Paleo Diet For Athlete’s: How Can Going Caveman Help Performance?


Paleo Diet For Athlete’s: How Can Going Caveman Help Performance?
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If you have be searching for nutritional guidance, then you have probably come across this crazy caveman diet called the Paleo Diet for Athlete’s. While there is a book called “The Paleo Diet for Athletes” we will not be talking exclusively about it in this blog. We will talk about how eating Paleo can help your athlete performance and overall health as an athlete.

What is the Paleo Diet for Athletes?

The Paleo Diet For Athletes

mmmm berries, high in antioxidants and great for athletes!

In short, the Paleo diet is a Paleolithic nutrition that believes certain foods are optimal for humans while others are non-optimal. How are these foods classified as optimal? The optimal foods for athletes are foods that we have been eating for most of our time on Earth. Which is over 4 million years. Out of these 4 million years the paleo diet for athletes believes that in the last 10,000 years we have been been eating less than optimal foods for performance and health. The only bummer for those of you following or hoping to follow the Paleo diet is that the foods on the “No, No” list make up the bulk of what Western society eats today.

Examples of Paleo Diet Approved Foods:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Lean Animal Protein

The “No, No” List:

  • Grains
  • Dairy
  • Legumes

Why Are Dairy, Grains, and Legumes Bad for Athletes?

There are a number of blogs and studies that go over the nitty gritty details of why dairy, grains, and legumes are not allowed. For the sake of simplicity we will simply say that the Paleo diet believes if you eat the Caveman Approved foods you will thrive, and if you eat from the “No, No” list your performance as an athlete will be compromised, and more importantly your health.

How Can the Paleo Diet Help Athlete Performance?

It is far too common to see overweight and unhealthy athletes. Yes we know the Nike models, Venus and Serena, are all fit and healthy, but what about the majority of collegiate and amateur athletes?  Most athletes are more concerned with performance than health, and this is where we think they go wrong. We want athletes to be fit and healthy. What most athletes and coaches don’t realize is that frequent illness, injury, and overtraining caused by poor health reduce performance potential in athletes.

One reason we truly believe the Paleo diet is a great option for Athletes is because the Paleo diet’s goal is to increase your lifetime health. It’s not a Fad athlete diet that tells you if you want to be fast you must eat 9 oranges with garlic and ginger everyday. It doesn’t even push the fasting with cranberry juice trick.  These corner-cutting techniques may get you quick weight loss, but in most cases your muscle mass, energy, and health are compromised.

While other diets go for the quick fix, the Paleo diet for athletes actually encourages a lifestyle change. Their diet principles are not based in weight loss, but more on optimal health. Yes, weightless, healthier skin, hair, decreased inflammation, and more are often results of eating cave style! Not too shabby for eating whenever you’re hungry.  But enough of our ranting and raving, here are 4 concrete benefits of the Paleo Diet for Athletes.

4 Benefits of the Paleo Diet for Athletes

1.Increases the Intake of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) This is a really fancy way of saying with your new food choices you will increase muscle development and anabolic function. It also counteracts the deficiency of immune system function in after high endurance activities.

2.Reduces Inflammation. Decreases the omega 6 and omega 3 ratio to reduce tissue inflammations common to athletes, while promoting healing. Have Asthma? Eating paleo may also promote healing of Asthma through this benefit.

3.Stay Young. Eating like a caveman can actually lower your body acidity. This then reduces the effect of acid on the bone and muscle, while promoting muscle protein synthesis.

4.Helps With Recovery. The foods that are deemed on the healthy list for the Paleo diet are generally high in vitamins and minerals. These same vitamins and minerals are necessary for optimal health and long-term recovery from exercise. The most nutrient rich foods are vegetables and seafood.

Did you know vegetables have nearly twice the nutrient density of grains?  

For those of you considering the Paleo diet, keep an eye out for our latest E-Book to be published and available for purchase. While we plan to do more detailed eBooks on nutrition, this one is strictly for beginners and people just starting Paleo. Subscribe to our blog at the top right of the page to ensure you don’t miss out!

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A little more about Natasha Hawkins...

Experience: Division 1 Fastpitch Softball player at San Jose State. Degree: B.S in Marketing and Advertising Certifications: Certified Level 1 CrossFit Trainer Interests: She loves the way the brain works and how personalities and attitude can create a warrior of an athlete that will always persevere and make success for themselves. While she is not a certified nutritionist she studies and practices the Paleo diet and Zone eating. Quirk: I am an avid archer and hunter. Yup, it's true. I have shot archery since I could walk, and hunted with my Dad since I was born. I also have a sister (Cheridan Hawkins) who is a stud pitcher for the Oregon Ducks Softball Team and is on the Junior Olympic Team. My youngest sister Charli Hawkins trains with me at CrossFit and is also a catcher on the 12U California Grapettes. Follow Natasha on Twitter: @NatashaBHawkins

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