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Olympic Swimmer Dana Vollmer Cuts Gluten and Wins Gold

U.S. swimmer Dana Vollmer made history this week when she won Olympic gold in the 100-meter butterfly and set a new world record with a time of 55.98 seconds. While this achievement was a huge breakthrough for the swimmer, it wouldn’t have been possible without a major diet modification she made just last year: Going gluten free.

As reported by CNN, Vollmer always had something holding her back from her goals, be it a heart condition, ACL or shoulder injury, or chronic back pain. But another obstacle the swimmer was facing was frequent debilitating stomach aches, which, coupled with her other conditions, inevitably led to her failed effort to qualify for the Olympic trials four years ago.

Vollmer and her doctors weren’t able to identify the cause of the stomach aches as they continued to grow worse and even resulted in multiple trips to the emergency room. And because Vollmer had already received so much care for her other conditions, she tried to ignore the symptoms and rarely shared how much pain she was actually enduring. “I’d always had either knee or shoulder problems,” she said, “so I didn’t want to say ‘Oh, I have a tummy ache today.’”
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Kami Craig’s Olympic Training and Diet Make Her “Feel Explosive” in the Water

There’s no doubt that Kami Craig was a born water baby. Swimming by age 4 and playing water polo by age 12, she’s now headed to London to compete on a global stage as part of the USA Water Polo Olympic Team. The California native joined the team in 2011 after graduating as a leader on the USC Trojans water polo team in 2010.

It’s no doubt Kami plays on a team with 13 girls, not only was she born to swim but she was born to be a team player. Her USA Water Polo biography explains that she loves water polo because it’s a team sport, where she “loves being apart of a team and getting to hangout with 13 of her friends everyday.”

Kami and her 12 friends/teammates are headed to 2012 London Olympic Games to score more medal. She was part of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games that won silver. With her healthy diet focused on fresh produce and lean protein, rigorous training schedule for six days a week, and team-focused attitude, we have to believe she’ll help bring home a gold for the U.S.

Learn more about this star of the USA Water Polo Olympic Team in our interview!
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The Pros and Cons of a Beach Workout

Swimsuit season is in full effect. Across the country people have been hitting the gym to make sure their body is ready for one-pieces, two-pieces and maybe even no-pieces. If you’re tired of the gym, and have access, consider a workout on the beach. Like any workout, there are advantages and disadvantages. So before you dig your heels in to the sand, be sure you know how to get the best and safest workout at the beach.

I talked to Holly Perkins, a renowned fitness expert and New Balance Fitness Ambassador, about the pros and cons of working out at the beach. She gave me a great list of benefits someone can get while working out at the beach.

Beach Workout Pros



US Olympic Swimmer Natalie Coughlin Talks Health and Fitness

Natalie Coughlin is one to watch in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Natalie is on the US Women’s Olympic Swimming team. At the ripe age of 22-years-old, Natalie won five medals in 2004 in the Athens Summer Olympics. It was her first time participating in the Olympics and won a gold medal in the 100m Backstroke and 4x200m Freestyle Relay, silver medal in the 4×100 Freestyle Relay and 4x100m Medley Relay, and bronze medal in the 100m Freestyle. In 2008, she won six more medals to add to her collection. Already having 11 medals under her swimsuit she is determined to win more medals in London this summer.

In addition to swimming, Coughlin is focused on her health, the environment, and as a philanthropist, Natalie says health and nutrition go hand in hand. She keeps up with her fitness outside of the pool and eats healthy to maintain a well balanced diet. She embraces the green lifestyle, so much so that she has a garden in her backyard where she grows her own fruits and vegetables. She was recently introduced to Michelle Obama during a Let’s Move presentation, which is one of the charities she works with. She has also made donations to Right to Play through the Hearts of Gold program. It’s great to see athletes give back to the community.

Natalie is keeping a busy schedule preparing for the summer Olympics and all the other activities in her life. We are glad that she took some time out from her busy schedule to give us an interview!

Q: What does your calorie intake look like during training? In 2008 we heard that Phelps consumed something like 12,000 calories! 

A: I have no idea what my calorie intake is… I do my best to listen to my body and change the amount accordingly. During big lifting phases and competitions I tend to eat more, during lighter training phases I eat less.
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Stand Up Paddling is the Latest Fitness Craze with Serious Benefits

Stand up paddling (SUP) or “Yoloing” is the perfect combination of traditional canoeing, surfing and kayaking, but even better. Stand up paddling offers an incredible core workout with a cadence much like swimming or cycling. Yolo Boards, founded by Tom Losee and Jeff Archer in 2006 in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, is the custom paddleboard of choice. “Yolo” stands for “You Only Live Once”, and when you first try stand up paddling in a lake, ocean, or bay, this name makes perfect sense.

People of any age, from 5 to 85, can do this. While traditional surfboards are 20 inches in width, stand up paddleboards are 32 inches wide. You can learn by starting on your knees and go from there. What is truly great is that it is something the entire family can do together.

Here are 3 new fitness trends in Stand Up Paddling:

1. Stand Up Fitness and Paddle Fit founder Brody Welte, says, “SUP” is one of the greatest forms of exercise that exists. It focuses on upper and lower body and core strength. It is as challenging as running, swimming and biking from a cardio perspective. It has virtually zero impact, is gentle on the body, and improves your balance as well.” SUP is an exercise like no other. Getting out on the water gives you a true serenity, challenge and good time.

2. Stand Up Paddle Yoga is becoming a top yoga trend as well. When I asked Stand Up Paddle Yoga Instructor Gillian Gibree why she thinks this is becoming so popular, she told me, “Stand Up Paddle Yoga takes the workout out of the studio and into nature. Doing a true sun salutation on a floating mat on the water is so refreshing and meditative. Yoga and SUP are two amazing practices that are great for the body, mind, and spirit!”

3. Racing in Stand Up Paddle is becoming a sport as well. You can find the latest information for races around the United States on at SupEvent.com and iTunes.

For more information, you can also see Brody’s innovative Paddle Fit digital guide launched last year, which gives step-by-step digital instruction on getting fit while stand up paddling. He has also launched an entire Paddle Fit certificationof classes, held in different areas of the country. For your next vacation, see if your resort offers SUP like Sandestin and 30A in NW Florida.

Alison Lewis is a nationally known Cookbook Author, Magazine and Internet Food, Travel, Fitness and Health Journalist, Speaker, Travel and Food Photographer and Owner of Ingredients, Inc., a Media Consulting company in Birmingham, Alabama who is on Facebook and Twitter.