How Athletes Can Achieve Optimal Results From The Paleo Diet

How Athletes Can Achieve Optimal Results From The Paleo Diet

How Athletes Can Achieve Optimal Results From The Paleo Diet

We all know how valuable the Paleo Diet can be for our overall health. It is a reflection of how our ancestors used to eat, and arguably the most natural diet for our species. For athletes in our society, however, there can be some cases where rules need to be bent in order for them to adequately live a healthy (and effective) lifestyle.

Many athletes go through physical exhaustions that were not a norm to individuals back in the Stone Age. Yes, our ancestors used to physically go out and have to get food for themselves, but if it was a quick day to get food, then it was just that…a quick day. Athletes, on the other hand, work hours upon end to improve on their game, which requires an exponential amount of energy expenditure. Due to the amount of demands athletes put on their bodies, exceptions can be made for those athletes who do happen to abide to the Paleo Diet.


Before Physical Activity

At least two hours before a long day of physical work, it is recommended that athletes eat carbohydrates that have a low-moderate glycemic index. Additionally, some healthy fats and lean protein can be consumed as well, but the primary focus should be on the carbohydrates. 200-300 calories should be consumed for every hour leading up to the exercise. Also, keep in mind that fiber intake should be at an all-time low (you won’t want any unnecessary interruptions whilst you’re working.)

During Physical Activity

While working out, carbohydrates high in glycemic index are the most recommended foods to consume, preferably in fluid forms. Sports drinks are great a great option, as long as you are willing to find one to drink consistently and has great taste.

Keep in mind, however, that this is only recommended for activities that last for more than an hour. If physical activities fall shorter than this time, water will do the job just fine. Plus, depending on your body size and how intense your physical activity may be, you’ll want to decide between consuming 200-400 calories per hour of exercise.

Eating Right After Physical Activity

This one section is probably the most important of all. Within a half hour after physical activity, it is important that athletes consume a recovery drink that is high in both carbohydrates and protein. Post-workout protein drinks are the most common choice for athletes, but there are plenty of other options available as well, such as your very own paleo recovery smoothie! The 30-minute post-workout window is essential for you to consume this meal for optimal muscle-enhancement and recovery.

(Photo Credit:  Ryder Redfield)

After-Hours: Extended Recovery

After a couple of hours post-physical activity, athletes can continue to focus their diet on carbohydrates with a higher glycemic index. This is where athletes can really treat themselves to favorites, such as rice, bread, pasta, etc. to get the most out of their carbohydrate recovery process. Other options can include yams, raisins, and potatoes!

How Much Protein, Carbs, and Fats Are Allowed?

Depending on your physical aspirations, your personal macronutrient requirement can vary. The amount of physical activity you commit yourself to (especially if seasonal) also plays a huge factor in determining this distribution of macronutrients. Personally, we recommend that athletes remain consistent in their protein intake throughout the entire year, preferably around the 20-25% range of TCI (Total Caloric Intake.) This amount of protein is extremely different from those who lived during the Stone Age, as that is what their meals mainly consisted of (while athletes should be focusing more on carbohydrates for optimal recovery.)

Contrastingly, if an athlete is looking to use more of their body’s fat as their source of fuel instead, more healthy fats should be consumed while carbohydrate intake is decreased. Fat intake should increase to as much as 30% of TCI, while carbohydrate intake downgrades to just ~50%. However, this portion of time should be limited, as muscle recovery is still of utmost importance.

Prodigy Nutrition is an online Australian supplement store whose commitment is to bring the best out of others while ensuring that their health and fitness goals are met. To learn more about Team Prodigy, please feel free to visit

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