Now well into week three, you may or may not be seeing changes in your workout performance. Hopefully you are at least feeling good! As promised, I started reading The Paleo Diet for Athletes last night. The first chapter has a section focused on why the paleo diet enhances athletic performance. Some of it gets kind of sciencey (my special word) - which I try to stay away from - I'm not a scientist. So, to preface the following, I am not a scientist. The following information is from the book The Paleo Diet for Athletes written by Loren Cordain, PhD and Joe Friel, MS who have dedicated their lives to science, nutrition and fitness. I am just the messenger.
The following can be found on pages 4-8.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)
Animal protein is the richest source of BCAA. These amino acids are different from other amino acids because the help stimulate the building and repairing of muscle. That is a good thing! a 1,000 calorie serving of lean beef (yes, that is a lot) has 33.7 grams of BCAA. The same size serving of whole grains (breads, cereals, rice and potatoes) only has 6 grams. If you are consuming larger amounts of BCAA then you can recover better, repair muscle better and reverse the natural breakdown of muscle that happens following a workout. Glorious!
Fruits and vegetables have tons of antioxidant vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals when combined with lean meats they promote optimal immune-system function. If you eat a paleo diet, you may see a decrease in the frequency and duration of colds, flu and upper respiratory illnesses. If you aren't sick, you can train more. Pretty simple.
Warning: this might get a little sciencey. Feel free to do your own research! I'm just quoting the book.
Athletes strive to keep high muscle stores of glycogen in the body. Glycogen forms an energy reserve that the body can use when needed. Starches and sugars are the body's number one source for making muscle glycogen. Protein and fat won't do it. Glycogen synthesis by muscles happens most effectively immediately after exercise. Muscles can build all the glycogen they need in a narrow time frame after exercise. There is not a need to be eating carbs (starchy ones) all day long. So what are the best carbs to eat after exercise to build muscle glycogen? Bananas, potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams.
The Paleo Diet for Athletes in a Nutshell
You can eat as much lean meat, poultry, seafood, fresh fruit and veggies as you like. There are a number of crucial exceptions to that rule. Immediately before, during and after a workout or competition certain non paleo foods can be eaten to promote recovery. During all other times your diet should reflect that of the original paleo diet.
Note: As you can tell now, in the Paleo Diet for Athletes there are minor refinements to the normal paleo diet. This is book is focused more around endurance athletes like triathletes and marathoners. Take the information and use it as you like. I am not adding grains or starches back in at this time. August is not over yet!
I'm still eating too much fruit. It is like crack. I can't stop. I think I am going to have to give my Larabars a rest for a while and see what happens.