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  • Adapting the Paleo diet to maximize training

    For those of you who are into hard core training and delivering peak athletic performance - How have you adapted your Paleo/Primal approach to nutrition to meet the physiological needs of your training?

    Exercise creates a unique metabolic environment, an altered physiological state, and changes the way your body processes nutrients both during activity and for up to 48 hours after completion of a training session. If you train intensely three or more days a week, then your body is virtually in a recovery mode 100% of the time. It's in an altered physiological state 100% of the time and its nutritional needs are completely different than that of couch potato populations. In a sports nutrition context, carbohydrates are thus considered conditionally essential.

    The Peak Performance Diet for Athletes by John Saville - Peak Performance Radio
    Recent Blog: http://www.peakperformanceradio.net/...y-john-saville

    https://www.facebook.com/PaleoJourne...?ref=bookmarks

  • #2
    Steak and eggs diet!

    Hahah you had good success with it last year, so I'm giving it a go.

    After this, when fruit comes in season, I might give higher carb paleo a run (still only like 150g or less likely since its just damn hard to do more eating whole fruits and tubers). I'm more about metabolic seasonal flexibility right now I would say.

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    • #3
      Hi Neckhammer, I think Steak and Eggs can work well for say 3 or 4 weeks in a periodized cutting phase, I did have some success with it last year. However I believe, and its been my experience, that those involved n sustained intense physical activity looking to achieve peak performance need a strategic use of Paleo friendly carbs.
      Recent Blog: http://www.peakperformanceradio.net/...y-john-saville

      https://www.facebook.com/PaleoJourne...?ref=bookmarks

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      • #4
        I have written my approach elsewhere, but it fits precisely into your question. Here goes:

        "Rest days" are not truly rest. They are usually very high in LISS, as I am usually doing a lot of farm work or taking a hike/snowshoe walk somewhere. On these days, I tend to keep carbs pretty low if possible, usually around 50g.
        "Training days" are when I do heavy lifting. I tend to train fasted with BCAA, then lift, then eat a pretty heavy meal with about 100g of carbs after. It is almost always the same meal, a GF steak bowl with veg, hot sauce, and white rice.

        On days where I am trying to perform, such as for a rugby game, race, Strongman comp, I will actually eat breakfast for once and load up on carbs, usually potatoes and fruit.
        "The soul that does not attempt flight; does not notice its chains."

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        • #5
          Sounds like an excellent approach TheyCallMeLazarus. Was this something you evolved over time after embracing a Paleo approach and lost some initial weight or is it something you have been doing since the beginning?
          Recent Blog: http://www.peakperformanceradio.net/...y-john-saville

          https://www.facebook.com/PaleoJourne...?ref=bookmarks

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          • #6
            I do something very similar to Lazarus, no BCAA's though. Train in a semi-fasted to fully fasted state, then literally gorge on about 100g of protein and 100-150g carbs (sweet potatoes, plantains, beets, fruit). I strictly keep it low carb on off days when doing LISS.

            When I'm doing a race (Spartan or something similar), I rest the day before and carb load at dinner. I don't eat before the race, just coffee, MCT, and maybe some butter.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by LanDach View Post
              I do something very similar to Lazarus, no BCAA's though. Train in a semi-fasted to fully fasted state, then literally gorge on about 100g of protein and 100-150g carbs (sweet potatoes, plantains, beets, fruit). I strictly keep it low carb on off days when doing LISS.

              When I'm doing a race (Spartan or something similar), I rest the day before and carb load at dinner. I don't eat before the race, just coffee, MCT, and maybe some butter.
              Interesting do you eat the 100 gms of Protein and the 150 gms of carbs at the same time, right after your workout?
              Last edited by canuck416; 03-08-2014, 07:13 AM.
              Recent Blog: http://www.peakperformanceradio.net/...y-john-saville

              https://www.facebook.com/PaleoJourne...?ref=bookmarks

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              • #8
                Usually about an hour after I'm done.

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                • #9
                  I have a question: what if you're not even remotely hungry for an hour or more post-workout? I do my workouts (HIIT) as soon as I wake up (5 a.m.) then have to dash to shower & get to work by 7:30. My appetite doesn't kick in until 9 AM or so. I cannot, CANNOT eat, or chug a protein shake/drink, if I'm not hungry. In the past when I've tried, it results in tummy upset and, for lack of a better verbal expression, feeling yucky for several hours. No thanks.

                  On days when I do less intense activity (walking for an hour), then sure, I'm hungry right away. Yet eating protein within a 30 minute window wouldn't make sense because my muscles haven't been taxed very much. I've always found the high intensity, all-out stuff keeps me from feeling hungry for at least an hour.

                  Granted, I'm already lean and don't need to lose weight, but what gal wouldn't want a little more muscle definition, especially with pool season approaching. What to do?

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                  • #10
                    Pheebie,

                    Hunger is the signal that the body needs food. Immediately following a high intensity workout there is more chemical reactions, waste removal happening than we really fully understand. The idea that you need to eat right away in reality is not so. Its not as though suddenly you'll waste away or something. I used to buy into it. "Buy" being the key word! I believe that the whole thing was concocted by the protein supplement industry to sell lots of powder and hey they sell lots of it.

                    I have since taken to eating about an hour or two after the session. If I seriously don't feel like eating I wait. I have noticed no negative effect whatsoever. Not being hungry means your body is in the midst of recovering in the immediate sense after the workout. Eat when you are hungry and all will be good.

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                    • #11
                      4Ever Young ~ thanks so much for your response. I appreciate your feedback.

                      Over the years I've learned to listen to my body because when I don't, I regret it. I'm glad to hear that you've not had any negative effects from not forcing yourself to consume protein within the 'magic window.' I'm going to keep plugging along then and not worrying about slamming the protein down my gullet because 'they' say I'm 'suppposed to.' Protein powder isn't really my scene anyway, as I prefer to eat real, whole foods as much as possible. (Not harshing on those who rely on the stuff - my husband is into them, for one thing - simply saying they're not for me.)

                      Again, thanks for the reassurance.

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                      • #12
                        I am very interested in the answer to this question. When I started CrossFit a couple months ago (so I'm obviously not at the level I'm sure most of you are), I did my usual obsessive research about maximizing my results etc. I pretty much ended up with exactly the approach TheyCallMeLazarus and LanDach are talking about. I followed the regimen for one week and almost went so far as to purchase BCAAs before realizing that my body was obviously not taking to the new routine very well at all.

                        I definitely think that after doing more research this was in large part due to the fact that women's bodies do not seem to respond to fasting as well as men (Mark's post about it was very helpful). Overall I think the stress of it all was causing my body to produce excess cortisol, promoting fat storage.

                        I decided to ask one of the CrossFit instructors about what he thought my diet should look like. I was VERY surprised by his answer. With a height of 5'6'' and weight of 130, he estimated my body fat at 20% and said I should be aiming for: 104g protein, 52g carbs, 41g fat for a total of 993 calories daily. 993 calories DAILY?! Yikes! He also told me it should be spread over 3-4 meals a day (very different from the one giant meal I had been having post-workout before).

                        After all that experimenting, this is how I adapt the primal diet to the more intense training I am doing now: On training days, my first meal is at whatever time I feel hungry that day, which is generally around 1:00pm. Mark's BAS is a great way to have a filling, protein rich, low calorie meal (at lunch I stick to lean protein, usually chicken or tuna). If I feel like I might need a boost of energy for my training that day, I'll have a cup of coffee blended with some ghee and coconut oil later in the afternoon. I go to my CrossFit class at 4:30 or 5:30. Immediately after my class I have a big glass of water with 2 TBS of Great Lakes Gelatin dissolved in it (Pheebie, this was something I developed as a result of feeling the way you mentioned right after HIT... who wants to chug a protein shake blegh). I do agree that the "30 minute window" for protein is perhaps overrated but I have found that it seems to help with DOMS. Dinner generally consists of a smaller portion of meat than at lunch because I'm having a fattier cut of meat here and lots of steamed or sautéed veggies. I'll occasionally have more carbs if I feel like it (generally white rice).

                        On rest days, smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. Lots of protein, low carb.

                        I am amazed that I am doing so well on such a low calorie, low carb diet doing CrossFit at least 3 times a week and LISS on weekends. There's so much talk about increasing calories and carbs a lot when training harder but for me, the opposite was the answer. The structure of my meals changed when I started to aim for lower calories and I think it changed for the better (more veggies yum!!). I obviously have a very different perspective being a beginner and a woman.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Marie20 View Post
                          I decided to ask one of the CrossFit instructors about what he thought my diet should look like. I was VERY surprised by his answer. With a height of 5'6'' and weight of 130, he estimated my body fat at 20% and said I should be aiming for: 104g protein, 52g carbs, 41g fat for a total of 993 calories daily. 993 calories DAILY?! Yikes! He also told me it should be spread over 3-4 meals a day (very different from the one giant meal I had been having post-workout before).
                          Step one...stop taking nutrition advice from this guy!

                          Edit: My bad, read the rest and see it seems to be working for ya. I would define this as unsustainable though. Its really a "cut" diet, and being at 20% as a female you don't have much more you can cut.

                          As to the original article two things. One, the most recent nutrition for athletes I received stated:

                          Strength 2:1
                          Team 3:1
                          Endurance 4-5:1

                          In terms of immediate post work out optimal carbrotein ratios.

                          Personally, I think there is also sufficient evidence that the PWO meal is overrated and riding the higher GH response for a couple of hours will have no negative impact. As long as you are hitting your dietary goals for the whole day one way or another you should be fine for strength trainees...for endurance it might be more important to replenish immediately for recovery. Also I tend to do fine with less than stated carbohydrate needs as long as fat is sufficient. Energy substrate IS required though, so its either carbs or fat. That part usually seems to take some tinkering to find your personal sweet spot though.
                          Last edited by Neckhammer; 03-13-2014, 09:09 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Marie20 ~ thanks for mentioning the gelatin dissolved in water. That's something I might want to try incorporating somewhere throughout the day. (I've been meaning to get on the gelatin bandwagon for a while, but keep forgetting about it! Going to toss some in my Vitacost cart now before it slips my mind.)

                            As for DOMS, I find stretching really well post-workout helps. I know that's probably the oldest, dustiest advice in the book, but when I first adopted HIIT in place of ballet-inspired workouts, I was skipping the stretching. Once I added it in after EVERY workout, it made a huge difference. I'll still get a little sore now and then, especially if I've done a particularly strenuous or longer routine than usual, but it's not the stiff, OMG-I-can't-move-without-wincing soreness I'd get when I poo-pooed stretching.

                            Just want to add how nice it is to have an outlet where we PB & workout 'geeks' can hash this stuff out ~ aside from my husband, no one in my 'real world' would care about all this business, and I don't want to be 'that girl' talking off the ears of people who don't give a flip!

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                            • #15
                              I might give the stretching after weights a go. I always get crazy doms, but then I do an intense workout once a month, so it might be inevitable

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