Skip navigation

Jessi Stensland - Adventures in Endurance Performance

4 Posts tagged with the nutrition tag

It wasn't hard to come up with this year's list.  The smarter the world is getting in the world of human performance, the more options that are being created to facilitate all the right stuff! More options has made for quite a long list. Enjoy!





Before hydration, nutrition and movement strategies should come great sleep strategies. My favorite definition: "The suspension of consciousness when the powers of the body are restored."


Gear to go for: The Zeo Sleep Manager



What gets measured gets improved.  Think of it as a power meter for your  recovery.   Like a power meter for the bike, the tool itself it won't make you sleep more or better, but by having quantitative data to measure, track and analyze, you can get to know more about your sleep habits and implement strategies to make quantitative improvements in your sleep and ultimately your performance.



I first heard about the Zeo Sleep Manager from Dr. Allen Lim who was using it as a training tool with the riders he was working with.  He spoke about how on  any given day, the squad might have an A, B or C ride (differing in  distance and intensity.) Which ride the riders were allowed to do on a particular day was dependent on their quality of sleep the night before as indicated by their Zeo Sleep Score.   Something else he mentioned that stood out: if one gets one more hour  of sleep per day in the week before a race, they will perform better in the race.   How great is that.  Sleep to perform better? I love learning things like this.


Zeo Sleep Manager has both a bedside unit (above) and the new mobile version (below right.) On the left is a sample of a graph you'll get every morning of your sleep patterns along with an overall sleep score.  My PR is 155! I love sleep.








Work IT | Happy, strong feet!

The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering + a work of art. - Leo da Vinci

So true IF you let them be themselves.


"Phalangeal Freedom + Phalangeal Fitness = Phalangeal Fun"

...says Mark Verstegen of Athletes' Performance.


Gear to go for: Vibram 5 Finger Shoes


Forget about running in them for a moment.  Forget about fashion and think function. There are so many  things your foot, all of it, would love to do with you:  walk, strength train, skip, hike.  There are numerous muscles of the foot and they want to be loved and put to work.  Most shoes force the foot into an unnatural shape (similar to a cast.)  They can limit mobility of the certain joints necessary for natural motion and they often soften the forces the foot has to withstand during activities thereby allowing some muscles to weaken and others to have to compensate, often unhappily.  Just like bigger muscles you can see and feel like glutes, quads, biceps and triceps, the muscles of the foot must be strengthed gradually to handle increased loads.  Depending on your level of phalangeal fitness, Vibram Five Fingers may be an even better option than simply going barefoot as they also help spread the toes.


I'm amazed I have seen only one, ONE, other person doing their movement/strength training in my local gym in Five Fingers.  Running shoes, cycling shoes, casual shoes more the norm.  Let's move it!


Your feet are a huge part of your performance.  You wouldn't wear mitts when swinging a bat, club or racket would you?  Have fun with them this year.



Get IT | Smooth, supple muscles.

How?  By hydrating, eating right, massaging tight tissues and activating, strengthening and stabilizing other muscles.


Gear to go for:  Self-Massage Tools




Self-massage tools should be just that: tools. Not crutches. Trigger Point Performance has lead the way with their tools and concurrent education.  I go no where without my GRID, Quadballer and Massage Ball.


A new kid on the block that I immediately put to use and is now a permanent addition to my gear bag is the Myorope.  Although I maintain my movement so well I rarely need to spend much time with the tools, they are an important part of my pre-covery and recovery strategies.



Move IT | Whenever, wherever.

Wherever you are, be there.

Gear to go for:  Gaiam's Travel Yoga Mat


Why I love it: It takes up virtually no space.  Great for adding to a gear bag so you don't have an additional item to carry.  Also perfect for the frequent traveler who doesn't mind others turning their heads while he or she indulges in some pre-flight movement preparation (or post-flight when waiting for a ride while everyone else is in line at Dunkin' Donuts OR when one misses a flight and has to spend a night in the airport in which case it pairs well with the TP Therapy GRID as a head rest.)



Reduce and Reuse IT | For yum on the run.

Gear to go for:  To-Go Ware RePEat Utensil Set


I have saved the lives of more plastic forks, spoons, knives and even chopsticks than I can count since I started carrying these with me.  Not only great for the environment but for convenience as well.  They are incredibly handy, wash easily and are just plain bamboo cool.




Create IT | Au Natural Beauty

If you wouldn't want to eat it, why would want to smear it on your face?"

...says Supermodel Sunny Griffin in this video from The Cool Vegetarian.

Gear to go for:  Organic Body Care Recipes

Organic Body Care Recipes


Stephanie Tourles offers a better solution to  everyone frustrated with  the endless cycle of expensive, synthetic,  famous-name cosmetics that  often fall short of expectations. With Organic Body Care Recipes you  can take control of beauty treatments  with homemade products that use  safe, nourishing ingredients to pamper  the body and soothe the senses. Click on the book to read more about  Organic Body Care Recipes.



Prepare IT | Athlete Food Fast

"Skills in the kitchen, rather than skills on the bike,  were such a limiting factor for so many of the athletes I was working  with.” - Biju Thomas

Gear to go for: The Feed Zone by Allen Lim and Biju Thomas



I'm a huge fan of Biju and Allen's work.


Get a glimpse of their genius in the videos below:


Dr. Allen Lim's Beet Juice


Dr. Allen Lim's Rice Cakes





Get After IT | Be great. Train great. Race great.

Get after it with...

A week of individualized performance training + nutrition with Jessi


A week of training at Athletes' Performance in PHX, Dallas, LA or Gulf Breeze


A race entry


A mountain bike skills clinic


A Functional Movement Screen


A massage






Jessi Stensland | Elite Multisport Athlete | MovementU

1,834 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: running, cycling, swimming, triathlon, nutrition, endurance, performance, multisport, holiday, jessi_stensland, jessi, stensland, functional_training, movement, self-massage

My race nutrition routine has evolved over the years and continues to evolve, especially as I adventure into new sports, distances, and race environments. It seems though that the basics continue to stay the same.


I’ve learned from other athletes and professionals, from literature, and from my own experiences in training and in racing.  I’ve especially learned from my mistakes!


  • I’ve eaten what I thought was too little and had one of the strongest finishes of my life.

  • I’ve eaten way too much the night before and felt super sluggish all race.

  • I’ve eaten too much of one particular thing the night before and had to pit-stop during the race.

  • I was having a yummy cookies n’ cream protein bar minutes prior to one of my first triathlons when a seasoned pro came up to me and told me that’s the last thing I should be eating.

  • I added up my pre-race nutrition for another seasoned pro who’d asked me:  900 calories (450 liquid plus one banana plus one CLIF Bar in the two hours before a race) and was told that was WAY too much.

  • I’ve had too many electrolytes the night before and gotten severe cramps.

  • I’ve had too little electrolytes the morning of and gotten severe cramps.

  • I’ve split my calories needed on the bike between liquid and gels but my body rebelled against taking the gels in the heat.

  • I’ve brought food along with me that became too hard to chew due to cold temperatures on race day.


Everyone is different, but this is what works for me.




Leading up to the race start, my routine is the same no matter what type of race or distance.


1.     Upon waking up I have two scoops of SportQuest CarboPro (224 calories of pure complex carbohydrate) with water and a bit of juice and drink it with four SportQuest Recover capsules. Doing this immediately in the morning is ideal because the body is craving hydration and carbohydrate after having been starved during the hours of your sleep.  Because the complex carbohydrates are in liquid form, they are easily digestible and get the digestive system woken up quickly which helps to eliminate waste from the previous day in plenty of time before race start.


2.     I prepare two water bottles:  one for pre-race and one for post-race.  They each have two scoops of CarboPro and some electrolytes (SportQuest Thermolyte or Nuun.)   I will sip on one bottle leading up to the race start.  If I am not hungry for real food, I’ll finish that whole bottle, which makes 450 calories total.  If I do feel like eating food, I’ll have a banana and a CLIF Bar with me to nibble on.  I try not to eat anything solid during the two hours before the race.  Between the food and the calories in the water bottle, I’ll try not to exceed 500 calories total pre-race. I also have another water bottle on hand with water only to sip on if I feel like it during those hours as well.  I usually bring it with me to the race start for the last few sips.


3.     Thirty minutes prior to the race I take four SportQuest Vantage VO2Max capsules and two SportQuest Motivator capsules.




This depends on what type of race. 


Running:  I won’t take additional calories with me in races up to 60 minutes which is roughly a 10 miler or 15k.  Over and above that I will take a gel packet every 20-30 minutes with water.


Triathlon:  I take 200-250 calories per hour on the bike.  In sprint to olympic distance races I take one bottle with me on the bike with two scoops of Carbo Pro plus electrolytes.  On the run, I bring one gel pack with me and take it in the first ten minutes of the run.  In half-ironman distances (the longest I’ve done) where the bike takes two and a half to three hours, I split 750 calories of CarboPro plus electrolyte between two bottles and then take water only from the aid stations as needed.  On the run I will take one gel packet every 20-30 minutes.




I grab the bottle I’d mixed earlier that morning that has two scoops of CarboPro plus electrolytes and drink it along with four Recover capsules within the thirty minutes following the race.  I’ll have a banana and CLIF bar on hand to supplement that or take advantage of any good options the race might provide.  Later that day I usually plan to have a balanced meal.  Typically though I’ll admit, I do indulge in whatever my mind desires, and get back on the program the following day!  I’m only human : )


Happy trails!

3,445 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: training, running, triathlon, nutrition, jessi_stensland

The sandwich i got at Quiznos today on my drive in the middle of nowhere Arizona, was awful. It looked awful and tasted awful - nothing like the ingredients that it was made of. Crazy part is, not awful enough for me to not eat it, opting not to cause a scene since i was traveling on business and wanted to enjoy a nice conversation instead of being the negative ninny. I am horrified at what people consider food these days. Poor quality concoctions being engineered that are not only accepted as edible, but accepted in business to sell and serve. Right down to our kids school lunches. My sandwich was nothing compared to the poor quality, poor taste, and nutritional content, or lack there of, that our children are being fed. This is what they are LEARNING about food. Talk about mediocrity. Thank goodness for the school garden projects, helping kids see food as it should be from conception to ingestion, though they are far and few between.


Believe me, i've had my fair share of processed foods, but i attempt to minimize, always, in the hopes of building up the right habits to eliminate completely. So, about half way through last year i adopted one of my Can Do Rules to kick off my get-back-on-the-right-nutrition-track since i was then just getting back into training. I couldn't take it all on at once (planning out # of calories, timing, etc.) so my first rule became, "I don't care what/when/how you eat, but whatever you put in your mouth has to be quality, whole, nutritionally dense food." That means either the ingredients are never in packaging or if they are, there are few, and i can understand all of the ingredients, and more often than not, can point directly to them in the food i'm eating. For example, energy bars. A few of my newfound favorites are:


Go Raw: Sprouted Organic Buckwheat Groats, Sprouted Organic Sunflower Seeds,

Sprouted Organic Flax Seeds, Sprouted Organic Sesame Seeds, Organic

Raisins Organic Dates


LARABAR: Dates, Almonds, Unsweetened Cherries


CLIF Bar Nectar Bar: Organic Apricots, Organic Dates, Organic Almonds, Organic Cranberries, Organic Apple Juice Concentrate.


They are so tasty, and it's amazing to actually be able to taste the actual ingredients, one by one, in them!


Talk about things people are calling food lately: My mom was given a Fiber One bar recently, and, having been told she should be increasing her fiber intake, thought it would be a good addition. She commented on how super sweet and candybar-like the Fiber One bar was. We must've gotten talking about ingredients and when she looked, she couldn't believe what she saw. She's a healthy eater too, but never thought to check. Mac Daddy Marketing did their job. This is what she saw (enjoy my narration):


Fiber One Bar Ingredients: Chicory root extract (what?), chocolate chips with confectioners shellac (what?) (chocolate chips, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, dextrose, milk fat, soy lecithin, ethanol, shellac, hydrogenated coconut oil), rolled oats (ok, i can live with that one), crisp rice (oh, but not JUST crisp rice: rice

flour, sugar, malt, salt), barley flakes (can handle that too), high maltose corn syrup, but that's not all, also, high fructose corn syrup, more sugar, canola oil (#3 not so bad), honey (#4 acceptable), glycerin...and that's only half of the list...i can't take it any more.


I'll leave it at that, for now. Read labels. Pay an extra buck - sometimes not even. Are you worth it to you?


Also, it's not only nutrition we get from these quality bars. Log onto for example and you don't see flashy advertisments, but a simple note mentioning their partnership with Project Education Sudan: to build a kitchen and dining facility at a secondary school in MAAR, Sudan. Or CLIF Bar with their many big picture partnerships like Leave No Trace or Winter Wildlands Alliance. I'm commited to not only enjoying this awesome food, but supporting people and companies who are making a difference, not just a buck. Hope you'll join me.


Enjoy your eats!!



2,359 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: nutrition, jessi_stensland


I'm often asked, "What do you eat?"


And my answer nowadays is:  "Do want me to tell you how I eat or do you just want me to tell you what you want to hear?"


Haha...That's because it started to feel like every single time I gave my pretty simple, concise, no fluff (and ok, probably boring, but its nutrition, not nunchucks) answer, it just would NOT be enough, and the conversation that ensued always seemed to be trying so hard to justify other nutritional habits albeit with a slight grin or knowing tone that says "AH I know, but...!!"   Prefacing my answer with the question above has seemed to help. A bit.


Yes there are guidelines, see below, that are not rocket science; they are not trends; and we've all heard them before. 


My number one rule of thumb is to first:


EAT LIKE A HEALTHY PERSON SHOULD EAT...then add on nutrition as needed for workouts/races and overall training load.


Too often I've seen people spending too much time worrying about supplementing, yet not giving their body a great springboard with a simple healthy diet.  Check out PhenomeNall Nutrition for just this kind of approach from Olympic Swimmer (and someone i adore) Anita Nall Richesson.


I'll discuss my sports nutrition in an upcoming blog that will feed off this one (no pun intended!)


More often what is more important are the SOLUTIONS that help stick to the guidelines.  For example here's one that worked for me:


Pick one rule to stick to first.  That's what I needed to do when I was getting back on the wagon after my two year hiatus during which, i'll admit, I allowed myself to have no rules (that said, lucky for me, I was raised with some basic principles - thanks to Mom - that I could never fall TOO far off of good nutrition.) For my first rule I decided on this:  "Whatever you eat, eat clean." I didn't care how much I put in my body or when or what, as long as it was always clean food (minimally processed, minimal ingredients, local, fresh, raw when possible.)  That alone changed my shopping habits to a degree:  It made me explore new products and had me frequenting the smaller, local, healthful grocers, all the time, instead of the big chain grocery stores, which I now utilize only in emergencies, though I realize i'm lucky and have a few great options very close to my home.  There is just SO little in those bigger stores that is unprocessed or even minimally processed.


__________________THE B - A - S - I - C - S__________________






the fewer steps energy has taken to get from the sun to your body, the better.




colors represent vitamins and minerals in whole foods.  Make it multi!




brown rice, quinoa or couscous instead of packaged side dishes.




good protein, carbohydrate, fats every time.




keep fuel on the fire**




Practically speaking, here are a couple of BREAKFAST FAVS:


1 cup non-fat plain yogurt Mixed_Berries

slivered almonds

whole oats OR Ezekiel Sprouted Grains Cereal

banana or berries

honey or agave syrup to taste





2 eggs

2 slices whole grain (local when possible...its SO good!)

1 Tbsp almond butter on the toast

1 orange

1/4 avocado if i've got it





1/2 cup whole oats (1 cup cooked)

1 Tbsp peanut butter

1 banana

honey to taste



And one LUNCH FAV for now:


Super Satisfying Sandwich


2 slices local bread...for example...look at these ingredients...SO GOOD!


Julian Bakery's Wonderful Bread:  Fresh ground whole grains of golden *wheat, oats, *rye, *corn, brown rice, *millet, seeds of sunflower, flax, sesame, poppy, pumpkin, pinto beans, honey, yeast & sea salt.


1/2 avocado

Lots of hummus

and anything else you've got like...

roasted red peppers, sprouts, cucumbers, lettuce, tomato, carrots








More to come - but for now - happy eats!!











**I've learned a bit about ayurvedic practices that focus on eating 3 larger meals vs. 6 smaller meals based upon the idea that the body needs the time to fully digest each meal before eating more.  Which makes sense.  I think as athletes, especially with training sessions throughout a day, eating more often is a necessity.  So find a balance or switch it up from time to time and see how your energy level is.



1,106 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: running, triathlon, nutrition, endurance, eating, jessi_stensland, jessi, stensland