The AIP Athlete: Combining Fitness & The Autoimmune Protocol

A couple of months ago when I visited Paleo F(x), I met Stephanie Gaudreau of Stupid Easy Paleo. Since starting paleo, I had found her to be an inspiration in her blog and Instagram posts. I bought her new cookbook, The Performance Paleo Cookbook, in the hopes that I would soon be able to use it. As she signed my cookbook, I chatted with her about my situation of having my autoimmune diagnosis and symptoms sideline my Crossfit training. She was able to offer me some encouragement and motivation. I left our chat session with a renewed commitment to become the best AIP athlete I could be with my autoimmune disease.

stephanie gaudreau from stupid easy paleo
Meeting Stephanie Gaudreau from Stupid Easy Paleo at Paleo F(x)

Once back home, I formulated an AIP fitness and diet plan that would allow me to take things slowly, while still giving me the fitness and endurance gains I was looking to attain. As for my diet, I would be following the autoimmune protocol, with the successful reintroductions of soy free eggs and white rice. I would also forgo any new reintroductions until I saw how my body handled the stress of training. It’s important not to add too many stressors at one time. That’s a quick way to send your autoimmune system into overdrive. When formulating an AIP fitness plan, it’s important to go low and slow.

To begin, my AIP athlete fitness plan consisted of weight lifting, yoga, and very little cardio. I scheduled two days of lifting with 5 minutes of HIIT (high intensity interval training) running. Basically, I would run as fast as I could for 30 seconds, then do a slow jog for a minute and a half, and repeat until my 5 minutes was up. I scheduled yoga for two days, and three days for total rest. I followed this schedule for three weeks before kicking it up a notch.

The AIP Athlete: Combining Fitness & The Autoimmune Protocol
Becoming The AIP Athlete

To gain some knowledge on the best way to incorporate the proper paleo diet into my new training program, I read Stephanie Gaudreau’s book, The Paleo Athlete. To help put together the most effective fitness diet, you need to know the right nutrients to feed your body at the right times. Stephanie’s book is very efficient in explaining the whats and whys involved in pre and post workout nutrition. It’s also helpful that it’s written from a woman’s perspective. She understands the special needs of a female athlete.

The AIP Athlete: Combining Fitness & The Autoimmune Protocol
The AIP Athlete: Combining Fitness & The Autoimmune Protocol

With the information in The Paleo Athlete, I was able to plan my AIP athlete diet. For inspiration, be sure to check out my Instagram feed. I always post my meals for the day, including any pre and post workout meals. The trick is to be sure you’re feeding your muscles properly with the necessary mix of proteins, fats, and carbs. It isn’t as hard as I thought it would be to keep my diet AIP while training. In fact, it’s been pretty darn easy.

Perfect Post-Workout Meal by Paleo Cajun Lady
Perfect Post-Workout Meal, Tuna salad over greens and a baked sweet potato

Obviously, I’ve been working at becoming the ultimate AIP athlete since the beginning of May. Since then, I’ve followed my plan and adapted to different situations my autoimmune disease presented, like joint pain, bloating, and other fun stuff. The important thing is, I didn’t quit. I kept going. Because I kept going, I am so happy to announce that I will be starting Crossfit next month! That’s right lovelies, I’ve reached such a great place in my healing, I am able to go back to Crossfit!

See, it can be done! You too can reach and even surpass your fitness goals.. Don’t let your autoimmune disease, or any illness, stop you from reaching for your dreams. You just need to formulate a realistic plan to attaining your fitness goals. Perhaps, you don’t want to be an AIP athlete, you just want to get a little yoga in every week. Or, maybe you were a runner before your diagnosis; and, you want to try to start running again. No matter what level of fitness you want to succeed at, you can’t do anything if you don’t take that first step. Make a plan. Stick to it. Adapt where necessary. Succeed! That’s it!

AIP Athlete by Paleo Cajun Lady
Reach your AIP fitness goals!

Now, it’s your turn. I want to know what you need help with. I’m not going to take you by the hand and do everything for you; but, I can lead you in the right direction. Are there any other AIP athletes out there? Have any of you had fitness success on the AIP? If so, how? I want to know it all! I’m planning on devoting a few posts a month to fitness, Crossfit, and AIP sports nutrition. Is that something you’re interested in, or is it just me? Let me know!

As always, I wish you good health…….and, good food!

*This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may receive compensation. Thanks for helping to support my blogging efforts here at Paleo Cajun Lady.- Tara Perillo

Tara Perillo

Welcome all. I am Tara Perillo, herbalist, homeopath, yoga and fitness instructor, and healthy foodie . After successfully reaching remission of my lupus symptoms, through changes in my diet, exercise, and lifestyle, I wrote the ebook, Sickness To Fitness Quick Start Guide. I am also honored to have my paleo and AIP recipes featured in Paleo Magazine, Paleo Living Magazine, Shape Magazine Online, 85 Amazing AIP Breakfasts, The Paleo AIP Instant Pot Cookbook, and blogs by The Paleo Mom, Kris Kresser, Whole New Mom and many others. My focus is to help others become stronger in every facet of their lives. Join me to become stronger in health, mind, body, and spirit, together!

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5 Replies to “The AIP Athlete: Combining Fitness & The Autoimmune Protocol”

  1. Thank you so much for this post! I’m a professional dancer and have really struggled to find a balance between managing my autoimmune disease and my career. Unlike many people, physically demanding exercise, high stress, and a pretty good amount of travel is my job, which really contradicts the AIP lifestyle. There is no way I’m going to give up what I love, but I do find myself struggling sometimes to figure out how to manage my symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease while doing what I love. I really look forward to reading the Paleo Athlete to see what else I can do in terms of eating for my lifestyle.

  2. I’ve been living this way for 14 years now. I definitely have good and bad days but every day I work out regardless of how much I feel like I might fall over, ha! Working out always makes me feel 10x better!

  3. Thanks so much for this! I have also been trial and erroring it on AIP for the past year. I did 4 months of mostly yin yoga and walking in the beginning, partly due to AIP but also at the insistence of a physio and osteopath for a nagging hip injury. I believe (strongly) that my health, particularily my anemia kept me injured for much longer than normal. As most of us AIP’ers are, I am a former push through no matter what my body tells me type. Its been a CONSTANT battle against this thought pattern, but like you, I have been climbing back slowly but surely to my 2-3 HIIT workouts, swimming twice-ish a week, daily yoga, riding my bike, hiking, surfing and freediving! I’m almost back to normal iron stores and feel better than I have in years. So to anyone new to AIP, you can do it too! Patience and self compassion are crucial. Taking days off and listening to your body are more important than cramming that workout in. Thanks Tara!

    1. Hi Jaime, I loved reading your story. It’s definitely a different kind of struggle we face. Although, like you, I’ve found it hard to take things slow, I know it’s the best thing for my health. I’m so glad you’re feeling so much better and your iron stores are almost back to normal. Thank you so much for sharing your success story with us. I love it!

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