Gluten Free Athletes | Page 4

Gluten Free Fitness

Gluten Free Athletes

Gluten Free Athlete Profile: Caitlin Burman

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Caitlin is here in my neck of the woods in South Florida. It was a pleasure to learn her story!

Caitlin Burman

Caitlin Burman Gluten Free Triathlete

Caitlin Burman: Gluten free triathlete

Age: 21
Location: I’m currently at school at the University of Miami, Florida and live in Coral Gables. Originally from Severna Park, Maryland. I have competed in 10 triathlons, including two Collegiate National Championships.

I was diagnosed in March 2009. I was in the process of being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and was having unbearable stomach pains, headaches, and was always fatigued. After being told everything from it was stress to IBS, I did some research and found celiac. I insisted on being tested. My results were negative, but because my symptoms persisted, I insisted on being tested again. My results were still negative, but my stomach was bloated and I was still having pain. I decided to go gluten free anyway. Within 24 hours, all of my symptoms disappeared. I do not know my trigger, and in hindsight, I have probably been dealing with this most of my life.

Caitlin’s training schedule:
I swim four times per week, cycle twice per week, teach a Spin class twice per week, and run three times per week.

Nutritional philosophy:
I believe we are what we eat. If you eat large heavy meals, you will be large and heavy! I don’t believe in eating processed foods. I don’t think humans were meant to consume chemicals. I eat a balance of lean meat, fruits and vegetables, with very few grains. I prefer to eat locally grown organic foods, to help contribute to a sustainable earth.

Her favorite pre and post workout foods:
My favorite pre workout food is a Lemon LaraBar. After a hard workout, I like a guava smoothie.

Her favorite sports supplements are:
Orange GU chomps. They even guarantee gluten free on the box!

Caitlin’s current plans:
I’m currently training for USAT’s Collegiate National Championship in April. To prep, I’m racing Escape to Miami, Suncoast
Sprint, Miami Man, and Miami International Triathlon.

Advice to pass along to other gluten free athletes:
Get out there and compete! You’ve already gone gluten free, which requires the same type of diligence and commitment that athletics does.

Thanks for sharing you story Caitlin and best wishes on your upcoming races!

Gluten Free Athlete Profile: Peter Bronski

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This is the beginning if what will be an ongoing series. Each “episode” will highlight a gluten free athlete. You will see there are athletes of many different disciplines and experience level. Each of them is amazing and accomplished in their own right. They deserve to be celebrated.

A bit about Peter in his own words:

I am 30 years old, living in Boulder, Colorado. Competitively, I focus on Xterra off-road triathlons during late spring, summer, and early fall, and ski mountaineering races during winter. Greatest accomplishment…competing in the Xterra U.S. National Championship.

When were you diagnosed and what were the circumstances/situation that made you get tested?
I was diagnosed in January 2007 after two years of rapidly worsening symptoms that were crippling physically and psychologically.

A little information about your training?

Team Bronski-Peter, Kelli and little girl Bronski :)

Team Bronski: Peter, Kelli and little girl Bronski 🙂

Pre-season, training consists of longer distance, slower speed trail runs and mountain bike rides to build an endurance base. As race season approaches, I slowly shift to shorter distance, higher intensity workouts to improve speed and explosive power. During the peak of my training for Xterra, I’m typically doing 2 open water swims, 2-3 trail runs, and 2-3 mountain bike rides per week, including one brick (a mountain bike ride followed immediately by a trail run), as well as rest days built in to allow my muscles to recover. If you do the math, that means some days have double workouts. Once I’m in the throes of race season, my pattern shifts – race, recover, complete a new training cycle to build stronger, and then taper for the next race.

A little information about your nutritional philosophy?
I don’t heavily carbo-load the way some athletes do. I like to eat a fairly well-balanced diet of carbs, proteins, and healthy fats. I eat lots of fresh food, and food made from scratch at home. Tons of fruits and veggies. Carbs come chiefly from potatoes, corn, and rice (as well as home baked bread, fresh pasta, from scratch pizza, etc.). I tend to eat an animal protein almost daily – often chicken or turkey, and less often, pork or a lean cut of beef. I also get protein (as well as healthy fats) from things like nuts (peanuts, almonds) and olive oil, which I use often in cooking and salad dressings. Yogurt for calcium and strong bones.

Favorite pre and post workout foods?
Pre-workout I like foods that are light on the stomach and easily metabolized to provide glucose for muscle energy…maybe some chocolate, a serving of fruit, or an endurance sports chew (like GU Chomps). Post-workout I try to eat protein as soon as possible afterwards to help with muscle recovery, but after hard workouts my diet is suppressed, and it’s difficult sometimes to force myself to eat right away when I don’t feel like it.

Favorite Sports Supplements?
Gatorade for fluids. I’ll typically take a combo of Gatorade and water (on mountain bike rides, I’ll carry one bottle of each and more or less alternate sipping off each bottle). GU gel packs for nutrition – especially the tri-berry, lime, and orange flavors. Love ’em!

Upcoming plans and competitions?
Having just competed in the 2009 Xterra U.S. National Championships, I’m planning to take a few weeks off to let my body (and my brain) recovery from a long, hard season of racing. Then I’ll start up with my pre-race training
schedule to start building a new endurance base for the 2010 race season. This year, I went to nationals sick with an acute viral infection, which hindered my performance. My goal is to qualify for Xterra U.S. nationals again next year, and go into the race stronger than ever.

Advice for other gluten free athletes?
Although you have to rethink race nutrition as a gluten-free athlete, once you’ve solved that “problem” there are no limitations. Determination, persistence, dedication to training, and the motivation to overcome temporary setbacks and challenges will all help you achieve your athletic potential. With food working for your body, instead of against it, you can compete right along side the other non-gluten-free athletes of the world.

Editorial note from Erin-This is gold, peeps. Take it to heart. Great and wonderful words of wisdom and motivation

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness

As a spokesperson for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (I’m one of their Athletes for Awareness) I’m trying to raise awareness about Celiac and gluten intolerance issues in the US, and inspire the gluten-free community to be active. Right now, I’m actively working with the Xterra organization and individual race organizers and GF sponsors to get GF foods at pre and post race events, and to host pre race clinics on GF nutrition and racing for athletes. Keep an eye out for exciting developments on this front in 2010! My wife, Kelli, and I are also the co-authors of the new cookbook, Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking, which comes out in October and will be widely available (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.).

You can follow Peter on his blog at No Gluten, No Problem or at www.peterbronski.com.

Many thanks to Peter for his story and helping to inspire us all. Now get out there and MOVE!!

Athletes Living Gluten Free

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As this is a blog about living with celiac, being gluten free and fitness-it only stands to reason that I will be spotlighting gluten free athletes. This will be an ongoing series of gluten-free athlete profiles. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to be involved, and pass the word to those you think may like to be involved. Amy at the Savvy Celiac recently shared a blog post on athletes with celiac disease, which you can find here.

The word “athlete” may have some associations in your mind. What do you think of when you think of an “athlete.” An Olympian? A collegiate D1 player? A marathoner? A powerlifter? Or a human being with a belief that moving their body can positively impact their life? A person who embraces the unique ability that they personally have for activity?

Here is my definition of “athlete.”

An individual who recognizes the importance of doing something the human body is designed to do: move. One who makes regular physical activity a part of their day, and may even feel odd if a day goes by where they don’t move as much. One who takes any challenges they are given, whether physical or mental, and uses that challenge to fuel them. One who chooses to not make excuses, but design solution when problems arise in the way of their fitness goals. You don’t have to compete to have the mindset of a warrior and an athlete. Don’t sell yourself short. Think, train, eat, live like an athlete. You are an athlete. Accept no limitations.

An athlete may be a walker, a triathlete, a weightlifter, a football player, or none of these categories.

An athlete is one who moves their body with the intention of making themselves better-physically, emotionally, mentally.
Move your body. Honor your design. Live your life.

What is an athlete to you? Let me know…share your thoughts in the comments!