Achieve your fitness goals with these tips from an Ultimate Frisbee pro

[6 min read]

In this article: 

  • Ultimate Frisbee player Kaitlynne "Bunz" Roling, a cutter on the Swedish-sponsored Seattle Tempest, maintains her fitness with a workout schedule, recovery days and a healthy diet.
  • Focus on emotional health and well-being is also essential to Roling's peak performance. 
  • She shares how she stays game-ready and maintains a balanced life on and off the field. 

Each May, we recognize Women's Health Week. It's a time when many of us start thinking about our own well-being and staying fit. We may be setting fitness goals and looking for inspiration to get back on track. It's a great time to focus on taking care of ourselves and improving our health.

For some expert fitness advice, we spoke with Kaitlynne "Bunz" Roling, who plays the position of cutter on the Swedish-sponsored women's Ultimate Frisbee team the Seattle Tempest. Last season, the team took home a second consecutive league title, repeating as WUL champions. 

Kaitlynne has eight years of experience in the Ultimate community and plays the cutter position. An athlete with a busy personal and professional life, Kaitlynne knows the importance of maintaining and prioritizing her health.

Accomplished professional athlete Kaitlynne "Bunz" Roling is a cutter on the Swedish-sponsored women's Ultimate Frisbee team the Seattle Tempest. Recently, she shared some of her own tips that can help us achieve our fitness goals. Photos: Johnathan Red Photography.  

“I don’t really get an off season but being constantly ‘on’ means my brain and emotions don’t get as much of a break,” she says. “Recently I’ve been forced to slow down due to injury and that’s allowed me to look at how I organize my life — how much I do and where I am spending my time. Saying no (this is my big one!), taking breaks, getting outside, being with loved ones and talking about things going on in my life openly have allowed me to be able to maintain my mental and emotional health.”

How do you approach nutrition and fueling your body for optimal performance in ultimate frisbee?
Growing up as a woman and an athlete has been a weird space when I think about my body, nutrition, and fueling. [I grew up with] unhealthy views of my body due to society’s expectations, but knowing my body looks the way it looks in order to perform was on my mind every day and is still on my mind every day. As an adult I still am struggling but have found more relief and comfort eating whatever it is that my body needs to perform optimally no matter how it makes my body looks. I am asking so much of my body. I should honor that work and effort with fuel and proper nutrition and food that I enjoy. So, I guess my approach is to give myself grace and continue to disrupt the unhealthy notions towards my body and food intake. When I prepare for a game or a tournament where I expect the most of my body to perform, I make sure to prioritize eating, hydrating, and resting. For nutrition, I make sure I am eating just as many calories as I can! I need the energy; I need the carbs and I need the protein for my muscles to repair. Also, caffeine; I drink caffeine before performing! ha!

Can you share some of your recovery routine?
Recovery is something many athletes don’t take seriously, and personally I am growing in making sure it is as much of a priority in my training schedule as the “training” aspects. Every Tuesday I take the day off from lifting, sprinting or practicing [as a way to] take care of my body. This looks like Epsom salt baths, meal prepping for the week, rolling out, cupping, stretching and yoga! I try to do the things that bring me joy and rest at least once a week. I also see my PT weekly! This is due to need at times, but also just tune ups and ensuring I am doing the small things to keep me running. Every once in a while, I will book a massage or acupuncture, though a “luxury” as an athlete finding ways to recover and care for your body falls under the “training” umbrella.

Can you share any tips for staying motivated and consistent with your fitness routine?
Finding your why…and that why changes! I’ve had years where my why was my teammates! I would remind myself that if I am to be the best teammate I can be on and off the field, I need to do the work outside of practice to ensure it! Sometimes my why is myself, and pushing and doing the things to train and perform my best so I can continue to believe and be myself as an athlete and competitor. Burnout is real, but staying grounded in my why and my joy of training and competing keeps me going.

How do you balance your fitness training for ultimate frisbee with other aspects of your life, such as work, school or family obligations?
I try to remind myself that I can’t be my whole healthy and happy self for those other aspects of my life without training and taking care of my body. It’s not easy and I’m still figuring out where my priorities are. But I use my Google Calendar religiously, try to text people to hang out and spend time together well in advance so that I have specific times to be with the people I love. Above all else, I prioritize my mental and physical health and communicate that with my work and coworkers when I need to.

Why is it important for women to pay attention to health and regular care like checkups?
The medical system has often cast women, especially women of color and trans women to the side. To this day, discrepancies in care are found amongst different racial and socioeconomic demographics, the trust is lost, and the health disparities continue on. It’s important for women of color to pay attention to our health and find the ways to advocate because we know our body best! Regular checkups allow for more touch points with your primary care doctor and more intentional time for even yourself to do a check and assess yourself. Recently, I’ve had multiple medical appointments with neurologists and gynecologists, and in them we have found things that needed follow up. What could be a routine appointment that is just an in and out, can lead to further insight and concern, and catch something in advance before it progresses. We would hope [our appointments are] in and out with nothing, but in the case, they aren’t, the consistent checkups and advocating for yourself allows for catching things before they get too bad.

Why is it important for you to represent female athletes/women in sports?
From the moment I started playing sports, I knew I would continue to play my whole life – I began competing with boys and always saw myself as equal to them on the field and on the court — never less than. It’s this mindset I want ALL women to be able to grow up having from the moment they choose to play sports. I want all children to be able to have athletes of all gender identities as role models. I also have two younger sisters, I want to showcase to them that you can be an athlete, a woman, a Black woman, and a big sister who loves them. I want to show them what hard work, dedication and fun looks like through all ages of your life. I do this for them, for the next generation of athletes and to continue to prove myself as an athlete to the world.

Learn more and find a practitioner

Whether you're an elite or amateur athlete, our experts at Swedish Sports, Spine and Musculoskeletal Medicine can help you. Give us a call at 425-498-2272. 

Whether you require an in-person visit or want to consult a doctor virtually, you have options. Contact Swedish Primary Care to schedule an appointment with a primary care provider. You can also connect virtually with your provider to review your symptoms, provide instruction and follow up as needed. And with Swedish ExpressCare Virtual you can receive treatment in minutes for common conditions such as colds, flu, urinary tract infections and more. You can use our provider directory to find a specialist or primary care physician near you.

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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional’s instructions.

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