can answer questions but it doesn't answer all questions. Science must always be applied to real world situations and it can certainly be confusing and misleading when bloggers, websites and guru's are citing every single research study OR can not adopt the information in a real-world setting.

Although I didn't completely remove my clinical dietitian/RD hat at this conference, I am leaving this two -day conference with an abundance of information on nutrient timing, supplements and exercise physiology. As a professional in the field of health and wellness, I can firmly say that my ongoing (and always evolving) philosophy and POV with diet and exercise is supported and validated by a bunch of great research presented this weekend....specifically on the topics of a plant strong diet, not avoiding carbs, consuming quality protein, prioritizing sport nutrition before, during and after training consuming dairy in the diet. And, to the relief (or surprise) of many there was absolutely no support or discussion on ANY diet that restricts or limits carbohydrates (aka "carbs are bad" in order to increase lean muscle mass or to improve performance and I strongly caution anyone who chooses to follow a mass-marketed diet that severely restricts critical nutrients in order to boost performance and help with health and body composition.

Now, I will say that EVERY individual has his/her own prescription for the distribution of macronutrients in his/her diet but this should not come with a list of dietary rules or off-limit lists that make you feel restricted or guilty. I strongly support a balanced diet - I believe fat, carbs and protein should all be consumed as macronutrients within a plant-strong micronutrient-rich diet. ...for health, body composition and performance gains.

I have a great appreciation for professionals who provide sound advice and this is why I choose to treat my athletes and fitness enthusiasts as individuals and do my best to keep up with research and apply in real world settings. I'm so excited to take all this amazing info and continue to help others fuel for life and for sport. I am also happy to have a roller dex of emails and go-to contacts for when I need a second opinion or clarification for a research study or topic.

I am very excited to sum-up the conference as there was SO much awesome info I just couldn't help but soak it all an effort to help all you athletes and fitness enthusiasts that have athletic, health and body composition goals. I may be a RD, but I am an exercise physiologist at heart. It is this nice balance that allows me to (legally) help individuals reach all types of body-related goals.

Speaking of exercise "long" run on Saturday morning was a successfully challenging one. I stayed with one of my athletes at Clearwater Beach to help me save some time from driving an extra 2 hours (there and back) to my parents on Friday evening. I still didn't have a lot of time for training on Sat morning so I did what I could and focused on what I "CAN" do. I normally bike before I run but there wasn't enough time before my 9:30am conference + 90 min run (plus making sure I didn't sacrifice too much sleep because we all know sleep can make or break consistent performance gains) so I did about 10 min of active running drills before my run plus a solid warm-up around the streets of Clearwater Beach.

Mentally, this workout wasn't bad because I love running on new roads. Physically, the workout was tough but doable.

1:20 - 1:30 run
(instructed no more than 12 miles by Karel if my distance was reached before the time)

3.5 mile warm-up
Main set:
3 x 1 mile mid to upper Z3 (or holding 7:10-7:20 pace goal) w/ 45 sec rest.
4 min EZ jog
3  1 mile mid to upper Z3 (same pace as above) w/ 30 sec rest.
4 min EZ jog

Cool down

For nutrition:
Pre-workout 45 min before
*Piece of flat bread + smear of PB + banana slices, 8 ounces water + cup of coffee w/ skim milk.
(Typically I have toast before my run specific workouts but since I was not biking before, I know I need a little lighter carb choice on my system but one that still supplies a similar amount of carbs to toast)
*During workout:
1 bottle water and 1 bottle w/ 1.5 scoops HEED (Hammer) at my "stopping" point. I refueled after warm-up (sipping sport drink and using water to rinse mouth and cool body) and took a sip to simulate aid stations between every interval.
*Post workout:
12 ounces - 8 ounces milk + 4 ounces water + 1/2 scoop whey protein + handful shredded wheat cereal (had this as I was getting ready).
My amazing host/athlete, James, made me the most delicious egg omelet w/ beans, spinach, cheese, spinach, tomatoes, onion and 2 slices whole grain bread (I couldn't finish it all so I saved 1 slice of bread for a mid morning snack w/ the other half of my banana). I also had 1 FIZZ during the morning at the conference and had a glass of water with breakfast.

Stats from run:
1:27 (time)
Miles: 11.06
Average pace: 7:55 min/mile (didn't stop my watch during the workout - this includes walk breaks)
Average HR: 139 beats

Mile 1: 8:23
Mile 2: 8:00
Mile 3: 7:51
Mile 3.5: 8:03
Mile Intervals:
#1: 7:08 (HR 144)
#2: 7:13 (HR 147)
#3: 7:06 (HR 150)
4 min EZ jog (8:35 pace, HR 135)
#4: 7:14 (HR 146)
#5: 7:18 (HR 149)
#6: 7:35 (HR 148) - didn't have much left so went by perceived effort...this was my 80% effort and I'll take it vs quitting and not doing the last interval
4 min EZ + cool down: 9:31 (130 HR)