4 Nutrition Tips for Triathlon Beginners

There is lots of information out there if you are just beginning your training but here are 4 nutritional tips that I believe are essential when you’re FIRST starting out.  Trust me when I say there is no reason to make things complicated!

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1.     Eat Carbs Every Day With Almost Every Meal.  Eating carbohydrates provide you with a guarantee that you are providing yourself with a wide range of antioxidants and nutrients to reduce the oxidative damage and inflammation caused by your training.  Remember, carbs include fruits and vegetables too - this is not a free pass to eat unlimited pasta!  It will also prevent you from waking up about 2am (seems to be the magic time) looking for food.

2.     Eat Your 5 A Day.  We all know the benefits of eating fruit and vegetables but sometimes you don’t eat as many as you should.  Make sure that you are getting your 5 a day to optimize your weight and nutrient intake.

3.     Healthy Snacks.  Planning ahead is key to sticking to your plan.  Pack yourself a couple of healthy snacks to take with you to work or when you’re on the go.  Not only will it save you lots of money but it will also keep you from making the wrong choices when the hunger pangs start.  Hangry anyone?

4.     Log Your Food Intake.  I’m sure you’ve heard this many times but, when you write down what you are actually consuming daily, you can see any bad habits and also check whether you are getting the right amount and variety of nutrients for your training schedule.

Message me at kara@triformations.com if you should have any other questions about your nutrition!  We can work together to get you on the right track!

photo credit: wuestenigel Vegetarische Wraps via photopin (license)

10 Best Fitness Apps

Copy of Smartphone with application icons

We all know how to download apps that connect us with people, allow us to share our photos and videos, even play games that waste our time but what about downloading an app that’s going to help you to achieve your fitness goals?

According to some recent research people who used mobile fitness apps were much more likely to be active than people who didn’t.  And they were more likely to have a lower body mass index! 

With so many apps on the market, which is the right one for you, and which is the one that’s going to keep you motivated?  Let’s look at our top 10 selection (in no particular order):

1.     Strava Running and Cycling GPS

If you like to run, ride or just adventure outside, you’ll love Strava.  Millions of runners, cyclists and active people use Strava to record their activities, compare performance over time.  Connect with their community and share photos, stories and highlights of your adventures with friends.

2.     Map My Run - GPS Running & Workout Tracker

This is a great app for people who are travelling and who are running in a new area.  MapMyRun gives you feedback and stats for every mile you go to help improve your performance. 

3.     Runkeeper

This is a classic app for everyone who wants to run.  This app really does get people out the door and help them stick with running forever.  Track your exercise, set goals, sweat and see your progress.  Over 50 million users worldwide.

4.     MySwimPro - Personal Swim Trainer

If you’re one of the lucky ones to have an Apple Watch Series 2 (the waterproof version), this is the swimming app for you.  You can select swimming workouts and track your biometrics. 

5.     5K Runner:  Couch to 5K Run Trainer

The OFFICIAL 5K Runner.  4.2 million people successfully did it.  Get in shape and lose weight in 8 weeks.  It’s been featured on CNN, Fox, USA, Today, Times and many more...and it’s free.

6.     Walking for Weight Loss

Walk off 3 times more fat with their training plan.  Now your walking will make you lose weight.  Reach top results in less time by combining walking and speed-up techniques.

7.     Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal

Lose weight with MyFitnessPal, the fastest and easiest-to-use calorie counter for iOS.  This app has the largest food database with over 5,000,000 foods with amazingly fast and easy food and exercise entry to track your progress. 

8.     Runtastic Road Bike GPS Cycling & Ride Tracker

Join the millions of enthusiastic road bikers tracking their tours, races and leisure rides with the Runtastic Road Bike app.  Monitor training progress and compare personal performance and, if you’re really competitive, challenge your friends too!

9.     Sworkit - Workouts & Fitness Plans

Get started on a 6-week program to get “Leaner, Fitter, or Stronger.  There are plans for beginners, intermediate and advanced.  Get access to a huge database of body weight exercise.  That means you can do the workouts from anywhere. 

10.     PEAR - Personal Fitness Coach

“It’s among the best fitness apps you’ll find” - PC Magazine.  Finding great workouts from top coaches and getting fit has never been easier.

Bottle Cleaning - The Easy Way!

Easy Bottle Cleaning!

Do you ever get a funny taste in your water bottles?  Do they sometimes have a bit of a smell even though you washed them with dish soap or put them through the dishwasher?

Try This!

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Step 1:  Add 1 teaspoon bleach and 1 teaspoon baking soda to your bottle.

Step 2:  Fill with water and leave overnight.

Step 3:  Next day, rinse thoroughly and air dry.

VOILA!  No more stinky bottles or strange taste!

4 Safety Tips for Women Runners

We would all like to live in a world where we are free to go out running and be safe, whether it’s during the day or at night, whether you’re in an isolated woodland, or a deserted beach, but as women in this day and age, here are some tips that we think all women runners should follow.

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4 Safety Tips for Women Runners

Run With A Personal Alarm

I know you love running on your own, hearing the sound of your feet beating the ground as you go.  Running with a buddy is the gold standard but if you do find yourself running alone, having a safety device could be the key to keeping yourself safe.  There are many on the market and some are designed to look like wrist watches that you slip on and they have velcro fasteners so fit all sizes.  Amazon have a wide selection.

So, next time you go for a run after work, especially as the nights draw in, make sure you are wearing one of these great little gadgets.

Running With Music

I don’t know about you but music is my beat and keeps my feet going at the right pace, and my body moving.  However, there are some situations when you should never run with your music - times you need all your senses to be fully alert.  Plugging in your headphones reduces your awareness of your surroundings so please bear these tips in mind.

  • Don’t use when running at night.  You can’t see as well and that’s when you need to be able to hear what is in front and behind you.
  • Any time dogs, cats or even attackers may be a threat - don’t put your headphones in.
  • If you’re running along a street that doesn’t have a sidewalk, you don’t always hear bikes or even other runners coming behind you.  Always run towards the traffic so you can see vehicles coming towards you.

Take A Self Defense Class

Learning self defense or at least some basic self defense moves will give you a chance to escape if attacked.  Learning how to fight back will give you confidence and a better chance of surviving an attack. 

Mix Up Your Routes

Have several different routes that you run but don’t always run the same way.  Not only is mixing up your route good for your muscles, a variety of scenery is good for the brain.  It also means that if someone is watching you, they don’t know which route you will take. 

However, if you have to run the same route, change up the time you run.  Suggest running sometimes in the morning and sometimes in the evening or on your lunch hour.  Changing up your regular time by 15 minutes can make a difference.

There’s also a good article in Shape that’s been written by a former secret service agent (!) that gives you some good advice - check it out.  

New Fitness Devices Coming Soon

Check Out These New Devices

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Samsung’s new fitness smart band looks like it’s going to be able to support Spotify offline and also be water resistant up to 165 feet!  Wow that’s really going to help if you want to listen to your music and train in the water. 

Take a look at the review on the Verge and see whether this is going to be your new fitness gadget.

To go along with your new device you’re going to need some waterproof headphones so take a look at the reviews for the top ten headphones that will enable you to train and listen to your music whether you’re in the pool or the ocean.  Toptenreviews

TomTom is well known for their GPS tracking devices for your car but they are about to move into the world of fitness which will include GPS tracking.  The TomTom Spark 3 Fitness Tracker will help you “train with up to 500 songs and your heart rate on your wrist.”  Read this review on Vagabondish and decide whether this is the device for you.  

photo credit: martin.rechsteiner TomTom Spark Cardio + Music via photopin (license)

Post Long Run or Bike Smoothie

Smoothie Recipe

It's almost the weekend and for all of you weekend warriors, that means...LONG RUN or RIDE!  It also means that you need to pay particular attention to your post workout nutrition to help repair your muscles and properly prepare your body for your next workout.  

Here is one of my favorite smoothies to try :-)

Ingredients for Smoothie

(in no particular order)

  • 1 Cup Strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 Cup (2oz) 100% Juice
  • 3/4 Cup (6oz) Water
  • 1 Tsp Spirulina
  • 1 Tsp Ground Chia Seeds (or Ground Flax)
  • 3/4 Cup (6oz) Yogurt (Greek or Plain)
  • 1/2 Scoop (15g) Protein Powder (Plant or Animal)
  • 1/3 Banana (fresh or frozen)

Method:  Toss it all in a blender (preferably liquids first) and mix it up or about 30 to 60 seconds.

Quick Prepare Tip:  Mix all the ingredients except the frozen fruit in your blender cup and store it in the fridge.  When you get back from your workout, simply toss the fruit in, blend it and voila!  Yummy.

Beeeet it, Beat 'em!

As athletes, we are always looking for ways to become more efficient in our training so why not take advantage of this nutritional "freebie."

One of the benefits of adding beets to your diet (also known as blood turnips, garden beets or red beets), is that they have proven to be one of the best, all-natural performance enhancers for athletes who want to increase their endurance.  This is mainly due to their naturally high concentration of nitrates. 

Research is still at an early stage but studies have shown that the dietary nitrates in beets when converted to nitric oxide in the body helps to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to your working muscles.  Nitrates may also improve how efficiently your muscles process the work being done, meaning less energy is needed to produce the same amount of work, such as the amount of time it takes to get from A to B.

When selecting your vegetable sources, a good rule of thumb to note, is that natural (not a supplement) is always the better choice.  Please also keep in mind that beets contain fiber so consuming them before a long workout or a race may not be the best choice until you know how your body will react!

If you aren’t a fan of drinking beetroot juice on its own, you could try one of the beetroot salads found on Allrecipes.com.

You could even try the more portable option of a homemade protein bar recipe made with beets found on PaleOmazing.  Intolerant or allergic to milk and/or gluten?  This recipe is gluten free and you can replace the whey protein powder with a plant brand if you like!  The honey can also be replaced with agave syrup although agave syrup is slightly sweeter than honey but is also less viscous.  These bars are great to keep in the freezer for quick on the go snacks. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 small cooked beet (palm sized)
  • ¾ cup coconut flour
  • 1⁄4 cup grass-fed whey vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon natural almond or cashew butter or any other nut butter
  • 1⁄4 cup almond milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons honey 

Topping:

  • ¼ cup 70-80% dark chocolate
  •  1 tablespoon coconut oil

Snow Day Bike Trainer Workout

If you live in Canada and any of the northern US States then you are likely going to be stuck indoors over the next few days while Winter Storm Caly goes past!  To keep all you guys entertained, here is a great 60-75 min workout for you to do on the trainer which alternates between a little interval work and strength training.  

Before you start, please make sure your bike and trainer are secure and you have placed a mat or large towel on the floor next to the trainer.  You may also want to place an extra towel and water bottle on the floor next to your mat 'cause you are gonna SWEAT!

Warm-up:

10 min easy on the trainer, include 4 x 15 second spin ups at 100+ RPM

Main Set:

Repeat the following 3 times total (i.e. bike, core, bike, core, bike, core).  No rest in between.

Bike - do 10 minutes as:

  • 4 min spin at 90+ RPM gradually increasing resistance as you go
  • 1 min standing at 65+ RPM
  • 2 min easy spin 
  • 2 min hard effort
  • 1 min easy spin

Core/Leg Work - 100 reps* as:

  • 20 squats (this is going to burn!)
  • 20 lunges
  • 20 bicycle crunches
  • 20 leg lifts (10 each leg)
  • 10 pushups (modified or wall are OK!)
  • 10 crunches

*Focus on quality reps...don't just whiz through them.

Cool Down:  10-15 minutes of stretching

Sarasota Soon Come!

One disadvantage to coaching my athletes online is that I don't always get to meet them in person.  We meet regularly with each other through video conferencing or may see each other at a race or a training camp but sometimes it is nice just to sit down with your coach and have a chat over coffee (or whatever your bevvy of choice may be!).

On November 13th, 14th and 15th, I will be visiting the Sarasota, Florida area and am offering you the chance to do just that...and it's FREE!

We can discuss anything you would like relative to triathlon and multisport training and racing just as we would during a regular online general consultation.  Such topics may include things like your goals for 2017, race fueling, planning and training, sport biomechanics and/or use of power or heart rate.  For the new triathlete, we can discuss things like equipment selection or what a typical training plan/schedule looks like and what races you may want to sign up for.  The other option is just to hang out, have a coffee and chat about the trilife :-)

I've set up lots of available times to meet so please pick whichever one suits you best.  You can access the online scheduling system HERE

I look forward to seeing you there!

Coach Kara

Cayman Islands Half Marathon Walking Group for Cayman Hospice - Cayman HospiceCare - We're About Life

Check out the full article here which provides tips from Coach Kara for Half Marathon Walkers.  Includes a FREE 10-week training plan!

From Start to Finish ‹ Cayman Airways Skies

SwimStartTri

Great article and some tips from our coach here at Triformations if you are on the fence about training for your first triathlon!

Click here to read the full article.