For the millions of us living gluten free, sustaining a gluten free way of life goes far beyond mealtime. From browsing the beauty aisle at the drug store to simply going to a friend’s house for dinner, being gluten free shapes many facets of my everyday life.
For me, a full-time athlete with celiac disease, my gluten free lifestyle also plays a big role in my overall fitness plan and training. Yup, that’s me in the photo! I’m a cross-country skier for Team Canada and I spend most of my days training on the slopes.
A persistent sluggish feeling and decreased athletic performance led to my celiac disease diagnosis in 2008. However, since being diagnosed, living gluten free has enabled me to get back into my most competitive physical state and achieve my dream of competing in Sochi this winter.
Take a look below for my top ten tips for how you too can live gluten free and perform at the top of your game, whether you are readying yourself for the global stage – or just hitting the gym!
- Listen to your body. If you’re not feeling well, whether it’s a sore muscle or a stomach ache, your body is trying to tell you something so don’t tune it out. Go at your own pace, rest and talk to your doctor if problems continue. A persistent sluggish feeling and decreased athletic performance lead to my celiac disease diagnosis in 2008. Your body knows best!
- Keep a food journal either on your phone or on paper. You’ll be surprised to see how much you can learn about your eating habits and the way the body responds to certain foods. It’s a good tool to share with your doctors so they can better understand your overall health.
- Give your friends a “personal training session.” Your friends might not understand what it means to have celiac disease and live a gluten free lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to learn. After all, the best way to stay on course with diet and exercise is to work together with a like-minded buddy. Teaching them about what you can and cannot eat will help keep them invested in your health and fitness plan, and make sure you that you feel supported.
- Remember… refuel your body. Carbohydrates are important for an active lifestyle because they provide energy before a workout and help with recovery. Just because there are carbs in something doesn’t mean that it has gluten. If you’re craving bread with peanut butter, find the gluten free options that will keep you satisfied – and happy of course! Glutino bread, eggs and fruit is my favorite pre-workout breakfast, eating that meal before a workout gives me the energy I need to perform.
- Drink up. Living a healthy, gluten free lifestyle isn’t just about eating and exercising, it’s also about staying hydrated. Increasing your fitness level means you need to increase your fluid intake. When I’m training, I drink several liters of pure water a day!
- Don’t waste your workouts. Just because you exercised doesn’t mean that you can eat whatever you want. Be smart about your post-workout snacks. Glutino pretzels and hummus are a go-to-snack for me because I’m getting protein and carbs, which helps me to refuel and recover more quickly post workout.
- Set reminders. If you’re getting up for a morning workout, set your gym clothes and sneakers right next to your bed or right in front of the door. You won’t be able to leave the house without being reminded that you should be getting out the door for a workout. For me, it also means I get to sleep in a few minutes longer each day. I don’t have to spend time looking for things – it’s all right there for me.
- Don’t abandon the plan. If your physician has recommended a gluten free diet, it’s with good reason – it’s for your health! Going off course can lead to decreased energy and an overall decline in exercise performance. Living gluten free has enabled me to live and perform at the top of my game – I couldn’t imagine living any other way.
- Reward yourself for good behavior. Living a healthy, active lifestyle has its benefits, but committing to a plan 100% of the time can sometimes feel like work. So when you’re doing well – reward yourself. Sometimes a bright new pair of training socks or a cool new water bottle does it for me.
- Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. If you have a setback, like getting sick or going off your plan, that doesn’t mean your journey has to end. That setback is in the past and you have to keep looking forward. Like Willie Jolley said, “A setback is a setup for a comeback.” If I gave up, I would’ve missed out on my dreams of competing in Sochi.
By: Dasha Gaiazova
This original article is made possible by Glutino. As a pioneer in the gluten-free industry since 1983, Glutino is committed to creating the best tasting gluten-free foods and gluten-free snacks for you and your family that are not only safe but delicious. Whether it’s a gluten-free recipe, support resource, wellness event, Glutino coupon, or a new way to look at the world around you, we hope to help and inspire you be at your very best. Live gluten free. Live fully!