Behind the scenes at MooMotion!

Fall is here and we are currently in production for the SS2016 season. People often ask what goes into production planning – the short answer is, a lot of time, effort and patience! It’s a long journey from the initial design concept to the finished product and I thought I’d share a bit about the process. blogcollage

1) My design process: Inspiration can hit from any angle so my pencil and notebook never leave my side. It’s filled with design variations, color schemes, fabric and ideas. Since functional design is so important in endurance activewear, I’m always balancing how to be realistic and creative. I’m working with lycra/spandex after all! Once I’ve narrowed down new designs, I turn them into digital CAD illustrations. It’s much easier for me to make edits to the designs digitally.

2) Sourcing: I am constantly on the lookout for the latest fabrics, trims and materials. I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the best fabric suppliers. As a small business this can be a challenging area given I produce smaller quantities.

3) One of the primary reasons why I am in business is due to my talented production manager/pattern maker/sample maker/master-of-all- things-manufacturing, Sarah.
She’s tough, demanding and an unrelenting perfectionist with over 30 years in the garment district. I love her!

Sarah and I further narrow down my designs factoring in a number of elements – aesthetics, fit, cost to produce. She then cuts and sews samples. From here, we edit! We always go back to the drawing board multiple times, making numerous adjustments to the original designs. We see the samples on various body types and make further edits to maximize comfort, fit, and sometimes we discover unintentional “happy mistakes” that turn out to be better than the original design.

4) Once the samples are finalized we work on costing – for fabric, material, production costs and make further edits if we need to. Sometimes designs get dropped since the margins do not make sense and they are just to expensive to produce. Sarah then makes the final patterns.

5) Now begins the mad rush of ordering the final production supplies. It’s all about luck and timing since there are several different lead times to juggle. At the same time, Sarah marks and grades the patterns for sizing. This is a proprietary equation that we use for sizing based on our customers eg. determining the sizing increments between XS- S-M-L-XL etc. The toughest part about sizing activewear is that you can’t please everyone. You have to factor the combination of what works best for the overall customer demographic, their perceived sizing, and feedback from past seasons to make adjustments. It’s a work in progress!

6) Once all the supplies are delivered to the factory, Sarah takes it from here! I have no idea how she juggles all the moving pieces but she has a way of getting it done and making it look easy. Problems always arise in the production stage – need to order more supplies, sewing issues, quality control, but she handles it like a pro.

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes in to making our garments, but I am always proud of the results. It’s a learning experience every season but it’s rewarding to feel personally attached to every single piece of the finished product!

Interview with Jennifer Lentzke – MooMotion Pro Triathlete

A few weeks ago we announced our first pro triathlete partnership with Jennifer Lentzke. Originally from Canada and now living in the awesome city of Austin, Jennifer is approaching her 3rd pro season. When she’s not training, racing, and traveling, she splits her time as a registered sports dietitian and owner of TORO Performance Nutrition, LLC, her own consulting practice.

Jennifer’s road to triathlon can be summed up as – Prima ballerina, Baylor women’s cross country team walk-on, college marathon runner, first Ironman on a whim (11 hours, 9 minutes!), formal training with Hillary Biscay, hard work, dedication, and grit = professional triathlete. In short, she rocks and we can’t wait to follow her 2015 season!

Now here’s a deeper look into Jennifer’s world-

Favorite food: Salmon and peanut butter. Always and forever. And no, not together.

Favorite movie: Baz Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby

Favorite Race Course: Challenge Penticton, formerly Ironman Canada. Tough, rugged, beautiful, awesome resident support and it’s where I earned my spot at Ironman World Championships in Kona.

Favorite training/racing fuel: Powergels (I’m a liquids-only-on-race-day athlete). I hydrate with Nuun.

What’s on your playlist these days? I enjoy everything from alternative rock to pop to classical to Christian. Lately there’s been a good amount of alternative rock playing in my ears…Chvrches, Hozier, Vance Joy… I’m also a huge fan of podcasts and have been really into the Rich Roll Podcast as of late.

Describe a day-in-the-life…

A typical weekday consists of a good mix of training and working as a sports dietitian. I train best in the morning, so after a bit of breakfast and a few espressos (my vice!) I’m off to the pool for a 4-5K swim set. Afterwards I’ll have a bike or run session to complete and perhaps one of my staple core routines (completed 3x/week). Most of my training is complete by noon. After re-fueling, I then take on the role of sports dietitian which entails meeting with clients face-to-face or over the phone to counsel them on everything from day-to-day nutrition, race nutrition, weight loss, etc. I typically schedule “admin” days (i.e. days where I’m working on nutrition plans and not meeting with clients) for my harder bike/run days as I find I lack the energy to productively meet with clients (i.e. my brain is fried!). This gives me the liberty to attend to regenerating (hydrating, eating, stretching, etc.) without being tied to a client schedule. With a focus on the half-ironman distance, I typically train 17-19 quality hours per week, and devote 30+ hours per week to my nutrition business. But being that I’m self-employed my “offices” (athlete + dietitian) are technically open for business all week from sun-up to sundown!

How does recovery time fit into your training and what do you do?

Recovery time is interspersed throughout my whole day and my whole week. If I’m not training or seeing clients, I’m doing something to help my body recover. This can be as simple as drinking water periodically and eating nutrient-dense foods every 2-3 hours to spending time in my Recovery Pump boots which help enhance circulation and pump blood through the muscles to help them recover faster. I spend a good portion of my pre-workout time in the morning stretching and rolling out, which I find works well for dissipating tightness from the previous day’s session and wakes my body up in preparation for another quality training day. And I can’t forget to mention sleep! I am not one of those athletes that can get by on small amounts of sleep and then catch up every few days or so. I function best on 9-10 hours of sleep per night. This is a huge priority for me and one of the keys to my success as a professional athlete.

What are your favorite cross-training activities?

In-season I really don’t do much else than swim/bike/run/strength (does walking the dog count?!). My hard days of training are very hard, which means on easy days, I’m literally swimming, biking and running at a snail’s pace. Essentially my “cross-training” sessions are the “stupid-easy” swims, rides, and runs. This way I’m loosening up the muscles that I used the day prior for my quality session(s). I’m fairly certain Austin tourists are walking faster than I’m running or riding on my easy days!

How do you find time to balance work with training and what keeps you motivated?

Time management is huge with my jobs! To be honest, being self-employed can be one of the hardest situations for someone to manage their time, but I’ve found a routine that works for me and stick to it. I have designated times for training, eating, recovery, working with clients, sleeping, even designated times for watching TV or getting on the Internet! I find that if I set limits and stick to a schedule, I’m the most productive which in turn helps keep me motivated.

You can ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that I am hugely self-motivated. Self-discipline is a skill I grew up honing during my time as a ballerina with a professional ballet company and it’s been so valuable for my success as an athlete and dietitian. I also gain a great amount of motivation from my husband, who is also my coach. He is the one who helps me keep “momentum” in my training and continuing to progress as an athlete. I find progress so motivating, so I make sure to keep people close to me that help me move forward and progress as both an athlete and dietitian. I try to eliminate negativity from my surrounding environment as I feel this hinders motivation and progress. I’m all about the positivity, baby!

What do you think about while you are racing? What occupies your mind during training sessions?

When I’m racing I’m so in the moment! I really don’t think about much other than what’s going on at any given moment in the race. At the professional level you need “laser-focus” to stay on task. I’m literally thinking “how’s my power look? Am I eating/drinking enough? Relax, stay calm, focus, push!” If my mind starts to wander I bring it back to the present and complete each task one at a time. Just as in training, every part of my race is broken down into mini “chunks.” This helps keep me performing well, level-headed, and keeps my emotions in check. Once I’m done racing, I like to take some time to myself to reflect on a few things, particularly the people who helped me get to the finish line fit and healthy, the race organizers who are so friendly and supportive, my sponsors who truly believe in what I do, and of course God who has given me an awesome gift in my athletic abilities. The same thing goes for training. And it’s funny you should ask, as I recently posted a blog on my website about this very topic. Feel free to have a read: http://toronutrition.com/articles/on-flow-aka-being-in-the-zone/

Do you get pre-race jitters and if so, what do you do to calm your nerves? Do you have any pre-race routines?

Of course! Pre-race nerves are a good sign for me. They mean I’m ready to race and excited about performing to the best of my abilities. Generally I find that if I can keep my mind “quiet” and find a place a bit away from the hustle and bustle of the pre-race activity to contemplate, this keeps my nerves under control. My husband/coach has a very calming disposition, so he’s especially helpful to be around pre-race. When I can have him supporting me at my races I certainly appreciate it. I typically also limit my exposure to large groups of athletes (i.e. expos and pre-race activities) as it tends to create a sort of “busy mind” effect. After the race, I’m all about socializing! But before, I’m fairly introverted. I don’t have any particular pre-race routines but I generally stick to the same routines I follow in training with respect to sleep, eating, rehabbing, etc. I find that the familiarity of these routines helps to keep me calm.

We know you are a dietitian BUT…Do you have any guilty food pleasures? Anything that you absolutely crave and devour on occasion?

Oh yes! After every race I’m a glutton for a good burger and fries. I think the best post-race meal I ever had was in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada. I had this amazing bison burger with melted Brie cheese, baked apples, onions, and there may have been bacon on there but I suppose I was in a dream-like state eating that meal that I can’t remember. It came with sweet potato fries and homemade ketchup. Ugh…heaven!

Do you see any positive trends in women’s triathlon overall and in the pro circuit?

Absolutely! I think women are gaining ground in the fight for equality in sport. We are starting to see women’s specific races pop up around the world and a push for equality when it comes to representation of pro women versus pro men. There’s a huge push for an equal number of professional men’s and women’s starting positions at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, to which the WTC has responded with an initiative to increase women’s participation in sport. The Challenge Family of races has included a variety of women’s specific races at many of their venues (like a women’s only 5K). And in just a couple of week’s time, I’ll be racing Mercuryman 70.3 in the Cayman Islands, which has put together a women’s-only professional field to promote women’s equality in sport. Things are progressing in a positive way and it’s truly exciting to see these changes!

Food: Fueling my Lifestyle

Nothing gets me more exited than food. I take it to a whole new level while training for a race and more recently, while nursing. Both are time-consuming and both create an insatiable appetite like a bear after a long winter hibernating. I wake up hungry.  I think about lunch while eating breakfast, and plan my dinner while eating lunch. I’ve never been interested in counting calories or obsessed with nutrition. In fact, I’ve been known to stash pringles and cheezits in my emergency ironman bag. I once saw a guy eating a slice of pizza on his aerobars at mile 95 and considered bartering. Actually, in my sweaty haze, I just wanted to swipe it. If you are going to get disqualified while racing, that would be an awesome way to do it.

I’m not a nutrition expert, but I know what I like, what makes me happy, and what gets me to the finish line. Although I will rarely turn down a slice of pizza, I do feel best when I have a wholesome and colorful variety of food in my system. Growing up in CA, my parents had an amazing garden. We would go to the backyard to gather fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs for our homecooked meals. I took it for granted then and now realize how I was so fortunate that healthy and fresh foods were the norm.

yumSince having a baby, I think about food even more (as if that that were possible), but I also take a closer look into the quality of my input. Not only because I’m nursing, but for myself and knowing what keeps me going. I remember hitting the wall during one of my first post-pregnancy runs. I was so hungry and exhausted and it turned into a frustrating walk home. I underestimated what my body needed. Now more than ever, I try to get the most “bang per bite” as I like to call it. I consider what can I eat to keep my energy (and mood) levels up.    As much as it is for enjoyment, I see the direct effect that food has on my physical and mental well being and I fuel to keep pace with the lifestyle that I want to live. My daughter recently started eating solid foods and it’s been a joy to prepare her meals and experience food through her eyes. I think she’s catching on…

 

Food: Fueling my Lifestyle

How to Keep your Tri Gear in Shape

It’s amazing how much gear triathletes accumulate. There’s always a new shoe, new watch, new wetsuit. Transition bags seem to get bigger and who doesn’t get excited for those nicely labeled color coded T1-T2 bags? We put a lot of effort planning and packing our pre-race checklist and by the end of the race, it’s usually a jumbled-dirty-mess-bordering-radioactive-funk. Here are my tips on keeping your gear in shape after your race.
Wetsuit –  Hello grass, sand and dirt. Rinse both the inside and outside and let it hang dry inside-out.  Make sure to keep it away from direct sunlight and high heat. If you used a lubricant, make sure to wipe it off. Now is a good time to check for holes or tears and perform the necessary patchwork.transition

Clothing – This could get ugly. Do yourself and the athletes around you a favor, wash it asap. Don’t ever let it sit in your dark hamper – if you absolutely cannot get to it immediately, at least let it dry completely first.  I like to add baking soda and vinegar along with my detergent before throwing it in the machine. If they’re extra gross, feel free to do a pre-soak. Lycra/spandex/poly don’t do well in high heat so be careful with the dryer. Better yet, hang them to dry.

Helmet – wipe the inside and outside and strap with a damp cloth. Hand wash the helmet padding and let it dry before putting it back in.

Bike & Running shoes – The conditions will dictate treatment but you always want to air them out. I like stuffing them with cedar wood sachets to help absorb moisture and keep them fresh. They may need a wash to which I use the same baking soda, vinegar, detergent combo. Make sure to take out the soles, open the laces, velcro and/or clips so they can dry faster. Outside drying is ideal however if you live in an apartment, keep them by a window with light and fresh air. Avoid heat and moisture. Once everything is dry, I recommend liberally adding baking soda at the bottom of the shoe before replacing the sole. Make sure to check your clips and and tighten if they’ve shifted.

Bottles- Give them a good scrub with a bottle brush and make sure to rise well, and then rise again.  Even the tiniest hint of soap in your water during a ride creates an instant bad mood. I’m speaking from experience.

Bike  – Give it a wipe down from the frame to your aero bars if you have them.  Clean/oil your chain if necessary. It doesn’t hurt to give the gears and tires a once-over and you’ll be set for your next ride. If the conditions were rough, it may make sense to take it to your local bike shop.

Giving a bit of post race effort can extend the life of your gear and get you to the next race a lot quicker. Stay tuned for my favorite products list!
How to Keep your Tri Gear in Shape

Strategies for Open Water Swim Anxiety

 

I have a fear of open water. It’s a dark and scary abyss and my imagination always gets the best of me. Perhaps it was watching Jaws at an impressionable age…( which would also explain my fear of clowns, thank-you Stephen King). At my very first race, I could barely get my face in the water to form a proper stroke. It’s never a good thing when you 1) look up and see no other racers around 2) a guy in a kayak is asking if I’m ok and then proceeds to point to the correct buoy 3).. it’s nowhere close to where I’m heading. As with anything, experience alleviates the fear and with these strategies, you can channel your inner Diana Nyad.

Focus on your breathing technique and make necessary adjustments: It’s much easier to develop a consistent breathing rhythm while training in a pool. With a lot more variables in open water ie. temperature, current, other swimmers, it’s often more difficult and you may need to make adjustments from your regular pace. Perhaps slowing down or breathing every stroke as opposed to every other stroke. I usually exert more energy than necessary at the start due to adrenaline, dodging other swimmers, and an increased heart rate. The sooner I focus on consistent breathing, my body relaxes and I can ease into my own rhythm.

Practice! – Seems obvious? Whether a ocean or lake swim, try to practice in that environment in your full race gear. (with a buddy of course!) Make sure you are comfortable in your wetsuit and your goggles. If you can practice in a group setting, even better. Even sharing lanes at the pool can be of benefit as it affects your normal swim rhythm. Don’t forget to practice sighting. In a perfect scenario, you are an efficient sighter and can incorporate it seamlessly into your swim stroke. For the rest of us, do the best you can and as often as you like to feel comfortable.

Visualization- Focus on whatever calms you. A friend once told me to try focusing on my left thumb and nothing else. I loved the simplicity of that. When my imagination starts to run wild and my heart starts pounding, I do a thumb check and all is good in the world.

Plan for the unexpected – WIth so many uncontrollable variables with open water swimming, you have to prepare for the unexpected. This summer I did the Brooklyn Bridge Swim in the east river with NYC Swim. It started fairly easy but due to the tidal shift, it began to feel like an endless pool. I found myself going from freestyle, to breaststroke, backstroke to a strange doggy paddle/ side stroke to get out of the current under the Manhattan bridge. It wasn’t pretty but I didn’t panic. You are allowed to change your stroke. You can even lay on your back, float, stand up if possible and take a breather. If getting kicked in the face or trampled at a mass start is not your thing, you can hang back toward the pack. In a perfect scenario you should be positioned with other swimmers in your skill level and not holding back faster swimmers or wading through slower ones. Also, keep in mind that sometimes the quickest way from point A to B is not the easiest. There are often bottlenecks at turnaround buoys and it may make sense to give yourself extra room by swimming further out and around.

You may come to realize that although you are never 100% comfortable in the water, the goal is to feel confident enough to enjoy the challenge!

Strategies for Open Water Swim Anxiety

IMG_0362

7 Race Tips for First Time Triathletes

I love first-time triathletes. Meeting them is probably one of the best parts of my job. They always have the same look on their faces – part fear, humility, confusion, nervous energy. It’s probably the only time when the sole focus is getting to and savoring that finish line–long before all the other distractions of the obsessed triathlete kick in (here’s lookin’ at you GPS, cadence and heart rate monitor!). There is nothing like the feeling of that first time across the finish line. I often get asked pre-race questions and thought I would compile a list of my top tips for tri newbies:

1. Race attire – What should I wear? The short answer – whatever makes you comfortable! Triathlon can be intimidating for newbies–hell it still can be for seasoned athletes! Therefore, you want to make sure you are comfortable so it’s one less thing to think about. Feel free to march to your own beat. Heck, I completed 3 Ironmans without a watch. Didn’t need one. Didn’t care. With that, here are additional considerations:

  • Are you planning to wear the same outfit for the race or change in transition?
  • Are you prepared for warmer/coolers temperatures?
  • Are you wearing a wetsuit? If so, does your race attire fit comfortably under your wetsuit? If not, does your race outfit work well in water?
  • What kind of short padding do you prefer?
  • Do you require extra bra support?
  • Are you wearing a race belt?

Ultimately, there are no right or wrong answers to the questions above, but it’s good to plan ahead so you are well prepared for race day. While not essential, it’s generally a good idea to have trained in your clothes at some point pre-race day. My advice is to do what works best for you and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

2. Race Fuel – Don’t underestimate the amount of nutrition your body needs pre-during-post race. Pack a snack in your bike, pocket and/or transition bag. The amount of fuel options available on the market can make you dizzy. Choose what works best for your body, distance, and goals. Most importantly, make sure you like the taste!

3. Lube is your best friend. I always recommend it, regardless of distance, temperature or attire. Here are some common problem areas:

  • Groin- anywhere you anticipate rubbing from the saddle or your shorts
  • Underarm
  • Behind the neck if you are wearing a wetsuit

Remember, anywhere on your body where sweat and moisture can build up is fair game for chafing. Prevention is your best bet.

4. Get organized – Triathlon can be the breeding ground for folks of OCD organizational tendencies. Doesn’t apply to you? Just give it time. In the meantime, here are some tips:

  • Pack your transition bag neatly and anticipate what you may need – extra socks in case of wet weather? SPF? Lip Balm? An extra hair tie?
  • The last thing you want is to have to dig around during transition. Set up your space neatly and in logical order. For example – Store your socks in your bike shoes. Place your sunglasses, gloves and race belt in your bike helmet.
  • It’s always good to make it a habit of throwing items back into your transition bag when you are done with them. Items are often shuffled around, so it’s easier to keep everything in one spot for pick up.

5. Know your gear – Ideally, you should practice whatever you plan to use on race day. You should know the basic mechanics of your bike and how to change a flat like it’s in your job description. In your saddle bag, you should make a habit of carrying a spare tube, patch kit, CO2 inflator + cartridge, and mini multifunction tool kit. Self sufficiency rocks.

6. Rules of the road and race etiquette

  • Don’t be a transition hog. Make sure to rack your bike in the correct direction and only take up your own space.
  • When passing on the bike, call out and pass on the proper side for that particular race. Don’t hog the road and always be aware of those passing you.
  • Be a good sport on the course. I’ve seen everything from shoving and screaming matches to awesome acts of kindness. I much prefer racing with the awesome category. Don’t forget to thank your race volunteers!

7. Take a deep breathe, relax, and have a sense of humor! Although triathlon is an individual sport, so much of your race experience is tied to the actions, attitude and camaraderie of your fellow athletes. Have fun with it!

7 Race Tips for First Time Triathletes