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