Master of Science degree in Exercise Physiology. I am a certified sports nutritionist through the International Society of Sports Nutrition,I teach spinning and I am CPR certified. I have finished the 2006 Boston marathon, 2006 IMFL, 2007 Ironman world Championship and I am qualified for the 2007 Ironman 70.3 World Championship. I write for Triathlete magazine and I love writing for BT.com!
January 2010 Nutrition Chat with Coach Marni Rakes
Discussions on the number of meals to eat, carbo loading, good carbs and breakfast, peanut butter and whey protein.
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[losta] What are good supplements for triathletes? I keep hearing Omega 3's and Vitamin D are very important.
[mrakes1] I believe nutrients should be from the diet (fruits and veggies). However, in terms of supplements I believe amino acids (Hammer) and whey protein (I recommend Body Fortress) are the most advantageous products for triathletes. In an effort to improve recovery and promote strength gains, proper recovery is key. I do agree that a fish oil supplement is helpful for inflammation.
[losta] What fruits and veggies give the most bang for the buck?
[mrakes1] As for vitamin D, there is some new research demonstrating it’s health benefits (haven’t read a lot on athletes) but sunlight is the best way to receive vitamin D. Of course, drinking your milk can help as well. I would suggest thinking of color at each meal and snack. Berries and leafy greens are powerhouses for antioxidants so I would start there. I also recommend apples, pears and bananas for fiber. As for nutrients beneficial for triathletes, citrus fruits provide lots of water and nutrients that will help with your overall diet and exercise performance.
It’s one thing to recommend fruits and veggies but getting athletes to eat their fruit and veggies (emphasis on veggies) is sometimes easier said than done.
[losta] Do you recommend many small meals as opposed to 3 big meals?
[mrakes1] I recommend three meals around 350-500 calories and 3-5 snacks around 150-225 calories. It all depending on your daily caloric needs (recommended calories). The easiest way to ensure that you are fueling and recovering from exercise is to add in 100-150 extra calories (per hour of daily training) to your daily recommended calories. I suggest adding those calories to your day in the form of post-workout snacks (smoothie, milk, yogurt, fruit, etc.)
[losta] Are any veggies bad?
[mrakes1] No bad veggies in my opinion. Veggies and fruit provide fiber and water which can promote fullness at meals and snacks, in addition to keeping the body healthy.
[losta] Do you have any suggestions for race day nutrition?
[mrakes1] My biggest tip is to not overeat the night before the race. For races lasting more than 2 hours, I suggest “carbo” loading (if necessary) on the 2nd night before the race. Here’s a blog article I wrote that may be helpful. Are you training for an event right now?
[losta] This year I am doing 2 Olys and and HIM. I just started doing tris last year I did 4 sprints and lost 50 lbs since I started training in April, I want to lose 50 more sometime this year. What about good carbs? I usually eat whole wheat toast with a tbs of peanut butter for breakfast - is that a good thing?
[mrakes1] What I like about whole grain toast and PB is the combination of protein and complex carbs. That is a great strategy for planning all of your meals and snacks. with the healthy fats in PB you also keep yourself satisfied. Good carbs should include fiber, whole grains and little sugar (or processing).
[losta] I usually have oatmeal about an hour or 2 later.
[mrakes1] I recommend Nature's Own high fiber bread for a quality bread choice or flat out wraps. Just be sure that your light bread has whole grains as the first ingredient and includes at least 3g fiber. The PB is a good choice to keep you satisfied and I am all for oatmeal. Excellent breakfast, snack or meal!
[losta] Any peanut butter you recommend? I’m looking for a new one.
[mrakes1] I like any kind of natural PB. I recommend Skippy natural or Smucker’s natural. Also JIF has a natural as well. While the calories do not differ in natural or regular PB you are eliminating a ton of ingredients and partially hydrogenated oils in regular PB. For as much of your diet as possible, the less ingredients the better.
[losta] I got a new one that is organic and natural but I just noticed it has palm oil and I’ve heard it was a bad oil, is that correct?
[mrakes1] Palm oil is fine, look for unsaturated fats versus saturated fats so that you can include healthy fats in the diet, as opposed to unhealthy fats.
Many PB manufactures are creating natural PB so there are a lot of varieties out there. Just spend your money wisely and look for deals. Also, most of the jars are the same so check how many servings you get per PB jar. The size of the jar may differ but most PB’s have similar amounts of servings for the small and large jars.
[hykkin] What is the ratio of carb vs fat vs protein that I should be eating? I work out an average of 2 hours a day, at about 70-80% intensity. I’m trying to lose weight, but want to have the energy to keep working out as I have been.
[mrakes1] I always recommend around 50-60% carbs, 20-25% protein and 20-25% fat. By timing your nutrition with your training *focusing on pre and post training snacks, you will find that you will have more energy for workouts, recover faster and hopefully see a change in your body composition.
I suggest bumping up your intensity for shorter workouts (less than an hour) but focusing on protein post workout (liquid protein such as whey protein, milk or yogurt)
[losta] Can you tell us more about whey protein?
[mrakes] I recommend a whey protein that has whey as the first ingredient (isolate or concentrate)> I also recommend a protein that is affordable, has around 80-120 calories per scoop and at least 18g protein. I recommend body fortress because it mixes well in milk/water and makes for a delicious smoothie.
Whey protein is an excellent source of amino acids and has a high biological value of protein. Compared to a processed food that is high in protein, when you have whey (eggs or milk are high ranking but not as high) you receive 100% of the protein listed on the nutrition label.
Whey protein will promote muscle protein synthesis as well as helping you resynthesize muscle glycogen when combined with carbs post workout.
[losta] When is a good time to have whey protein?
[mrakes] The most beneficial time is immediately post workout (I suggest with carbs). However, you still want a real meal so be sure to not overdo it if making a smoothie. However, whey protein can make for a great breakfast (or anytime meal) smoothie if you need a quick meal.
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