Life as an Athlete with Celiac AND Type 1 Diabetes

December 13, 2010

Life as an Athlete with Celiac AND Type 1 Diabetes

Powerlifter Ginger Vieira shares her story

Last week, powerlifter Ginger Vieira published an inspiring in-depth article on her personal experience as an athlete managing Type 1 Diabetes.

Upon discovering her condition back in 1999, Ginger also learned she had Celiac Disease. This dual diagnosis presented a unique and ominous challenge for Ginger, who was determined to participate and compete in her sport.

“Because balanced blood sugars and a true understanding of the physiology of diabetes are crucial for making advances in powerlifting, if I wanted to be a successful powerlifter, I had to be in charge of my diabetes. “

Now gluten-free, the 25 year old has set 15 records in her sport, including record lifts of 190 lb bench press, 265 lb squat and 308 lb deadlift.

“My favorite parts of powerlifting, in addition to the pure adrenaline rush (and ego-boost) of moving several hundred pounds of weight, are the fine-details and technique involved with each lift.”

In order to perform difficult lifts, maintain stamina, and properly recover after her workouts, diet and insulin management is critical. Fortunately for Ginger, this is true for all powerlifters!

“Both worlds [Diabetes and Powerlifting] revolve around discussions on food, carbohydrates, exercise and even insulin sensitivity. (That’s right, to my diabetic readers: powerlifters really appreciate a thing or two about insulin!) Both worlds and the p
eople in them lie awake at night thinking about their goals and the challenges before them.”

As she has overcome tremendous adversity in pursuit of her passion, Ginger’s outlook and goals now transcend her diseases. She hopes that by sharing her story, she can encourage others to do the same.

“Yes, I manage my diabetes because I want to be a healthy diabetic. But that’s not really inspiring… that’s just about being responsible and fulfilling an obligation.

Instead, I am inspired to manage my diabetes as well as I can because I want to be many other things in life. And one of those things is that I want to be a powerlifter, a powerlifter who wins, who sets new records, and who reaches new personal points of progress.

I am not a diabetic powerlifter. I am a powerlifter who also happens to be diabetic.”

Watch the incredible Ginger Vieira in action:

Click here to read more about Ginger’s personal story in ASweetLife Diabetes Magazine.