Primal Athlete Who Has Hit a Wall
My name is Spencer and I am a 17 year old athlete who participates in highly competitive sailing year round.
(Background Stuff, feel free to skip this paragraph)
I've been following the Primal/Paleo lifestyle for about 2 years now, and it was going great in the beginning. The reason why I switched is because my mother started to get very serious with diet research, as she had her thyroid removed. She wanted her body to be as clean as possible for the operation, and as healthy as possible to live without her metabolism regulator (the benefits of the Primal lifestyle really show when a woman LOSES weight after having her thyroid removed). Me, being incredibly eager to lose weight and get in pristine shape for sailing, I hopped right on board. I lost 10 lbs initially, and everything was great, but the following 18 months I can't count as Paleo, as I was on and off mostly. I really became strict, however, when I got a serious staph infection in my finger, and was hospitalized for a week. I was put on extremely powerful IV antibiotics, and my entire gut flora napalm escapade consisted of 5 different antibiotics over 4 weeks. I had to be careful as to what went into my body, so I went all out Primal. This leads up to this past summer.
I compete internationally in a small dinghy called a 420. The sport requires 3-4 hours a day of 140-160 heart rate exercise, as well as lots of agility and strength. This level of activity and intensity of competition goes on for weeks at a time, with a couple days of rest in between regattas (races). I need to the energy to compete like this for an entire summer with few rest days, I need high strength to be able to work the heavy sails, and I need to be 10 lbs lighter (Currently 165, need to be 155)
My questions regard my sport, my energy, and my weight following the Primal lifestyle.
Part 1: My question for my during competition lifestyle is: What do I need to be consuming/doing to give myself optimal energy during competition?
During competition, my diet/fitness looked like this:
- Wake up from 10 hours of sleep, 20 min jog, a serving of Athletic Greens
- Breakfast: 3-4 eggs, 400g of fish or pork, a couple slices of cheese, a bowl of prunes in yogurt, bell peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
- Lunch: 2-3 turkey or pork slices rolled with cheese, 1 carrot, 1 cucumber, 1 bell pepper, 2-3 bananas, 1 apple , a couple of almonds (all consumed over 4-5 hours in between races)
- Dinner: (any type of leaved vegetable I could find) grilled vegetables, prosciutto ham, tomatoes, lots of cheese, some walnuts or sunflower seeds, a main course of steak or fish, and a bowl of fruit salad.
- I would consume about 6-8 liters of water a day, depending on the heat and activity level.
- Small note: I drank excessive amounts at the end of the regatta parties (3 times) and had 5 ice-cream cones over the duration of the summer.
I was able to maintain a weight of about 161 throughout the summer and my energy level was never as high as my team mates (granted, I've never really been a high-energy person, kinda why I'm posting this now) and I want to be giving the Primal lifestyle a good wrap with the sailing community! The other thing is that I eat like an animal, I sometimes feel overfed, but most of the time I feel satisfied.
Do I need to be consuming less or more carbs? Should I convert to complete ketosis? Am I not consuming enough or am I consuming too much of one thing?
Part 2: My question for my off-season lifestyle is what should I be doing to give myself optimal energy for my workouts to get lean and strong and lose 10 lbs worth of adipose tissue.
My off-season lifestyle
- Wake up after 7-8 hours of sleep
- Breakfast: Protein shake with raw egg, 20 grams of organic whey protein, supergreens, carrots, kale, spinach, coconut milk, and either raw cocoa powder or homemade yogurt
- Lunch: Salad (spinach and lettuce), 2 hard boiled eggs, a couple slices of turkey or ham, tomatoes, olives, cauliflower or broccoli, carrots, and sometimes organic guacamole
- Cross country: About 7 miles of total running
- Dinner: A lot of whatever my mom makes (always organic, always fresh, always low carb)
I have decided to cut out all sugar (including fruit) and as many high carb foods as possible to make my weight manageable and to heal my gut lining as well as possible. I'm still running into the problems of low energy and excess adipose tissue (10 lbs too heavy).
I have tried everything from counting calories, to eating potatoes and fruit, to exercising like a maniac, and nothing has been able to get me down to a steady 155 lbs and have high energy. I am fit, but I am not athletically lean.
If anyone can answer just one of my questions, I would be very grateful.
PRIMAL ATHLETE FOR LIFE
Hey Spencer, i'm 18 and i can relate to what your saying. I lift weights heavy 4 or 5 times a week, and like you i've never really been an energetic person. I've always been really athletic, always competing in sport, but i never really feel as energetic as my friends. What has really made a difference for me is Intermittent Fasting. I have never had more energy before in my life before i tried this. I eat usually on 20 hours fast 4 hours eating ratio, but you could do anything from 16-8 to 20-4 and probably have similar results. I would also suggest this for weight loss too, as no food can interupt the fat burning which occurs during the day. When sailing, you might want to up yours carbs to 100g a day (preferably after your race) to replenish glycogen, and this might help you perform better.
But i really think you should try the intermittent fasting, it has worked wonders for me.
What is your height? You could still be growing.
Why are you running while competing? Seems a bit overkill.
Lift weights in the off-season. Experiment with what macros work best for you, we can't tell you. Be sure to take time off to allow your body to recover as well.
I have tried fasting, but I don't think quite that regularly or that pre-meditated. If I ever felt full, I would just not eat for a day. Does it work by not eating for 20 hours and then eating consistently for 4? Also, how often do you fast?
Also, would going into ketosis allow me to manage my weight better while keeping my energy supplies high?
I am done growing for the most part. I'm 5' 11" now, and my physician thinks I will reach 6' gradually by the time I'm 21.
And the reason why I was running was to warm up and free my mind, my coach recommended it. I've always thought that might be a big part though.
Yea for example what i usually do on a day would be wake up around 9, then head to the gym around 4 then come home and eat my daily calories from 6-10. Pretty simple. If i was trying to lean up a bit i would eat 500 calories under my Normal calories. I usually do this everyday as i am most energized when i haven't eaten. If you were in ketosis you might feel more energized maybe, but it just depends on you as a person. To be honest it seems like you already may be in ketosis because it doesn't look like you're eating a lot of carbs.
Right, I'm going to try the fasting. I think I'll start with 16-8 and work my way to 20-4. I'll go based on how I feel. Thanks
Good stuff, i hope it works out for you, good luck in your races.
Last edited by Lukey; 09-02-2012 at 04:52 AM.
So how is it working out for you?
I tried it for a day. I made sure I was trying as hard to be in ketosis beforehand. I woke up at 6:30 with very little energy, and I really didn't gain energy until 10. I felt great until about 1 when my energy dipped again. (I was doing yardwork from 9am-2pm) my energy came back up again around 2:30 and I started cross country practice around 3. I had plenty of energy, and ran 7 miles with no cramps or energy dips at all. I got home at around 5pm and started eating then. I went high fat, low carb, lots of protein, and went crazy. My stomach didn't feel great, and I can probably attribute that to cramming in too quickly, as I was ravenous. However, I wan't able to keep trying this, as my mom (also a paleo enthusiast) forbade me. She said that I would stress my body too much with the combination of frequent and significant fasting and athletics every day. She mentioned how my cortisol levels would be raised and I would start to store more calories than usual. I would also end up eating my parents into bankruptcy, by only eating at home.
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