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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: "recovery nutrition"

Recovering from an endurance event

Marni Sumbal

So, the work is done.......


It's time to celebrate!!!



Ok, this was day #2 after the Ironman as veggies were not on my mind the day after racing 140.6 miles. The first day post Ironman included our first "real" meal since Saturday evening at the Lake Placid pub for lunch. A veggie burger with fries for me and a real burger w/ fries for Karel. I just love how the body craves fat and salt after an endurance event and I am happy to feed it whatever it wants for it sure does taste perfect post race.

Athletes often love racing not just for the finisher medal but for the post race treats.... which are absolutely enjoyed the best when celebrating a major accomplishment and giving the body exactly what it is craving. But after 2-3 days, it's time to get back to the normal routine in terms of eating...that is, if you have discovered what is normal for your body to maintain optimal health and to help with recovery after your recent endurance feat. 

Endurance racing is not normal for you do not have to exercise more than an hour a day to keep (or get) your body in good health. If anything, endurance racing can be damaging on the body and the distance should be respected with a balanced training plan alongside a diet that provides the body with nutrients to prevent disease and illness as well as to fuel workouts and to help with recovery. 

A lot happens to the body during an endurance event....even if you don't have the perfect race, reach your goal time or find yourself slowing down. I find that many athletes forget the stress on the body (emotional, physical and mental) after the race if the race did not leave the athlete with a personal best time or "great" race. From muscle glycogen depletion, to overheating to dehydration, there are many things that can occur inside the body...regardless of finishing time. It takes time for the body to train for an endurance event so you better believe it takes the body time to recover. 

The number one rule for recovering from an endurance event is to not rush the process. The second rule is to not compare yourself to others. I see it many times that athletes get back into training way too soon and brag about how great they feel. A few days to weeks later, an injury occurs OR the athlete is hit with the flu or a bad cold. Recovery depends on many variables and from my experience as an athlete to helping others with training and nutrition to observing Karel as a cat 1 cyclist, I feel that recover depends on many factors and not always can you "feel" yourself being 100% recovered. Poor daily dietary choices, improper fueling during an event, lack of proper hydration during an event, extreme weather, high intensity, long duration, extreme under-trained fitness, improper pacing and being over-trained before the race can all negatively affect your recovery.

Even if you feel "normal" and can walk down stairs fine after the race, this doesn't mean your body and mind is ready to bounce back into training. I know for myself, it typically takes me a full 2 weeks to feel 100% recovered although my legs begin to feel 100% around 4-5 days post race. The worst days are the first 2 days post race when my body feels like it will break with every step. Oh what we do to our bodies to cross a finishing line just for a medal, a hat and a t-shirt. You better believe I thank my body A LOT when I train and race.

Ruptured fibers, inflammation, displacement of red blood cells, disruption of hormones (cortisol, glucagon, epinephrine), low white blood cell count, oxidative stress, GI distress, electrolyte imbalance, brain fatigue, tearing of connective tissues and muscle fiber damage are a few of the many physiological effects of pushing the body for x-amount of time. It sounds absolutely brutal but with the right training, racing and recovery plan, it can be done and you can still maintain balance in your life while reaching your personal fitness goals.

Here are a few of my tips for boosting the recovery process (keeping in mind that no too athletes are alike):
-Stay calm post race. Your body finally gets permission to collapse, lay down or sit as you likely made yourself stay focused for x-amount of time to get your body to the finish line. Don't be quick to rush out of the finisher area. Take your time but don't spend too much time sitting. Cool off, re-hydrate and if tolerable, have something to eat. But do not make your body do something that it doesn't want to do. Try to walk (hobble) around and keep moving in order to prevent a sudden drop in blood pressure if you suddenly lay down and try to get up quickly. Be mindful of the hormonal shifts and digestion of nutrients in the GI tract that may cause you to feel semi-ok when you cross the finish line to absolutely horrible, where's the potty the next minute. Everything will pass within 24 hours (if not, consult a doctor) but your main priorities are to rehydrate, replenish and to refuel within the next 1-2 hours.
-For the next few days, keep moving but NO training. Remember, you can't train a damaged body or one that is low in fuel. Exercising is fine to get some blood flowing but give yourself at least a day or two before you do anything non-weight bearing (absolutely no running or lifting weights for at least 7-14 days) and remove any pressure that you have to do something. ENJOY your accomplishment and for the next week, any exercise should be gadget-free, non weight bearing and energy-focused. Stop when you feel good and if you don't feel like doing something, don't.
-Compression, ice, epson salt (cold), elevation. It doesn't matter the order (although ice and compression will help reduce inflammation -that is why I love110% play harder) but whatever you can get to first will help you out. Avoid heat post race. Foam rolling or massage can be done post race but I find that unless the massage therapist is very educated with endurance athletes, the massage will be best enjoyed around 3-4 days after the race. Massages after long/hard workouts are fine but post race, you may need just a little time before letting someone press on your damage muscles. Walking, compression, ice, yoga and epson salt will help remove metabolic wastes and to get your body back to a semi-normal state instead of doing nothing.
-Sleep. This is typically non-existent for me the few days after a race or at least, hit or miss in terms of a restful night of sleep. But try to rest as much as possible and recognize that your body is going to be off from the normal routine which means that your cravings for food may affect your sleeping and vice versa so the sooner you can get your body back to balance, the sooner you will feel recovered.
-To replenish glycogen and to help with tissue/muscle damage, it is important that you focus on a high carb diet with moderate protein, by eating every few hours for the next 2 days but especially within the next 24 hours post race. Eat as tolerated - if your body isn't ready for solid food right after the race, have an electrolyte drink (ex Hammer Fizz) and then when you are ready, a glass of milk, yogurt or recovery drink. Carbs can be wholesome in my opinion and still help with recovery but you will know after the first try as to what foods sit the best post race. My favorite post Ironman foods include bread, pizza, banana, pretzels, pringles, watermelon. Recognizing that I eat well most of the time, I certainly do not worry about what I put into my body post Ironman as I know that I am not a science project in a lab setting. My body lets me know what I want post race and give myself at least 24-48 hours to listen to my body..and typically it wants salt, fat and carbs so I start slowly with small carb rich meals, typically a few little combinations of foods and not a big meal until around 12-24 hours post race. Your body is going to act like a sponge to carbohydrates post race which is great for athletes who can eat with the first two hours post race. But if you can not stomach anything post race, just take your time and be careful not to be outside your home/hotel room as you may experience a quick drop in blood sugar and you don't want to find yourself fainting, dizzy or without a potty. I recommend to carry saltines, pretzels and juice with you if you happen to be moving around post race but can not stomach any solid food for a few hours. The body doesn't really care where you get carbohydrates from so just listen to your body as you stay hydrated and be sure to not consume too much too soon or else you may find yourself sick. Consult a medical professional if you do not urinate during a long distance event or if you do not urinate within an hour post race as you may be extremely dehydrated which may affect your heart rhythm.
-You are going to be sore post race. Avoid rushing to the anti-inflammatories as you do not want to damage your liver, kidneys or GI tract or make yourself believe you are feeling normal when you are not.
-You are highly susceptible to illness and infections post race. Be sure to keep your immune system healthy by washing hands, keeping chaffing areas clean and being aware of any blisters or lost toenails.
-Set a goal so you are motivated to train again but I encourage athletes to wait at least 4-6 weeks before racing again. I find that after an endurance event, my body is craving some speed around 4-6 weeks later and light activity around 5-6 days later...but certainly nothing structured for at least 2 weeks. The body and the mind need recovery and your sport of choice should be something you want to do forever so keep that in mind if you try to get back into things too soon. You have plenty of time to race again, be patient and respectful to the body. You may feel fine but your body is going to let you know a few weeks later if you were really recovered when you started to get back into training again. Many athletes experience long-term/chronic fatigue from getting back into racing or training too soon after an endurance event. Yes, maybe some can do it but you are only responsible for yourself and your one and only body.

When in doubt - give yourself 2 more days after you feel 100% recovered before you return to structured training. It's always better to take it easy for a few extra days and give yourself a little more time to soak-up your recent accomplishment.

Key Ironman bike workout + mental training

Marni Sumbal

I came across this article the other day and it really struck me with a big ?????

I believe that any athlete who signs up for an Ironman should physically prepare the body to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles. As to the "best" approach to getting to race day, well there are many schools of thoughts to this so I thought I'd briefly share my approach.

Karel has been coaching me for the past few years with my training. I have yet to be burnt out or not arrive to a race hungry to race. I feel I have progressed a lot in the past few years with speed and endurance and most importantly, I always have fun.

I realize that my body has it's limiters with my hip issues relating to my spine and a lifetime of back-issues but I also recognize how to train smart. It doesn't always work out as I'd like since I am a competitor and love to push my body to higher limits but in the past few years, with every down moment that I have experienced with my body, I have only become a stronger and smarter athlete. Thus, my injuries have not been setbacks but rather enhancers.

My approach to training myself and my athletes is simple. Keep things balance. Be patient, keep your mind focused on the journey and never lose sight of your goals. I understand sport nutrition so I feel my training is only enhanced in that aspect but no amount of nutrition will help me train consistently well if my training is not balanced and specific.

I use a lot of tools when I train such as HR, garmin, power meter (910XT Garmin and Garmin 500 bike computer) but as we all know, it is only on race day that your trusted gadget will fail you...never in training!

The whole focus of training is to make progress and to not let your end goal keep you from enjoying the journey. I have taught myself (as an age group athlete who has been fortunate enough to have a body that has gotten me to Kona twice and finishing 5 Ironman's) how to recognize great workouts and how to adjust any workout to ensure it will become a great workout. In other words - completing my assigned workouts means that I understand that what is ahead of me is within my limits. Although many variables such as stress, sleep and nutrition can affect my performance (controllables), I know that each workout on my plan has a purpose. A purpose that the workout is allowing me to make progress. Many athletes are so stuck on the end result that they lose sight of the journey, worry about things out of their control and also push too hard (or not enough) and often question if they are making performance gains. I suppose little progress gains are often hard to "see" but then again, who says that you have to use times/speed as the marker of improving fitness?

My approach to Ironman training is that of quality. There are no Ironman days as I don't want to be training all day in the sun on the weekend and I want to save my best performance for race day. I don't need to prove to myself or on social media that I can swim, bike and run this many hours or miles each week but instead, prove to myself that I have made progress with the workout to set me up for a stronger and faster tomorrow.

Many of my Ironman and half Ironman bike workouts (over the past 3 years) have been relatively "short". Most of my Ironman rides are around 3:5 - 5 hours and most of my half Ironman rides are around 2.5 - 3 hours. The key is the learning how to pace yourself on the bike to get "faster" as an Ironman athlete but also to become more efficient and to run steady off the bike. Thus - I do A LOT of brick runs with each run having a purpose.

With 7 weeks left until Ironman Lake Placid, I really loved today's brick workout given to me by my hubby, coach, bike mechanic and training buddy.

3.5 hour ride + 30 min run - 4 hour KEY Ironman workout

Bike:
15 minute warm-up
5 x 2 min leg openers (100+ cadence rpm)  w/ 2 min EZ
Main set: (I was drafting behind Karel so as he stuck to his zones, my zones were a tad higher than they needed to be but still doable - drafting behind Karel makes me stronger and it has really helped my cycling. I enjoy going "fast" behind Karel as I can't do his speeds alone but I understand that drafting properly keeps me in my proper zones as Karel is extremely consistent so I enjoy the bonus of covering more miles behind him as I prepare myself for my own race day effort. All zones are power based zones determined by a 2 x 20 min max sustainable power effort w/ 2 min EZ in between)

10 min Z4 low w/ 2 min EZ
15 min upper Z3 w/ 2 min EZ
10 min Z4 low w/  2 min EZ
20 min mid - upper Z3 w/ 2 min EZ
5 min recovery
35 min group ride (this effort was low to mid Z4)
5 min EZ
5 x 2 min (high cadence) w/ 2 min EZ
5 min cool down, transition to run.
Total: 73 miles, 3 hours and 31 minutes
(If training with power and/or HR on the bike and you have your zones set-up in proper endurance zones, you should be racing your endurance race in upper Z2 - Mid Z3, typically low Z3 for most athletes. If you want to get faster, you have to train smarter so that by race day, your low Z3 is "faster" than where you were when you started your endurance specific training. As for running in an Ironman - don't get caught up in paces. Used perceived exertion as much as possible while monitoring the HR and walk to help keep good form and to be steady with pacing).

Run:
4 x 1 miles w/ 10 sec walk in between
(I often walk with my IM training in most workouts as it helps me reduce gradual fatigue, it helps me better tolerate nutrition, it helps me control my HR the best I can and it helps me keep good form to reduce risk for injury. I may walk anywhere from 10-60 seconds depending on the workout and although 10 sec is brief and often I wish I could walk longer, it serves the purpose of helping me have a quality workout as I help simulate aid station walks for IM race day).
Mile 1: 7:51
Mile 2: 7:48
Mile 3: 7:51
Mile 4: 7:47
(around 10-13 second walk in between)
Total 4 miles, 32:28, average pace 8:07 min/mile (with ~40-60 seconds of walking)

Should you still do a Key "LONG" workout like a 100 mile ride + 2 mile run or even a 112 mile ride + 10-15 minute run? Yes. Those will be coming for Karel and I in a few weeks. BUT, if you can't do 3.5-4 hours of quality riding + a steady "short" run off the bike, what makes you think that your body is "Trained" to ride 100 miles, weekend after weekend? Those short IM intensity focused bricks will pay off when it is time for the long workouts. Remember - save your best performance for race day. Don't waste your time with junk miles just getting the miles in..make those miles count. And if you can prove to yourself that you can do it in training, trust yourself that you can do it on race day. Don't be a super hero in training and not be able to execute on race day.

After stretching and cooling off with Karel and enjoying a little watermelon and recovery drink (before Karel headed to work today), I had to stop by the Trek Beach store for Karel and when I finally arrived home, it was time to officially refuel!

 
Do you enjoy thanking your body for a great workout with delicious food prepared from home?
Today's creation:
An Omelet with tomatoes, arugula and goat cheese with oregano and rosemary. Rye bread with fruit jam and plain Greek Fage yogurt with fresh cherries and a drizzle of honey.
 
 
If you are wrapped up in the idea that Ironman (or endurance) training has to involve a lot and a lot of miles, how about thinking about other areas in your life that can make a positive impact on your training and racing. Certainly, we all know that even with the best preparation, there can be a variable or two on race day that can count you out from putting all that hard training to the test. Certainly - your mind and nutrition are two important components of training and racing that can help take your fitness to the next level..likely more so than in any long workout for without the right mental focus, pacing strategy and nutrition plan, there's really no point in putting your body through all that long and hard training if you are not equipped properly to handle that training stress (mentally and physically).
 
As you know, I work with my friend, Licensed Psychologist Gloria (Psy. D) on my mental training as she is an experienced mental coach and sport psychologist.
 
Here is a great video to show you the importance of mental training for fitness/performance. Even if you aren't racing or training, I recommend watching this video as it has a few helpful slides on how your mind can either enhance or limit you in terms of reaching your personal goals in life.
 

Creations to fuel your lifestyle - pizza, recovery meal and veggie casserole

Marni Sumbal


RECOVERY MEAL


Bread, fruit and eggs. A few of my favorite things in a recovery meal. 
Are you confused as to the best method of recovery after endurance activity? I know it can be confusing to understand sport nutrition because what you eat around workouts is not what is preached by the media in terms of "heart healthy" eating. This is why I am a firm believer, health first, performance second. When I was at the Oakley Women event in LA this past week, I talked about fueling around workouts and my primary focus was to help the audience understand that we don't need high fiber, high fat, high protein around our workouts. We want foods to be quick to digest and to be energy dense. So if you are snacking on quick digesting foods throughout the day when your body is not active, this is where the confusion comes in as you are likely very vulnerable to your body around a workout and want to eat "healthy and clean". Pass on the salads, high protein/fat foods and fibrous foods around your workouts as that is not the time to be giving your body slow digesting foods. Learn to create a diet that keeps your body nourished and with stable blood sugar and you will find yourself better understanding how to properly fuel around workouts....without feeling as if you are going to gain weight or change body composition with higher glycemic foods.

The immediate consumption of carbohydrates post-exercise is critical for muscle glycogen repletion. Although your recovery "window" is open for 24 hours, the keys to a quick recovery (based on research) are consuming liquid protein as soon as possible post workout (no more than 30g for best absorption) such as whey or vegan protein powder, milk or chocolate milk, followed by  a high glycemic carb breakfast with a little protein (a little fat is fine as well). Avoid stuffing yourself after a workout as the best recovery will come when you can eat every few hours to ensure adequate glycogen storage. If you are finishing a workout extremely weak or starving or feeling full/bloated, consider working with a RD specializing in sport nutrition to help you out with with your sport nutrition fueling regime.

For a yummy and healthy recovery meal: try to start with milk and cereal (ex. rice or corn based if you tend to have trouble with consuming foods after workouts) or fruit, veggie and whey/vegan smoothie as something small to kick start the recovery process. Then when you are ready for your actual meal, think about a variety of fruit for electrolytes, vitamins and minerals and to keep your immune system strong with lots of colors on your plate. Choose your easy to digest quality protein (ex. around 20-30g of protein in your meal such as 1-2 egg whites + 1 whole egg) and your starch/carb (around 40-70g carbs would be a good start to aim for depending on your workout volume/intensity) and I always believe in having some type of veggie with my meal so I used kale and garlic as pictured above with a little hummus on the bread and cheese on the egg. YUM!

VEGGIE CASSEROLE


Do you have those days that are super busy and the last thing you want to do is cook? Yeah, I have them too. BUT, I know that my busy and active lifestyle can be not be fueled off cereal and ice cream...or any other "quick" option that does not provide vital nutrients to my body and mind. My business keeps me busy but with athletes and fitness enthusiasts from around the world relying on me to provide practical information, to review food logs in a timely manner and to communicate passionately and realistically, I would be letting down others, along with myself, if I didn't make time to prepare nourishing meals. Additionally, with every meal comes a workout to follow the next day so it would be a disservice to my body to tell myself that I am too busy to cook and then get upset the next day that I didn't have the right fuel in my body to have an awesome workout. 

I love casseroles because they are super easy. I think we all need go-to easy meals just as much as we should enjoy spending a little extra time in the kitchen. Although this meal took about 40-45 min to make, I wasn't in the kitchen more than 10 minutes so I was able to get things done around the house...thus still staying busy but with a meal ready for me and Karel when it was time to eat. 

1 can favorite soup
2 eggs
Frozen veggies (enough to cover bottom of casserole dish
Seasonings of your choice
Panko bread crumbs
Cheese
Grain or starch of your liking - I used brown rice, potatoes would be a yummy additional as well as you can stick them in the microwave or oven.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a glass casserole dish, spray lightly with non stick spray and place veggies in dish until 1/2 full. Drain 1/2 liquid from soup (unless you are using a broth based soup - then you can keep the broth for another time, I recommend a vegetable soup (vegetarian) or your favorite chunky style soup) and pour over the veggies. Use seasonings of your choice on top - ex. garlic, oregano, chili flakes, pepper, turmeric, onion, etc. Scramble two eggs and a dallop of greek yogurt together and pour over the veggie mix and lightly mix in until evenly combined. Sprinkle with bread crumbs (lightly) and bake for 40-45 minutes. Remove casserole from oven and turn off heat. Top with cheese when veggie casserole is firm and place in oven for 2-3 minutes to let cheese melt. Serve with 1/2 - 1 cup whole grain/starch and Enjoy! 

Matzoh Pizza and Salad



As you may tell, I am not much of a sandwich eater. I've said it in the past but you can only stuff so many plants between two slices of bread. I use to eat sandwiches and when I travel I love a good PB&J for the road/plane or a filling egg, cheese and veggie sandwich from a local eatery. But on a day to day basis, sandwiches don't work for me because I like the volume and nutrient density in plant strong meals and I prefer to use my "bread" for workout nutrition (pre and post) and incorporate more whole grains into my meals instead.

As you may also know, I LOVE pizza. I don't think it's the triangle shape but the combination of flavors - marinara sauce, toppings, bread...yum! In my mind you can make a pizza out of anything or at least, enjoy the flavors of pizza anytime if you want to be creative.

For this yummy creation, I first created a delicious salad of mango, spinach, leeks, celery, carrots, tomatoes topped with a sliced egg (I eat 1 whole egg daily for health benefits). I think used my oven to roast veggies - I tossed peppers, mushrooms, onions and then tofu in a little olive oil and placed in a casserole dish and baked at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes until roasted. Karel had some leftover chicken that he cooked so I was able to use chicken for his pizza (rt side pic - with a little tofu since he likes it) and tofu for me (left side picture).

After the veggies were roasted, I took two Matzoh's and spread a spoonful or two of marinara and then topped with basil, oregano and garlic (dried herbs/spices). The oven was turned off so I just placed the 'pizzas' in the oven for 2-3 minutes until the cheese was melted and then topped each pizza with the toppings. 

You could use any type of flat bread for this or fresh pizza dough which we often use. I really like Matzoh to eat pre workout because it has a good amount of carbohydrates for 1 slice to be combined with PB and banana slices but it doesn't leave you stuffed like bread or bagel before a workout.

DESSERT


It's not typical that Karel and I will have dessert after dinner.......I just don't see the point of eating after you eat? It's like everything that was prepared for dinner was forgotten and dessert is the only way to feel satisfied. Sometimes we need a little something sweet after a meal but that is often confused with a lot of something. Many times I find that people undereat throughout the day and thus overeat in the evening as our body has a natural way to regulate how many calories we need on a daily basis. Considering that we do very little activity after 8pm, it would be better for your metabolism to spread out your budget of calories throughout the day instead of eating a lot at one time or overeating on something sweet after a meal.

As you can see from my pic above, this is a "dessert" of mixed fruit. The key however is to not overdo it on any one thing. I used 3 strawberries, 4 orange slices and a few banana slices along with a few grapes. Not a lot as I was satisfied after my meal but just needed a little something after the meal. Another great option for dessert is 1/2 - 3/4 ounce dark chocolate which is another one of our favorites in our house.