Gluten free for athletic performance?

Lately I’ve become a runner.  Not a particularly fast runner, nor can I last for long distances, yet.  But I do run a minimum of 3 times a week, and I cross train (walk, elliptical machine, yoga, or some combo) 1 or 2 times a week.  I need to add some strength training in there, too, but not just yet.  I’m still new to all of this.


When I became more concerned with my fitness level, I discovered I was much more interested in reading about fitness and diet as related to athletic performance.  Now, I know I’ll probably never be competitive. Well, maybe when I reach my 80s.  But I do want to do the best that I can.  So I am reading more about blood sugar levels while training, proper fit of shoes, the best pace and training techniques for fast recovery, and whether or not I should be concerned, as a new runner, about speed training.  (I shouldn’t, and I’m not.)  I’m also looking at my diet more, trying to figure out what to eat before and after runs to make me feel better, run longer, and recover faster.


So I was very interested when I stumbled across this article about the Garmin-Transitions pro cycling team going gluten free to enhance their racing performance.  You can read the entire article from the March 2010 Men’s Journal here.  Basically, they are eating gluten free as part of an anti-inflammatory diet, designed to help the athletes recover better from the grueling stages of the Tour de France. 

The article states that this is a training tool, not a permanent lifestyle change for the athletes, but who knows?  It might be a new trend among athletes to eliminate gluten during training and competition, and limit consumption during the off season.  I can see this leading to more gluten-free options available out there, as more people start saying, “Why does gluten have to be in everything?”  It might just be the nudge needed to get gluten out of things that don’t need it, like Rice Krispies.  And some of those athletes might like the way they feel and go gluten free for good. 

For funsies, make sure you go to the end of the article and see what these guys eat.  8000 calories a day?  In my dreams!

About Li

A writer, runner, and Gluten-Free Zealot, I've been helping others navigate the gluten-free lifestyle for many years. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and when you're gluten-free, it's even better!
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