Food is Training, Too!

Hi! My name is Kara, and I throw the javelin professionally. I’m sponsored by ASICS, and I travel around the world every summer to compete against elite women from other countries. I love my job.

When I read Tina’s call for guest posts a few weeks ago, I couldn’t resist the temptation to try and showcase how my diet isn’t as different from a “normal” one as you might think. I’ve learned how to manage my silly sweet tooth’s cravings and feed my body for performance!

Here’s my current Monday schedule, with examples of what I eat throughout the day mixed in.

8:30am: Finally get out of bed after snoozing for about half an hour.

8:50am: Breakfast.

I like something that’s not going to weigh me down, but will give me the energy I need to get to lunch! I’ve become a huge fan of Greek yogurt; it has big amounts of protein and tastes so good!

Typical Breakfast

breakfast (750x500)

  • 2 scrambled eggs with spinach and alfalfa sprouts.
  • Cottage cheese and vanilla Greek yogurt with strawberries, pecan chips and flax seeds.
  • Banana!!!
  • Green tea

9:30am: Leave home for the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center.

9:45am: Stability exercises in the weight room (AKA Pre-habilitation).

Getting my core and glutes engaged before practice has been great for avoiding injury so far this year! If you have back or hip pain that crops up when you exercise, I would highly recommend throwing some core exercises in before your workout , not leaving everything until afterward like is the norm. You’ll be surprised how stable you feel!

10:10am: General warm-up followed by specific warm-up at the track.

My training partner, Mike, and I do what we need to to get our bodies ready to hit weird javelin positions like this one. (javelin thrower picture) Then we stretch with javelins and do some short throws.

PARIS - AUGUST 29:  Jan Zelezny of the Czech Republic in action during the men's javelin qualification at the 9th IAAF World Athletics Championship August 29, 2003 in Paris.  (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)

11:15am: Throw!

I take between 12 and 16 throws off of the runway with a women’s javelin (600 grams, or about 1.2 pounds). Practice is for technique work, but sometimes we kick the energy up a notch and see how far we can throw! Pushing my boundaries lets me see where my technique breaks down when I add speed. Then, we can go slower again and work on whatever fell apart! It’s a push-pull system, and it takes a lot of time to master the positions.

12:00pm: Sprint.

Three sets of three 30-meter sprints with a 20-pound weight vest on.

12:20pm: Lift.

I get a mix of general strength (split jerks (that’s my super strong discus thrower boyfriend of 5 years!), wood chops, and good mornings) and specific strength lifts in.

1:15pm: Lunch!

I eat lunch right after lifting, because the timing of your meals is nearly as important as their content! I’ve heard you should replace your proteins within 2 hours of a workout, but I always try to eat within half an hour.

Typical Lunch

lunch (750x500)

  • Soda water, grape juice and cranberry juice blend. (The soda water cuts down on the sugar!)
  • Salad with spinach, steamed veggies, grilled salmon, tomatoes, chickpeas, cottage cheese, sunflower seeds, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. When in doubt, add more ingredients to your salad, haha!

1:30pm-3:00pm: Rest.

Read a magazine, watch a show on the iPad, catch up on Carrots N’ Cake posts, take a nap, get some work done”¦

3:00pm: Afternoon practice.

Warm up followed by javelin footwork and medicine ball throws.

4:00pm: Lift.

The afternoon has all upper body lifts: Military press, lat rows, and pullovers, with some core mixed in. At the end of this lift I foam roll and stretch my shoulders and hips.

5:00pm: Snack.

Just like lunch time, I head to the dining hall at the training center immediately post-workout for some recovery food! Sometimes this turns into a full-fledged meal (like when there’s macaroni and cheese!!!), but usually it’s something small with a good mix of carbs and protein to hold me over until I get home and cleaned up.

Typical Snack

snack (500x750)

  • Honeydew, cantaloupe and pineapple with cottage cheese.
  • A little bit of chocolate milk with a lot more nonfat milk.

5:15pm: Home! Shower!

I sweat a lot, and there is no happier moment in my two-a-day days than when I finally get home and smell good again. Best. Feeling. Ever.

7:00pm: Dinner and Wheel of Fortune!

I love Wheel of Fortune. And I’m really good; I want to be on it someday! Dinner is when I get to experiment with neat ingredients and just have fun in my kitchen. One of my favorite meals lately was a Mexican Ground Beef Quinoa Skillet! I used yellow and orange bell peppers instead of tomatoes and chilies, and added pepperjack cheese, fresh guacamole and plain Greek yogurt! Remember how I said I loved Greek yogurt? Substitute the plain variety whenever a recipe calls for sour cream. Trust me, it’s amazing!

Ground Beef Quinoa (750x500)

I was also really pleased with a recent experiment in Turkey burgers! I put chopped onion, alfalfa sprouts, cumin, nutritional yeast (bought that because of Tina!), sea salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce in with the ground turkey, and ate a patty fresh off the grill with pepperjack cheese and plain Greek yogurt (told ya I love it!).

turkey burger (750x500)

As if javelin competitors weren’t enough, I also have my ridiculous sweet tooth to contend with. Making something that’s actually worth eating is much more satisfying to me than scarfing down endless amounts of candy (if Peanut Butter M&Ms are in my house in any quantity, they’ll be gone in less than an hour). That’s why I’ve learned to make Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes:

Irish Car Bombs (750x500)

and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes:

CPB Cups (750x500)

and why I enjoy a delicious beer:

beer (500x750)

or margarita every now and then!

margarita (750x500)

See! I’m not so different from everyone else. I like good food and feeling great, and forward progress makes me happy. Thanks for reading everyone, and thanks so much for having me, Tina!

The 2012 Olympics start at the end of July in London. The U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials will be held at the end of June; performance there determines who goes to said Olympics, and this would be my second team! The potential of an Olympic medal is big motivation to eat right and train hard. You can follow my progress on facebook, twitter or my blog.


  1. great post Kara! I was a thrower way back in high school – shot put was my specialty but I also dabbled in javelin – good luck with training!

  2. Whoa. You throw javelin professionally? You are officially my hero…so cool! I love Greek yogurt too, and that beef/quinoa skillet looks amazing!

  3. Thanks everyone! And thanks again to Tina! If you guys are interested I’ll do my best to let you know where you can watch for Olympic Trials results once the end of June rolls around!

  4. Hey, I so enjoyed a day of your life. Love the way you work constantly, the only way you will be champion—and you already are my champion!!! Looking forward to seeing you this coming week end! Love you–Grandpa Tom

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