Gluten Free Fitness

Gluten Free Athletes

Building Muscle Properly on a Gluten-Free Diet

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A gluten-free food regimen is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. But can muscles be built with that? Yes! Building muscles in a proper manner on a gluten free diet is very much possible.  Gluten is found in grains together with wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye).  Gluten-free diet is used to treat a severe disorder called celiac, where gluten increases infection inside the small intestine, as well as, those considered to have gluten sensitivity. Adhering to a nutrient plan that is free from gluten helps manipulate the signs and troubles that come from ingesting gluten.

Many persons without a simple hypersensitive reaction would possibly nevertheless have a high intolerance, which generates the same troubles and headaches. If you have an excessive intolerance, then eating a moderate to excessive quantity of gluten might be causing you greater damage than those with problems consisting of irritation, belly pain, bloating, and diarrhea. All of which are not fun to address.

Eating a gluten-free, smooth, clean, and wholesome weight-reduction plan will assist you in raising your metabolism, lose excess weight, get lean, and position you on the route to the healthiest you can ever be. However, it only works best when you observe a few key strategies:

  1. Ditch the word “weight loss program.”

This can also be described as “diet plan”. The word diet merely equates to a brief period of time achievement. Instead of thinking about this to be a weight loss plan or diet plan, consider it as an existence, as in a lengthy alternate, or even a necessity to survive without side effects. Make it a lifestyle trade for everlasting consequences.

  1. Ditch as many grains as viable.

Going gluten free, don’t simply replace gluten stuffed baked items with gluten-free alternatives. Shop offered gluten free breads, crackers, cakes, and snacks are normally packed with starchy carbohydrates to be able to spike insulin levels and add a pleasing puffy layer of padding around your middle. Go for high-protein flours along with coconut flour, almond flour, oat flour, or millet flour if you are going to make or consume any baked items.

  1. Learn how to read labels.

Gluten can be lurking in surprising places. Get your gluten-free cheat sheet and keep it with you so you no longer end up getting “glutened” without knowing it. Check out this article we wrote on June 11, 2016 –  “Understanding the Label”

  1. Begin a love affair with the produce aisle

By way of the produce aisle, I absolutely imply shopping for those fresh fruits and vegetables, along with, the entire exterior of your grocery store. Even better if you have a produce stand in your area where you can find non-GMO items.  That is the easiest way to move gluten-free and turn out to be a lean machine. Invest in culmination, greens, seafood, meat, and poultry; all naturally gluten free.

  1. Boost your relationship with meals.

While you are inside the center of that love affair with the exterior of your store, do not miss the spice isle. Getting innovative together with your spices and herbs can transform a bland meal right into an attractive, delicious masterpiece.  Let’s face it, it can be difficult to get away from “bland” when your body can’t process certain foods.

  1. Plan your meals out at the beginning of the week.

Put together a simple yet protein packed menu plan with a shopping list. Depending on your time, get all of it at the beginning of the week so it’s all accessible throughout the week. You may consider shopping twice a week to maintain maximum freshness of your ingredients, if you have the available time.

  1. Ditch the delicate sugars.

Sugar drains and leaches the body of valuable nutrients and minerals through the digestion process, detoxing, and elimination affecting your whole system. Sugar eaten each day produces a continuous overly acidic condition, and an increasing number of minerals are required from deep inside the body as an attempt to rectify the imbalance. Extra sugar in the end affects each organ differently, but for our discussion, sugar is stored as fat within the most inactive regions – the belly, the buttocks, the breasts, and the thighs. You can replace refine sugar with honey or other natural sweeteners.

  1. Devour only whole clean ingredients.

Assign yourself to eliminate packaged meals from your pantry. Get nothing but foods fresh. Packaged meals are loaded with unwanted sugars and preservatives and often lacks the protein needed for muscle-building.

  1. Focus on looking after your gut from the inside out.

Recovering the gut and looking after your digestion will move an extended manner in supplying you with that flat stomach you have been longing for. With healthy alternatives, such as clean ingredients, high proteins, low sugars, fresh herbs and spices, your body will absorb the “good” foods it needs and regularly expel what is not needed.

  1. Make your food simple.

Hold your meal ingredients to a minimum when you start your gluten free lifestyle. Create clean and easy food that take minutes to throw collectively. This supports you from falling off the wagon due to the fact it’s getting too tough or because it takes too long to make your healthy meals.

With time, practice, and consistency, these ten suggestions will assist you in kick starting your muscle-building adventure.

Fueling options for the gluten free endurance athlete

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Fueling options for the gluten free endurance athlete

As many of you know, I’ve gone back to my endurance athlete ways.

I played around with being a figure athlete for a while, when I wasn’t “allowed” to ride due to the complexity and fragility of the surgical repairs to my knees, but when I was cleared by my orthopedist to return to road cycling last fall, I jumped back in.

Since then, I’ve progressed significantly and am learning to get my head and preconceived notions out of the way of what my body is capable of.  

Training for endurance athletics versus training for aesthetics and strength require very different types of fueling, specifically during exercise.  I definitely run well on carbohydrate (yes, I know it’s not “necessary” to life, and some people do fine on low carb diets, even endurance athletes, but I am not one of them.  Trial and error and experience have taught me that I do just fine with carbs.)  In general, when training for strength and aesthetics, your actual exercise time is not very long, usually less than an hour.  There’s no real need for “during exercise” fueling.  On the other hand, I can easily be out for 2-4 hours training on the bike, on a generally 5 day per week basis.  That requires some fuel.

As an endurance athlete with celiac disease, I have to be very aware and careful with what fuel I choose.  I always carry enough food to sustain me, as I do not like to be dependent upon finding appropriate food while at a ride or race.  (The only exception is a banana-I feel very safe peeling one of those myself and eating it, and pretty much every convenience store/gas station has bananas these days.)

As always when it comes to specific brands and foods, if it is a packaged/labeled/manufactured item, always check labels and double check with the companies if you are not sure.  Although these items were safe and gluten free at the time this was written, formulations and ingredients change and it is always better to be careful.

There are quite a few options out there, so I’m just going to focus on the ones I’ve personally tried.  Let’s split it up into fluids, gels, and real food (aka food that requires chewing.)  Just for grins.  Let’s remember that sugars are OK when you’re exercising for a long period of time, and for the sake of this discussion that means > 90 minutes of a moderate intensity.

Fluids

  • Good old water.  If your training session is 90 minutes or less of moderate or easy intensity, you’re good with just water or perhaps a low calorie electrolyte providing beverage, such as…
  • ZYM. I like ZYM Catapult because it has a little caffeine (a performance enhancer) but not too much, and I like the Berry flavor.  It has a little fizz to it but it goes away quickly.  I’ve also tried the lemon lime flavor which was quite good as well.  The flavoring is subtle.  These are handy because you can toss the tube into your pocket and take it with you, which saves me having to use Gatorade on the road to refill out of desperation.  (The osmolality in Gatorade is not my friend, tummy discomfort galore.)  I’ve heard Nuun tabs are similar, but I’ve not tried those.
  • Generation UCAN.  This is technically a pre-training drink, but it is a fluid, so here you go.  I did extensive testing and reviews of Gen UCAN, and still use it.  I alternate UCAN with a mixture of honey and coconut oil as my pre-ride fuel.  (I ride very early in the morning.)  UCAN is a carbohydrate and electrolyte drink, designed for use pre-workout.  Read my reviews here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
  • First Endurance Electrolyte Fuel System Drink Mix.  This is my drink of choice for providing carbohydrate and electrolytes in fluid form while training.  I’ve tried another brand (Hammer’s HEED) which I did not like the taste of and did not have as good of an electrolyte profile as the EFS does.  I like the Fruit Punch flavor.

 Gels (’cause when I’m riding hard, ain’t no way I’m chewing.)

  •  Honey Stinger Energy Gel.  This is my current favorite.  The packets are easy to open, and the consistency of the honey is slightly watered down so it is easy to swallow.  I like the chocolate and Ginsting (which is a regular honey flavor with a little caffeine) flavors.  I especially appreciate the limited ingredient list.  Honey is a really good carbohydrate source for athletes, by the way.  Check it out.  The research was funded by the Honey Board, but still.  It’s also good for lots of other stuff.  (As an aside, that is why on the days I do not use Gen UCAN as my pre training drink, I use a mix of coconut oil or coconut butter and honey.  The medium chain triglycerides in the coconut oil get used for fuel, and the honey is a great carb source.  I started using this on the suggestion of Kelli Jennings at Apex Nutrition.  As Kelli says “These are fast-acting, quick-metabolizing energy foods.  The honey provides moderately fast carbs that act similarly to maltodextrin (moderately fast and longer lasting than glucose), natural enzymes to improve digestion, and antioxidants.  The organic coconut oil provides fast-acting medium chain triglycerides which are used directly by the mitochondria of cells (energy producers) without the need for bile or slow digestion.”  I am working on a DIY energy gel using these and salt, but haven’t got it yet.) The packaging for these gels is easy to open, yet is sturdy enough for a full packet to make it through the washing machine without breaking open.  I speak with first hand knowledge.  Got to check those jersey pockets.
  • Chocolate #9.  Like Honey Stinger Gels, these have a lovely ingredient list.    These were VERY chocolatey, and had a considerably thicker texture than the Honey Stinger.  They were like brownie batter, which would be lovely under different circumstances, but trying to swallow it as quickly as possible lessened my enjoyment.  Plus, it made it harder to get out of the package with your teeth.  (Keep in mind, this is while I’m riding, so teeth and one hand.)  These have less carbohydrate than the Honey Stingers as well.  These were good, but for my purposes and taste I prefer the Honey Stinger gels.

Real Food aka you have to chew it.

(For me, these are used for a ride > 2.5 hours.)

  • Bananas.  Self explanatory.  Really, any fruit, but none have the comic potential that bananas do.  Cyclists are a funny group.  Bananas are one of the few chew-requiring foods that I can eat on the bike.
  • Jovial Fig Fruit Filled Gluten Free Organic Cookies .  Fig Newtons are kind of a staple in the endurance world.  I was feeling nostalgic, so went looking for a gluten free alternative and came across these.  They are handily packaged in 2’s, which is perfect for tossing in a jersey pocket.  Tasty, too.
  • Raisins or any dried fruit.
  • LÄRABAR .  I like the Cherry Pie, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and Carrot Cake flavors.  You may be different.  A friend of mine bought the Peanut Butter Cookie and hated it, while I like it.  The combo of nuts and dried fruit gives a little bit of faster carb and the longer lasting fat fuel.
  • Coconutz Fuel Energy Balls.  Check out my review of the awesome balls here.
  • Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews.  These are nice because they don’t require too much chewing, in a pinch you can even just swallow them.  My only gripe is that they leave your fingers sticky, so try to shoot them into your mouth from the package.
  • Sweet potatoes.  Kelli Jennings of Apex Nutrition gives some awesome recipes here.  I’ve not tried these yet but they sound great, although potentially messy.
  • Potato wedges with sea salt
  • Fig and Honey Rice Cakes from The Feed Zone Cookbook (great book, very gluten free friendly.)

More ideas

My friends Kim at Gluten Free is Life and Pete at No Gluten, No Problem are endurance runners.  Check out their blogs for some more ideas.  Also, Pete was co-author with my sister from another mother Melissa, the genius behind Gluten Free for Good of the eagerly anticipated book, The Gluten-Free Edge: A Nutrition and Training Guide for Peak Athletic Performance and an Active Gluten-Free Life. It will be released on July 3rd, so go pre-order it.  It’s going to be awesome.  And that’s not even because I was one of the gluten free athletes interviewed for the book, I promise.

Hopefully this gives all you endurance athletes some ideas!  Like I said, this is by no means an all inclusive list, these are just the items I’ve tried and used.  Please leave a comment if there is something else you use and like!

If you need some more info for generally eating a healthier gluten free menu, not just for sports nutrition, check out Gluten Free and Fit 101 for lots of articles to get you started.