Health and fitness are not synonymous. Unfortunately, many athletes are fit but unhealthy. Frequent illness, injury and overtraining reduce performance potential. The Paleo Diet for Athletes significantly improves health long term. Compared with the commonly accepted athlete’s diet, the Paleo Diet:
- Increases intake of branched chain amino acids (BCAA). Benefits muscle development and anabolic function. Also counteracts immunosuppression common in endurance athletes following extensive exercise.
- Decreases omega-6: omega-3 ratio. Reduces tissue inflammations common to athletes while promoting healing.
- Lowers body acidity. Reduces the catabolic effect of acidosis on bone and muscle while stimulating muscle protein synthesis.
- Is high in trace nutrients. Vitamins and minerals are necessary for optimal health and longterm recovery from exercise. The most nutrient dense foods are vegetables and seafood. On average, vegetables have nearly twice the nutrient density of grains.
If you are looking for a done for you, comprehensive meal plan that is designed with an athlete in mind, check out Ron Holland’s Paleo Fat Blast meal plan. It’s six weeks worth of recipes and shopping lists that will take the trouble out of finding recipes that are compatible with the paleo diet.
Training for endurance sports such as running, cycling, triathlon, and swimming places great demands on the body, and the athlete is in some stage of recovery almost continuously during periods of heavy training.
The keys to optimum recovery are sleep and diet. Even though it is recommend that everyone eat a diet similar to what our Stone Age ancestors ate, we realize that nutritional concessions must be made for the athlete who is training at a high volume in the range of 10 to 35 or more hours per week of rigorous exercise. Rapid recovery is the biggest issue facing such an athlete. While it’s not impossible to recover from such training loads on a strict Paleo Diet, it is somewhat more difficult to recover quickly. By modifying the diet before, during, and immediately following challenging workouts, the Paleo Diet provides two benefits sought by all athletes: quick recovery for the next workout, and superior health for the rest of your life.