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Kristin

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Fuel. Train. Recover. Repeat.

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I received a nutrition consultation about a month ago and wrote about that here. Part of the consultation was to get a nutrition plan for my Ironman training. There were a lot of things I was doing well, and a few things I was doing not very well. My main issue was that I was not recovering properly after workouts longer than 45 minutes. I also was not fueling properly on the bike (i.e. just drinking water & not taking in enough carbohydrates. Here is a little update as to how things are going:

Fueling on the bike:

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I have noticed a big difference with how I feel after making the changes. When I ride for longer than 45 minutes (which is most often the case), I drink PowerBar Perform (which is used on the Ironman course) mixed with water. I use 2-3 scoops of perform depending on the size of the water bottle. The goal is to drink at least 1 bottle of perform every hour while on the bike. Drinking Perform has been going really well. I have noticed that I have a lot more energy on the bike and I’m not ‘hitting the wall’ after a few hours like I used to. At first I thought it tasted really sweet, but now I am used to it. On top of drinking the perform, I’m eating 3 Clif Shot Blocks or Power Bar Gels every 45 minutes. I make an effort to stay on top of these few things and it has helped me substantially. It makes me wonder how I ever got by with just drinking water! I used to think about how it was wayyy too much sugar when consuming all of these gels and drinks… now I have realized that my muscles NEED the sugar. Sugar is critical for performance.

Post workout fuel:

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Still working on this new change. I tend to do my workouts in the early morning hours or after work. A few days a week I do both morning and evening workouts. For the morning workouts, I typically will have a few Clif Shot blocks before getting on the bike, starting a run, or getting in the pool. One important thing I learned was not to eat anything high in fat or fiber too closely before a workout, this will prevent GI stress. During a training session, I fuel as mentioned above, with Perform and gels… and after I need to eat/drink something for recovery. It’s the recovery fueling that I have not grasped quite yet. I have never been a person to drink a protein shake or recovery drink after a workout. I tend to gravitate more towards a banana with peanut butter, or a granola bar for example.

What my nutritionist explained to me is, that its always best to think about this period of the day (i.e. in the morning post training session) in terms of what is most critical immediately post work. This means, immediately after your session the focus should be on high glycemic carbs to replace muscle glycogen and easily digested. You always want to stay away from significant sources of fat of fiber since these slow down digestion….not what you want here! You want to get blood sugar up fast! If you do not eat or drink the right things soon after your workout, the window of opportunity will close and it will take you much longer to replenish glycogen stores and other nutrients. This will dramatically increase the time it takes for you to recover from that workout, decrease the performance benefit of the workout, and affect your next workouts. The more recovery time between workouts, the fewer workouts you can do in a period of time. Fewer and lower quality workouts means less opportunity for fitness gains and slower race times. This is why post workout/race nutrition is so important.

The problem is, I am a wimp when it comes to drinking these type of recovery drinks. Most of the drinks, in my opinion, have an unnatural texture and an odd flavor. They also tend to have a protein source, like whey or pea protein, both of which I think taste disgusting. I know these types of things are an ‘acquired’ taste… but personally, I gag when I try to drink them. My husband tells me to just drink them really fast, but I can’t even do that much! I just ordered a few different drinks (Ultragen and Osmo Nutrition recovery drinks) and I will report back on how they taste, my reaction, etc… If you have any recommendations as to what has worked for you, please let me know!

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What have you done for training nutrition/race day nutrition that worked? What didn’t work?

 

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Wednesday Confessions

I turned 30 in November. I always thought by 30 I would have life figured out… well.. not so fast.

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(one of my favorite quotes, ever)

What I have figured out:

-Turning 30 was a huge reality check… kind of like a slap in the face.
-Time moves really fast.
-Family is really important
-I still have a long way to go with my self confidence
-I am an athlete and will be for life… no matter how old.
-I found a hobby I love and that I am proud of… Triathlon
-I love to cook and I think I am quite good at it.
-It’s hard to make girlfriends as a 30-something
-I’m definitely an introvert… (Maybe this explains the above)

What I haven’t figured out:
-My career

I feel lost. I apologize in advance for the rambling, but it’s kind of a long story.

The ‘what I haven’t figured out’ career-thing scares me, all the time. I have been out of college for 8 years now, and I still feel ‘lost’ when thinking about what I want to do with my life/career. To back up a bit, I went to college for Kinesiology (Exercise Physiology). I picked this major based on my obvious love of exercise and what I thought was my love of science. My initial idea was to become a Physical Therapist- to me this seemed like the perfect job. Once I got deep into my major, I realized that Chemistry and other science courses were not my friend and I struggled. I graduated from the Kinesiology program feeling discouraged. Many of my friends were going on to PT school and I wasn’t. I had no idea what I wanted to do….

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I left college and tried personal training for that summer, at a large gym. I liked it, but I wasn’t passionate about working in a big gym and acting ‘sales like’ with the members. Feeling discouraged and needing to make money, my next best bet was to go through a staffing agency and get an office job. I ended up as a receptionist for a year at a software company. It was awful and the people treated me poorly, almost like a servant. I also hated being ‘chained’ to a desk… I am a girl who needs to move! I left after a year and started a different office job in the city as an Administrative Assistant… worked there for a year… and then started thinking about PT school again. At this time I was a little older and thought I could take on the challenge… I left my office job, worked as an aide at a PT clinic and applied to DPT programs. All of this hard work, leaving a good paying job, and ultimately I did not get into DPT school. Here I was again, feeling defeated, but thought ‘at least I tried.’ I thought it must be for a reason… and I moved on. I did not want to work in an office again, but it was my only option to make money at this time. I took on another administrative role at Pharmaceutical company, my best company yet that I had worked at… BUT it was still an office. I worked at this company for 2 years, never really satisfied with what I was doing. I was worth more than this… and this is not what I want out of life.

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I am now at a new company, started in December, and while it’s the best company I’ve ever worked at, I’m still not sure what the heck I’m doing here. I feel like time is just passing me by as I sit in a cubicle, wondering what I could do with my life. I honestly don’t know if I will ever make it in ‘corporate America.’ I don’t like being in front of a computer all day, I hate office politics, I don’t like being indoors for 8 hours a day, and I try not to stay past 5 PM (because I have a life and I am training for an Ironman). Frankly, I don’t think I’m cut out for this kind of job. I’m not the ‘norm’ at the office… I take walk breaks/workout breaks at lunch, I bring my own lunch every day, I never take the elevator….being stuck in a cube drives me absolutely bananas.

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I have thought for years, what kind of job I can take that’s not a 9-5 office job, and it’s really hard! I need to make a living and I need benefits (although I could always take my hubby’s benefits). My dream job would be to work from home and have my own business. I have pondered going back to school for nutrition, but to become an RD, I would need to take ALL of those science classes all over again, no thanks. Being some kind of nutrition counselor/personal trainer at my own gym, would be ideal… but how the heck do I get there? I know deep in my heart that I am not supposed to work in an office for the rest of my life. There is always that little voice inside my head telling me: “Kristin this is not who you are”.

I am definitely lost.

Have you ever felt like changing your career? What did you do to make life better for yourself?

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IMMT Training Recap (I)

Since we are getting closer to my Ironman, I thought I would start documenting the previous week of training on each Monday. This will give you (my readers) an idea of what Ironman training looks like i.e. what my life at the moment looks like. I work with a professional coach, so each week is mapped out by him…. All I have to do is follow the plan!

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The Stats:
4 weeks until the Boston Marathon
22 weeks until IMMT
Total Training hours last week: 16

How am I feeling? This was a great week. I completed all of the workouts as scheduled (including all of the running). I feel confident now that I can run the Boston Marathon. I was always confident that I could run it, but took about 5 weeks off from running this winter to recover from a stress reaction in my foot, and I was nervous. Now with the green light from my coach and podiatrist, I hope to run Boston with minimal pain (which is all relative when running a marathon, right?).

Training notes: My coach has me training with a large focus on heart rate. Each bike and run workout is dictated by heart rate and I have to keep a close eye on what zone I am working in. What I like about training with heart rate is, that it forces me to slow down on my recovery days, when I used to just ‘go all-out’ all the time. It also tells me when I’m ‘slacking’ and need to pick up the pace! My workouts are dictated by heart rate zones (i.e. Zone R, Zone 1, Zone 2). Zone R = Recovery, Zone 1= Moderate effort, Zone 2: Moderate to hard effort. The zones are different depending on if I am biking or running. For example, Zone 1 on the bike is 130-140 bpm (beats per minute) and Zone 1 while running is 140-150 bpm.

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What I accomplished last week:

Monday 3/17
Easy recovery day
20 minutes on the elliptical + some strength work

Tuesday 3/18
Bike: Speed work 01:25:00
Run: 30 Minute “T” Transition run

Wednesday
Swim: 3,000 Yards at Master’s practice
Bike: ZR spin on my trainer, 45 min
Run: ZR Run 24 min

Thursday
Bike: 01:30:00 Tempo Ride with low cadence work
Run: 1:00 Speed work
Strength: Core work

Friday
Swim: 3,000 Yards with Master’s Team
Run: 24 min recovery run

Saturday
Bike: 04:00:00 at Z1/Z2 heart rate
Run: Z1 HR 40 min transition run

Sunday
Run: 1:10: at Z1
Bike: 50 min, ZR Ride + 10 sets of 30 second sprints all out
Run: 1:12 at Z1 (Total run distance this day: 18 miles!)

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What was your training like this weekend?

 

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Five on a Friday!

Happy Friday and happy Spring! Although, it doesn’t really feel like Spring in Boston quite yet…I worry that Boston will skip spring this year and we will go right into Summer.  This has happened in recent years… one day it’s 40 degrees, the next it’s 80.  I want it to warm up, but not before the Marathon!  I need good running weather on April 21st!

Here are 5 of my favorites this Friday:

Strength training with TRX

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Since I had to give up Crossfit for now (sigh), due to my foot injury and Ironman training, my coach suggested TRX!  I have done TRX classes before, but I am now excited to have my own TRX system!  I look forward to lots of upper and lower body exercises… and I love how the TRX works your CORE!  I will be posting my favorite TRX workouts soon.

 

Old Navy Pixie Pants

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Even the movie stars are wearing these inexpensive, fun & flattering pants!  I am all about wearing bright colors now that it’s spring.  The Old Navy Pixie pants are the perfect addition to any girl’s wardrobe.

 

Way Better Snacks

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I love these sprouted grain, non-GMO, crunchy chips!  Sprouting has been known to enhance the absorption of nutrients and aid in digestion. The Sweet Potato flavor tastes amazing with Guacamole or Hummus.

 

Hope Hummus

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(Pairs very nicely with the chips above) Hope Hummus makes the highest quality organic, gluten-free, vegan, and kosher hummus available on the market. All organic ingredients, creative flavors and non GMO.  I really like the Spicy Avocado Flavor because it’s so different than your typical hummus.  How cute is the name Hope Hummus?

 

This quote

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Just a subtle reminder about why I’m training for my Ironman.

 

* Has anyone else used TRX to supplement Triathlon training?  How did it work for you?

have a great weekend!!!

 

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My Zucchini Noodle Obsession + Some Recipes!

My latest food obsession is Zucchini Noodles.  Turning Zucchini into ‘noodles’ is a great way to make a meal healthy and they are so versatile!  Basically, any recipe you would use with pasta, you can substitute zucchini noodles for. Genius!

Zucchini boasts a rich nutritional profile, and it offers health benefits thanks to its phytonutrients, mineral and vitamin content.  You can read more about the benefits here.

The best way to make zucchini noodles is with the Paderno Spiralizer .  I bought the Spiralizer a year ago, thanks to a suggestion from a friend, and my life has never been the same!  It’s very reasonably priced and it works really well for what it is (mostly plastic).  It’s also really easy to clean and has three different blade sizes for different size noodles.  The sizes range from an angel hair pasta size to ribbon like noodles.81ZItc34afL._SL1500_

My favorite resource and website for all things spiralized is http://www.inspiralized.com/.  Ali’s blog is an insanely useful resource for how to use the Spiralizer and she has amazing recipes.  I have recently been experimenting with her recipes and I have loved them all!  Here are a few of my favorites (and one that I made my own twist on).  I am eager to try recipes with other vegetables, besides Zucchini… you can seriously spiralize anything- sweet potatoes, butternut squash, you name it!

Roasted Pork Chops with Pistachio-Parsley Pesto Zucchini Pasta

(Taken from Inspiralized.com)

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This recipe was seriously delicious! I can’t say enough about the pesto and the zucchini noodle combination.  The parsley and pistachio give off such a nice flavor, but not too over powering.

Ingredients

For the pesto:
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup roasted and salted pistachios (deshelled)
1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano
1 garlic clove, minced
pepper, to taste
For the rest:
2 tbsp olive oil
3 boneless pork chops
salt and pepper, to season
garlic powder, to taste
3 medium zucchinis, Blade A

Instructions

Season both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper and a pinch of garlic powder. In batches or using two skillets, sear the pork chops. To do so, place about 1/2 tbsp in the skillet per pork chop and let cook, without moving, for 3 minutes and then flip over and let cook another 3 minutes.

Once the pork chops are done searing, place them directly into the oven (still in the skillet). Cook for about 8 minutes or until pork chops register at 140/145 degrees (using a thermometer).

While the pork chops are cooking, prepare your pesto. First, place your pistachios into a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Then, add in the rest of the ingredients and pulse until creamy.

In a bowl, place in your zucchini noodles and top with your pesto. Toss to combine. Once noodles are coated with pesto, divide them into three plates and top each with a finished pork chop. Enjoy!

 

ROASTED RED PEPPER ZUCCHINI NOODLES WITH SAUSAGE

(Modified from this recipe)

Ali’s recipe on Insprialized.com, called for butternut squash and chicken for this recipe.  I did not have any butternut squash around, so I subbed for zucchini and it came out really well!  I also get sick of eating chicken all.the.time so I used sweet Italian chicken sausage from whole foods instead.  It was fantastic! (not the prettiest picture below, but you get the idea:) )

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Ingredients

2 whole red bell peppers
3 Zucchinis Blade C
olive oil, to drizzle
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3/4 cup diced white onion
1/3 cup chicken broth, low-sodium
1 pound sweet Italian sausage (I used the chicken sausage from Wholefoods, less processed)
1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the bottom and tops off the bell peppers, remove the seeds inside and place on a baking tray lightly coated with cooking spray. Place the peppers insides up. Roast for 25 minutes.

When the peppers are done roasting, place them into a food processor and pulse until no major chunks are left. Then, place a large skillet over medium heat and add in the olive oil. Add the sausage (with casing removed) and break into pieces, cooking until browned. Then, add in the garlic, red pepper flakes and onions. Let cook for about 3 minutes and then add in the pureed red peppers. Stir to combine and then add in the chicken broth to the pan. Once everything is combined, add the zucchini noodles and parsley to the pan and heat up for a few minutes (careful not to cook too much, they will get mushy).  I had mine with a size of broccoli, yum!