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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: "balance"

Simple tips for an uncomplicated life

Marni Sumbal

A few tips for a more balanced day: 
-Aim for 60 minutes of movement today (any way you like it, split up or at once)

-Snack on fruits and veggies 

-Surround yourself with people who give you energy, not take it away from you

-Be motivated by your personal goals that are meaningful and realistic, not by what others are doing and what you feel others expect you to do.

-Eat to be satisfied, fueled and nourished. Focus on a plant strong meal that is balanced with whole grains (1/2 - 1 cup) or high fiber starch (~30-50g carbs) +  20-30g of protein + enough healthy fat to make the meal taste great and hold you over (~7-15g). 

-Work on a good, better, best system. Don't try to be your best right now if you are just making good choices. Accept the patience that is needed to make small changes that will last a lifetime. 

-Learn to love new things in life. Not much is easy the first time you do it, especially if you want it to change you. 

-Snack with a purpose: control blood sugar, compliment meals and fill in nutritional gaps between those meals, honor hunger and don't be a clock watcher. 

-Don't let a store-bought household appliance run or ruin your day. Instead of chasing a number on a scale, use your eating and exercise routine for something more meaningful in life. 

-Reframe situations that appear to make you unhappy. Tired of your job? Be grateful you are making money to pay your bills. Is your training/exercise routine too challenging at times? Acknowledge that your body is strong enough to do something on a daily basis. 

-Let the important people in your life know that you love and care about them. 

-Tell yourself that you love yourself. 

-Stop wasting time reading tips in magazines, on the internet and in books that tell you how to get a quick fix for a healthy life. A balanced life is not extreme or rushed. Don't make excuses, make things happen with small steps that allow for some progress. 

Life made easier

Marni Sumbal

I've really learned to enjoy a new way of approaching life as an athlete. No surprise, athletes like to work hard. They have no problem putting "only" in front of any distance workout, thinking that the ony easy day was yesterday. Athletes are always teetering on the edge of being overtrained and injured but isn't that what sport is all about? Pushing your limits and finding what you are made capable of achieving.

Because I love to push hard and train consistently, I've learned through trial and error (and mistakes along the way) how to live an easier life.

Life isn't easy when an athlete is injured. Life continues on and the athlete is often too miserable to enjoy it because the one thing they love more than anything, is gone - training/sport.

Life isn't easy when an athlete is overtrained/overreached. Performance gains are at a standstill and motivation is at an all time low. Fatigue is heavy in the legs and the mind is tired.

Life isn't easy when an athlete questions "why I am I doing this?" A question that rarely comes during the fun, awesome, ground-breaking, epic and exciting workouts but rather during the days when life just doesn't go as planned. Maybe life gets in the way of training too much for the athletes who question the "why" in being an age-group athlete but then again, maybe training is getting in the way of life.

After 2 incredibly challenging and consistent weeks of training, Karel and I sat down to to write out our next week of training a(we write our workouts and I write my athletes workouts for 1 week at a time, not in 3 or 4 week blocks) on Saturday (18th - after we did the 2.5 mile ocean swim event) and I told him I would like to take Mon (my normal "off" day) AND Tues off from structured training. Sunday was a hard brick for me (group run for Karel) so that was a nice finish to the weekend, especially after I had made my decision to not "train" Mon and Tues, on Saturday afternoon.


It just felt right. Motivation has been high, training has been consistent, no signs of fatigue, sickness (Oddly, I never get sick so I don't worry about that very much) or injury and life seems to be in balance.

What was great about this timing of 2 unstructured day of activity (I exercised for fun after I slept in w/o an alarm both day - until 6:30am!!! 9 hours of sleep both Sun and Mon night) was that it just felt right. I didn't need to stress about making any pains go away in less than 48 hours, worrying about my diet or "needing" to burn calories, stressing out about squeezing in workouts because of a race coming up or thinking about what I should be doing.

Life instantly became easier because with 5 weeks until Branson 70.3, I made a decision that would only enhance my life and my training.

As athletes, it's hard to know when to back down, when to push hard and how to forecast the future. Even with a coach guiding you along the way, no one knows your body better than yourself.

You will always gain more as an athlete by focusing on what you can do to be consistent with your training, rather than trying to be overly hardcore, impressing yourself that you don't need rest or don't need to slow down.

Be confident in your actions (in all areas in life) and find ways to make your life easier as an athlete.


Speaking of Life Made Easier.

I just received my September issue of REAL SIMPLE magazine.
On pg 50 was an article "6 Fixes for kitchen spills and slip-ups"

This article has made my life SOOO much easier.

Here are a few tips:

Splatters in the microwave:Combine 2 TBSP lemon juice + 1 up water in a small microwave safe bowl. Heat in the microwave to a boil; let it boil for  min. and stand for 5 minutes to alow the steam to loosen the debris (Marie Stegner). Wipe down th walls with a damp microfiber cloth and the mess should disappear. To remove any lingering smells, heat  small bowl filled with 1/2 cup water + 1 tsp vanilla extract just until it comes to a boil. Leave the door closed with the bowl inside, overnight.

Shards of glass in the dishwasher:
Turn off the lights and shine a flashlight into the dishwasher Any shards will sparkle. Have a raw potato, and put on heavy duty gloves. Dab the cut face of the potato over any specks (Marie Stegner). The shards will become embeddedin the potato, which you can then discard. Run an empty cycle to flush out any minute pieces.

Burned food in the oven:Allow the oven to cool. Dislodge large chunks with a plastic spatula, then sprinkle aking soda over whatever bits remains. Spritz with water and let it sit overnight, then scrub with a dampy microfiber cloth (Raina Raflo). Wipe away any remaining residue with a wet Mr. Clean Magic Erase Kitchen Scrubber ($4,

Also on pg 46.  - check out the clip-on cupholder by DCI
Attach this to the edge of any piece of furniture and you'll have a dedicated place for your drink. A lifesaver when your desk is cluttered - or when you don't want to leave a coffee-cup ring on the coffee table.

How to race for a lifetime

Marni Sumbal

I'm so thankful that I slept in on Monday and recovered my body and mind. Monday is either a complete off day or a 2500-3000 recovery swim but it is always decided on Sunday whether or not I will exercise on Monday morning.

My choice to recover has allowed for 4 great training sessions where I was able to stick to my workouts as prescribed.

Tues AM track -main set: 6 x 800's w/ 400 jog/walk
Tues PM Bike - main set: 3 x 15 min Z3 w/ 2 min EZ
Wed AM hip strength, then swim - main set 6 x 200's, 400 drill, 3 x 100's
Thurs AM Brick - Main set on bike: 8 min Z3, 2 min EZ, 10 min Z3, 2 min EZ, 14 min Z3, 2 min EZ, 10 min Z3, 5 min EZ, 8 min Z4. Main set on run: mile 1 easy, mile 2 and 3 moderate, mile 4 hard. Cool down w/ Campy

Yep - it's a lot but body is fueled, mind is relaxed and life is balanced. No less than 7 hours of sleep a night and the main focus is always on the main set - not the time or miles. I make sure every workout counts.

Here lately, I find that athletes are developing an unhealthy relationship w/ exercise. Some would call it training for an event but I don't see it like that. For when you train, you work hard. There's a purpose and the reason why you train is to get something out of the workout. Sometimes it's not about pushing hard but rather adjusting the set so that you are able to be consistent w/ training. Sometimes it is taking a day of intentional rest rather than taking a chance that your "pain" will go away while you are training or that you will "rest it" after the workout. Understanding that yes, you can burn calories by training for an event, it is only when you prioritize your nutrition around workouts that you will do a body good by eating to train.....not training to eat.

I came across this article
Fire in the belly
by Dick Patrick

and could not wait to share. I wanted to disect a few parts of the article first, just to provide you w/ a few take home points.

"Meb Keflezighi had fitness worries entering Sunday’s marathon at the London Olympics. Following his Olympic Trials victory in January, Keflezighi had injuries and illness that disrupted his buildup."

Yes - Olympians get injuries just like the normal folks. Although all of us as athletes are teetering on the edge, always pushing our limits, athletes at the highest level often recognize that taking a chance can run a season. For many, it isn't worth it and they take all precautions to prevent injuries before they occur. When they are injured, smart athletes have people watching over them to make sure they avoid "testing it out" too soon. It takes  a team to build an athlete, it takes one small mistake of ignoring an issue until it gets too severe, for an athlete. to get hurt Trust your team - they care about you.

“That was an epic effort,” Keflezighi said. “I don’t get a medal, but I know how special it is to get a medal. This was also special. You put your heart and soul into it, and fourth place in the world isn’t too bad.”

It's not about the finishing time or the place but rather what you put into the race. The real success story is not found on paper but rather within the body of the athlete competiting in the race

Keflezighi predicted to his wife, Yordanos, a couple of weeks ago that he might get fourth as they discussed tactics. Keflezighi was shy of training with a high week of 117 and just four over 100 miles. He and Bob Larsen, whose 19-year relationship has evolved from athlete-coach to friend-mentor, needed to be careful so Keflezighi could get to the start line healthy, if undertrained.
“I’m healthy but not fit enough,” said Keflezighi, who had hip flexor and glute muscle problems in the spring and into the summer. “I had some setbacks and had to work with them. I did the best I could with the cards I was dealt.

Better to get to the starting line healthy and a little undertrained than injured or overtrained. Focus on your current level of fitness and create a race day plan based on what you can do with your body. Recognize that there will always be more races. Setbacks don't mean failures. Setbacks make you stronger because you address what isn't working w/ a desire, passion and goal to make it work.

“For me the goal for the year was accomplished, making the Olympic team. I also wanted to see what I could do here. I told coach if I could have another two weeks or five weeks, I know I could run 2:06 or 2:07 in ideal weather.”

There will always be more races. So what - you registered and paid for a race? Unless that is your last race ever consider missing the race if you are not properly prepared or injured. Perhaps address why you aren't peaking appropriately and use this as a learning lesson. Again - there will always be more races - that is, if your body can recover an heal. Weather, terrain, environment, competition - it's not just about the finish time or how many x-hour weeks or miles you trained. Race day is all about showing off your potential.

“I was struggling; even the second [chase] group got ahead of me,” he said. “I kept praying for God to get me connected to the second group and after that to see if I could be top 10 or 15. I kept working, changing strategies, focuses and goals.”

LOVE THIS - accept the day and deviate from the plan. It's not about preventing issues but knowing how to deal with them when they arise. A great performance can be diminished by a poor attitude or too high of expectations and the inability to adjust the plan.

Unlike Athens, when Keflezighi was accompanied only by Larsen, in London he had an entourage of nearly 50 people, including all 10 siblings and 15 other relatives.
“Everybody wanted to be part of it,” Keflezighi said. “It helped me be relaxed and do what I do best, which is run. It was a great experience.”

Don't forget that you are an inspiration to others - the spectators. Your worst day may be someone's best day. Always enjoy the journey and don't put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect. Success in sport comes w/ experience just as it does w/ a good attitude, a good race day plan and balanced training. Oh - and good nutrition, of course. :)

Keflezighi, who was 12th in the 10,000 at the 2000 Sydney Games, says it will be his last Olympics. He’d like to do a fall marathon and maybe a couple of major marathons in 2013. Then it may come time for retirement.

For most of us, we are racing for a lifetime - not for one finish line. Retiring from a sport like running or triathlons likely means not racing.....ever again. If anything, many people reading this blog are just getting started - in their 40's and 50's! In order to not give yourself a stopping point, be sure to focus on both short and long term goals. Always keep your eye on the bigger picture and if anything, your sport is simply an extension of your love for an active lifestyle. If you get injured, hurt or sick, this likely affects your quality of life and activities of daily living. Remember the bigger picture - always. Sports should be challenging, confidence boosting and fun.

“It takes so much commitment, so much hard work,” Keflezighi said of training. “You get injured, it takes twice as log to recover. I don’t want to abuse my body other than the 26.2 miles of the race.”

Couldn't have said it better myself. To train properly you place intentional stress on the body in order to adapt. It can be a fun kind of abuse but be sure it enhances your life. Committ, work hard and enjoy the journey......

Yumlicious Zucchini bread and tofu, pepper stir-fry

Marni Sumbal

Not too long ago, I was eating lunch at work in the hospital and someone asked me what was in my salad. I absolutely love sharing my ingredient creations with others at lunch, but never do I assume the role as the food police.

When becoming a RD, I didn't earn my credential to tell people the right way to eat or what foods are bad. Perhaps for some professionals, they feel the most appropriate way to change habits is to tell people what not to do. But, in my opinion, success with my clients come when they are motivated to change and become mindful of their actions, regardless if those actions result in positive outcomes or require a little reflection and room for improvement. By inspiring others, people are more likely to change and to want to change, with longer lasting results.

Throughout my own journey of life (thus far) and learning how to help others develop a healthy relationship with food, it's easy to question your own actions/habits particularly if you are always comparing yourself to others. Whether you are eating meals with friends, training with others, reading blogs, reading books/magazines or browsing the web and facebook, it is important to feel inspired by others but to always keep the attention and focus, on yourself.

When making creations or working on my training plan for triathlons or running events, I am not too concerned as to what everyone is doing. In regard to my lifestyle, not only do I have my own personal goals that only I can accomplish (perhaps with the help of others) but my lifestyle is dependent on how I choose to live my life and most importantly, how I go about finding the best balance.

There are so many ways to train for an athletic event, become more physically fit or eat for body composition changes or eat for health. There are hundreds of experts, thousands of tips and millions of different people in this world. What makes life so special is that you are responsible for you and only you. If you have a family, work for someone or others rely on you for whatever reason, it is still up to you to keep your body functioning at an optimal level in order to respond to the actions of others and to make your life as profitable as possible.

When making my dinner last night, I couldn't help but smile as to how yummy this meal turned out. Once again, a few "on my gosh!" came out of my mouth as I was eating this meal with Karel. With many zucchini bread creations, this one is the winner. With value placed on my training as well as on my diet, I try to be very mindful of lifestyle so that I am not just a passenger in my own ride of life. I love being the driver and feeling control over my actions. By developing a healthy relationship with food, there's never a time when food becomes "bad" or the human body becomes worthless. YIKES - I could never imagine talking about my body as being "worthless!?!?" Secondly, there is no right way to train for an athletic event or improve fitness but rather the best way for you at this point in your life. Although we all strive to be better and to embrace challenging situations, the focus is always on seeing yourself grow as an athlete and to be patient with training and physiological adaptations.

I hope you feel inspired by my latest recipe as it was super delicious! A conventional dinner? Probably not. But take away the voices from the celebrities, the experts who tell you how to "eat this, not that", all the research studies and what your friends/training partners are doing and, perhaps you may find yourself taking a bit more time to prepare your own creations and being proud (and appreciative) of the way that you are choosing to live your life.

Feel like you aren't living your life like you should? Overtrained, do you have an unhealthy relationship with food and/or exercise, do you struggle with feeling hungry all day, do you need help creating a balanced training plan? Contact me ....I'm here to help and to be your guide.
If you keep doing the same things, you should expect to receive the same results. It's up to you as to whether or not those results and actions are helping you meet your ultimate short and long term goals.

My best-ever Zucchini bread!
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup soy flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar (you can use white sugar. Brown sugar is sugar w/ molasses and tends to hold a little more water than white sugar. But no signficant nutrition or calorie difference.
2 cup zucchini (2 medium zucchini)
1 cup carrot (1 large carrot)
1/4 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp rum extract
1 egg

1/8 cup chopped almonds (optional, your choice)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl and mix well.
3. Combine all wet ingredients and stir until well combined.
4. Add wet to dry and stir until combined. Add nuts.
5. Poor into non-stick glass casserole dish (or other dish), which is sprayed with non-stick spray or rubbed with oil.
6. Bake for 30-40 min or until top is firm and toothpick comes out clean in center of bread.

*THESE ARE SO GOOD! Perfect for kids, breakfast or a snack with just enough sweetness but packed with vitamins and minerals. YUM!

Nutrition info:
Servings: 20 squares
Serving size: 1 square
77 calories
3.4g fat
10g carbs
2.45g protein
1.45g fiber
4.8g sugar
78mg sodium

Tofu, pepper stir fry
Firm tofu
Red and green bell pepper
Ginger (2 tsp fresh, chopped)
Grapeseed oil

1. On a non stick pan, cook garlic, tofu and peppers in 1 tbsp oil until soft, on medium heat.
2. Add sliced/chopped tomatoes and reduce heat to low. Stir to prevent sticking.
3. Season with your choice seasoning and add in spinach. Toss and turn off heat.
4. Cover pan and let sit for 5 minutes.

Broccoli breakfast casserole with two yummy side dishes

Marni Sumbal

Sleep and rest. Two things that are often hard to achieve for athletes, as well as for those who are seeking a more active lifestyle. I believe both are vital to ensuring optimal health and consistency in working toward your goals.
As for sleep, athletes often have no trouble falling asleep due to feeling exhausted after squeezing it all in but then again, many athletes struggle with sleep for a host of reasons. Depending on when you eat dinner and your evening routine, my suggestion is to pass on that evening snack around 8 or 9pm, as you wait to watch a show on TV or as you are catching up on emails or searching around on the net. Immediately after dinner, pack your lunch for tomorrow, lay out your morning workout clothes (or work clothes) and try getting to bed 30-60 minutes earlier than normal. It will do wonders for your mind, health and exercise routine.
Consider this suggestion not as "I'm not allowed to eat after 8pm" but rather that you are prioritizing sleep over that snack that is keeping you up a bit longer than necessary. We all have the same number of hours in the day, it's up to you as to how you use them and prioritize your daily activities. If you are eating a snack in the late hours because you are starving, reflect on the evening meal as well as to how you ate during the rest of the day. Don't forget...avoid going into meals starving, when needed, plan for a pre-meal snack around 30-90 minutes before the meal is served.
Next time you are considering a day off from structured training, first remind yourself that the body does not enjoy to be sedentary. Knowing that a day off from weight-bearing activity is a beautiful thing for the body on a weekly basis, it is also nice to just go for a walk or take a yoga class. Not every day needs to include a sweaty workout with intense intervals. Perhaps, next time you are anticipating a day off from training, remind yourself that the day after your "day off" will likely bring a well-rested body and the ability to push hard for 5 or 6 consecutive days of training.
After sleeping in on Monday and working all day in the hospital, I finished my day with a little time in my of my favorite places and things to do.
Sleep was great on Sunday and Monday evening and this morning, I welcomed a tough workout with what felt like a brand new body. Even though last week was a recovery week, I kept feeling as if my body was not able to produce its normal "power". Although my workouts just didn't require a lot of speed, I felt like I didn't have "it" even if I was not asked to give "it". That's one of the many beauties of training. If planned appropriately, with balance in mind, the body will respond when called to action. This morning happpened to be one of those amazing quality workouts.

But, perhaps it was the meal that sat so nicely in my tummy and gave me the right amount of satisfaction to go to bed early and wake up with a body full of energy? I suppose that's part of life..there are so many components that make for quality living. When balance is the key, everything seems to fall into place.

I am so excited about my latest recipe that I had intended to be Karel's breakfast for this morning. However, as I was making it, I couldn' resist having it for dinner so I decided to call it a "breakfast" casserole for those who are seeking something different and really satisfying to fill your tummy in the morning (or evening) hours.

Broccoli breakfast casserole

2 cups broccoli (steamed in microwave) OR enough broccoli to cover the bottom of your glass casserole dish
2 cups leftover bean and veggie soup (
Plbeany crockpot soup) or 1 can vegetable soup or 2 cups mixed veggies (cooked)
4 eggs (2 whole, 2 whites)
1 heaping tbsp plain 0% greek yogurt (or plain non fat yogurt) + 1 tbsp water
Palm-sized baguette (place in bag and crush with bottom of a bowl or cup until you get bread crumps. A few thick pieces can remain) OR 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Pepper, chili powder, dash of sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In casserole dish, layer broccoli and steam in thin layer of water, until soft. Keep any remaining juice.
3. Layer soup or veggies (without liquid) on broccoli.
4. Sprinkle bread crumbs and seasonings (to your taste).
5. Combine eggs and yogurt and water and scramble until slightly thick.
6. Pour eggs over veggie mixture and stir with wooden spoon to combine all ingredients.
7. Cook in oven for 30-35 minutes or until eggs are firm.

Side dish #1:
Pearled Barely

1. In pot, cook according to package. Allow 1 1/4 hours to cook (prepare ahead of time when making the casserole or the day before).

Side dish #2:
Oven-baked peanuts

1 bag raw peanuts
An oven

1. In oven set at 350-degrees, place peanuts on baking dish until spread evenly.
2. Cook for 20-25 minutes, give a light toss (out of the oven) around 15 minutes.

Finished product.....similar foods, different quantities. Never forget that you are always eating for YOU and what works best for you. You know your body the best. Eating shouldn't be a stressful time. Keep in mind that there are many ways to eat a healthful diet, built on plant-strong foods.
Karel's plate:

My plate:
Barely on bottom, casserole and peanuts on top