Paleo diet for athletes has become a popular term in the sports and fitness world these days. If you haven’t heard of it yet, you must be living in the Stone Age. Well, you wish! Incidentally, that is exactly what Paleo diet is all about.
Paleo Diet – Back to the Basics
While human lifestyle has tremendously evolved since the Palaeolithic era, our diet, unfortunately, has degraded badly. Even the most health conscious among us somehow consumes unhealthy calories, fatal fat, and other dangerous elements through processed food products. Such food has less nutritional value and more health risks.
Paleo diet is about imitating the diet and eating habits of our Palaeolithic ancestors. For starters, Paleo is about consuming a lot of proteins, healthy amounts of carbs, and good fats and not to mention loads of raw fruits and vegetables. We are talking about the diet that precedes agriculture. This diet is based on food that has always been available for us to enjoy.
The benefits of such a diet are now hailed by numerous nutritionists and fitness experts. Athletes and trainers, however, seem to be the prime prosecutors of Paleo Diet. That is because perhaps these are the people who are able to experience and feel a more measurable difference.
Paleo Diet for Athletes– Energy, Strength, and Endurance
Judging by the remains of all those gigantic structures from the Stone Age, one can easily establish that our cave-dwelling forefathers were much stronger and healthier than most of us are today. In a time when there were no machines and technology, a typical day in a man’s life involved a lot of physical work such as walking, running, weight-lifting, etc. – more like a day in a life of an athlete in our time.This is the reason why Palaeolithic diet perfectly complements the diet and nutritional requirement of athletes. It is not like the usual fat-free and low-carb weight loss diet. It focuses more on building stamina, strength, and endurance
Take a look at a few major benefits of Paleo diet for athletes
• More Amino Acids (BCAA) – Paleo diet increases the intake of Branched-Chain Amino Acids that aid in muscle development and anabolic function. BCAA are also known for counteracting immunosuppression – commonly faced by endurance athlete due to extensive exercise.
• Lower Omega6:Omega3 ratio – Omega6 and Omega 3 balance is crucial for athletes. The right balance helps reduce tissue inflammations and facilitates fast healing.
• Lowers body acidity – Optimizes the PH scale for athletes. This stimulates muscle protein synthesis and eliminates the catabolic effect of acidosis on bone and muscle.
• High Nutritional Value – In Paleo diet for athletes, grains and dairy product are largely replaced by vegetable and sea-food. The latter are known to be richer in vitamins, proteins, carbs, and energy.
• More Muscle, less weight – Most nutritionists and experts agree that this kind of diet helps improve muscle mass without adding unwanted weight.
That is why it is much preferred by athletes involved in endurance sports where lighter weight can be an added advantage.These sports include running, cycling, rowing, gymnastics, etc.
The Palaeolithic Diet Plan for Athletes
As we have mentioned before, the Paleolithic diet eliminates processed food, dairy products, grains, legumes, oils, and excess sugar. The Palaeolithic Diet Plan consists of healthy unprocessed food which includes fish, meat, eggs, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. However, the Paleo Diet for athletes is more about the diet schedule rather than the food.
Typically, Paleo diet experts suggest that 30 percent of total calories during the preparation training period should come from fat intake while 50 percent should from carbohydrates. During peak training time, however, calories from carbohydrate intake must be around 60% and only 20% should come from fat intake.
Based on this understanding, a Paleolithic diet plan divides an athlete’s daily diet into the following five stages relative to the exercise schedule.
• Stage 1 – Eating Before Exercise
• Paleo diet for athletes must focus on taking around 200 to 300 calories of low GI carbs at least two hours prior to the workout. Small amount of fat and protein must also be included but fiber must be avoided during this stage.
• Stage 2 – Eating During Exercise
• Your body will require high GI carbohydrates to keep going on during extensive workout routines. These carbs may preferably be in the form of fluids and liquid.
• Stage 3 – Eating 30 Minutes Post Exercise
• The thirty minutes period right after an extensive workout is the perfect time for a recovery drink that contains a reasonable ratio of carbs and proteins.
• Stage 4 – Short-Term Post Exercise
• This is where you eat for extended recovery and some amount of non optimal food such as bread, bagel, and pasta is permissible. Glucose rich food facilitates carb recovery process.
• Stage 5 – Long-Term Post Exercise
• After a few hours of exercise, go back to your strict and optimal Paleo diet until the next exercise schedule.
Paleo diet for athletes is adopted and advocated by a majority of high profile athletes. However, true benefits can only be realized by sticking to the strict guidelines and following a proper plan. For optimum results in less time, consult a Paleo diet expert to learn more about the Paleo Diet for athletes