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Thread: Paleo/Primal Diet Article on T-Nation

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Spokane, WA
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    Thank you very much for the response. First I am surprised (in a good way) that you have guys doing crits on a low carb diet. I would have thought the opposite as the intensity for then would be to high for the length of time. Are they more in the 150g area? How do they fuel for that? I imagine a small loading phase the night before is all that is needed? I would also assume that this would apply to time trials as well?

    I guess a road race is most interesting to me out of all the events. I am pretty new to racing but most of the races are 2-3 races over the weekend but some are just one day events or Tuesday night series of 20-30 miles.

    What I am really drawn to and where my endurance future lies (like you I am 41) is in the increasing Gran Fondo scene. That looks like a ton of fun, I can prepare for a handful of these a year and preserve some health between them I am signed up for the New Axel Merckx Gran Fondo this year but next year would like to do 6 of them or so. I would be going hard for on these. I am also drawn to one day races like the Leadville or the like.

    I spent last year and the build of this year Nov/Dec beating myself into condition and eating and living non-primal. Even though I was logging a lot of 4 hour trainer rides and my fitness was getting better -my health was going downhill. With all of my "judicious" use of carbs my weight was also going up into the stratosphere. The result was dieting hard and eventually getting injured must over doing it. I am done with all of that for this lifetime.

    I am currently <50 grams carbs and easing back to proper health. I am only doing about an hour of easy endurance on the bike about 4 days and walking on a treadmill with some rolling hills other days. On the bike I am working on being as efficient as possible (pedal stroke and cadence) and keeping the leg speed up around 90-100rpm. I am throwing in a sprint workout randomly when I feel up to it.

    I found some old references to Phil Maffetone (Trained Mark Allen) and I am drawn to his ideas. Really he just advocates a Zone 2 dominant training (with different language) but has all sorts of very Primal ideas about training in general.

    So for the next 3-4 months I am going to just work my fat burning engine and be as Primal as possible and see where it goes from there. I hope to get my BW down during this process (20 pounds) so we shall see.

    I have a lot to learn about the fat burning metabolism and how I can work in carbs but not shift my metabolism over and hurt my performance. I think Mauro G. Di Pasquale (powerlifting) has some books that have varying degrees of low carb diets and refueling days that may apply for races and hard training days.

    Thanks again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karma View Post
    What kind of bike racing are you doing? Road races, multi-stage or crit? That will determine how to best work on your fueling. You could easily do full 100% primal as a crit racer. I coach a few guys who do it right now. Long road and stage races will be tricky. You need to be able to sprint hard after 3 hours in the saddle and that's where fueling becomes an art form.

    I beleive that anything burns in a hot fire. Look at fat as coal. Coal takes a while to get going, but then it burns long and hot. Look at carbohydrates as newspaper. They hit a hot fire and are gone almost instantly. So I work on the premise that if I have been burning ketone bodies for a few hours (while also burning glycogen - you can't avoid it) I'm going to need to replensih muscle glycogen along the way too. On a typical long ride I will eat cashews, yams, dried fruit and grain free energy bars like Lara Bars. On very long days (of which I only do 2 per month) I will supplement with maltodextrin simply to get the calories in.

    Sure, the maltodextrin is against the grain, but so is endurance training. While some will say otherwise, you simply can't train in super short bursts and expect to be able to go long on race day. I've coached close to 100 athletes to Ironman finishes so I have seen the results of all kinds of fueling plans go to hell on race day. You need to find a balance if you want to participate in endurance sports and live a primal/paleo lifestyle. That is all Loren and Joe are trying to help you with in the Paleo for Athletes book. You could do it a lot more paleo/primal for sure but at the end of the day the compromise will allow you to perform better on race day if going long is on your bucket list. I completed 4 IM distance races before I decided to step away and train less for shorter races and I'm having more fun and better success both physically and mentally now than ever before. I may never go back to ultra-distance racing, who knows. However, if I do, I will do it as Primal as I can while not seeing decremental performance markers.

    PS - my 42 year old body is doing well using a balanced (80% primal) race fueling strategy.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by theone View Post
    Anyone want to share their diets? I follow stronglifts 5x5 program (WOD 3 times a week) and have been primal for about 2 months. Do I have to increase my carbs intake? A normal day for me would be 4 eggs for breakfast with bacon (100 g), then training. PWO is normally a hand of almonds and a banana, then to dinner I eat potatoes, chicken and vegetables (mostly spinach, broccoli, carrots etc.). If I'm hungry before bed it's some berries with coconut milk? I would not mind getting 20 kg heavier, but I want to do it naturally (primal) with no grains, sugar og dairy. I'm pretty active on my days off, and I actually feel great =)
    if you're seeing good results on your lifts (making progress, decent recovery time), I wouldn't worry about it too much for now, especially since you said you're feeling great. Strength training is far more forgiving of low carb intake than endurance racing anyway. If you aren't getting the results you want, then you can start worrying about tweaking your diet.

    And if you're eating a banana, some nuts, and potatoes, you likely are getting enough carbs - you can shoot for between 100-150 grams a day since you're not trying to lose weight (assuming you don't have existing issues with insulin resistance). Just make sure you're getting enough calories overall!
    The Primal Holla! Eating fat. Getting lean. Being awesome.

    You were sick, but now you're well, and there's work to do. - Kilgore Trout

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Walnut Creek, CA
    Check out Bob Seebohar's book called Metabolic Efficiency Training. It's short and a quick read. I know a lot of very successful endurance athletes do a TON of LSD (long, slow, distance) but there are limits to how much time a non-professional athlete has to train and that is where high itensity interval work will pay HUGE dividend in your training.

    Both my crit racing clients and my cyclocross clients train and race in the 150-250g/day of carbs (during peak weeks its on the higher end, recovery weeks on the lower end). To get body composition in line with where we want it (8-12% BF usually), they are in the 150 range most weeks. We do a bit of glycogen loading in the 12 hours before race time using yams, bananas and nuts (mostly cashews). Niether of these folks are gunning longer than an hour at a time and the HIIT trains them very well to handle the sprints and attacks on the course. The longer course folks are lower carb eaters as their bodies are conditioned over time to burn substantially more fat at those low HR / intensity levels.

    For your 3-4 month plan, you will see the fat melt away if you incorporate high intensity spin workouts into your program. Make sure you use some form form of periodization plan so your body gets the rest it needs and can build itself back up again. I do 1X a week (recovery & week 1 in a cycle), then 2X a week, then 3x in the final week before dropping back to one during the recovery week. If you have the means, I would reccomend you get a cycling specific lactate threshold test done with blood sampling and HR as well as power numbers to dial in the appropriate intensity to get the most bang for your buck. A lot of university exercise science departments do this for a discounted rate when they need guinea pigs. Remember you should also periodize your food intake too. It should match your workouts. In recovery and early weeks of a meso-cycle you will need fewer carbs in particular, but overall less of everything. At peak weeks is when the higher carb intake will occur.

    Have fun!

    Last edited by Karma; 03-10-2011 at 01:06 PM.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Spokane, WA
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    Thanks a ton. I will check out Bob Seebohar. I actually had a coach last year and I this year designed my own plan (of demise ). last year I did a threshold test with my coach (good coach) and from that have my training zones. They may have changed a bit but not a lot.

    Since I really killed myself before the new year and it took me 6-8 weeks to start feeling "normal" I am currently taking it very easy and recovering from the stupidity. I have not been "training" really. I rode to today for an hour at a low HR but kept my cadence above 90 most of the time and a fair amount at 100. I even did a few spins to 120. Things feel pretty good and I am sure I could have gone a couple of hours but I am taking it slow. I think next month I will start structured, low HR, base training incorporating short intervals. I have done a few the last couple of weeks like 6-10 (10-30s) with one minute rest. The short ones at high resistance and the longer a bit lower but high cadence.

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