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Is it possible to do weight training on Primal eating?

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  • Is it possible to do weight training on Primal eating?

    Sorry for asking what may be a dumb question but i am new (one week in) to primal eating, and would like to incorporate strength training into my life ( i'm female, 46, 163cms tall, 54kgs, and currently a runner/triathlete etc and my understanding is primal poses no problems for endurance sports).
    I have read and done a lot of research and most sources seem to point to using a lot of carbs for explosive weights movements, and that low carbing while strength training is just not possible - so would i have to consume a large amount of sweet potatoes, fruit etc, in order to have enough energy to weight train? If so, how many carbs should i be aiming for to fuel a full body work out? I currently eat about 100 gms per day but im looking at dropping this to 50 or so...i need to lose a little bit of body fat, im kind of skinny-fat!! Hence the need to tone up and build muscle)
    Also, what is the deal on starch - some sources maintain that starch and tuber veges were not primal and not part of a primal eating menu, and some say yes they were. Im confused about what is okay to eat and what is not. And does it matter?
    Anyone patient enough to answer this post - thanks heaps in advance!! :-)

  • #2
    you can do strength training on a low-carb, primal diet. plenty of us do it. if you're looking to add muscle mass you can add primal-friendly carbs like sweet or white potatoes, turnips, squashes, etc. (yes, those foods are fine...though eat them in moderation if you're looking to lose). however, it sounds like you are interested in getting stronger and losing fat. for that, all you need to do is eat primal (buy the book and really explore this website), lift heavy things (try following a progressive program like Primal Blueprint Fitness, Starting Strength or won't bulk up unless you want to), and sprint. you may find yourself low on energy for a little while, but that will go away and exercising will help.


    • #3
      I think you have conflicting goals. Ketosis does not go well with weightlifting, and getting lean while building muscle is a rarity. One calls for a calorie deficit, the other for a calorie surplus.
      Yeah, my grammar sucks. Deal with it!


      • #4
        Check out Intermittent fasting diet for fat loss, muscle gain and health for a primal-adaptable protocol for gaining muscle while not gaining a lot of body fat. Basically you eat in a caloric surplus on training days and higher carb/lower fat and you eat in a deficit on rest days (lower carb/higher fat). Just make up your macros with primal-friendly carb sources (sweet potato etc) and you'll be fine.


        • #5
          I agree that you have conflicting goals - lose weight AND build muscle. It's my understanding and experience that you can't really plunge into both simultaneously, you have to start with one, then focus on the other. The way you do that depends where your body is and what your priority is. I can't tell you what to do (because I'm definitely not an expert), but I can explain what I've done/what I'm currently doing:

          I'm a 32 year old female at 5'3". I consider myself strict paleo (95%). Right now I'm 106lbs, so i obviously don't have to lose much fat, but there's some stubborn flab that I'm trying to replace with muscle.

          I've been doing intense weight lifting to improve my back, arms, and legs for about a year. I improved my back muscles, but I saw almost no increase in the weights I was using until I did two things:

          1) I increased my protein (I'd been eating something like 25-35 grams daily, which was WAY too low. I now eat 75+ grams daily.)
          Initially, increasing my protein had an immediate effect - I saw visual improvement in my arms in a few weeks (I know it was a long time in the making, but I could see muscle tone where I couldn't see it before.)
          2) I started eating my 5% (white rice) in the meal 2-3 hours before going to the gym on my heaviest lifting day (for me, that's the day I do my lower body - my legs are my priority now). The difference between doing those weights with and without carbs is huge! I can increase the weights and do more reps, I feel unstoppable on carbs. I'm eating only enough carbs to have a really awesome day at the gym, and then the rest of my meals are paleo - no grains. I'm not gaining fat from this.

          It's my understanding that you CAN build musle when in ketosis, it's just going to take MUCH, MUCH longer.

          Here's my suggestion:
          Eat paleo/primal friendly carbs like sweet potatoes and white rice to prepare for a heavy lifting day, then don't eat those things on the other days. That will probably be the best way to increase muscles. You may want to also incorporate intermittent fasting (which I do daily - it's awesome!) to help burn off unwanted fat. Bodhimama posted a link on that, I highly recommend it.

          (p.s. If you're planning a high carb day, it's important to keep fat LOW that day, otherwise it will get stored as fat due to the carbs. ChocoTaco369 has an epically long thread about this called the 72 hour carb refeed.)