I just got back from the Multisport World Triathlon expo up at the Columbia University Dodge Fitness Center, where I helped man the Physical Equilibrium booth with the RD I work with as well as the owner of the company. It was an interesting experience being on the other side of the table for once!

Unfortunately I could only stay for a few hours (it’s going on all day), but I did manage to attend one of the short lectures – sports nutritionist and author Nancy Clark‘s “What makes a happy triathlete.” Nancy is someone I have heard a LOT about ever since I became interested in sports nutrition, so it was a real honor to hear her speak and chat with her for a few minutes at her booth. She was very approachable, friendly and encouraging when I explained my background and my professional goals – it was awesome finally being able to meet her!

I love her approach and her attitude towards nutrition, and she was a great speaker. I also LOVED that she bashed paleo and gluten-free diets (for those who CAN eat gluten but just choose to eliminate it – being intolerant/allergic is a different story, obviously), as I’m not a fan of them either. High quality carbs are GOOD for you – and if you’re an athlete, you need them to fuel your body!

Here are the main points of her 15 minute talk, including this first slide regarding weight which I liked:


It’s true – I have been a wide range of weights and can confirm that happiness does NOT equal a number on the scale. And in most instances that I have lost weight, it has been when I wasn’t trying at all.

A few other things that she recommends for athletes (or anyone, for that matter):

  • To compare is to despair – accept that there will always be someone fitter, thinner, faster or whatever else compared to you and focus on yourself
  • Stop trying to be perfect – let yourself be good enough
  • Fuel by day, then diet by night: She discussed chipping away a small number of calories at the end of each day, as that can make a big difference over the course of several weeks or months
  • Avoid crescendo eating, or eating more later in day (which is very typical of most Americans)
  • Instead, eat evenly throughout day – aim to eat at least three different kinds of foods every four hours
  • Prevent yourself from getting too hungry, as extreme hunger can cause binge eating or simply make you crave more unhealthy things (ex – you won’t want an apple, you’ll want apple pie) and perpetuates a bad cycle
  • Enjoy quality carbs as the foundation of each meal and protein as the accompaniment. There’s a lot of focus these days on very high protein meals, but protein and fat don’t fuel your muscles – carbs do!
  • Rest days are a crucial part of training: Muscles need time to heal and refuel and the mind needs time to rest and recharge
  • Expect to be hungry on rest days – muscles need carbs to refuel and thus demand that your glycogen stores be filled
  • Also don’t be surprised if you gain weight on rest days – this is water weight because glycogen holds water, and your muscles have become fully glycogen loaded

I wish I could’ve bought her book so she could sign it for me, but didn’t have any cash on me. I definitely want to order it though!

Have a great weekend everyone!