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Going primal for the high school athlete

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  • Going primal for the high school athlete

    Hi everyone!

    My name is Jake! I am a 16 year old high school athlete, and I play lacrosse. I am about 6'1.5'' and 215 pounds. I have a decent amount of muscle (although I have not lifted heavy) but also a decent amount of fat. I would realy like to lose the fat for my sport, because it slows me down a lot. Going primal seems like a great thing to do.

    I am extremely dedicated to my academics and lacrosse so I have very little time if at all during the school week to plan and count calories and such. I have lacrosse practice 5 days per week and we do a lot of short sprints followed by rest. I don't lift much, but I'm planning on doing a tabata for one of my off days focusing on three exercises like pushups, pullups, and squats, because I can get a lot of sets of three exercises in 12 minutes. I also do resistance bands to help with my core and do ab workouts every other day just to help my core strength. In addition, I do 8 mins of tabata jumprope a day to help with my footwork. That's really all I have the time for exercising, and I want to have one day of rest to not overwork myself.

    I am also going to tournaments constantly out of town and out of state, making this situation more difficult. Since I work a lot, I feel like going low-carb would keep me drained of energy, something which I ABSOLUTELY cannot have happen. I also have no off-season, not even 3 weeks to do the 21 day challenge! With all this, it seems like it would be impossible to achieve fat loss results while still retaining my muscle and big frame, because I can't be scrawny, I'm known to be a thicker, big framed person who can back defenders down. I also have games so I can't be drained for those.

    I absolutely love all fruit (besides and cherries) and I like broccoli, green beans, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, and potatoes and I LOVE sweet potatoes I also eat a lot of eggs and whey protein. I don't like or will eat any dairy, and I eat ezekial bread.

    So is losing body fat, while maintaining muscle, while having plenty of energy consistently, without feeling like crap at practices and games, while on the primal diet, possible?

    Thank you so much everyone! I am so thankful for this awesome forum!

  • #2
    Jake, I think Primal should work exceedingly well for you. I'm many years removed from high school (football was my game). Since discovering Primal, I think back on the food patterns I had in school, and realize that most of my best games came when I ate primarily meat and veggies on game days. Unfortunately, my Mom prepared a lot of traditional Southern foods, so we normally had a lot of high carb and fried stuff most days.

    I think you'll find your energy levels will be higher on primal, not lower. Your athletic program certainly should give you adequate exercise to maintain your strength and stamina. In your situation I think I'd start off by cutting out all breads and cereals (if you eat them). Stay with the sweet potato, no white ones. Try that for a while, see how it goes, then adjust. I don't think I'd do anything too dramatic to start with, go fairly easy into it and see how your body reacts. I would not worry about the calorie counts at all. To the best of your ability don't eat "by the clock"--eat when you are hungry. At 16, you are no doubt still growing, and you are very active, so your body needs plenty of good quality foods, feed it what it needs. The key is to stop eating when you are no longer hungry, don't eat until you are stuffed -- that path leads you to gaining weight whenever you retire your cleats -- like I did, + 5 to 10 lbs every year after football.
    The Buck stops here. I am responsible for my past and my future. So for today: I choose to be happy. I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit.


    • #3
      Rig D, thank you so much for your response. I am excited to hear that my energy levels could increase, because they seem to spike like crazy. Living in Texas, we have a lot of fried food, and Tex-Mex food covered in queso (YUM :P) and it is hard to resist. I would like to ask what you think of this basic meal plan I thought of, because I usually get hungry around these times:

      Breakfast: 2 eggs and 3 whites, + 25 g protein whey shake with almond milk and a banana + a cup of berries

      Mid-Morning: (10:45ish) 2 servings of beef jerkey (high sodium I know, but will balance with drinking 1.5 gallons of water per day)

      Lunch: Turkey and tomato rollups in lettuce, a cup of sweet potato and 1 cup of vegetables and 2 hard boiled eggs

      Afternoon Snack (4:30sh)- 12.5 gm protein whey shake with banana and almond milk + some sweet potatoes and vegetables.

      Post Workout (I am going to lift 3 days a week): 25 gm whey shake with banana and almond milk

      Dinner: Lean meat + sweet potatoes + vegetables

      How much adaptation would it take to get used to this? I will be exercising 1:30 hrs + every day. Would I expect to lose weight eating this but not too quickly? Could I carb up with quinoa or pasta the day before a game?




      • #4
        My first reaction is that you plan to "eat by the clock" and I really believe that once you go Primal you should not be hungry that frequently. Take your snacks with you, do not eat them on schedule if you are not hungry. One of the benefits of Primal is that once your body becomes a fat burner vs a sugar burner, you will find that you have good energy and can easily go longer between eating while still feeling mentally and physically sharp.

        My biggest advice on your food content is be sure to keep an eye on the total carbs you are eating. Review Mark's suggestions on staying in the "sweet spot" of 50 - 100. Shoot, I'd go back and review all of the intro materials on the MDA Start Here tab, and spend most of my time on the stuff on the Primal Blueprint 101 link.

        I think you are on fairly new turf, being as young as you are, with as demanding a life style as you have. As far as adaptation goes, the content of your food plan looks OK to my eye. There are a number of people who have early problems when starting primal, they feel bad, headaches, etc. Nose around the forums for these. That's why I think you should just start with eliminating the breads and eating more veggies and good quality meat. I think for you, a gradual phase in should be best so you minimize any chance of having the "carb flu". With your life style, you should be able to cut the carbs down and see results pretty quickly. For me, I don't do the egg white thing, I eat whole eggs or no eggs. Also not a big fan of almond milk. I like berries, but I've always had a "see food --eat food" problem and berries are one of my problem categories in eating way more than I should.
        The Buck stops here. I am responsible for my past and my future. So for today: I choose to be happy. I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit.


        • #5
          Jake, I think you're on the right path for your athletic future and you're asking the right questions.
          A quick "about me" paragraph so you can know the perspective from which my advice is coming -- For more detail, you can see my story under MDA's Success Stories posts, currently on the bottom of page 2 (Trip D.). I am twice your age. I am very physically active. I'm around 5'10" and currently 175 lbs and pretty low body fat. I'll be 2-yrs fully Primal in July this year. My physical results have given me an upper body nearly the size of what it was when I was 193 lbs in college, lifted constantly, and was on the crew team. I'm also on the verge of breaking my all-time 1-mile run time which I set at 17 years old (only 4 more seconds to knock off!).

          Onto you--
          I can't say I know every detail of what a growing 16 yr old needs. However, on a genetic level, and on a cellular function level, we're all roughly the same so I have to assume that nearly everything in the PB will work for you like it did for me. You need to be "fat adapted" to reap the benefits of being primal. I believe that once you're there, the rest will fall into place. You will not need to eat precise things at precise times. You can certainly count every gram of every macro nutrient if you wish, and some people do, but I never have. Just be sure sure the bulk of your energy is coming from good protein sources and good fat sources. Then, avoid processed carbohydrates, and you're set. So no, I would never tell you to load up on pasta before a big workout. Rather, I would tell you eat an avocado to get good fat in your system. That's what has worked for me. Quinoa is nice alternative, but don't reach to it for the purposes of "Carb-loading." Reach for it to replace rice in favorite recipes instead! If you exercise 1.5 hrs per day, you could replenish every carb that you burn after a workout by drinking a glass of orange juice afterward--seriously. The carb-load, carb-burn, carb-replenish process tends to be highly exaggerated in the athletic world based on conventional wisdom. I ran a half marathon recently and ate nothing more than about 1.5 cups of grapes before the race. The day/night before I ate nothing out of the ordinary from a Primal diet--high fat, high protein, low-carb.

          Aim to be fat adapted and you're fat-loss will be great. Continue a relatively high protein intake if muscle building is your goal. Absolutely eat your carbohydrates, but eat them mostly in the form of vegetables with an occasional fruit. It seems to be nearly impossible to eat more than 100g of carbs per day by eating vegetables alone so you'll easily become fat adapted this way. This will "force" your body to become fat adapted.

          I hope this helps.


          • #6
            Wow I wish I'd even considered primal when I was sixteen. It would have saved a whole hell of trouble, and I'm only 23.

            You sound super dedicated, and you know what you want. You're young and active, and now you're educated. Eating clean, plenty, and balanced (not the 60% carb "balanced" of CW, but enough carbs to provide high energy, and enough fat for lasting endurance) is probably all you need.

            I wouldn't worry about exact macros as long as you are generally eating more plants and meat than carb. Don't try to lose weight like a middle age office worker. Do it like a 16 young man; by having fun and letting your muscles do their job.

            Track down the gym rats on MDA, they can be a great resource of bro fists and lolz.


            • #7
              Going primal for the high school athlete

              I personally would not go low-carb while doing so much strenuous physical activities ... But then again, that is me. I would eat tons of fruits with a bit of cottage cheese, yogurt, eggs and lean meat. Oh wait... I already do that.
              HCLF: lean red meat, eggs, low-fat dairy, bone broth/gelatin, fruits, seafood, liver, small amount of starch (oatmeal, white rice, potatoes, carrots), small amount of saturated fat (butter/ghee/coconut/dark chocolate/cheese).

              My Journal: gelatin experiments, vanity pictures, law school rants, recipe links

              Food blog: GELATIN and BONE BROTH recipes

              " The best things in life are free and the 2nd best are expensive!" - Coco Chanel


              • #8
                My daughter is 18 and will be signing to play D1 soccer on Weds. It's because of her that we decided to take on this Paleo adventure. It was her idea and I'm so glad we went for it! That was one year ago and she has managed to lean out and continue to work on her fitness level in preparation for college. She has soccer/goalkeeping sessions 3x/week and conditioning 3x/ week and also runs & hikes in her "spare" time. She gets carbs from a little fruit, sweet potatoes and the occasional piece of gf bread and does consume a protein shake after lifting. Paleo has definitely helped her progress, not hindered it.

                Good luck!


                • #9
                  I agree with TQP... I'd keep the carbs clean, but don't limit yourself to 50-100 at your age with your activity level. That's just silly. You can handle much more, and will likely need it to maintain a high level of performance.
                  I got 99 problems but a pancake ain't one...

                  My Journal

                  Height: 6'3"
                  SW (Feb 2012): 278
                  SBF: 26% (Scale)
                  CW (Sept 2015): 200
                  CBF: 17% (Scale)


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by accidentalpancake View Post
                    I agree with TQP... I'd keep the carbs clean, but don't limit yourself to 50-100 at your age with your activity level. That's just silly. You can handle much more, and will likely need it to maintain a high level of performance.
                    Ditto. At your age you're probably still growing and with all the activity I wouldn't worry too much about low carb, just eat real food (meat, fish, eggs, veggies and fruit).

                    If you really want to count, I'd suggest aim at around 100g to 150g of carbs per day then add or reduce depending on how you feel and perform.
                    If you're interested in my (very) occasional updates on how I'm working out and what I'm eating click here.

                    Originally posted by tfarny
                    If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least


                    • #11
                      Jake, how 'bout an update, if you are still out there.
                      The Buck stops here. I am responsible for my past and my future. So for today: I choose to be happy. I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit.