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Thread: Sacrificing elite performance in athletics with the primal diet? page

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    sakura_girl's Avatar
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    Sacrificing elite performance in athletics with the primal diet?

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    I've been browsing this site for a few days now, and I am really interested in joining in with the primal lifestyle, diet and exercise included. However, I am a dedicated athlete to a sport where we practice several times a week for one to two hours straight, full of all-out sprints, and I am scared of depleting my glycogen stores during these exercises. I care more that my performance is flawless during competition than having little body fat, though I could definitely stand to lose 20-30 pounds of fat! I otherwise work out the other days (minus one for rest), where I split up my time between morning (high intensity stuff for 10-20 minutes) and evening (usually lifting heavy or long bouts of really easy cardio from 30-60 minutes).

    I am a 5'4" girl, about 150 pounds, so I have a lot of muscle and fat to spare. Genetically, I think I am pretty athletic, and can easily gain muscle (hard to lose muscle!), and can lose fat pretty easily too if I stick my mind to it...

    I also have 10 pounds of steel-cut oats in my pantry and low-carb tortillas made from wheat and oat fiber. Other than that, my fridge and pantry are pretty well-stocked with primal foods (berries, grapefruit, low fat poultry and beef, salmon, ton of veggies, olive oil...) Any suggestions on what I could do with my carbs if I were to start doing primal right away? And do I REALLY have to get rid of my tofu? =(

    Thank you in advance to any replies I may get!
    Last edited by sakura_girl; 08-08-2011 at 10:59 PM.

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    You may be interested in this thread.

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    During the process of getting keto-adapted, should I be still using my current workout regimen?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sakura_girl View Post
    During the process of getting keto-adapted, should I be still using my current workout regimen?
    Honestly, if you're in the middle of your competitive season, I would not make any dietary changes. Work on your diet and keto adaptation in the offseason. Making a change now will not be beneficial to your physical activity nor your impression of this way of eating.

    If the training you're doing now gives you an edge over your competition, then you should probably continue doing it. Something you may want to consider in the future is to separate your metabolic conditioning from your skills training. Doing both at the same time is probably the cause of a lot of sports injuries.


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    [QUOTE=sakura_girl;532676]I've been browsing this site for a few days now, and I am really interested in joining in with the primal lifestyle, diet and exercise included. However, I am a dedicated athlete to a sport where we practice several times a week for one to two hours straight, full of all-out sprints, and I am scared of depleting my glycogen stores during these exercises.QUOTE]

    'Keto adaptation' for active performance athlete is BS. In your case, you need carbs to perform and recover. There are perfectly acceptable starches like potatoes, carrots or even white rice.
    If you need to loose fat, eat few hundred calories below maintenance and keep carbs and protein moderate to high. You don't have to add fat except fish oil, you will get enough with meat. If you base all your meals on leaner meats + starches + fibrous veggies you will come close zone proportions (40%C/30%P/30%F).

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    Note that primal is not necessarily low carb, meaning you can eat "real" carbs to fill up your glycogen stores, like fruit, vegetables, potatoes, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by norak View Post
    Note that primal is not necessarily low carb, meaning you can eat "real" carbs to fill up your glycogen stores, like fruit, vegetables, potatoes, etc.
    This. Only don't expect vegetables to provide any energy outside of any oil they're cooked in -- you might be disappointed . If you are sprinting, you will need carbs. Period. Glucose and glycogen are the only energy substrates that can be used anaerobically; ketone bodies, no matter how good a fuel source (and they're really no better than regular fatty acids), need oxygen to generate ATP.

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    Bit surprised how you can hang on to so much spare fat when sprinting so constantly. When I was playing soccer and eating pizza hut everyday I was still pretty damn skinny (though I felt shitty) because of all the activity. Anyway, ditch the bad carbs and eat starches (potatoes/fruits/white rice in moderation) and keep up your protein intake (eat meat) and I'm quite certain you will see rapid changes. You don't have to switch your routine if you're active in your sport right now. Changing up your diet will bring about more results than running around all the time, but if it's required of your sport then there's no need to sacrifice that. Eat your starches around your workouts. If you work out mon/wed/fri eat more starch those days (say 2-3 potatoes divided into 2-3 meals, with the bulk of them preferably post-workout) keep your fat intake moderate and on rest days just eat meat with a lot of vegetables, cook them in some butter (grass fed preferably, but if not pick something with few ingredients, butter should just be cream and salt) or coconut oil and see how you do after a few weeks.

    @js290, keto-adaption is better suited for prolonged low-intensity work, and even lifting, etc. It's not the greatest when it comes to glycogen depleting work such as sprinting. It at least didn't work well at all for me, and I had to have been keto-adapted after 5-6 months of eating very little carbs.

    Now I eat more carbs especially on sprint days and I feel infinitely better, I also don't feel like dying after my very first sprint. That being said, assuming the OP is going from a diet full of refined carbs, or going from eating flour (bread/etc) daily to not eating it at all, she will still be reducing her insulin enough to burn fat. One or two higher carb days won't put her out of that for long enough to stop that process.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iniQuity View Post
    Bit surprised how you can hang on to so much spare fat when sprinting so constantly. When I was playing soccer and eating pizza hut everyday I was still pretty damn skinny (though I felt shitty) because of all the activity. Anyway, ditch the bad carbs and eat starches (potatoes/fruits/white rice in moderation) and keep up your protein intake (eat meat) and I'm quite certain you will see rapid changes. You don't have to switch your routine if you're active in your sport right now. Changing up your diet will bring about more results than running around all the time, but if it's required of your sport then there's no need to sacrifice that. Eat your starches around your workouts. If you work out mon/wed/fri eat more starch those days (say 2-3 potatoes divided into 2-3 meals, with the bulk of them preferably post-workout) keep your fat intake moderate and on rest days just eat meat with a lot of vegetables, cook them in some butter (grass fed preferably, but if not pick something with few ingredients, butter should just be cream and salt) or coconut oil and see how you do after a few weeks.
    Haha, my team has a thing where we just love to go out to eat right after workouts...I probably eat more than I burn after practices; needing to change that a bit...

    Right now I am eating lots of carbs, but I have a not-so-secret love for dark chocolates (we're talking 99% lindt here), and I can polish off a 100g bar within an hour. Figured I'd prefer to forsake the carbs for the chocolate in a higher fat diet, but has anybody had experiences where they naturally just cut down on their chocolate intake after going so high fat? Which is what I am trying to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndreaReina View Post
    This. Only don't expect vegetables to provide any energy outside of any oil they're cooked in -- you might be disappointed . If you are sprinting, you will need carbs. Period. Glucose and glycogen are the only energy substrates that can be used anaerobically; ketone bodies, no matter how good a fuel source (and they're really no better than regular fatty acids), need oxygen to generate ATP.
    I think it's only the brain and heart that uses ketone bodies. And, it seems like the heart may actually be more efficient using ketones. Only the fast twitch muscles are fully anaerobic (glycogen). All the other muscles fiber types are capable of aerobic (fatty acid, not ketones) metabolism because they have mitochondria in the cells. The glycogen in the fast twitch fibers do not replenish that quickly. The idea of "sprinting" at an intensity high enough to hit the anaerobic pathways everyday is probably wishful thinking. It may have happened one of the days, but the rest of the week is probably mostly aerobic.

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