March 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Fitness, Paleo Tips

The Paleo Diet Basics


For millions of years, man has eaten the ideal diet for nutrition and sustenance based on what he could find as a hunter-gatherer. It has only been relatively recently (the past 10,000), since the introduction of intensive farming that our diet has changed to include grains, dairy and legumes.

These are in evolutionary terms still un-natural foods for us. If you are training hard or competing then you need the optimal diet for performance and recovery. The Paleo diet for athletes is a twist on the basic paleo diet, so that you get everything you need to smash your performance to new heights.

We have been eating lean animal proteins, vegetables and fruit for hundreds of thousands of years and these are the foods that we can derive the most nutritional benefit from. By sticking to these ‘natural’ foods, our bodies will thrive and we will gain in health and performance.


How you Need to Adapt the Paleo diet for Athletes


Looking back to our stone age ancestors, it wasn’t a part of their routine or lifestyle to workout in any way other than low grade continual exercise combined with short bursts of energy while hunting. As a serious modern athlete, the demands you place on your body are somewhat different, so we need to adapt their paleo diet for athletes so it caters for your energy and nutritional needs.

Hour after hour of sustained high level intensity and your need for a quick recovery from that energy loss, are the unique demands of the serious modern day athlete. Because of these demands, you will need to relax your paleo diet rules in limited areas.

An Athletes Five Stages of Eating

  1. Before Exercise
  2. During Exercise
  3. Immediately After Exercise
  4. Extended Recovery
  5. Long Term Recovery

1. At least two hours beforeĀ  a long or hard workout you should have a meal that contains low to medium GI Carbohydrates. Aim for low fiber, but can contain some fat and protein too. Then you should make sure that you take in up to 300 calories during each hour before your workout, or race begins. If it’s not possible to eat 2 hours before the event, then make sure that you have a few hundred calories 10-15 minutes before your workout starts.

2. During your workout you will need to take in high GI carbs in fluid form. If your workout is going to last up to an hour then water is fine, but longer than this and you should use a sports drink that you find palatable.

3. After a long workout, during the first 30 minutes you need to have a recovery drink that contains carbs and protein in a 4 or 5 to 1 ratio. There are commercial recovery drinks available, or you can make your own;

  • 16oz fruit juice
  • 1 x banana
  • 3 – 5 tbsp glucose
  • 3 tbsp protein powder (whey or egg is best)
  • 2 tsp salt

The first 30 minutes after a workout are the most important to your bodies recovery and this should be your biggest priority.

4. During the next few hours you should concentrate on high GI carbs with a few proteins in a 4 or 5 to 1 ratio as before. Now is also the time to be eating non paleo foods such as bread, pasta, rice and other glucose rich foods in order to aid the carb recovery process. The ideal foods here would be potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes and raisins.

5. For the rest of the day, and until your next workout you should then go back to a pure paleo diet.


How Does the Paleo Diet Benefit Athletes?

Like many people who eat a modern diet, athletes can be fit, but unhealthy at the same time. In the same way that many people are obese but malnourished simultaneously, many athletes suffer from illness due to a diet that doesn’t cater for the demands they are asking of their bodies.

Paleo snacks

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