Endurance athletes need a modified version of the 'Paleo' diet

Dr. Cordains Paleo Diet has received a great deal of attention in endurance training circles: as homo sapiens, we are genetically adapted to a hunter-gatherer diet.

The introduction of domesticated animals, agriculture and processed foods are relatively recent developments in evolutionary history. As such, our bodies are not adapted to a diet derived from these technological developments.

A proper homo sapien diet replicates the diet of our hunter-gatherer ancestors:

1. Eat plenty of lean meats (fish, poultry, lean beef, wild game)

2. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

3. Avoid dairy

4. Avoid starches and sugars (breads, grains, etc.)

5. Avoid processed foods

However, this diet is not well-suited to the needs of endurance athletes. We need to fuel optimum performance and recovery, so workouts can be repeated after a relatively short time.

As endurance athletes, we have a critical need to replenish glycogen stores immediately after exercise. For this reason, #4 is modified to eat sugar and starch only during and after exercise.

More specifically, Joe Friel and Dr. Cordain recommend high glycemic index (GI) calories within 30 minutes of exercise, from a liquid source.

For a more detailed discussion, please visit CrucibleFitness.com.

Rich Strauss specializes in training Ironman athletes, but hones his teaching skills as the head coach of Team Crucible and Team in Trainings East Los Angeles Triathlon Team. He is a USAT and USAC certified coach, as well as a former Marine Corps officer.

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