The paleo diet features as its basic concept the consumption of foods which were eaten by people in the Paleolithic era. Long before the introduction of modern agriculture, cavemen fed on only natural products, free of preservatives and additives that nowadays harm our health. The paleo diet seeks to reestablish those healthy eating habits in the modern world.
The menu of the paleo diet includes foods like fish, meats, nuts, vegetables, seeds, and fruit, all of which are fresh and unprocessed. The paleo diet is for this reason very important for athletes who require a lot of protein in their diets in order to perform to the maximum of their ability. Specifically, the paleo diet plan for athletes should be followed in five distinct stages:
- Stage 1 – Eating Before Exercise
- Stage 2 – Eating During Exercise
- Stage 3 – Eating 30 minutes Post-Exercise
- Stage 4 – Short-Term Post-Exercise
- Stage 5 – Long-Term Post-Exercise
Stages in the Paleo Diet for Athletes:
Stage 1 – Eating Before Exercise
Athletes should always eat foods with low fiber content at least two to three hours before undertaking a hard workout or competing in a race. The foods consumed must have calorie content between 200 and 300. If an athlete fails to eat these foods two or three hours before exercise, then they must consume food with a 200 calorie count ten minutes before exercise. Foods like boiled eggs and fresh peaches are highly recommended, as they top off carbohydrate stores in the body which have been depleted while at the same time regulating body fluids and satisfying hunger.
Stage 2 – Eating During Exercise
When you’re engaged in a hard workout or competing in a race, it is advisable to maintain high glycemic levels and constantly replenish your body fluids. Sports drinks are highly recommended to serve this purpose, and they also prevent the depletion of sodium. However, they’re not necessary for sports that last for half an hour or less. Water should be enough for those types of sports which are of short duration.
Stage 3 – Eating 30 Minutes Post-Exercise
This is a critical stage in your regimen, during which glycogen stores need to be replenished to allow damaged muscles to recover. It is good therefore to have between three and five teaspoons of glucose or 16 ounces of fruit juice with bananas. Protein powder, which has raw egg content, is also recommended.
Stage 4 – Short-Term Post-Exercise
For short-term post-exercise, you should focus on continuing the replacement of lost glycogen and repairing muscle damage. Consume foods with high glycemic content.
Stage 5 – Long-Term Post-Exercise
Eating optimal foods long after your training is over is recommended until you return to Stage 1 the following day. Foods like walnuts, crushed strawberries, or fried asparagus are highly recommended for this stage.
Benefits of the Paleo Diet for Athletes
Especially for people who exercise often or participate in spots, the benefits of following the paleo diet are numerous. Athletes following the paleo diet will have fewer problems with acidity levels in their body and will also experience improved muscle and anabolic function. They can expect an enhanced athletic performance.
This kind of paleo diet is strongly supported by people engaged in jogging, cycling, and swimming. If athletes follow the diet guidelines faithfully, then their performance in competitions is expected to improve significantly.
Disadvantages of the Paleo Diet for Athletes
Although it includes a lot of easily sourced products, the paleo diet noticeably eliminates many types of food that nowadays we love a lot. Sweet desserts, snacks, and all kinds of pasta form a good example. On the other hand, the longer one follows the paleo diet, the easier it will be to stop missing certain foods. Especially when the positive effects of the diet kick in and you can feel your own body being stronger, faster, and leaner than before!