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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: "health"

Tips for an active and healthy lifestyle

Marni Sumbal

Thanks to Oakley Women and Shape Magazine, I was able to have an amazing venue to speak about topics that have changed my life. Because "healthy" can be a word that is often overused and not clearly defined in our society, I enjoy helping others live a more balanced lifestyle.
In San Diego, Boulder and DFW, I spoke to over 600 women (combined) for over 6 hours (total) and loved every minute of it. When you are passionate about something, it is easy to talk about. But when you can practice what you preach, it is easy to communicate to others with happiness, joy and satisfaction that the lifestyle that you live is so amazing that you hope that others can share it with you. Sure, this can be taken out of context as many people strive for a lifestyle that is unrealistic, extreme and often, unhealthy but I feel that to be healthy, you have to be happy. Sadly, as many people go about changing habits, they are not happy and feel that only the end result will bring happiness. With tomorrow being my golden birthday (wow - turning 31!!) I can only think back to the last year and smile when I think about all that has happened, thanks to a balanced life. Living a healthy life is not about a number on a scale, sticking to a certain diet or bragging about how many hours of weekly exercise you can do. Living a healthy life is about your quality of life and I hope my 7 top tips for balanced living, help jump start or enhance your journey to an active and healthy lifestyle.
Keep in mind that it's not about how well you balance everything on your plate but instead, making sure everything you do has a purpose and brings meaning to your one and only life. You don't have to be perfect or be like others. It's better to be really awesome and great at a few things (and spend the time working on being great) than to be OK at a lot.

1) Develop a mindful eating plan– Eat with attention and intuition. Does anyone not like to eat? Eating mindfully means that you don’t feel guilty when you eat and you always feel better after you eat than before. To eat mindfully - you have to eat! Aim for 3 balanced meals a day to nourish your body and then snack wisely. Snacks should serve 3 purposes: to fill in nutritional gaps between meals, to control blood sugar and to honor hunger.
2) Train smarter to train harder – You don’t have to be a triathlete, training for an Ironman to be "healthy". You also don't have to be  a "runner". Recognize the difference between training for an event and exercising. Remove the pressure that you have to do x workouts a week and for x-minutes a day and just focus on ways that you can move your body more - athlete or fitness enthusiast. In addition to your current cardio routine, I recommend to strength train 2-3 times per week, add in yoga, cross training and flexibility work. Also, if you own a GPS –HR enabled device, be sure you know how to use it for consistent training? Take advantage of gadgets, equipment and anything else that will take the guessing away from working out and will help with more consistent performance gains. Thus, training harder by training smarter. Focus on quality workouts, not quantity. For more info, read here for an article I did on training smarter.

3) Develop a positive relationship with food and the body – Consider this example. I bring Campy into the vet and put him on the scale. He has gained 5 lbs and in disbelief, out-loud I complain "uggh, how disgusting". The vet, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be concerned as he is telling me how healthy Campy is, how strong his bones are, how he has a good heart beat and that he is really fit and happy. However, I hear nothing of how "healthy" he is because I am obsessed with that number on the scale. So, as a result, I think about how I can get that weight off...quickly. Detox, cleanse, over-exercise, restrict his food.....Should I exercise him obsessively during the day? Should I cut out carbs and his calories? Should I not take him to the doggy park because they other doggies are going to notice his extra wiggle and talk about how bloated he looks? Should I put him on detox for 5 days?
Certainly, I'd never do that (I only give him lots and lots of kisses because he gives me unconditional love every day) but that just sounds like crazy talk, right? But what about you all or someone you know. Do you let a household appliance tell you how your day is going to go? Are you going to let numbers tell you how to eat, how to exercise and how to act for the you let a number run and ruin your day and affect your self worth? Certainly the scale can be a positive thing but for many, it is used irresponsibly. 

I want everyone to designate at least 2 rooms of your house (the bedroom and kitchen) where you avoid using words like bad, off-limit, restricted, cheat, fat, skinny, gross..  Stop counting calories, see food for nutritional value and give your body a little credit for what is allows you to do on a daily basis like crossing finishing lines and being productive at work. Every time you look at your body - thank it, don't bash it.

(Campy says he doesn't care how much you weigh.....he has a lot of love to give and doesn't judge people by a number on a scale. I agree.)

4) Welcome change by relying on the power of goal setting – Do you  like change? Change can be scary and it can be exciting. One of my favorite quotes is "if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you." If you have goals in your life, don’t wait until tomorrow as there is no perfect time to get started. Set 3 short and long term goals, in the areas of lifestyle, exercise and nutrition to keep you motivated and excited to wake up every morning wanting to see what you are capable of achieving by the end of the day. Life doesn't always get easier, you just discover new limits.
5) Think beyond diet and exercise: work on sleep, stress and attitude management.– Everyone wants to blame diet and exercise when it comes to "health" and there's always a quick diet and exercise fix/fad to help us be "healthy". As an athlete and coach, I know that there are many variables that affect performance and to be a good athlete, you can’t just focus on the miles or a perfect nutrition plan.  For a balanced lifestyle, focus on the other variables in your life that can affect your health. Aim for a restful night of sleep most days of the week and surround yourself with people who give you energy and not take it away from you. You can't avoid stress but you can know how to deal with it with an action plan. Make time for you, don’t be afraid to say no and make your health a priority.
6) Prioritize a real food diet.  In my mind, one of the most important components of living an active and healthy lifestyle is to create a balanced eating plan that prioritizes “real” food. The keys to longevity are not special K bars, coconut ice cream, kale and chia seeds , but rather a diet rich in foods that are straight from mother nature, from the Earth. Every day you can emphasize foods that are produced by farmers and made in gardens or chemical "food" concoctions created in a factory. Think about emphasizing foods that your body knows how to metabolize and use. I don’t believe in off-limit foods or “bad” foods but rather to emphasize foods with little to no ingredients and when you choose to indulge be sure to savor and enjoy that "occasional/de-emphasized" food – don’t devour it or stress about it. 
To help you reach your fitness, health and body composition goals, consider a plant-strong diet filled with colorful fruits and veggies, alongside lean/low-fat protein, heart-healthy fats and whole grains. It's not about what you do occasionally that matters but what you do regularly.

7) Adapt to training stress with nutrient timing and sport nutrition  
Now that we covered 6 tips, it’s time to talk Sport nutrition. When it comes to sport nutrition, I do not expect you all to formulate your own sport drink or energy gels.  There’s no reason you need to make your own protein powder. Sadly, however, many people
confuse or associate the daily diet with sport nutrition and thus, many people have no idea how to properly "fuel" workouts when the body is under a tremendous amount of stress.  Sport nutrition is there to support the physiological demands of training. When you are running for an hour, your body needs fuel. When you are sitting behind a computer at 3 in the afternoon, your body  does not need an energy drink so you can sit for 2 more hours. 
When it comes to eating before a workout, your choices should be easy to find, easy to prepare, easy to consume and easy to digest. Yes, you should eat a high fiber diet to keep you satisfied throughout the day and you should monitor your portions and calories to meet your individual needs, and Yes, you should eat protein and whole grains throughout the day. But before a workout your primarily focus is energy dense food– foods that can digest quickly so you can focus on your workout, not on digestion. During a workout – fluids, electrolytes and carbohydrates depending on the intensity and duration of the workout. And immediately after your workout, your body requires quick recovery fuel - generally protein, but often a mix of carbs + protein. 
If you are an athlete or fitness enthusiast, focus a bit more about how you are fueling around your workouts so that your body is primed to perform when you want it to perform. As for the rest of the day, nourish it so you can do it all over again tomorrow.
For more info, I have many articles and blogs dedicated to sport nutrition, here is my most comprehensive blog post on sport nutrition. If you need additional help, email me via my website and we can discuss my services to help you move closer to your fitness and health related goals.

When you have a healthy relationship with food, have a positive body image and appreciate food for fuel and for health, your life will change and you will find yourself living a balanced life. Remember, if you don’t take care of your body, your body won’t take care of you. Don’t forget to thank your body on a daily basis.


True or False: Healthy Living

Marni Sumbal

It's kinda interesting how a LIVE TV segment is very similar to someone who is wanting to make lifestyle changes. 
On TV - it is very rushed. You just never feel like you have enough time and you can't cover every topic as planned. There are delays and things can go wrong but yet you just have to carry on and make the best of everything.
I really enjoy being on TV for that very reason....I just have to do the best I can with the time available, hoping that it was enough to allow at least one person to feel like they can walk away with something practical and realistic in terms of info to change their lifestyle. 

When I was becoming a RD, I quickly learned that it is not my job to tell people everything I know. First off, experience is key in my field and I can't tell you how awesome it is to be a clinical RD. I learn so much every time I work and although I feel more and more comfortable at the hospital every time I am there, I still have a long way to go...just like nurses, MD's and other health professionals. Even in my specialty field of sport nutrition and exercise physiology, the human body is so complex that I can't go a day without learning something new. Having said all that, it is not my responsibility to act as if I know everything but instead provide information to individuals that is case-appropriate and to keep on learning throughout my career as a RD/Exercise physiologist.

Just like writing an article, I have to know my audience, the perceived/wanted goals (or outcome) of my talk/article/presentation and what take-aways will be valuable to the audience. I have really enjoyed being part of Baptist Heartwise for Women and helping women change their lifestyle to improve heart health and quality of life.



Here are a few questions for you (seeing that I didn't have time to cover everything during my "long" 4 minute segment):

1) T or F: You have to exercise 1 hour  a day to have a healthy heart?
2) T or F: To lose weight and to be healthy you have to avoid sugar and salt?
3) T or F: You have to eat only whole grains on a healthy diet?
4 T or F: To help your heart, eating, body composition and sleep habits you need to manage stress?
5) T or F: You have to be a vegetarian to be healthy?
6) T or F: Portion control is the most important thing in a healthy eating plan?

Answers will be posted later..... or you can watch the segment and stay tuned on my blog for more details about the answers.

If you knew the answers, ask yourself where you found out the correct information? Was it common sense, from a website, from a friend, from a health professional? Bottom line, healthy living and eating does not require a degree or extreme program to follow. Think about a few changes you can make today to help you prepare for a better tomorrow. If you put off changes and keep doing the same things, you can expect the same results. You know the answers as to how you can start living a healthier lifestyle - it doesn't require a diet book, a magazine subscription or a trainer. Sure, a health scare from your MD or a wake-up call in your personal life may convince you it is time to change some habits but for the most part, everyone can make a few changes in their personal life (diet, exercise, lifestyle) to improve quality of life.

Happy Plant-Strong anniversary for Karel and me!!

Marni Sumbal

On December 4th, Karel and I watched the Forks over Knives documentary. It was really eye opening for the both of us but I was not quick to make any assumptions. Looking more into the no-fat, vegan "plant-strong" diet, I recognize that this "diet" was extremely restricted. However, there were many positive messages within the documentary and I feel it left an extreme impression on Karel. From the feedback from others, many people have changed eating habits after viewing this film.

What did you think about the film?

Nineteen years ago, I decided to not kill animals. I was around 11 years old and I made this decision on my own, while in middle school. I told my parents and that was that....19 amazing years of not eating fish, chicken, cows, turkey or any other animal.

Over the last 8-10 years, I've probably made the most nutritional changes in my vegetarian diet. Learning more about variety, balance and the nutritional value of certain food sources, I've become more appreciative of what I put into my body. Despite being an endurance athlete, my health is my first priority. Performance gains and PR's..well those are just a side effect of my choices of "fuel".

Prior to then, I simply ate a lot of cheese, pasta, pizza, cheeze-it's and pretzels and emphasized little "color" unless you count bagel bites, air head candy and skittles.

As a health professional, I try to remove my own personal biases when it comes to what works for me and my personal choices for my diet and how I choose to live my life. I have an extreme soft spot for animals and despite me feeling as if fish is a wonderful food source in the diet, I am comfortable with my choices to not eat any animals other than to eat dairy and eat eggs. Once again, I do not tell others to be meat-free but I strongly advise and recommend others to incorporate more variety in the diet. Of course, I find that the best role I have is to inspire others, not to preach. This is why you will not find me discussing "bad" food in my blog or in articles. It isn't worth my time or energy..I'd rather focus on all the amazingly nutritious foods out there, discover new foods and create new creations.

It's never about what you can't eat but rather, what you can eat. Of course, if you don't take time for your health, you will eventually have to make time for illness.

Shortly after watching the Forks over Knives film, Karel told me he wanted to try not eating meat. Although he rarely ate red meat (typically when we would go to Outback for my pre-race meals or when we visited my parents and cooked with the grill), my eyes opened wide but I didn't say what I thought I would say.
I guess I invisioned myself saying "YIPPE!" but rather, I approached the situation with an open mind (like always) and responded with "That sounds great, I'll help you out the best I can to make sure you stay in good health and continue to race strong"

I have never once forced, suggested or advised Karel to not eat meat. Certainly, I have changed a lot in his diet simply by inspiring him to try new foods with my creations but food is never an argument in our house. My job is to take care of myself and to help Karel take care of himself. I appreciate him wanting to take care of himself because as my husband, I want to be with him, healthy and of course, with Campy always by our side.

Four months strong and Karel has not eaten chicken, turkey or ham (his "old" favorite meats). I still keep fish in our place as I feel this is a wonderful food source for some individuals, choosing to include some type of "animal" protein in their diet. However, in my mind, fish isn't necessary if you are worried about overall health, if you do choose to be vegetarian or vegan. I find that fish, along with some other "power" foods out there are used as "reversal" foods...that is, to reverse what has already been done. So in the case of fish protecting the heart and the brain, well, perhaps a plant strong diet years before a diagnosis of CHF, obesity, cardivascular disease, diabetes and hypertension (to name a few) would have also protected the heart and the brain.

Karel is 100% fueled by plants and my creations are exploding in this house. Far too many for this blog....I'm almost ready to fill a cookbook with my powerful creations!

So, in honor of this special month... I'm happy to announce that Team Karel and Marni are staying strong, fueled all day with lots of yummy plant-strong creations.

I can't say it enough but I appreciate those who continue to read my blog. My goal is not to make this world "meat-free" but to inspire, educate and motivate others to live a more healthful lifestyle, appreciating food for fuel and to foster overall health. For once you feel the gift of health, you never want to lose it.

Karel friendly Fish and potatoes
*Bourbon salmon - fresh, made daily at Publix grocery store. Cook for 7-8 minutes (I cook until 145 degrees) in oven at 350 degrees
*Red potatoes - chopped, tossed in olive oil and seasoned with chili pepper, pinch of sea salt and paprika; cook in oven, on baking sheet lined with tinfoil. Sprinkled with parmesan cheese when cooked
*Asparagus - cook in microwave until soft (with a little water), then put in oven with potatoes, drizzled with olive oil
*Polenta - (Thimade from cornmeal) sliced and cooked in oven on seperate baking sheet
*Thinly sliced cooked red peppers and onions for garnish

Vegetarian Leftover stir-fry:
Red potatoes
Chopped asparagus
Pinto beans
Cooked in olive oil, seasoned with chili pepper, pinch of sea salt, pepper and curry powder

Quick Studies - dairy, carrots and magnesium

Marni Sumbal

YIPPEE. Just received the 2012 April issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter.

I wanted to share some quick studies with you.....

Dairy and prostate cancer
It looks like men who have been diagnosed with localized prostate cancer needn't worry that dairy foods may make their cancer spread, as some studies had suggested.
For 8 years, researchers tracked nearly 4000 men who had been diagnosed with localized prostate cancer. Those who reported eating the most milk, cheese, cream or other dairy foods were no more likely to die or be diagnosed with metastatic cancer than those who ate the least dairy.
The only linke: men who drank the most whole milk had an increased risk that their cancer would spread, while those who consumed the most low-fat dairy had reduced risk. However, it's possible that something else about people who drink whole milk or eat low-fat dairy explain their risk.
What to do: If you've been diagnosed with localized prostate cancer, you needn't avoid dairy foods. But it's worth drinking low-fat or fat-free instead of whole milk to protect your heart, whether or not it affects your risk of dying of prostate cancer.

Breast Cancer and Carrots
Eating carotenoid-rich dark green or deep orange fruits and veggies may lower the risk of some breast cancers, says a new study.
Researchers pooled data on 1,028,438 women who participated in 18 studies for up to 26 years. Those who consumed more alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, or lutein had about a 13% lower risk of breast tumors that don't respond to estrogen, which are called estrogen receptor-negative cancers.
Carotenoids weren't linked to the more common estrogen receptor-positive tumors.
"we are excited about the findings because there are so few ways to prevent or treat estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer, and it tends to have a poor survival," says senior author Stephanie Smith-Warner or Harvard School of Public Health.
What to do: Eat spinach, broccoli, canteloupe, carrots, apricots or other dark green or orange fruits and veggies that you enjoy. Though these kinds of studies can't prove that carotenoids help prevent breast cancer, eating fruits and veggies may help lower your blood pressure, weight and risk of heart disease.

More Magnesium
More magnesium may mean a lower risk of stroke.
Researchers looked at seven studies that followed a total of roughly 240,000 people for 8-15 years. The risk of an ischemic stroke was 9% lower for each 100mg of magnesium the participants reported eating per day.
What to do: It's worth eating magnesium-rich foods even though it's too early to know if magnesium prevents strokes (or diabetes, as other evidence suggests).
Among the best sources: Leafy greens, beans, seafood, nuts, tofu, yogurt, and whole grains. Most daily multivitamin and mineral supplements have only about 50-100mg of magnesium. The recommended Dietary Allowance is 320mg for women and 420mg for men - over 30.

On the last page of the newsletter there was a recipe for roasted asparagus. I have received a few emails from blog readers, trying to make the perfect asparagus - not too mushy, not to chewy.
Here you go....

1) Toss 1 lb asparagus with 1 tsp canola oil. Roast in a 400 degree oven until lightly browned and tender, about 15 minutes.
2) Drizzle with 1 tsp of toasted sesame oil, 1 tsp of soy sauce and a squeeze of lemon.
3) Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
4) Serve hot or cold.