Eating for Endurance & Health

Most people don’t consider eating when working out besides the occasional Gatorade or Powerade drink that is glowing fluorescent blue, green, yellow or red beside the handrail of the elliptical machine or treadmill on which they trod.   Most people I know exercise to burn calories so why on earth would they CONSUME calories at the same time.   Fortunately or unfortunately, I grew up with this “exercise to eat” mentality so I am well versed in the non-sensical rationalization of in order to lose these two must match.  Additionally, after damaging my mind and body with such rationalization, I learned what was really true about dieting, exercise, racing, and winning (the war against weight gain – mentally & physically).

TRUE/FALSE: If I consume 2000 calories/day (based on my height/weight/activity level), then I need to burn via exercise at least half of those calories in order to lose weight.

chicken lasagnaFALSE!  Caloric intake should be based on height/weight/current activity level in order to maintain current weight.  Cutting calories/increasing activity will allow for weight loss BUT cutting your intake by over half or even 1/4 can be dangerous.  It can actually cause your body to hold on to fat because it thinks your starving to death….because you are in that moment.   Slow changes are best.  Remember, your body needs a baseline amount of calories from fat, carbs, and protein to simple keep your organs and brain functioning – without extra activity.

TRUE/FALSE: It isn’t necessary to consume calories when you are exercising.

IT DEPENDS!  If you’re workout is less than an hour, water will do.  If you’ve eaten in the last 3 hrs prior to activity, your body will probably have enough energy/glycogen to fuel you without a bonk.  As in the picture below, if your activity (triathlon) is over an 1hr and you haven’t eaten within an 1-2 hrs of the start of your activity, then you will need some fuel.  I’ve got an Ignite REFUEL Energy Gel hanging from my bike which will top off my glycogen storage for the later half of the 45 minute bike and 3.4 mile run I am about to endure. If the race/activity was longer I would need to keep fueling with gels/energy drinks/water/etc. every 15-30 minutes adding more fat/protein as the length grows.  (FYI – because of good clean nutrition…and solid training, I won that race.  Thanks Ignite Naturals, Arbonne Nutrition Line, and Coach Craig Cecil of Peak Performers!

Use coupon code IN0730 for 10% off Ignite Naturals!
Use ARBONNE ID #13270083 to sign up for 20-35% off gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan protein powder, energy drink mix, fit chews, & more!

LR carrollton bike

TRUE/FALSE: It’s important to eat carbs/protein right after I workout to help my body recover.

TRUE! Within the first 30 minutes after workouts ~1hr or more, you need to consume 100-200 calories of sugar/carbohydrates to keep your body from burning muscle mass and producing anti-healing stress hormones like cortisol. Often times, it’s hard to stomach much after a long or hard workout/race but at least consume some sports drink or fruit. Within two hours, you also need to consume a 4/1 or 3/1 ratio of carbs to protein to help muscle recovery and healing. Post-activity nutrition is vital to keeping you healthy during those long training periods so that you can reach the start line AND the finish line of your next race!

So who is willing to take the opportunity and commit to 18-20 weeks of training for the Asheville Marathon? We start Monday November 4th, for the 19-20-wk training program or Nov. 11th for the 18wk program. Run/walk, run, or walk your way there with a group of new and experienced marathoners. Anyone can do it, just read “The Non-runner’s Marathon Guide for Women” – a hysterical read for anyone considering their first race of any distance or wondering why anyone would want to run any distance.

Let me know your thoughts, feedback and if you’re interested in running/training with me.

Happy trails!


Make New Year’s Resolutions Last!

As January 1st, 2013, rapidly approaches, many people begin to plan how they want to look and feel for the next 365 days.  Unfortunately, most folks resolutions are so resolute, only lasting 30-90 days at best.  The only way to make permanent changes is to set long & short-term goals that have built-in accountability measures.  That’s where my job begins.  I am your accountability coach, your nutrition analyzer, your motivational speaker, and your stress reduction specialist.  So……


Then there are 2 plans below to choose from:

1) a 30-day generalized plan with basic assessment


2) 6 months of in-depth health & wellness coaching


Plan 1 includes the basic 30-day lifestyle outline, recipes, food guide, & 1 coaching session.

*Cost =  $75

Plan 2 includes all the above plus an initial health & wellness assessment, food/mood journal & the weekly coaching sessions (i.e. cooking, grocery shopping, personal training including yoga, etc.), email check-ins, & a monthly newsletter.

*Cost = $50/initial assessment then $100/mth with 6 mth commitment


Contact me for a free 15-minute consult to determine which plan fits your needs.

Everyone needs a plan and a process and a partner.  I can help you create that perfect plan for health and happiness in 2013.

Age 30: part-Paleo, part-CrossFit, part-Athlete, all ME

If you  haven’t heard about the Paleo Caveman Diet or the Crossfit (IronTribe in Birmingham) workout style, then do not be afraid.  If you HAVE, then also don’t be afraid either.  I’ve gone from hate to indifference to curiosity to personal guinea pig in order to determine the what, how, and why of this recent craze.  Between my injury-prone history, my all or nothing athletic attitude, and my obsession with finding harmony, health, and balance, I became humbled enough to seek outside advice and inside experience.

I’ve always been the person who had to try it on before believing it.  My famous last words before every break-through or breakdown, as it more often seemed to be, were, “I can do it myself.”  And oh how I tried, sometimes succeeding but usually ending up with stitches (head, finger, nose, chin, etc.).  My ego and/or excitement seemed to always get me in trouble or hurt, until I realized how to embrace as a lesson that I desperately needed to learn.  Too bad it only took 30 years, a severely weakened and pulled hamstring, and a painful finish to my 1st half-marathon to learn it.  That was the spiritual 2×4 that has so lovingly followed me around for decades.  Of course I didn’t even realize its’ presence until about 10 years ago.

So now I’m 30 and the realities of fitness, family, work, and spiritual reality are booming loudly around me and inside me.  I can’t keep going full blast until breakdown like I did in my teens and 20s.  Unless I want blown out knees, hips, back, and more (Dr. Sophia Lal already pointed out the bursitis and arthritis in my hips, least I say more).

In an effort to minimize and eventually eliminate my pain and join inflammation, I’ve not only been going to physical therapy at Eskridge & White for 4 month but I’ve started working with new chiropractor, Dr. Jessica Dietrich-Marsh, in Pelham.  Strengthening muscles, aligning bones/vertebrae, discovering nutritional deficiencies, and being my own patient, has given me patience and insight into what true healing is about.   While no one “diet” or “food plan” is for everyone, I do believe we have much to learn from each other.

WHY the Paleo, Cross-Fit, Spinning, Yoga-Extravaganza?!

PALEO: This caveman approach says we need to go back to our ancestral diet because they didn’t have diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, etc.  Paleo people blame the previous on excess fats, carbohydrates, sugars, and dairy.  In particular, sugar (i.e. simple/double & even complex carbohydrates like grains/wheat) can feed the body’s stress response along with overtaxing the the liver & other digestive organs leading to an accumulation of toxins (and fat: the “tire around the waist” kind).  It does give us energy but we have made sugar a food group and the main one at that in the past 30 years.  No one needs that much energy, nor that poor of a quality which is found in sodas, desserts, and all sorts of pre-fabbed  (i.e. processed) foods.  Basically, sugar feeds the Stress Response  which creates Toxins = Inflammation.  Enough said.  I’m inflamed enough so good by wheat, dairy, refined foods, potatoes, rice/quinoa except at lunch/dinner with protein and veggies.  I’m still going to eat my legumes though; the vegetarian in me is still quite alive.

For more ideas on a gentle balance way to try it out, check out Paleo for Athletes.

CROSS-FIT/IRON TRIBE go hand in hand with the Paleo diet.  The point behind their WODs (workout of the day) is to keep your body and brain guessing but also use dynamic, functional movements like lifting, swing, pushing, pulling, etc.  They only have you do it with weight, quickly, and timed.  This method builds endurance and quick muscle firing = strength and agility to name a few.  My weak muscles and extra-stretchy body via Yoga called for major strengthening if I was ever going to swim, bike, run or even walk again pain-free.  I might can stand on my head, balance on one foot, touch my toes, and fold over backwards but what functional purpose does that have if I can stand or sit for more than 5 minutes without hurting? So strength it is!

SPINNING & YOGA: These two things probably seem like polar opposites depending on the type of spinning and/or yoga class you attend  but for me that create a dynamic balance of cardio, flexibility, and mental focus.  Spinning makes me physically strong like the Cross-fit moves but it also requires focused breathing which I hone through my yoga practice.  My yoga is more breathe work and meditation these days than an endless series of body contorting poses.  It’s all good but only if it fits YOUR NEEDS.  Stretching wasn’t working anymore and I couldn’t figure out how to strengthen while I stretched so I pulled the two a part and created a practice for me.

This is the introduction. Look forward to the reports.  Y-Cross starts in T-30 minutes.


WATCH ANOTHER LOCAL ATHLETE & WRITER named Kim Cross as she takes herself through a similar journey under the tutelage of IronTribe Instructors and the healthcare professionals at Fagan Sports Medicine and PhysioFitness.  Check out Kim’s journey at Operation IronTribe.


Health & Nutrition Program

If you aren’t 100% satisfied with your life AND your state of health (weight, energy, mood, diet, etc.) then commit to yourself to attend the presentation and see what options are available to you.  More and more research surfaces daily about food, health, illness, and healing.


Then there are 2 plans below to choose from OR  you can request a single evaluation to tailor to more specific needs.

Options will include either: 1) a 30-day generalized plan or 2) 6 months of health & wellness coaching

Plan 1 includes the basic 30-day outline, recipes, food guide, & 1 coaching session.  *Cost =  $60/initial session & $40/addtl sessions

Plan 2 includes all the above plus an initial health & wellness assessment, goal setting map, food/mood journal & the following weekly items: personalized 1-hr sessions (cooking, grocery shopping, exercise support including yoga, etc.), phone/email check-ins, & a newsletter (including educational/support articles, recipes & more).  *Cost = $100/mth with 6 mth commitment