Mountain Time

March 8, 2013

Hello from the mountains!!

Blue Ridge

Myself and 9 of my friends headed up to North Georgia yesterday, and we are playing hooky for a few days. Can’t really say I mind it much.

Blue Ridge

It’s pretty amazing to get a little snap of cold weather before Spring and Summer hits in Florida. Frost is just not a common occurrence!

Blue Ridge Frost We rented a house big enough for the 10 of us to hang in comfortably for 4 days. So far, the company we have rented from is phenomenal. I will definitely share with you all the fun details when we head out. We have next to no plans other than running, hiking, eating, and relaxing. Do we ever have to leave!?

Blue Ridge

Have an amazing weekend!!!

Sprint The Block Circuit Workout

March 6, 2013

Hooray for Workout Wednesday!!!  I have a great circuit for you today! Marcus came home from work on Monday asking for a tough workout, so I drew up a good one during his commute home! This is meant to be done at home, with nothing but you and your sneakers (and maybe a pull-up bar). You really don’t need anything else!

Sprint the Block Workout

Start the workout by walking around your block one time, or by doing a light jog. Then get back, and get through the first circuit, and go right into sprinting around your block. Don’t take a rest from there – just go right into the next set. Focus on form and function, rather than how quickly you get the exercises done. This is key! If you don’t have a pull-up bar, then go ahead and do tricep dips on a kitchen chair or coffee table.

If you get the workout done and still feel like you have a bit left, do another round. It is a very quick and efficient workout, and should take you only about 20-25 minutes. Your heart will be pumping for sure!

Do you prefer workouts at home or in a gym setting?

A 5k At The Zoo

March 4, 2013

Saturday I was up bright and early for a fun 5k at our local zoo – the Lowry Park Zoo!

Lowry Park Zoo

I won 2 free entries through Yelp a few weeks ago through a Twitter contest (see, social media pays off again!). Since I had 2 tickets, I had to grab a friend to bring along. Of course I asked Meghann, because I know she is just as likely to say yes to any type of race like I am! We met bright and early for our 7:30 start time, and danced around to keep warm until the gun went off. I was told at registration that they were expecting around 500 runners – not too shabby for a small, local race!

The gun went off and we pretty much just squeezed in with the front of the pack. We both were just looking for a training run, and didn’t even think about pushing the pace. We weaved in and out of everyone for the first few hundred yards, and then met up to run together after that. There were a lot of people in a pretty small space, and we were much more confortable after getting around the bulk of the crowd.

Lowry Park Zoo

The race took us in a local park for about a mile, and was very nice to run in. The path was well paved, and it was right on the Hillsborough River.

Lowry Park Zoo

Lowry Park Zoo

After the first mile, we headed in to the actual zoo, which was obviously the fun part! A lot of the animals were still sleeping, but we did get to see a few of them just starting their morning. It definitely made me think of Madagascar! It would be pretty fun if that was actually real life ;) I remember seeing a panther, a rhino, and my favorite… the manatees!

Lowry Park Zoo manatees

Even though I have seen so many of them since I have lived in Florida my whole life, it never seems to get old. They are just such neat animals! After running through the manatee exhibit, we came out and found ourselves a bit confused. The markings on the course we less than ideal, so we ended up having to pick which way we thought was best – which ended up being incorrect. Woops! We turned around, and had everyone else follow us as well. We weren’t in the front, but there was enough of a gap between us and the leaders that we had no clue where we were going.

Lowry Park Zoo

The next half a mile or so was just a lot of guessing. Meghann and I hoped we were headed in the right direction, but really didn’t know for sure. This wasn’t a big deal since we were not trying for a certain time, but I would have been pretty frustrated if I were trying to PR. We ended up running back along the same path that we had ran for the first mile, and pretty much just hoped we weren’t taking everyone else on a completely wrong path.

Lowry Park Zoo

A note to any race organizers – have someone run (or walk) the course that didn’t have anything to do with the planning, and see if they can figure it out. If not, be sure to place markers or volunteers at those spots. It can be as simple as using sidewalk chalk with a simple arrow, pointing runners in the right direction. They will really appreciate it. :)

We ZooZoomed around the last corner and finished with a respectable 8:20 pace. It was a very comfortable run for a chilly Saturday morning! We grabbed a few snacks and we were on our way – for these Florida girls, the 40 degree temps were enough to have us running back to our warm cars for sure!

Lowry Park Zoo


Thanks Yelp Tampa Bay for hooking Meghann and I up to run the race. We had a fun time taking in a view of the zoo we had never experienced before. I would recommend this race to families and those looking for a fun, low key race. There were no timing chips or fancy scoring – just a simple card as you crossed the finish line indicating your time and place.

Lowry Park Zoo

The race was perfect to keep my legs nice and fresh for my 19 mile long run that I had on Sunday. The weather was pretty dang chilly, so it made 3 hours of running a breeze. I hope race day is even a little bit close to that kind of weather. With a late spring race, it is not too likely – good thing I am expecting heat rather than cold weather. 53 more days until race day! This race is really starting to creep up on me!

Are you a fan of bigger, more commercialized races, or do you like the small local ones? Have you ever been lost on a race course before?


Training and Nutrition for the Young Athlete

March 1, 2013

On Wednesday, I introduced everyone to my favorite session that I attended at the ISSN Workshop. I mentioned that I had two that I loved, so here is the second one – Training and Nutrition for the Young Athlete

Dr. Jeffrey Stout led the session, and was an incredible speaker. He was very engaging and I feel like I took away so many pointers, even though it was solely based on children. He used a lot of examples from his personal life in his presentation. He has kids that are very gifted athletes, and, per his words, “uses them as his guinea pigs.” Fair enough.

Here are the biggest and best tidbits of information that he shared with us:

Kids participate in sports because they want to have fun. This has always been true. However, there are a few changes that have been happening more often:

  • Focusing on one sport as a child is becoming more and more common, but is that a good thing?
  • No longer have an off season like the past – kids train year around
  • 70% of kids drop out of youth sports by age 13 due to pressure from adults, coaches, and parents

Herbert Simon, and American political scientist, said, “It takes 10 years of extensive training to excel at anything”. This includes children in sports. According to Simon, this equates to the following:

 2.7 hours a day, per day, for 10 years –> 10,000 hours

Studies have shown that it takes 8-12 years for a talented athlete to reach elite levels. That is a pretty extensive time period if you ask me!


From childhood to adolescence marks a period of rapid growth and development and may also be a sensitive period where there is the potential for irreversible effects on the body in adulthood (Brustaert et al. 2006). Nutrient deficiency in this age could result in them not achieving their goals, and actually doing more harm than good. They could be the most talented athletes, but if they are receiving inadequate nutrition, they may not reach their full potential.

Chronic nutrient deficiencies may lead to:

  • menstrual irregularities
  • poor bone heath (stress fractures)
  • delayed puberty

These deficiencies happen most often in sports that are concerned about weight – gymnastics, cross-country, figure skating, and wrestling.  It is proven that kids need 20-30% more energy than adults for the same exercise activity – they are nowhere near as efficient since they are not as strong. Their bodies are not developed yet, so their body uses nutrients differently. Glycogen stores are lower in children compared to adults, yet children are recommended the same carbohydrate intake as adults –> 3 to 5 grams per pound. This is way too high. it should be closer to 2-3 g/lb of body weight, depending on volume and intensity of training (2 for lower intensity, 3 for higher intensity)

If calories are not met for normal growth, then there is a risk for :

  • decrease sports performance
  • increase of overtraining
  • increase risk of injury
  • increase risk of getting sick

Too many young girls try to cut out fat, but it is a terrible thing to do. They need it for neural development. They are not educated early enough that not all fat is bad. Some is incredibly integral for growth and development. 25-35% of daily energy should come from fat (10% from saturated).

A few other important nutrients and tips:


  • most important for kids in sports and when they are growing
  • .5g/lb recommended for kids
  • .4 recommended for boys ages 15-18, & .36 for girls age 15-18
  • His recommendation –> .7g/lb per day for young athletes

Bone Health and Development

  • Calcium and Vitamin D are the more important nutrients to maximize the development and peak bone mass within an individual’s genetic potential and for preventing osteoporosis
  • About half of adult bone structure is developed during teen years
  • Peak growth velocity in the skeleton occur at age 14 for males and 12.5 for girls
  • Dietary intake is leading cause of insufficiency!
  • Positive relationship between Vitamin D status compared to muscle mass, physical function, and bone mineral density
  • Growth in height in kids is significantly associated with dairy protein

Nutrient Timing

  • Pre pubescent kids use more fat and less carbs than adults
  • recent studies use more exogenous Carbs than adults – better for them to drink Gatorade
  • Study showed –> a 6% Gatorade solution resulted in 34% increase in endurance capacity compared with the 10% Gatorade

Dr. Stout mentioned that his kids use glucose tabs for fuel when they are competing. Since they are not in need of hydration for the sports they compete in (wrestling & gymnastics), they are able to get the sugar and quick surge of energy from a glucose tablet. he recommends looking for them in the diabetic section at a CVS or Walgreens.

Post Exercise

  • Rehydrate, replenish, and repair muscle
  • Chocolate Milk is best for right after a workout and kids love it

The biggest tip that Dr. Stout left us with was the following:

Kids are NOT little adults – they have different nutritional needs

I know this is a bit of a wordy post, but I think the information is too good not to share. I hope you enjoyed it! And if you get the opportunity to go to a conference like ISSN, take it! You will be happy that you did!

Did you know about the difference in kids and adult needs before reading this? I had no idea!

ISSN Sports Supplement Workshop

February 27, 2013

One of the requirements of being an NASM personal trainer is earning continuing education credits. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the ISSN Sports Supplement Workshop here in Tampa. My friend Chuck invited me to go with him, and I immediately said yes. Sports, Nutrition, Education – sign me up!

It was an all day event with multiple sessions, ranging from body building overview to a session on sports nutrition for kids.


I took notes on all of the sessions, but really want to talk about two of them.

My favorite session was actually the first one of the day – Energy Thermodynamics Revisited: A Strategy for Improving Body Composition and Performance. The two speakers were amazing – Dan Benardot  PhD,DHC, RD, LD, FACSM and Susan Kundrat, MS, RD, CSSD. Both individuals were incredibly knowledgable about the practical implications, which I really appreciated.

Here are a few highlights from Dr. Benardot:

  • Humans are energy first systems. Energy needs to be used at the right time
  • All physical activity results in an increased rate of energy expenditure and an increased rate of body fluid loss
  • Physical active people don’t eat enough and they don’t drink enough – interesting because these are they most important aspects of a prime athlete
  • Tend to supply needed energy and fluid after they need them – people don’t so this with their cars, so why do they do this with their bodies?
  • Meal Size, meal frequency & diet quality – we have control over all of these things
  • Leptin & Ghrelin – L deals with lower weight and G deals with higher weight
  • 3 meals a day from a human physiology standpoint is too little. You end up with low blood sugar. Results in increased fat intake
  • Increased energy intake is not matched with higher activity, resulting in higher body fat
  • The longer you wait in between meals, the more insulin you will make, which in turn, turns into fat quicker
  • Breakfast skipping is the worst – even before running, its important to get in at minimum 200 calories


Logic: A 25% reduction in energy intake will lead to a 25% reduction in weight

Reality:The amount of calories burned after weight loss is lower than would be expected by the amount of weight that was lost.You don’t just lose fat mass, but you also lose metabolic mass – not ideal. It becomes a temporary loss in weight, and then you bounce back up to normal.

The way we look at energy balance is not that accurate. Normally, we look at a 24 hour period, but this isn’t the right way. Our body functions differently from day to day, based on what we eat, when we exercise, etc.

Smaller, more frequent meals that dynamically match energy expenditure to stay in good energy balance throughout the day. He compared it to stopping many, many times on a cross-country trip to fill up a car –> makes perfect sense to me.

+- 400 calories throughout the day was associated with lower body fat levels. Energy balance can easily be corrected with just the moving around of some calories. For example, instead of eating a huge lunch and a small dinner, make the meals equal in calories, by not actually adding calories, just moving them around from lunch to dinner.


Susan, an incredibly smart Registered Dietician, was up next. She works with college athletes on a day to day basis to work through ways to get them to eat healthier for optimal performance. If you are a college athlete with limited funds, you may not always make the best nutritional choices. It is her job to make sure these students are educated and making good decisions.

Possible barriers to optimizing energy intake

  • sleeping in – rather than eating breakfast
  • knowing what to eat
  • learning to prepare meals and snacks
  • food cost
  • finding time to eat during the day
  • choosing high quality food

An optimum high performance nutrition program can be the difference between being a good athlete and being a great athlete


Take a 3 Tiered Approach 

  • Frequent Fueling (focus on timing)
  • High-Quality Foods and Fluids
  • Fine Tuning for Personalized Needs (weight management, bone strength, anemia prevention, immune enhancement)

Strategies for a healthy lifestyle

  • Optimize Breakfast
  • Eat every 3-4 hours during the day
  • Fuel 1-2 hour before training and within 30-35 minutes after training
  • Maximize nutrition

A few quick tips

  • Getting in fuel early in the morning is critical. Just a greek yogurt and apple juice (easy for body to break down and not acidic) is even enough
  • Optimal fats should be ingested to decrease inflammation and aid recovery – low fat diets inhibit optimal performance
  • Focus on a wide range of protein sources to reach optimal performance – 1-2 protein sources per meal
  • Branch Chain Amino Acids – aid in recovery, decrease soreness, etc.

Not eating after 7pm is a complete misnomer. People that do this actually have higher body fat percentage overall. Just be smart in what you eat throughout the day, and you will not need to even worry about such a thing. We eat food – we don’t eat nutrients or numbers.

After the session was over, we were given the chance to ask questions. I approached Susan with a question that has been on my mind lately. I asked her what she thinks of the Paleo diet trend that is going on right not. She mentioned that it is completely based on the individual. She mentioned that she has seen some good results from it, since it helps to get people to eat real food, rather than so much processed food that is out there right not. However, the same diet doesn’t work for everyone – no one should ever really be on one diet. She is all about being practical. It’s not always practical to go all one way, or all the other. Do a good mix of what works for you.

I mentioned that I really enjoyed 2 of the sessions, but I think I will have to leave you with one for now. This is a bit of information overload as it is. There was so much information presented, and I did my best to jot it down and soak it in. It was really incredible!

Have you ever been to a fitness based conference? What were your thoughts?