The Paleo diet is a very healthy nutrition plan for young and old alike; following the basic diet principles of our ancestors during the Paleolithic era. The diet is based on the same food groups that our ancestors enjoyed; namely meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. The Paleo diet hols many health benefits and this include increased energy levels, a reduced risk of cancer and an improved digestive system. You can also lose additional weight with this diet; since it is naturally low in carbohydrates and high in lean protein sources.
The Paleo diet is ideal for athletes as well; since they need to rely on sustained energy levels and proper nutrition to fuel their workouts. Similar to athletes, people in the Stone Age were fit and healthy; although they did not live the same active lifestyle as modern athletes today. This is why the Paleo diet is perfect; it can be modified to support an active athlete’s nutritional needs.
Before Your Workout
To prepare for a workout you will need to consume sufficient carbohydrates; these should have a moderate to high glycemic count. Sports drinks are very popular and it’s perfect since it provides you with carbohydrates in a liquid form. You will need anywhere between 200 and 400 additional calories per hour, depending on your own individual fitness level.
Energy for Fuel
Long and intensive workouts will need to be supported with additional high glycemic carbohydrates; taken during your workout. This supplementation will need to be absorbed fast, so again liquid form is the way to go. You can also opt for Paleo friendly fruits such as papaya, pineapples or watermelons. These will fuel your workout and ensure that you have a sufficient energy source throughout your training session.
Recovery after Exercise
Post workout recovery is essential, so make sure that you consume both carbohydrates and proteins immediately following your training session. You can prepare your meal in a 4:1 ratio between carbohydrates and protein. Your meal can consist of glucose, fruit juice, bananas or an energy drink. Sufficient macronutrients are very necessary if you have been training intensely for more than one hour. You can include any protein source for your post workout nutrition; this can be a meat source like chicken or steak. You can even try tuna or hake with a salad as well. Proper nutrition will ensure adequate recovery times and sufficient muscle building.
Protein is essential for anyone; even more so for athletes. You should maintain a suitable protein level all year round; not only during your training sessions. Luckily this is a food source that is widely available; and there are a lot of Paleo friendly choices to go with. Try having some grilled steak or fish, a chicken breast or some turkey meat. The Paleo diet is naturally high in protein and low in carbohydrates; so your blood sugar levels will be stable; assisting in weight loss.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are also an essential part of any athlete’s daily nutrition plan. These micronutrients play an important role in muscle development, recovery and sustained energy levels. Be sure to eliminate processed foods and grains; focusing on proper protein, veggies, fruit, nuts and seeds. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are also essential to maintain a healthy skin and reduced cholesterol levels.
With so many health benefits to offer, the Paleo diet truly is one of the best nutritional programs around. Try to come up with interesting recipes and healthy meals for the whole family; while focusing on the basic food groups that our ancestors consumed. It will increase your health and help you to lose weight in no time
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This article contributed by David Delong. David Delong is a diet and exercise enthusiast and author. His latest book is, “The Paleo Plan: How to Easily Get Lean and Fit By Following Our Ancient Ancestors”
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