Paleo for Athletes

The paleolithic diet, also known as Paleo is all the rage now. The basic premise is that our bodies are adapted to eating the foods our prehistoric ancestors did, but have not evolved to eat the foods brought on by our advancements of agriculture and the domestication of animals. Humans today have not changed much since the paleolithic era but our lifestyles and habits have a great deal. One thing some of us do now is exercise.

Since our paleolithic ancestors didn’t partake in running marathons or hit up the local CrossFit box like some of us do today, there are going to be few adjustments made to the diets of those that do. Before, during and after a long strenuous workout our bodies need a much higher carbohydrate intake than normally prescribed by the traditional Paleo diet.

It’s a good idea if possible to eat a few hours before your workout or race. It’s a good idea to stick to foods with a low glycemic index with a little fat and protein in the mix.

During long stretches of working out or high endurance races lasting well over an hour, your body needs to keep refueling. High glycemic index sports drinks do a good job of this. Looking to solid foods for fuel may not be the best idea.

The first hour immediately after an intense workout is the most important time for recovery. Post workout drinks that have a carb to protein ratio of 4-1 are recommended. Fruits, honey and yogurt will also do the trick. Hold off on the heavier foods for a bit. After this initial stage of recovery is when more complex carbs and tubers should be introduced into your diet. However, if you have been craving the grains you’ve been denying yourself, this is the time to indulge in pasta, bread and corn.

After all of this, don’t forget to get a good nights rest. You need it and you earned it.