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Am I an "athlete"?

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  • Am I an "athlete"?

    I have been primal for 70 days now. I began this process after gaining weight following a death in the family. I was unable to lose all of the weight doing what I always did before, which was the Zone. It just stopped working for me after being fine for years.

    I am 5'4", 41 years old. Prior to gaining weight I was around 110-112 with around 18-19% bodyfat. I gained at least 15-20 pounds, but got back down to 120 before stalling (or fluctuating constantly between 120-125).

    My first 30 days of being primal, I got down to 115, but my BF was still over 25%. I just checked again the other day and I'm back to 120 and my muscle % and BF % are both up slightly. I do better than 90% with diet. Really, my only vice is red wine, which I have all but cut out to see if it would make a difference (it hasn't).

    Now for my workouts: I am a third degree black belt in taekwondo and practice 4 days per week most weeks. I also do my "heavy lifting" two days per week. I have made no adjustments to the diet to compensate for workouts (and I have been getting debilitating cramps in my legs and feet as a result - despite taking magnesium and potassium supplements). I have a completely sedentary day job.

    I have tried to read about carb cycling and/or leangains, but I'm so confused at this point I feel a little overwhelmed, not to mention frustrated. Am I just not being patient enough? Is my activity level such that I need to tweak my diet? Would fasting help me? My goal is to be around 15% BF. At the very least to be back to the 18-19% I was before. (and believe it or not, I still plan to compete this year in TKD in the 18-32 age group, so I really need to get back down or else get my arse kicked)

    I have tried to piece together information from so many places, that I have gotten lost. I know I'm not an endurance athlete, but I definitely do more than what is prescribed by Mark. Any advise/encouragement at all that would help me get back on track be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Eat more carbs. The basic primal blueprint is geared towards fat/sedentary people mostly. You'll crash pretty hard if you train a lot on very few carbs.


    • #3
      Your would be classified as an anaerobic athlete which is dependent on a higher carbohydrate metabolism. Read some articles by Nate Miyaki, he advises a paleo/primal diet for athletes but uses a higher amount of carbs.


      • #4
        Thank you so much! I will check out the articles.


        • #5
          Absolutely more carbs needed. I used to train TKD (never made black belt though!) and remember how hard the average workout was, and you definitely need to eat differently from the regular person. That will likely help the cramping issue too.
          “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

          Owly's Journal


          • #6
            I use carb cycling when I am in season for lacrosse, which is now essentially. My protein stays about the same every day: 250g. Days that I lift heavy (M,Th), 400g carb*, <50g fat. Days after I lift (T,F) are moderate carb: 150g carb**, 100g fat. All other days it's less than 75g carb and >150g fat.
            These are just generalizations and I don't measure anything anymore, but I eat a lot of the same things and know the macro breakdowns of each.

            *All of this is within 2 hours after lifting.
            ** First meal of the day, usually around 2PM since I IF.

            I am sorta in the same boat as you. I am 41 and compete with 20 somethings most of the time, there are a few 30+ guys.
            People too weak to follow their own dreams will always try to discourage others.


            • #7
              I just registered a new member, glad to meet you all.


              • #8
                Meet Staci: Your New Powerlifting Super Hero | Nerd Fitness


                • #9
                  Agree that you may need to carb it up a bit, but how much is hard to determine. You seem to have three goals:
                  a) lose fat
                  b) improve at martial arts and
                  c) get stronger.
                  A and C work at cross purposes, and working hard at A will probably sap your energy for B. Maybe you need to strategize a little bit. For instance, dial down the martial arts for now and do what it takes to lose body fat (IF, VLC / carb cycle days, get strict with paleo, etc.). Then when you are in a happier place for goal A, carb it up and go crazy on the martial arts. Just a suggestion based on my readings of the starting strength forum and some of my own experiences. When I was really unfit, I could improve at all my goals at once. Once I got fitter, I needed to choose a focus.
                  Last edited by tfarny; 02-18-2012, 04:25 PM.
                  If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least and this (personal fave):


                  • #10
                    Carbs will be your friend! You train hard and often by the sounds of things so eating some more safe starches is the way to go. Check out, he has some good information on the subject.
                    "My mom made two dishes: Take it or Leave it." -- Stephen Wright, comedian