February 24, 2018

Interview with Dr. Evie Katahdin – Episode 18

In this podcast Ron interviews Evie Katahdin, naturopathic doctor, acupuncturist and founder of AthletiZen, specializing in sports medicine in Orange County, California. She talks about her unique means of attaining wellness. Every triathlete can benefit from her suggestions including proper fueling for performance and injury prevention.

The backbone of her program is Naturopathic Medicine – primary care medicine from a natural perspective. She address all the underlying causes of suboptimal health that hold you back on your casual morning run or your annual Ironman.

To get more information on her practice and how she can help you, please visit her website AthletiZen.com

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The 30-Minute Window for Triathletes

What do you think is the most crucial time of a training session?  Is it the first few minutes, the very end, the warm-up, or somewhere in the middle of your workout that is the most important?  It may surprise you to know the most important time is the 30 minutes directly after your workout is finished.

The time from your warm-up to the conclusion of your workout is obviously important.  Improper form, too low an intensity, too high an intensity, unsafe behavior, and other factors can ruin the effectiveness of a workout.  But even if do all of that perfectly, you can still negate the benefits of a workout by not using the 30 minute window to replenish nutrients lost during your training session.

Nutrition and Triathlete TrainingDuring a training session you are taxing your body and using up its energy stores (glycogen).  Once your workout is finished, you must replenish what you lost in order for your body to begin the process of repair.  In the 30 minutes immediately following your workout, your insulin sensitivity is at its highest and when your body is in this state, whatever nutrients you take in will be easily transported directly to your muscles, liver, and wherever else it is needed.  You will suck it up like a sponge.

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.  Can you see why post workout nutrition is so important?

Now you know why it’s important, but what should you eat or drink after a workout?

The three things you need to focus on replenishing after a workout are muscle glycogen, water, and electrolytes.  To replace muscle glycogen, you should consume something with easy to digest carbohydrates, about 1 – 1.2 grams per pound of body weight.  Simple to digest carbs include some fruits, sports drinks, white bread, simple sugar, etc.

To aid in the absorption rate of the glycogen and prevent muscle catabolism (breaking down muscle tissue for energy), 10-20 grams of easy to digest protein is ideal.  Stick with whey protein for this, or even better, hydrolyzed whey, which is already pre digested and made for easy absorption.  You can find whey protein at any nutrition store.

To replenish electrolytes, a sports drink is your best bet unless you are planning on eating a salty meal soon after your workout.  Electrolyte is basically a fancy word for sodium or salt.

You should continue the carb, protein, electrolyte consumption every two hours or so until your next major meal.  If I know I am eating an hour or two after my workout, I find that chocolate milk is a great post workout drink.  It has sugar in the milk and the chocolate to replace muscle glycogen and protein in the milk to aid in absorption.

You can get away with a bad warm-up, bad form, or improper intensity to some extent and still have a good workout, but failing to consume proper nutrition can make your workout a waste of time, and in some cases, even damaging.  Just remember the 30-minute window of opportunity and plan ahead to make sure you get proper nutrition in before the window closes.

Jarrett Pflieger

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Caffeine and Endurance Sports: Is the Hype for Real?

Caffeine and endurance sportsEndurance athletes and sleepy early morning risers have used caffeine for years. Athletes and office workers alike have used it as a way to stay alert and improve endurance. For more than 30 years it has been studied in relation to its performance enhancing ablilities and has only recently been removed from the banned substance list of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) earlier this year.

It is one of the best-researched nutritional supplements, and the overwhelming scientific evidence suggests that, in moderation, it has very few to no adverse health effects. When abused, it can cause annoying little problems such as increased urination, stomach upset, headaches and trouble sleeping. Athletes who normally avoid caffeine may experience adverse effects if they start using it as an ergogenic aid without first determining how it will affect them.

The overwhelming majority of athletes use caffeine as a performance-enhancing supplement with very few problems. Many studies have looked at the effects of caffeine on exercise and found that caffeine can delay fatigue and help increase energy levels, increase alertness and even decrease muscle pain. All these positive effects lead to workouts that are more productive, longer and often more enjoyable to the athlete. One technical reason for this is due to the effect caffeine has on the increased stimulation of the central nervous system.

The recommended dose to help enhance endurance workouts is about 6 mg per kg of body weight. The scientific literature also suggests that the risk of negitive side effects is increased if caffeine is taken in doses higher than 9 mg per kg of body weight. Caffeine is found naturally in coffee beans, tea leaves, chocolate, cocoa beans and cola nuts, and is often added to carbonated drinks. The average cup of coffee has about 60 mg to 120 mg, so it doesn’t take a whole pot of coffee to do the job.

Caffeine can be absorbed by the body very fast, with peak concentration reached in around one hour. The half-life of caffeine, the time required for the body to eliminate one-half of the total amount of caffeine, varies widely among individuals. Depending on factors such as age, liver function, pregnancy, and some medications, caffeine’s half-life is approximately five hours in healthy athletic adults. Women who take oral contraceptives can increase this time to 5–10 hours, and in pregnant women the half-life is roughly 9–11 hours. Therefore, in order to find your individual optimal time to take caffeine, it may take some experimenting.

Athletes engaged in heavy endurance training often seek additional nutritional strategies to help maximize performance, however as with any intervention or use of supplementation, individual responses will vary. Athletes should monitor their caffeine dosage strategy before putting it to the test in a competion. Caffeine can be a benefit to you in a race but does not replace a sound everyday diet.

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Healthy Fast Food

Do you have a hard time eating healthy because of your busy schedule? For days when you don’t have time to prepare a healthy meal at home, here’s a list of healthy, inexpensive meal options at popular fast food restaurants.

Healthy Fast Food Meals for Under $4

Healthy Fast Foods
El Pollo Loco

  • BRC Burrito and Side of Fresh Vegetables
  • 430 Calories, 10g Fat, 10g Fiber


  • Hamburger and Fruit n Yogurt Parfait
  • 410 Calories, 11g Fat, 2g Fiber

    Kentucky Fried Chicken

  • Honey BBQ Sandwich with Green Beans
  • 335 Calories, 4g Fat, 4g Fiber

    Jack in the Box

  • Chicken Fajita Pita
  • 310 Calories, 9.5g Fat, 4g Fiber

  • Hamburger with Fruit Cup
  • 370 Calories, 12g Fat, 3g Fiber

Healthy Fast Food Meals for Under $6

    El Pollo Loco

  • Skinless Chicken Breast, Small Side of Pinto Beans and Small Side of Vegetables
  • 370 Calories, 4g Fat, 10g Fiber


  • 6” Sandwich from 6g Fat or Less Menu with a Package of Apple Slices
  • 265-405 Calories, 3-6g Fat, 7-8g Fiber


  • Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich with No Mayo and Apple Slices
  • 370 Calories, 4.5g Fat, 3g Fiber


  • Oven Roasted Twister without Sauce and with Green Beans
  • 365 Calories, 7g Fat, 4g Fiber

  • Tender Roast Sandwich without Sauce and with a Small Corn Cob
  • 370 Calories, 4.5g Fat, 3g Fiber

  • Honey BBQ Snacker with Green Beans and a Small Corn Cobb
  • 305 Calories, 3.5g Fat, 6g Fiber

    Jack in the Box

  • Teriyaki Chicken Bowl
  • 585 Calories, 5.5g Fat, 4g Fiber

  • Asian Chicken Salad with Grilled Chicken and Low Fat Chocolate Milk
  • 365 Calories, 4g Fat, 6.5g Fiber

This information was brought to you by OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice. OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services for Triathica. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS, MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
(949) 933-6788

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Hydration Tips for Triathletes

Hydration Tips for TriathletesWater. We all know how essential it is to athletes, but how much is enough and when should we drink it? How will it affect our performance?

The answers to some of these questions are complicated and can be critical to the endurance athlete. Many factors determine the proper amount, including your weight, body chemistry, fitness condition, diet, and the environment in which you plan to compete in.

Dehydration in a competition can be very serious and inadequate water consumption can be physically harmful. A loss of 2% of body weight due to sweating can lead to a drop in blood volume. When this occurs, the heart works harder in order to move blood through the bloodstream. Pre-hydration and re-hydration are vital to maintaining cardiovascular health, proper body temperature and muscle function.

All exercisers can increase performance, delay fatigue and muscle pain by staying properly hydrated. Athletes are more prone to suffer symptoms of dehydration. However, drinking 12 – 16 ounces of water one to two hours before exercising helps to pre-hydrate before an event.

You can also get a very good idea of how much you need to re-hydrate by weighing yourself before and after your workouts. Any weight decrease is probably due to water loss (sorry, but you didn’t just lose two pounds of body fat). If you have lost two or more pounds during your workout you should drink 24 ounces of water for each pound lost.

Another regimentation is to consume three to six ounces of water for every 20 minutes of exercise. Keep in mind that each person’s sweat rate is different; slightly less is required for smaller athletes in mild environmental conditions; more, for larger and competitive athletes at higher intensities in warmer environments.

Endurance athletes may need to drink fluids containing sodium, which you lose through perspiration. These are athletes who are performing at a high intensity for 90 minuets or more. During normal training it is not necessary to replace losses of sodium, potassium and other electrolytes during exercise since you’re unlikely to deplete your body’s stores.

Researchers have found that many sports drinks lack enough sodium to do much good, but some can be better than none. Before a long workout or an event, consider consuming extra sodium with meals and snacks. Those who are competing in extreme conditions over five or six hours, such as an Ironman or ultra-marathon, you will want to add a complex meal replacement drink with electrolytes.

Many commercial sport drinks are effective and contain water, sugars, and electrolytes. However, most commercial sport drinks contain just slightly less than the amount in your average soft drink and juice. You can make your own sport drinks by diluting two parts of a sugared soft drink with one part water and adding salt, about 1/8 teaspoon per quart.

The best advice is just to drink plenty of fluids on all days, training or not. Do not wait until a competition to work on hydrating yourself adequately. Drink, drink, drink and do not rely on thirst to regulate your fluid intake.

Alyson Wolfe

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Periodizing Your Nutrition

Successful triathletes know that periodizing their training is the key to getting the best results possible. Periodization is defined as the “progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period of time.” When an athlete periodizes their training, they basically break down their training year into smaller cycles. Each cycle’s goal is different and works on a different aspect of a triathlete’s performance. One cycle may be to focus on longer and slower distances to increase endurance, while another cycle may focus on higher intensity efforts to raise an athlete’s lactate threshold and enable them to go faster while fatiguing less.

When an athlete changes up their training like this, their nutritional requirements also change. In order to get the most out of training, the foods you eat should change along with your training. How does this work?

Once we start thinking about food as fuel, it becomes clearer. When you are in your highest volume of training, your body needs extra fuel to give your body the energy it needs to get through your workouts. When in the offseason or a lower volume cycle, the goal should be eating clean foods and managing or losing any extra weight.

Nutrition tips for triathletesMany athletes make the mistake of trying to lose a few extra pounds before a race, but this is when you need to be keeping your body adequately fueled by eating more. The time to lose weight is not in the cycle leading up to the race, but much earlier during offseason or a low intensity cycle far out from your race.

Here are a few guidelines to help you periodize your nutrition along with your training:

- If you need to lose extra weight, stick with a high lean protein diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. Keep carbohydrate intake to a minimum. This should only be done far out from a race when training volume is low.

- When your training starts to increase during a build phase, begin to incorporate more whole grains and complex carbohydrates into your diet. Stick with whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal, etc. Try to stay away from processed carbs, sugars, and fatty foods. Make sure to indulge every once in a while, but don’t overdo it.

- During your race phase, make sure you are taking in plenty of complex carbs to fuel your intense workouts. This is not the time to go on a diet and limit your calories.

- Just listen to your body and increase caloric intake slowly to discourage rapid weight gain. If you are not hitting your goal times and have trouble completing longer distance workouts, you might not be eating enough. If you start gaining weight rapidly, you may be eating too much.

A certified dietitian can help you create a custom nutrition plan. If you need some help creating a periodized training plan, consult a certified triathlon coach. Get your nutrition plan on pace with your training plan and you will be surprised at what you can do.

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Using Nutrition to Optimize Recovery

Triathletes NutritionDid you know that adjusting the timing and nutrient composition of your after workout meals can increase your energy, enhance your ability to gain muscle mass and improve your performance in subsequent workouts?

The two-hour window

Your body has an enhanced ability to replenish muscle glycogen stores (one of your main fuel sources during workouts) and repair muscle tissue during the two hours following a workout. In order to optimize recovery, make sure to consume a recovery snack within 30 minutes of your workout and a real meal within two hours. The recovery snack and real meal should include carbohydrates and protein.

When choosing drinks, bars or other recovery foods, look for a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein. Here are a few recovery recommendations for drinks, bars and other foods.

Recovery drinks

• Low fat milk, chocolate milk or soymilk
• Recovery shake made with milk/yogurt, fruit & 1 scoop of whey protein
• Light Muscle Milk with a banana
• Endurox R4
• P90X Recovery Drink

Recovery bars

• Kashi Go Lean
• Luna
• Powerbar Harvest
• Clif Bars
• Balance or Zone Bar with fruit

Other convenient recovery foods

• Low fat yogurt or cottage cheese & fruit
• Sandwich containing lean meats or peanut butter
• Lean Ole’ frozen burrito from Costco
• BRC burrito from El Pollo Loco

Recovery nutrition is most important following:
• Intense aerobic workouts longer than 90 minutes with less than 24 hours of recovery
• Intense resistance training

This information was brought to you by OC Nutrition, your trusted source for health & nutrition advice. OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services for Triathica. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS, MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
(949) 933-6788

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Triathlon Training Diet Tips

Triathletes Diet tipsGetting the proper nutrition before an event is an important aspect of your triathlon training. Proper nutrition before, during and after an event will help you prepare, compete and recover from your competition. Focusing on your triathlon nutrition and planning your meals is a great way to provide confidence in knowing that you have the best possible nutritional preparation before an event.

Planning out your diet during triathlon training can help ensure you are meeting your body’s increased nutrient requirements. When designing your nutritional plan for training, you can individualize your plan based on your personal training levels. The increased nutrient requirements will depend on your training volumes, frequency and intensity. Your requirements will also vary during the different training phases of the year.

Some basic guidelines that will help you meet a triathlon training diet are:

1. Eat a variety of food from each of the four major food groups each day. Make sure you stick with breads and cereals, vegetables and fruits, milk, and dairy products, and lean meats like poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and/or meat substitutes like lentils, chickpeas, soy beans and other beans. Processed foods should be avoided as much as possible.

2. If you must choose pre-prepared foods, drinks and snacks, pick those that are low in fat (especially saturated fat) and salt.

3. Drink plenty of fluids each day.

4. Supplements are not the answer! Often when triathletes reach for supplements they choose supplements that are not appropriate for their needs. Triathletes sometimes forget that the nutrients they try to get from supplements have been scientifically proven to be more beneficial when found in its natural form in food. Anything you get in a supplement can be found in food. Supplements are just more convenient sometimes, but not necessarily more effective.

5. Get enough vitamins and minerals: Vitamins B, C, and E as well as adequate amounts of Iron, calcium and zinc, these are all key to a healthy training diet.

Remember that the above are general nutrition guidelines that provide the foundation for a healthy diet. A triathlete should eat a wide variety from each of the food groups to ensure they are getting the nutrients the body needs. In doing this, you will also have more of a variety in meals.

The optimal diet for peak performance will vary with the athlete just like training must vary from person to person. Everyone cannot eat the same thing and get the same results. The bottom line is that you must discover what verity works for you and your bodies’ needs. Experiment and don’t assume that you have found the only combination that works for you. Sometimes a small change can make a big difference.

Alyson Wolfe

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