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Thread: What about Paleo/Primal for bodybuilding and physique athletes?

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  1. #1
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    What about Paleo/Primal for bodybuilding and physique athletes?

    I really joined this forum because I'm looking for more information on applying the Paleo/Primal approach to bodybuilding, figure, fitness, and other physique sports. There is so much out there about the approach application for endurance athletes and then of course there are cross fitters, but I'm a figure athlete, and much of what is preached about flies in the face of the standard for how a figure/fitness/bodybuilder prepares for a contest and lives daily life.

    Our needs as athletes are unique in that we need fuel to train of course, but we also need to be eating in such a way that fosters a lean bodyfat percentage for the competition stage. We need to sculpt our bodies in order to achieve a certain "look". Although I'm aware Robb Wolf has tackled this question a bit in an interview with Robert Kennedy, I have not found much else about the application of the approach or how macros could and would be manipulated to suit the needs of an athlete who's body dosn't need to FUNCTION for a competition, but needs to LOOK a certain way.

    I have successfully adhere to a Paleo/primal approach for two contest preps now with shockingly amazing results. However there are some facets of the approach I'm struggling with and would love some feedback on.
    1- Sugar on a contest prep, mainly fruit. In the past I've been taught that fruit is to be avoided at all costs on a contest prep. Staples include usually oats, quinoa, brown rice, ezekiel bread, yams or potatoes. I have had success PERSONALLY switching to Paleo/Primal by using yam and apple.... but I'd love more opinions

    2- Bodybuilders and figure athletes eat multiple times throughout the day, typically 5-8 meals spaced about approximately 3 hours apart. This is something I've been struggling around- I personally eat 6x a day and althugh I'm WELL aware of the info out there on less frequent feedings, this is one habit I struggle to break or find a way to adapt. My meals are comprised of paleo/primal foods, but my feedings are still frequent

    3- Typically getting ready for a show involves 2 cardio sessions a day plus weights which is a lot of overtraining- I've managed to downgrade and I do a lot of walking and then HIIT work (sprinting etc) which has helped me to eliminate some of the training volume, but many athletes out there still do copious amounts of cardio in prep for a show

    4- Pre and post nutrition? Thoughts?

    5- Intermittent fasting? How would that apply to physique athlete in a contest prep?

    6- Calorie counting? This is a CORNERSTONE of a physique athlete, h0ow many calories per day and from what macronutrient source (carbs, protein,fats). What are recocmmended macros for a figure/fitness athlete?

    Basically I'm still seeking some answers on adapting this approach to suit a bodybuilder/figure athlete's lifestyle. As a figure athlete myself and someone who runs a business in which I train this type of athlete, I feel very strongly that an effort has been made to reach out to endurance athletes, but what about aesthetic athletes as well? I'm a STAUNCH advocate of the lifestyle, I just feel I need to learn more about applying it to this group of individuals.

  2. #2
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    I to want to here this answer. I am prepping for the first time with paleo for the Colorado BB Championship bodybuilding class. I do however do berries but it is right after my morning workout. Feeling good right now looking lean I am about 5.5 weeks out. The rest is mostly sweet potatoes. Currently at 188lbs.

  3. #3
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by js290 View Post
    Informational but not quite what I was looking for.

  5. #5
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    In for an answer on this as well. I've cut down (end goal around 245 with a show in a few months), but I can't say if I've really done it correctly. I skipped all fruits and added loads of sweet potatoes, but everything was basically trial and error to see how my body responded.

  6. #6
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    just a thought.. but i don't think this is nearly as complicated as it sounds. why can't someone compete as a bodybuilder or fitness competitor without eating grains and rancid vegetable oils?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by not on the rug View Post
    just a thought.. but i don't think this is nearly as complicated as it sounds. why can't someone compete as a bodybuilder or fitness competitor without eating grains and rancid vegetable oils?
    I don't think it's JUST about the food types per say- its about the fact that bbers and figure/fitness athletes typically do several things that fly in the face of what it means to lead/live a primal lifestyle:
    1- two a day chronic cardio sessions, plus weight training usually (so we're categorically overtrained)
    2- Eating 6-8x per day
    3- Struggling to macro balance- carbs etc
    4- The ever present "peak week struggle" in which we macro manipulate, water manipulate and/or sodium manipulate and carb deplete or carb load to get in "peak shape" for the stage

    The body of a physique athlete during prep is not about feeling good or functioning its about looking good and I've read SO much about primal for ATHLETES but I'd REALLY love to know how the primal approach can and should be OPTIMALLY adapted to target figure/fitness/bbing athletes. I've prepped myself for two shows Paleo/Primal now, and am on my third contest prep as we speak and I'm just not 100% certain I'm doing thing optimally. I've done lots of googling and found nothing that really targets these issues....

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrainFreeIronGoddess View Post
    I don't think it's JUST about the food types per say- its about the fact that bbers and figure/fitness athletes typically do several things that fly in the face of what it means to lead/live a primal lifestyle:
    1- two a day chronic cardio sessions, plus weight training usually (so we're categorically overtrained)
    2- Eating 6-8x per day
    3- Struggling to macro balance- carbs etc
    4- The ever present "peak week struggle" in which we macro manipulate, water manipulate and/or sodium manipulate and carb deplete or carb load to get in "peak shape" for the stage
    What is the purpose of that routine?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrainFreeIronGoddess View Post
    The body of a physique athlete during prep is not about feeling good or functioning its about looking good and I've read SO much about primal for ATHLETES but I'd REALLY love to know how the primal approach can and should be OPTIMALLY adapted to target figure/fitness/bbing athletes. I've prepped myself for two shows Paleo/Primal now, and am on my third contest prep as we speak and I'm just not 100% certain I'm doing thing optimally. I've done lots of googling and found nothing that really targets these issues....
    Which variable are you optimizing on?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrainFreeIronGoddess View Post
    I don't think it's JUST about the food types per say- its about the fact that bbers and figure/fitness athletes typically do several things that fly in the face of what it means to lead/live a primal lifestyle:
    1- two a day chronic cardio sessions, plus weight training usually (so we're categorically overtrained)
    2- Eating 6-8x per day
    3- Struggling to macro balance- carbs etc
    4- The ever present "peak week struggle" in which we macro manipulate, water manipulate and/or sodium manipulate and carb deplete or carb load to get in "peak shape" for the stage

    The body of a physique athlete during prep is not about feeling good or functioning its about looking good and I've read SO much about primal for ATHLETES but I'd REALLY love to know how the primal approach can and should be OPTIMALLY adapted to target figure/fitness/bbing athletes. I've prepped myself for two shows Paleo/Primal now, and am on my third contest prep as we speak and I'm just not 100% certain I'm doing thing optimally. I've done lots of googling and found nothing that really targets these issues....
    i'm fully aware of the routines that these types of athletes go through. like i said in my first post, i think the big 2 of paleo are eliminating the grains and eliminating the oils. that being said, the chronic cardio may or may not be necessary, depending on your pre-contest weight, how far out you start your prep, and how clean your paleo diet is in the first place. obviously, chronic cardio isn't optimal for health. then again, bodybuilding and fitness/physique competitions are really "healthy" either. that being said, if you have to push yourself to the point of "chronic cardio" pre contest then that's what you will choose to do with yourself.

    the whole "eating 6-8 times a day" really does fit in to the CW nonsense that is completely unnecessary. one can achieve optimal results from 1 or 2 or 3 meals a day of clean paleo foods. that type of meal frequency is only necessary when you are eating a carb-based diet. you could also look into a leangains styled approach. i know a lot of people around here are in to that.

    again "balancing macros" is easily achieved through the use of safe starch sources. sweet potatoes, bananas, tapioca starch, white rice, etc. if you need to get your carbs up, eat one of those things. i'm not sure how new you are to paleo, and how much experimentation you've done with your paleo diet, but you'll find that different strokes for different folks is kind of the way it works. there are tons of low carbers, vlc people, keto people, moderate carbs and even some high carb people. personally, i am extremely active with heavy lifting, HIT training, mountain biking and boxing, and i actually alternate days of low carb (under 50 grams) and high carb (200-300grams) and this has been working very well for me in terms of maintain bodyfat levels, muscle gains, and strength.

    again, the final week of contest prep can easily be done with carb sources that are not grain based. i'm really not seeing the problem here...

    all in all, it will take some experimentation on yourself to get that dry look on contest day. you mentioned competing 2 times while paleo. how did you look? how did you feel about how you looked? what could have changed? what are you currently doing for the 3rd contest and why do you think it isn't optimal?

  10. #10
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    1. quinoa, oats, ezekial bread = carbs. fruit still = carbs, but i guess the 'sugar' is what gets poo-poo'd?

    2. i'm not a pro bodybuilder, but from all the reading i've done the small frequent meals are to keep blood sugar levels stable. in a diet filled with oats and brown rice, from reading about typical prep diets, that sounds about right. blood sugar spike, crash, hunger, so small meals every other hour

    3. no opinion one way or the other when it comes to contest prepping, this is not something i do

    4. i've never seen the point of it, it adds to 'more crap to keep up with' for me. but then again, i'm not a hardcore weight lifter (i'd like to be, but life says no right now)

    5. it's a calorie cutter *shrug*

    6. just from reading the forum, everyone has success with different ratios

    and those are my opinions from a 'reader, not quite a do-er'
    beautiful
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    Baby if you time travel back far enough you can avoid that work because the dust won't be there. You're too pretty to be working that hard.
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