The look of confidence
So, why is sport nutrition so confusing??? You'd think with how much Ironman athletes, marathon runners and every other "athlete" trains, there must be a major calorie deficit to encourage major weight loss. Sadly, I find athletes struggling with weight despite training 10, 15, 20 hours a week and often, sport nutrition is overlooked. I find it absolutely amazing that athletes will excuse 200, 300, 500+ calories in the late evening hours due to working out earlier in the day yet when it comes to supporting ALL the metabolic processes that are needed to encourage gradual performance gains during training, athletes will often compromise performance by being fearful of pre, during and post training sport nutrition. Certainly, by prioritizing liquid calories (electrolytes, fluids and carbohydrates) during workouts, you will put yoursel in a better situation to reach your short and long term training goals and if you want to "save" calories, you can find 100-200 calories to "save" in your 1500+ calorie a day, diet.
Because sport nutrition is so individualized, I absolutely LOVE working my Trimarni coaching and nutrition athletes on developing an efficient and practical training and racing fueling plan to reach both performance and body composition goals. Although it can be scary at first for athletes to try something new, it often pays off in more energy during workouts, less fatigue during workouts, quicker recovery, an increase in lean muscle mass and performance gains.
Because what works for one person doesn't always work for another person, we must understand that sport nutrition depends on:
-Weather, terrain, duration, intensity, nerves, body size, fitness, efficiency, choice of fuels, fueling strategy, previous meals and daily diet.
Additionally, your sport nutrition will likely vary on a day to day basis, as well as throughout your training routine- with the hope that your body is becoming more metabolically efficient with each workout. To sum up the purpose of sport nutrition: your goal is to regulate body temperature, ensure proper gastric emptying and absorption of electroyltes, carbs and fluids, ensure proper muscle contractions and relaxations, postpone fatigue, support cardiac and respiratory functioning and of course, support all metabolic processes.
The purpose of my talk was to give some insight as to why sport nutrition is so confusing in today's society. The reason why I picked this topic is because on race day, your race day performance is simply based on how you trained. Therefore, your goal is to train your body to execute a plan on race day and to be well-fueled throughout the course of training. Perfecting race day nutrition starts WAY before race day and of course, if you didn't train your body to run sub 7 min miles off the bike in a triathlon, no amount of sport nutrition will help you out on race day.
The first part of my talk was spent on the factors contributing to the confusion with sport nutrition:
1) Research - every sport nutrition company has research showing that their product is better than the rest.
2) Celebrities (aka "professionals" and sponsored athletes)
3) The current food industry
As you can imagine, I spent some time talking about the current food industry.
As you all know, we live in an obesity-promoting environment.. Today, our society is eating much differently than it did 10, 20, 30 years ago. Today, we aren't consuming food, we are consuming products. We are consuming chemical concotions, created by science, that appear more healthful than the real option. Because of the choices athletes and fitness enthusiasts are making within the daily diet, often sport nutrition puts to the backstide. Not sure where the viscous cycle starts but athletes, overeat/undereat post workout due to poor fueling during (and before) the workout. Improper nutrition post workout often leads to feeling of guilt (or control) which can ultimately sabatoge a workout. Athletes are tired from poor nutrient density as well as from overtraining or training for quantity, not quality (often the overtraining comes from the desire to burn more calories or the obsession of burning calories to be able to eat certain foods). Althetes are then so tired during the day, that the rely on energy drink products and pick-me-ups (coffee, sugary treats, sport items, etc.) to give them "short term" energy that can also be obtained with a balanced training plan and more sleep. I find that for many athletes, the blood sugar is completely out of whack and luck for me, I learn a lot about diabetes from being a clinical dietitian - different yet oh so similar. It's a tough cycle to break - luckily, I have the tool set to help athletes learn how to fuel both the lifestyle and the workout routine.
Oh, not to mention that people are eating in the cars, behind the computers, during a 5-minute "break" between meetings and wherever else athletes choose to eat...or not eat/restrict. Oh darn it, forgot to mention poor stress and sleep management as well as emotional eating, anxiety, depression and feelings of being overwhelmed.
The western diet is nothing close to natural and because of that, athletes are confused as to how to eat - both for fuel and for health. My advice, eat real food, be mindful of how food makes you feel, honor your hunger and prioritize sport nutrition before, during and post workout. Yes, it can be a bit complicated for some people so be sure to contact your favorite sport nutritionist/RD to help guide you along the way.
Showing how much sugar is added to products like oatmeal packets, cereals, chocolate milk, granola bars, juices, yogurt, etc. (the list goes on and on and on)
Be aware of claims. Always read the ingredients and nutrition fact label. Often "healthy" options are no better/worse than the other "unhealthy" option. Remember, no bad or off-limit foods - just de-emphasize. This will allow you to appreciate what you do have in the diet. My favorite tip for cereal, make a veggie, fruit and protein smoothie (mixed with a healthy fat like chia seeds or flax oil) and top with a handful of your favorite cereal. I always have cheerios and a shredded wheat-type cereal in our place, as well as oatmeal (instant, plain) and crisp/wasa crackers for a nice crunch (especially with peanut butter or cheese).
If you want chocolate, eat chocolate!! But make it the good stuff (>75% cacao) and pass on the granola bars, sugar free candies/goodies and anything else that is modified to be almost as good as the real thing. We LOVE sea salt chocolate dark chocolate in our house....yum.
Mango juice? How about eating a mango! Yum...love fruit which is low glycemix and empties from the stomach slowly. I don't encourage a high fructose consumption (sport drinks) during training which may increase risk of bloating, cramping or diarrhea. No need to fear fruit for the "sugar". Keep in mind that you need to give food a nutritional value for what it provides to your body as well as how it makes you when you eat it (and after you eat it). Fruit has electrolytes, vitamins, minerals and fiber...go on and eat the rainbow!
Natural. Such a misleading word. now a day. In my right hand, I have an almond, in the shell. When Karel was growing up, he couldn't get enough walnuts from all the walnut trees in Czech Republic. Once a nut is picked, companies think you desire more so they add seasonings, salt, preservatives, artificial flavors, etc. to "natural" nuts. Grab yourself a nut cracker, save some money, and buy the real thing. I think you will really appreciate nuts a lot more after cracking them yourself. There's something so beautiful about food in its real form.
Oh, my thoughts on organic? We don't do organic because I like to shop around and shop seasonal. Last time I was sick was in 2006 - still going strong as no virus has stopped my active lifestyle. I don't get flu shots, I don't take antiobiotics, I don't take daily supplements....I just eat real food, get good sleep, try to manage stress and exercise just enough to receive optiomal performance gains (but not put me over the edge). Certainly, everyone is different and we must always respect the body and focus on what is best for us at this time in our life and to protect us from the future. I am not against anything and for those who have worked with me, they know I don't have "rules" for my athletes but rather suggestions and tips - with research in mind, but practical for real world settings. I encourage others to shop what is in season and to aim for a variety of color in the diet. Certainly, choosing an organic food from california would not be as fresh and nutrient dense as local strawberries from a farmer down the road. And although I like to say that food without a food label is not processed, anything that is handled by someone else and travels, is likely "processed" in some form (cut, washed, chopped, etc.) As for fear of pesticides, approximately .04% individuals over 20 years of age were exposed to pestides in 2011. More than 140,000 people die from stroke, which is the third leading cause of death in America. Eat your fruits and veggies people!
As for the rest of my talk...I got into the fun stuff, that all athletes want to know about: how to improve performance with sport nutrition! I spent a bit of time talking about what factors affect gastric emptying and absorption (ex. intensity, type of carbs, osmolality, fluid intake before and during training, electrolytes, etc.) as well as how to recognize factors that may be affecting performance besides just sport nutrition:
-Training tools/gadgets (ex. power meters, garmin/GPS, HR monitor, training peaks, etc.)
-Stress and sleep management
-Proper pacing during training and racing/intervals
. Want to learn more??? Contact me and I'd be happy to arrange a talk at your local triathlon or running club...I always try to come with goodies...and a yummy Trimarni creation.....
Non fat Dannon yogurt (about 2 cups)
Chili pepper (pinch or two shakes)
Lemon pepper (pinch or two shakes)
Dried chopped onions (1 tbsp)
Parsley (1/2 tbsp)
Feta cheese (1 tbsp)
Cumin (optional - start with a pinch, then add more to your liking)
1. Mix together in a bowl.
3. Serve with veggies - carrots, celery, broccoli, etc.
To conclude the evening, I had a fantastic group of individuals donate items for the raffle. I am so fortunate to be an ambassador for so many great companies. I don't believe in calling myself a sponsored athlete because I embrace the brands that I support. They aren't paying me to use their products. As a loooong time Hammer and Oakley, I love the brands that help me succeed (like CEP compression) in my athletic career. Over the past year and a half, I have created a fantastic relationship with 110% Play Harder and love their fantastic products and gear. Although not an ambassador of Trek, I love being part of the Trek family and I am proud to support local small businesses. I want to give a special thanks to the following for helping out with my event:
Carla - CEP
, I totally believe in compression. It has helped me out in so many ways. I don't train without calf sleeves or socks. As a helpful reminder, only socks or tights covering the feet (not sleeves) should be used for recovery for graduated compression.
Steve - Vibewired
(currently website under construction - check out vibewired on facebook and on twitter). Great invention Steve - short wires for your nano so you don't have to battle with dangling wires while you are working out! Just attach to your hat or helmet (ride safe please, use music only on quiet roads and not on group rides or in races) and you are good to go!
Hammer Nutrition -
Please support local tri or running stores but if you want to order online, use my customer code 97495 for a 15% discount on your first order. My favorite products - huckleberry gel and Strawberry Heed. I've heard from many that Hammer sends lots of free samples with your first order :)
Trek Bicycle Store of Jacksonville -
Thank you Jeff, Karel and the other guys who stayed after hours to listen to me speak...and drink your beers behind the service counter :)
110% Play Harder -
Have you seen the new quad sleeves? Need to boost your recovery post workout
Oakley women -
for the NEW radar edge sunglasses. I am so proud to be part of the Oakley women ambassador team and to be able to call Oakley women, my family. I invite you to check out the website as well as on facebook, as Oakley is gearing up for the olympics with a lot of inspirational campaigns (Beyond reason) and information on the latest with Oakley USA olympic athletes. If you have any questions regarding Oakley sunglasses or gear, just let me know. BTW - you don't need polarized unless you like them better than polarized. I hear it all the time and Erik (Jax Oakley rep) discussed the importance of Oakley testing, lenses, style, cut of lenses, etc. and explained that polarized shades reduce glare - like on snow and water. They make it hard to see computer screens but many people like it better. So do you have to have it? No, it is an individual decision. My fav racing/training shades: Radar edge and commit.
**And a SPECIAL BIG thanks to my friend Tyler S. for taking these wonderful pics during the event. If you'd like to have Tyler take pics at your upcoming event (or family pics, active, or anythingn you need), just send me an email.
Showing how my Drizzle active eyewear do not fall off my face. You can even run in them - no slipping!
Congrats to the Oakley shade winners!!
My biggest take-home message for the evening was to remind everyone that triathlons are our lifestyle, not our life. It is a hobby that makes us feel good and that should certainly enhance our lifestyle. We don't have to train for an Ironman or marathon to "lose" weight and the goal of any diet or training routine should never be for the goal to be skinny. I believe we should eat and train to gain strength, both in body and mind.
Secondly, we only have one chance at life. I don't believe that we can prevent disease, simply reduce the risk. Lifestyle factors have a significant impact on what gets "turned" on in your body as well as how the organs will continue to function, 10,20,40, 50 years down the road. By taking care of yourself now, you are more likely to create fantastic memories as you continue to age. If you are one of the many who experience an illness or disease later in life, hopefully you will be reminded of all the amazing steps you took to reduce your risk and you will be one of many who will come out a winner.
Life isn't about being perfect. Just do the best you can - don't waste energy on things out of your control and set goals for yourself to feel just as good, if not better, tomorrow, as you were today. I'm not one for making excuses but rather for making things happen.
I know you can do the same.