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Fitness And Celiac Question
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Hey guys,

 

    So I have a question that concerns nourishment as well as muscle building. Ive been training pretty hard over the past year or so in excelling my fitness as well as athletic ability. Over the year I have gotten stronger and leaner, also lost a lot of weight (due to hard cardio and celiac) But I noticed I wasn't making any real muscle gains, I thought I had maybe overtrained, I was fatigued and tired a lot.. So I was recently confirmed that I have celiac (as of one week ago actually) and have been gluten free since. I used to do vigorous exercise, to failure at some points, and that combined with malnourishment probably made me lose muscle. I am a very healthy eater, and very fit, yet I have the body of a kid who eats taco bell every day. I really enjoy hard exercise and hope to get back at it. How long do you suppose it takes to heal until I can get back to working hard, and running a lot? (and actually seeing results for the work I'm putting in)

 

Thanks a lot! Any suggestions at all are much appreciated, especially comments from any experienced athlete/weightlifter/sports trainer.

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Time. It takes time. Everyone heals at a different rate. It took me about a year to feel well enough to start training for events, but 1) I am over 50, and 2) I had fractures (doing nothing) resulting from celiac disease (that will slow you down.....)

You will get better and stronger, but you do not want to cause further damage. If I had continued to push, I could have had heart damage from the anemia. It was better for me to wait until the anemia was resolved and the fractures healed. It was hard for me just to walk or swim carefully. Then I ran, but was a little worried about falling or jarring myself. Took me 9 months to get back on my bike and I am now training for a century ride. It will be my first as a celiac and diabetic. Figuring out my fuel has been the hardest. But it is great to be riding with my friends again!

You are young and should heal very fast. A week is not enough time to heal. Listen to your body. Workout, but do it gently. I will defer to Jamie about the weightlifting. She's an expert in that area.

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Time. It takes time. Everyone heals at a different rate. It took me about a year to feel well enough to start training for events, but 1) I am over 50, and 2) I had fractures (doing nothing) resulting from celiac disease (that will slow you down.....)

You will get better and stronger, but you do not want to cause further damage. If I had continued to push, I could have had heart damage from the anemia. It was better for me to wait until the anemia was resolved and the fractures healed. It was hard for me just to walk or swim carefully. Then I ran, but was a little worried about falling or jarring myself. Took me 9 months to get back on my bike and I am now training for a century ride. It will be my first as a celiac and diabetic. Figuring out my fuel has been the hardest. But it is great to be riding with my friends again!

You are young and should heal very fast. A week is not enough time to heal. Listen to your body. Workout, but do it gently. I will defer to Jamie about the weightlifting. She's an expert in that area.

Thanks a lot, i do in fact need to just rest a lot, yet since I'm young i do not have any real trouble exercising. I feel fine (even when i push myself sometimes) Am i causing harm if a do just light running and light weights? Thank you

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Oh and I actually have slightly higher than normal Iron levels, in which we do not know why yet, but does that have any effect on exercise?

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Oh and I actually have slightly higher than normal Iron levels, in which we do not know why yet, but does that have any effect on exercise?

No, but make sure you are not taking supplements that contain iron. Doc can keep an eye on your higher iron levels.

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Thanks a lot, i do in fact need to just rest a lot, yet since I'm young i do not have any real trouble exercising. I feel fine (even when i push myself sometimes) Am i causing harm if a do just light running and light weights? Thank you

I do not think you will cause harm. Skip interval training for now. No sprints and do not watch the clock! Just have fun.

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I ran easy 2-3 times a week for the first three months after diagnosis. I found it was enough to get the endorphins I was used to and to keep me 'fit', I actually improved when I did run 5ks just from the healing that had already taken place. The first time I really trained (between four and seven months gluten-free, it was for a trail race) was totally unrecognisable from the marathon training I was doing just before I got diagnosed, it was so good! Agree with cyclinglady about fuelling, you may need to experiment with it a bit. 

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Hello Aidan,

 

To build muscle, you really have to eat a lot of protein. It can be difficult to eat enough! Some folks recommend 1 g per pound of bodyweight (particularly if you want to build muscle), and you shouldn't get less than 1 g per pound of lean mass (your body weight minus body fat), particularly if you're lifting. I'm doing a fitness challenge through my gym right now and we're working through a lot of that. The best thing would be for you to work with a nutritionist and let him/her know what your specific needs (Celiac) and goals (gain muscle mass) are. As a relatively small woman who's used to trying to limit what I eat (calories and otherwise), adding lots of food to my daily meals - particularly meat - has been tough. I've added a lot of deli meat because it's easy (and because I don't have any problem with blood pressure - the salt in deli meat would make it a more difficult go-to for some folks).

 

I do a variation of CrossFit and we work to failure pretty often. I'm still dealing with what I think is a level of exhaustion that doesn't match my physical effort (so I think something else is causing me to be more tired than I should be), but I am seeing gains in strength - which obviously makes me very happy. SLEEP is super important. It's when your body heals itself, and builds muscle. Let yourself sleep as much as possible - turn off the TV (or computer, or cell phone) and go to bed early. Drink lots of water. I've been diagnosed and gluten-free for about two years, but in the first year I just ran - I couldn't imagine lifting weights I was so tired, and running was something I could do on my schedule and at my pace. I did a half marathon last spring and another last fall and then decided it was time to get stronger.

 

In terms of healing time before you get back to training - just listen to your body. Personally, I never stopped moving - no matter how tired I was - even though I did scale back on length and intensity. If you need two days off after a tough workout, do some stretching or yoga instead of back to back tough training. If you feel great, go for it (but listen to your body again in recovery - after the workout!). If you don't feel ready for tough workouts yet, ease into them. And don't be hard on yourself mentally - remember that you're healing on the inside, and after a while you'll be able to push yourself harder.

 

Please be careful of the high iron - I found out recently that I also have something called hemochromatosis. "Normal" bodies shed excess iron. People with hemochromatosis store the iron, eventually in their organs, which causes all sorts of problems. The good news is that if you can catch it early, it can be monitored and very easily treated (essentially by donating blood or just having it drawn).

 

Hope that's helpful!

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