Andie Cozzarelli // Semi-Professional Distance Runner Recovers From Amenorrhea
I started working with Tawnee in 2017 after years of not having a period and not being able to find answers through traditional medicine. I was naive to the consequences and repercussions of not having a period until I listened to an Endurance Planet podcast shortly before running my first marathon. I had tried in the past to find answers but I had several doctors tell me it was normal for distance runners (to not have a period). I had trusted what they said until I listened to that podcast. I wanted to get my health back on track and I wanted to stop hiding this secret I felt like I was keeping. In the spring of 2017 a friend of mine mentioned how much Tawnee helped her so I decided to go for it. Tawnee listened to me. She understood what I was going through. She didn’t look for a bandaid approach, she focused on getting to the root of my problem. It wasn’t all easy. Tawnee was straight me with on what getting healthy would look like. She also worked with me in a way that helped me to understand why my restricted diet was feeding into many of the issues I had with my gut, fatigue, and loss of menstrual cycle. Being given that explanation helped me to fully understand what was going wrong. Prior to working with Tawnee, I had several doctors simply tell me I needed to eat more with no explanation beyond that. I was a normal weight so I would write them off as if they didn’t understand.
Prior to working with Tawnee I also didn’t understand how much my gut health was affected by over-training and under-eating. I also didn’t know how all of it fed into my hormonal imbalances. We created a plan to address my bacterial overgrowths in my gut, in addition to adding more food to my diet. We stuck with an all-natural approach to promote healing through both food and herbal supplements. Through this process, Tawnee also had me work with a Functional Medicine doctor who was able to guide me through clearing parasites and improving my thyroid health. My thyroid was underfunctioning but this was not picked up through traditional medicine. After addressing both of these issues and then adding grass-fed dairy to my diet, I regained my period this year while still continuing to train.
It will continue to be a work in progress, but Tawnee helped me get back on a path to health and I am so happy I made the decision to work with her. I am now much more mindful of how my body feels with training. The last couple of years were difficult but I am now seeing huge progress with my training & racing. Definitely looking forward to a strong year and much more to come!
Anthony Schembri // Improved Diet & Health Leads to New Marathon PR
After struggling to nail down my marathon performance I reached out to Tawnee for a fresh perspective on my training and nutrition. Tawnee sent me a comprehensive questionnaire covering everything from race goals, training logs, blood work, and detailed meal history. After sending Tawnee the info we scheduled a call and I was impressed with her ability to process the data and create a robust Action Plan. What I liked most were the specifics – what to remove from my current diet and EXACTLY WHAT TO REPLACE IT WITH, INCLUDING RECIPES! Tawnee provided me with meal, vitamin and supplement recommendations as well as an overall analysis of my training. I started working with Tawnee in August after a tough marathon in May and after following Tawnee’s Action Plan I ended up with just shy of a 30 minute marathon PR in November! Seriously, working with Tawnee is one of the smartest things I’ve done since I started running. Tawnee knows her stuff, she shines in the details and provided me with an Action Plan that helped me reach beyond my goals…. really!
Michele Zammit // Decreasing Stress and Increasing Running With Success
Samantha Morse // Injury Free, Improved Health and Ironman Podiums
Tawnee is the most knowledgeable, dedicated, and supportive coach I’ve ever had in my life as an athlete.
If you listen to Endurance Planet (how could you not?!) then you know that she is constantly researching the latest science to maximize performance and health. And most importantly, she approaches all the “breakthroughs” with skepticism and asks the hard questions: Does this work for everyone? Does it have negative side effects in other areas? The benefit of having Tawnee as a coach is that she takes all this information she shares on EP and applies it specifically to YOU. Whether she’s performing extensive data analysis of your Training Peaks files, assessing videos of your mobility or run form, or evaluating your blood work charts, Tawnee’s eye for detail and ability to see the big picture in all the little numbers is remarkable.
Not only does Tawnee have the brainpower, but her heart couldn’t be bigger as she demonstrates so much dedication to her athletes. In addition to scheduling 1-hour long phone calls weekly, she is always available by text… even during crazy athlete hours. When I’d send a frustrated message at 6AM during a crummy bike trainer session, Tawnee would respond immediately with practical advice and words of encouragement. Her diligent attention to both the physical and mental sides of my training kept me healthy and thriving during 70.3 and full Ironman training.
Above all, Tawnee’s greatest coaching attribute is her supportiveness of her athlete’s goals. When we first started working together, I was a pretty unhealthy, overly obsessed triathlete looking to podium in my age group at Ironman. Although I had reached out to Tawnee so she could help me find more balance in my life, at the end of the day I still wanted to sacrifice health for performance. Tawnee accepted that! She never pushed her agenda on me. She really listened to what I wanted – to be the best Ironman athlete I could be – and coached me to several podium finishes in 140.6, 70.3, and an Olympic triathlon. Tawnee brilliantly kept me on the fine line between over-reaching and over-training, and thanks to her I made it through my first season uninjured. Finally, when I decided it was the right time for me to prioritize health over athletic performance, Tawnee was totally in my corner and helped me train for another Ironman while simultaneously working on issues with restricted eating and that typical Type-A, high-charging, no-rest lifestyle. Thanks to Tawnee’s lifestyle coaching, my partner proposed and I was actually happy to start planning my wedding and not worrying about how it would affect my training schedule!
Tawnee is so much more than a coach to me. She’s my role model for healthy, joyful living. Her capacity to train athletes to be their best is extraordinary, and her heartfelt dedication is truly unrivaled.
Tawnee’s note: Sam is also a contributor at lifepostcollective.com, where she’ writes and talks candidly about her past struggles with disordered eating, food log obsessions, amenorrhea and body image, and how all this changed for the better when we began working together (e.g. I helped her quit food logging, improve body composition, avoid the detriments of a full-blown eating disorder, and get hormones and menstruation to improve). These “other” aspects in her coaching program undoubtedly opened the door for not only better athletic performance but for a happier life and one where she’s now more comfortable than ever in her own skin.
Scott Merrill // Athlete Finding Relief From SIBO & Painful Gut Issues
Tawnee’s note: Scott came to me for consulting in hopes I could help him holistically with his massive gut issues and a hip injury. He just wanted to live a normal life again – as an athlete, attorney, coach – and enjoy life with his fiance (now wife). In 2010 he had Meckel’s Diverticulum wrapped around his intestine and tightened, requiring surgery to remove nearly 2 feet of his intestine around the ileus. Since then his gut health was suffering; he had SIBO among other dysbiotic issues, and even ongoing sinus infections, etc. Then to top it off he was hit by a car while training on his bike in 2016. A level of anxiety and depression ensued, as one would imagine. I took a natural, holistic approach to his health and healing that included nutrition education, gentle supplements, modified training, stress management and lifestyle work. Since I am not a medical doctor, there were aspects of Scott’s case that were out of my scope, but we still did everything we could naturally that made sense for him to feel better and get his life back so he didn’t have to worry about his gut issues 24/7 and so he could heal in other ways as well. His story has a happy ending, with Scott marrying his bride in fall 2017 while feeling better than he has in years! Coaching that goes well beyond sport….
Phil Solarski // From Overtrained Runner to a BQ & Healthy Triathlete
In mid-2014 I was in an overtrained state, regularly clocking up 80 mile running weeks in pursuit of better PRs. These weeks included 2 interval sessions plus tempo and long runs. The initial gains made were great, however they were not sustainable. I kept getting sick and picking up injuries. There was an overwhelming feeling of tiredness which I could not shake off. I consulted with the Chris Kelly at Nourish Balance Thrive. The tests revealed a host of vitamin and micronutrient deficiencies typical to overtrained athletes including low amino acids and poor fat adaptation. The solution included a number of supplements to be taken on a short term basis and other more holistic remedies such as yoga and walking. They were invaluable in getting me back on my feet and subsequent tests revealed big improvements in my biomarkers.
In late 2014, I got in touch with Tawnee who immediately advised me to introduce some crosstraining into my schedule in preparation for the January 2015 Dubai marathon. The yoga and swimming made a huge difference to my performance and I posted a 3:03, a BQ at my second attempt.
I had decided that 2015 would be the year of my first triathlon and Tawnee became my coach. I had zero background on cycling and swimming. Her training programme built me up slowly using the MAF approach and included regular MAF and FTP tests to monitor my improvement. She regularly changed the plan depending on how I felt and encouraged me to listen to my body rather than hitting workout targets which would leave me exhausted the next day.
My biggest challenges were learning how to swim properly and to run efficiently off the bike. Tawnee introduced a number of workouts and brick sessions. Another area we practised was nutrition. I tried a number of solutions and settled on a clean approach of UCAN combined with chia seeds, electrolytes and dates. The most important thing was to avoid gels on race days, which always gave problems.
Just as important to my progress was a focus on previously neglected areas such as core, strength and posture exercises. Tawnee performed a functional movement test remotely, which identified the weaknesses in my upper back and shoulders. The exercises she recommended have vastly improved my posture, although it will take a long time to fullly fix the side-effects of a lifetime of office work. In addition, Tawnee introduced me to meditation and yoga to improve recovery and better cope with the increased training load.
In December 2015, I completed my first 70.3 Ironman triathlon in 4:25, with 2:40 on the bike and 1:41 on the run. Unfortunately the swim was cancelled due to strong winds. I am very pleased with the results and determined to improve my performance next year. The nutrition was executed perfectly and I suffered no negative GI effects.
The lessons I have learnt from Tawnee in the last year have set me up for a lifetime of exercise and put the joy back into training and racing. Crucially, she made me realize that you don’t have to sacrifice your health to achieve great results.
[Note from the coach: Phil resides in Bahrain, half a world away from me, and even with the vast distance between us we were still able to communicate face-to-face regularly via skype, coordinating our schedules to connect frequently. I felt like I was as closely connected with Phil as I am with local athletes!]
Mike Otwell // Humbly Finding Triathlon Success and Holistic Health
Tawnee and Milly (Tawnee’s assistant coach) have brought me to a point in ONE year that I wouldn’t have dreamed of when I contacted you back in January. The growth potential that you two have instilled in me throughout the year have been pivotal in my success. I realize now that there may be some very attainable health and competition (aaaannddd podium) goals on tap in long-course triathlon. I’m grateful that you coached me through the hard times just as well as the good. You inspire me through the podcast, email, Facebook and other forms of media each and every day. I’m very proud to be called your athlete!!
I also must also say that I appreciate and was inspired by your recent blog on eating disorders, as I suffered for many years over binge eating disorder (B.E.D.). You struck a chord that enabled me to share my story as well, and I must say that there’s an alleviation of mental pain in doing so. I cannot give you enough thanks and respect for sharing that story. Keep being awesome Tawnee, and a big “thank you,” coach.
Lori // MAF Success and Crosstraining for Runners
I approached Tawnee to help me achieve my dream to qualify for the Boston Marathon. This was my first experience with a running coach. Her approach to training, especially with putting health first, is what attracted me to her. Like many athletes I have tended to over train and have paid the price with burnout and injuries. The combination of Tawnee’s own version of Maffetone style training, adding cycling, swimming and additional (and specific) strength training to my routine has been incredibly successful for me. As a busy mom of two young children with a stressful full-time job, Tawnee’s workouts were also flexible and easy to fit into my schedule. And the best part – in four short months my MAF pace has dropped by 30 seconds/km (48 sec/mile)!
Jane // Finding Health For Female (Ironman) Triathletes
[We started working together early in 2014 for you to coach me for IMAZ, my first full ironman. But your coaching has done more than get me fit for Ironman – I got my health back. I went to the doctor in September to get results of last blood draw. Last year my progesterone was non-existent, low cortisol, low Vitamin D and low DHEA. Now everything is right where it should be. I’ve been working to get things right for a while and it’s awesome to see on paper that I’m there. I had a feeling my body was in a better place because I have energy again, sleeping better and my mood is so much better. Between you keeping my workouts completely manageable and helping me learn how to add the right carbs back in, I think that’s what got me here. Thanks coach!!
Greg White // Runner Seeking Stress-Free, Healthy Living & a BQ
One of the big things I’ve learned from you is being intuitive about what my mind and body are saying, and as a result, being kinder to myself.
So thanks as always for all the hard work and great lessons you are imparting into my life even outside of running. I feel like I am much less hard on myself these days and yet more productive, effective, and healthier.
Greg, 3:15 marathoner and future BQ with Coach Tawnee’s guidance.
Kim Neal // Master’s Triathlete, Mother, Wife
Tawnee has by far exceeded my expectations, and I have been delighted by the coaching I have received from her since hiring her at the beginning of 2014. She doesn’t just post my weekly training plan, she also works with me on nutrition and shared some fabulous healthy recipes that are quick and easy. During my year, I had a busy race schedule and a busy “life schedule” (complete with some bumps along the road), and Tawnee worked closely with me to ensure I was ok through it all, planning and adapting my training plan to accommodate everything, whether family commitments or just the way I was feeling on certain days. She is quick to respond to questions or concerns and has a wealth of knowledge that she shares freely with her clients.
I live near her, and I also receive personalized strength training from her, as well as invites to group workouts including ocean swims. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and each time I talk or meet with her for strength training I come away so energized! I’ve also gained more confidence in my ocean swimming than ever before thanks to my swims with Tawnee.
I can’t say enough how happy I am I made the decision to work with her. My season ended successfully. I’ve achieved several podiums this year in my triathlons including a first-place podium finish in my last race of the year, a pair of second-place finishes, and fourth place in a half-Ironman. I plan on continuing with her for strength training, and look forward to planning my next season with her.
Damon Steele // Top-AG Triathlete, Father, Husband
After getting into the sport of triathlon, I spent the first few years just training with friends and basically “winging it”. Although I was having fun and enjoying the sport, I knew that there was something missing. I knew that I had not tapped into my potential. After my third season in triathlon, I had decided to sign up for a bucket-list type of race that would require a lot more than just winging it: an ultra consisting of a seven-day mountain bike stage race (BC Bike Race). I needed someone to guide me through to be in peak fitness. Not only physically, but mentally.
When I spoke with Tawnee, I told her my aspirations and where I felt I was lacking in my training. She could see that it was going to be hard work, but her confidence gave me confidence. During that first few months with her, the workouts were hard. The training we were doing was so different than what I was doing on my own. It showed me that what I was doing before was a joke. But before long, my body was responding to the training and it showed. I could feel it in every run, and every ride. I was stronger, faster, and enjoying it!
Meanwhile, our coach/athlete relationship grew fast from the beginning despite being on opposite ends of the country (I’m on the East Coast). We always find time to get in consistent phone calls to go over training, life, etc.
My first season with Coach Tawnee was very successful. And I do mean successful! Every race was a new PR! A new breakthrough. I was on the podium in just about every race I did — triathlons, running races, swim events, etc. She managed to successfully train me for the multi-day MTB race simultaneously with triathlon training (half-Ironman focus). I peaked at the right times, and did not break down. Not only did she coach me to a great showing at the BC Bike Race, we also accomplished a significant PR (by ~45mins) at the half-ironman (70.3) distance.
When our first season together ended, I felt a feeling of pride as an athlete that I haven’t felt before. I felt good going into the off-season, but was anxious for the next. I would count the days until training started again.
Heading into our second season, we had decided to tackle Ironman. Although I had done 2 Ironman races prior to training with Coach Tawnee, they were more about survival than performance. That would change with her guidance. When all was said and done, I set a personal record for the Ironman distance by more than an hour! Plus: my previous PR was on a flat course (Ironman Florida) and the new PR was in the mountains of Mont Tremblant, which makes my performance that much more significant. I couldn’t have done it without her. I went into that race well prepared and confident. I set PR’s in every category! Swim, Bike and Run! It doesn’t get better than that! Until next season, aka this year 2014…
When it comes time to race, I always know I am ready thanks to Tawnee. She knows when it’s time to train hard, but she also knows when it’s time to rest. She takes the time to realize when I need to recover or need a confidence boost. She understands that being a working parent doesn’t always mesh with the desire to be a competitive athlete. Time was/is a constant challenge. We figure it out.
It doesn’t get better than Coach Tawnee.
D & K // Parents of a Collegiate Triathlete
When our daughter went off to college she struggled with the stress of school, exercise and maintaining a healthy diet. While she had always been an avid athlete, she began to use exercise and diet as way to control the stress of college life. As parents, we became very concerned after she experienced a year+ of amenorrhea. She met with local doctors and nutritionists, but nobody connected with her on the level she needed and their advice went unheeded. Luckily, through a friend of a friend, we heard about Tawnee’s remote coaching service. Tawnee met with our daughter regularly by phone and email. She created diet and training plans that our daughter believed in and embraced because they helped her become a stronger triathlete. She helped our daughter develop coping mechanisms to handle the stress of college and ultimately became her trusted friend. With Tawnee’s help, our daughter became a better athlete and, most importantly to us as her parents, she began menstruating regularly again. This was the ultimate signal that her body was healthy again.
Bottom line, we could not be more pleased with Tawnee as both a coach and a person. If you have a teenager struggling with how to balance diet, exercise and life in general, we strongly encourage you to engage with Tawnee. Feel free to contact us directly if you would like to know more about our situation and experience.
D and K
Marta M. // Mother of 4, Wife, Top-AG Triathlete
I contacted Tawnee after I had my third child to help guide me in triathlon training. Up to that point I was a runner that was merely getting by in my swimming and biking. The first thing I noticed right away after training under Tawnee was my cycling. I went from averaging 16 mph in a race to averaging over 21 mph in sprints/Olympic triathlons and averaging 20 mph in my first Half-Ironman. My swimming took some time and when I first started I was averaging about 1:50 per 100m in my triathlon races and now I can swim 1:30-1:35 or faster per 100m. I have also gotten over my fear of open-water swimming thanks to all the OWS I’ve done with Tawnee by my side.
Tawnee has been there for me through the ups and downs, through the tough patches and my successful moments. She has always believed in me even when I have doubted myself. Her training plans have really helped me get the most out of my training even when I am limited to just a couple hours a day because of having three children at home. She constantly changes up the workouts and keeps them exciting and she promptly responds to my emails and answers every question I have. I have seen some great progress while training under Tawnee.
My racing/personal highlights:
- Losing more than 10 lbs
- Half Marathon PR by 5 mins and the first time I have ever won a race (1st Overall M/F)
- PR run off the bike, averaging sub-7 min miles
- Completed my first Half Ironman in 5:27, averaging 20 mph on my bike
- Qualifying for AG Nationals at the Catalina Island Triathlon (2nd Overall and 1st AG)
- Started Xterra Trail Racing and was 2nd Overall and 1st AG in my first race
- Winning my AG at the OC Triathlon
- Podium at the Southwest Regional Championship (3rd AG, Top 10 F, another AG Nationals Qualification)
- OC Tri: 1st AG
For athletes of all levels, if you have a goal, and the desire to do the work to achieve it then Tawnee is the right coach for you!! She will give you high goals to strive for and she has a proven method to achieve them. I would strongly recommend using Tawnee as your coach.
Evan J. // Healthcare Executive and Triathlete
I met Tawnee Prazak after going through a personal crisis and having taken off more than two years from triathlon. I had “let myself go” for that period of time and was looking for the right coach that could cater to my personal goals (fitness, weight loss, and general health) and who was willing to push me beyond what I was willing to do on my own. I have found out over the years that a large part of the success you achieve is the chemistry (or lack thereof) that exists between the coach and athlete. When I first met Tawnee she was energetic, highly knowledgeable, and focused on helping me reach my own personal goals through training, diet and mental preparation. She was also willing to cater her program to my needs rather than the other way around. Choosing her was a no-brainer.
Since training with Tawnee over the past 18 months not only have I exceeded my established goals, but I have also made a great friend in Tawnee in the process. I highly recommend any triathlete or wanna-be athlete (whether rookie or seasoned) to consider Tawnee Prazak if they are looking for the full package in a coach.
Evan Jacobson, Healthcare Executive and Part-time Triathlete
Brooke S. // Collegiate Water Polo Player
Tawnee has done many amazing things that have changed me and my life for the better…
First, my outlook on life. Because of her and the encouragement she has given me I continue to push myself even when the going gets tough. Second, my eating habits. Everything I put in my mouth, whether it’s good or bad, I think about if it’s good for me and how it will affect my goals. Third, having a role model to look up to. No one in my life continues to push themselves as I have seen Tawnee do. Her strength has given me something I needed to see in order to succeed in my goals. Fourth a positive outlook on life. Everytime I was upset Tawnee helped remind me there is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not so bad. Fifth, Tawnee helped me achieve so many goals athletically. In practice I am able to keep up, if not be a leader of by team in many activities.
I have really learned so much by training with Tawnee. I have been so blessed to have this opportunity of working out with her. She’s had a very large impact in my life and I am so unbelievably thankful.
Brooke, College student and water polo player
Michelle Kyman // Personal Trainer, Figure Model, Mom, Wife and Former Elite Volleyball Player
I’ve known Tawnee since she was in high school, in fact, I was her high school volleyball coach! I figured it was only appropriate to hire her to be my trainer!! I did, however, do my research first, and what I found was someone who lived and breathed the sport of triathlon! If I was going to do this thing, I wanted to learn from the best.
Most of my life I’ve been an athlete. Volleyball was my sport…I played from middle school all the way until I was a mom. I had no experience in endurance sports, so this was going to be new for me. I missed competing and unfortunately, volleyball wasn’t in my future any longer.
I’ve been into health and fitness for a long time, and have been a personal trainer for over 10 years, so this was going to be a new challenge for me. I was excited to learn how to swim, be comfortable on a road bike with clip-ins, and increase my running speed. All these things were new to me, especially compared to my training style.
Well, I surprised myself (and I think Tawnee too)!! In 3 months, I learned how to swim, fell in love with my new bike and became a faster runner. What I really needed at the beginning of my training was one-on-one swim training. I had never learned proper technique in the water, so this was very important! Tawnee actually got in the water with me, watched me swim 25 yards gulping for air, and realized I needed to start from ground zero. She taught me how to breathe, worked on my stroke, and gave me a ton of drills to do. After a couple of months, we both got into our wetsuits and swam in near-freezing water in a local lake in order for me to get accustom to swimming in open water! To say the least, she wanted to make sure I was comfortable with my swim, being that it was my biggest fear leading up to the race.
I changed my mind mid-training…I started out training for a sprint, but then decided I could do an Olympic distance, largely thanks to the encouragement of Tawnee who believed I could step it up and race the longer event well in the given time frame.” Tawnee sent me my daily workouts and stuck with them (even though some days were HARD)!! I finished 16 out of 36 in the 35-40 age group at 39 years old, and I actually finished 7 minutes under the time Tawnee set for me. I was so fortunate to have found her. Tawnee helped me reach my goal, and then some!!
Brandon Blazer // Chef, Dad, Husband
I strongly recommend using the coaching services that Tawnee Prazak provides. I have a very busy work schedule and she was able to personalize a plan that fit into my crazy schedule. I was able to train and complete the Miami Man 70.3 in only 15 weeks of training. While doing so I drastically improved my running. She helped with the mental side of things and with nutrition. I was able to lose a little over 20 pounds working with her and become more fat adapted which will serve me well in the future. I have learned a wealth of information from Tawnee that I will continue to apply in my future triathlon training.