Over the next few days I’ll be giving you a recap of the time I spent at Trimarni triathlon camp in Clermont Florida. As I look back on camp I reflect not only on what an amazing experience it was for the athletes but also how I’ve grown as a person.
As a child I never looked forward to camp. This introvert couldn’t wait to get back home the second I was dropped off. I couldn’t wait to get back to my familiar surroundings, my comfort zone, my quiet place.
I’m proud to say I survived triathlon camp!
I was able to hang with 23 other people, for 4 days in a fast paced, high energy living situation and be okay. That’s what life’s all about right? Stretching your comfort zone. Being able to handle situations that you think might make you feel uncomfortable. And, putting yourself in situations that will encourage you to grow and adapt.
Before I tell you all about triathlon camp in Clermont Florida with the Trimarni team, let me backup and explain how I got involved with camp in the first place without being a triathlete.
In early January I received an email from Marni with Trimarni Nutrition and Coaching explaining that she and Karel had an idea for their camps. Okay…ideas are always interesting, right?
So, I read on.
Their idea was to add a new service to their camps that would obviously benefit camp triathletes. They wanted that extra something to take their camps to the next level. Their idea was to have someone grocery shop, prepare and cook meals for the athletes who attend camp and that “someone” was ME!
Wow, I thought “this would be a great opportunity for both me and the campers”. Previously, camp athletes did their own grocery shopping, meal prep and cooking. Having meals prepared after a long day of training seemed like it would be an amazing treat.
The idea behind this upgrade?
To allow athletes to give 100% at camp. This upgrade would allow campers to relax more in the small amount of downtime they would have during camp. They would also have time to socialize with other campers or catch a nap if needed.
But, the most obvious reasons to add this upgrade to triathlon camps
- Nourish and fuel the athlete body for the next workout but ALSO keep the athlete body nourished for the next day of training
- Allow the athlete body to recover quicker for the next workout AND the next day of training
When I read Marni’s idea and proposal on how we might make this work, my first thought was “I have no idea how to feed 24 people let alone hungry triathletes”. My second thought was “HELL YEAH, this is exactly what athletes need at camp, right?”.
My official training is in nutrition and I’m a registered dietitian but I love cooking good, nourishing food. I understand how important it is to feed your body not deprive it, especially an athlete’s body. Food is fuel and the right foods can boost mood, performance, endurance and recovery. I love helping my Ironman husband stay well nourished and thought it would be so fun to help fellow athletes keep their bodies nourished during camp.
And that’s why I said YES to this project.
Day #1 Trimarni Triathlon Camp (half-day)
Wednesday March 11th and camp check-in day!
Nutrition for Triathlon Camp Performance
“Food nourishes you, brings people together, and I feel anyone can bond over food” ~Laura Prepon
Snacks – 3pm
- Hummus with pita chips
- Cut veggies (bell pepper, tomatoes, snow peas, celery, baby carrots)
- Nuts and olives
- Fresh cut fruit
Day #1; check-in at 3pm equals anxious, nervous, tired, excited AND hungry triathletes.
As the quote says food brings people together and it helps them bond. Snacks were ready for triathletes as they arrived at the house between 3pm and 4pm. It was important for them to feel welcome but also have something in their bellies before they’re scheduled “social” spin at 4:15pm.
I prepared quick and easy, “healthier” finger food snack options. Having finger foods available allowed them to snack while being mobile to work on their bike, socialize and relax. The snacks provided color, nutrients, crunch and yumminess all the while creating happy tastebuds with a combination of sweet and salty.
Snacks, with color, are a great way to sneak in those micronutrients or what we (dietitians) like to call vitamins and minerals. I always say that many times the main focus is making sure to eat enough carbs and protein and in doing so making sure to eat a variety of micronutrients gets forgotten. BUT the vitamins and minerals are what help keep your body tuned up and running like a high performance car.
As the athletes prepared for and enjoyed their ride I worked to get dinner ready.
Dinner – 6pm
- Quinoa coconut vegetable soup (one pot vegan and one pot with ground turkey)
- Warm bread and butter
- Leftover snacks
The idea behind dinner was meant to be light but also nourishing and filling.
So soup it was.
I love how soup can be the vehicle for all things nutritious and delicious. Vegetable soup allows you to create a full meal by adding in more hearty ingredients like quinoa and beans. A great meal to serve at triathlon camp.
I grabbed the vegetable soup recipe from Cookie + Kate. If you’ve never used any of her recipes, just know, they’re great! With the help from Kate, not Cookie she’s the dog, I was able to put together this tasty soup. In each pot I added a variety of vegetables (or what I like to call the rainbow) like carrots, celery, onion, cremini mushrooms, bell pepper, zucchini, squash, canned tomatoes and kale.
I had green beans to add, but in the chaos of making sure I was doing everything I needed to do, I forgot to add them.
I also added quinoa, but not quite as much as Kate recommended, I added a can of white kidney beans and a can of coconut milk (this is where the gold is). If you don’t cook with coconut milk you should start. It just adds another layer of flavor that’s so RICH and DELICIOUS! And, as Kate recommended I did add a squeeze of lemon at the end to brighten the mouthwatering flavors of the soup. Warm bread and butter was served on the side.
This was a pot FULL of NUTRIENTS! The quinoa and beans provided carbohydrates and plant protein. The variety of vegetables provided fiber, vitamins and minerals and plant compounds like antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. EVERYTHING a triathlete needs.
Note: Including a variety of vegetables into your meals is so important. Remember, this is where you can get a lot of your vitamins and minerals and these are what help your body run like a well tuned high performance car.
This quinoa coconut vegetable soup provided (but not limited to) vitamin C to support your immune system during the 4 days of intense training, B vitamins to assist your body in creating much needed energy, potassium to help your muscles contract and magnesium to help your muscles from cramping, calcium and phosphorus for bone health, antioxidants to help counteract oxidation from long days of training and anti-inflammatories to help with quicker recovery from those long days of training.
To address everyone’s needs; for the meat eaters ground turkey was added to one pot of soup. This added more protein (and maybe flavor…) and for the vegans/vegetarians and others with specific ways of eating, one pot was kept a plant based soup and gluten-free by using coconut milk instead of cow’s milk and quinoa instead of a gluten grain or pasta. And lastly, both parmesan cheese and nutritional yeast were available on the side.
So I learned a couple of things from the first meal at camp…prepare MORE soup and definitely have MORE BREAD!
As Marni would say…we love our carbs, we don’t practice the keto diet here at camp!
Try this Coconut Quinoa Vegetable Soup at Home
This is a quick and easy meal that you can make at home to nourish and fuel your athlete body. Making soup allows you to be creative and use ingredients that bring joy to your taste buds.
Taking time to meal prep and cook this soup will ensure you have nutritious food in the fridge to help your body recover when you’re done with your workout. I suggest that when you meal prep for the week include one soup. You can keep the entire soup in the refrigerator and eat on it for a few days that week OR you can freeze half and have it available for the next week.
To make this soup mid-week prep your veggies and have them ready to go. Mid-week always gets crazy, right? Clean and de-rib the kale (wrap it in a cloth and store in the fridge) and clean the mushrooms (slice them when you’re ready to make the soup). Chop the carrots and celery and submerge them in water, to keep them fresh until you cook the soup. Lastly, chop the bell pepper, zucchini, squash and green beans and store them in an air-tight container. There, now you’re ready to create a delicious meal mid-week.
If you want to create a more “hearty” soup add more quinoa and beans (if your tummy can handle this). Or you can try adding tempeh, tofu or soy crumbles. You can change out the carbohydrate and use farro, barley or orzo. Make this soup YOUR creation.
All in all, even though I felt we could have used more food I think the first (half) day of camp was a success! I made it through without any major snafus, without losing my mind, without spilling or burning the food and with ALL my fingers.
Be sure to stick around…I’ll be filling you in on the other 4 days at triathlon camp and how it went.
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Dietitian Kathleen and Kona-Qualifier Don Oswalt
Welcome to Eat Love Triathlon! We’re Don and Kathleen your go-to dietitian and triathlete. Together, we’re here to share our latest and greatest tips, with you, on how to be a well-balanced triathlete with nutrition, triathlon and keeping harmony in your relationships. We’re excited you’ve stopped by, happy reading and don’t be shy about reaching out. We’d love to hear from you!