Power of a Caveman – How the Paleo Diet Can Boost Your Workouts

For the majority of my life, I’ve been involved in a war. The Battle of the Bulge raged on, and for many years its outcome was unknown. Throughout my many trials and tribulations (both in and outside of the gym), I learned one solid truth: fitness begins in the kitchen. The type of foods we eat determine not only how our body appears, but also how it reacts to physical exertion.

Food should work with your body, not against it. With a clean diet, all incoming calories and nutrients are utilized in harmony with your body to promote weight loss, muscle gain and overall bodily health. Instead of reaching for the latest diet supplement or pre-workout energy drink, you should take a moment to look at your diet.

The Mythology of Sports Nutrition

If you’ve ever walked into a nutrition retailer, you’ve likely been bombarded by flashy advertisements and workout product labels. Every product proudly proclaims its ability to boost your energy levels, enhance your endurance and shed unwanted body fat. In fact, this industry has become so popular annual sales are projected to reach nearly $8.9 billion by 2020. That’s a lot of protein powders, energy supplements and pre-workout drinks.

What if I were to tell you the secret to elevating your workout isn’t found in a secret supplement formulation? What if the foundation of building the body of your dreams is based upon the foods in your kitchen?

The Paleo Diet – Macronutrient Approach to Powerful Workouts

Our ancestors didn’t have creatine powders or mysterious muscle-enhancing supplements. Yet, they were constantly on the move and engaging in levels of physical activity that would exhaust even the most seasoned athlete. How did they do it? The answer is surprisingly simple – food.

The secret to boosting your workouts and attaining a healthy, fit body rests in what you put in your body. By calling upon the ancient nutritional profiles of our Paleolithic ancestors, and combining this with modern research and agricultural advancements, we can boost our athletic performance at the cellular level.

The Paleo diet is rich in macronutrients, which are specific nutrient categories our bodies require for energy. The term “macro” literally translates to large. Therefore, macronutrients are nutrients our bodies require in large doses. The Paleo diet ensures your body receives ample amounts of the three primary macronutrients:
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats

However, this is where many become confused. Not just any form of protein, carbohydrates or fats can produce beneficial effects. The secret to the Paleo diet is the type of macronutrient you consume. This is why Paleo foods are hyper-selective.

Protein - The Heart of a Paleo Lifestyle

Your body demands protein. Without this essential nutrient your body would greatly suffer as protein is responsible for producing hormones, binding/transporting nutrients, repairing cellular damage and supporting muscle movement.

The relationship between protein and exercise is quite intimate. Without adequate protein intake, your body is physically unable to support, endure and repair muscle fibers following a strenuous workout. Because of this, many fitness enthusiasts turn to protein powders. However, the Paleo diet offers ideal protein concentrations directly from the source (meat).

Carbohydrates - The Fuel of Life

After years of being told carbohydrates are the enemy, I was sure that by eliminating carbs I would finally win the war against my expanding waistline. Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest misconceptions within the weight loss industry. Carbohydrates are absolutely essential for a healthy body. However, not just any carbohydrate will do.

The most common sources of carbohydrates is in the form of grains. Yet, whole and refined grains aren’t the only source of this essential fuel. The Paleo diet supports proper carbohydrate consumption by encouraging users to consume starchy vegetables, such as sweet potatoes while avoiding harmful versions of this macronutrient.

Fats - The Secret to Endurance

One of the most under-appreciated macronutrients is fat. Like carbohydrates, there are good fats and bad fats. Unfortunately, a common belief is all fats are bad, which is likely residue from the low-fat diet craze of the late 20th Century.

For both the casual and professional athlete, healthy fats support endurance, reduce inflammation, lower food cravings and even lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The Paleo diet encourages regular consumption of these healthy fats, which are found in nuts, grass-fed meats, fish and in avocados (my personal favorite).

The Paleo Diet - An Ancient Remedy for Energy and Endurance

When I first began my journey into the Paleo lifestyle, I was concerned how this diet would alter my energy levels and endurance at the gym. However, after only a couple of weeks there was a substantial difference. Instead of relying on supplements and potentially harmful workout products, The Paleo diet offers me the greatest workout supplement – Mother Earth.

What are your experiences with the Paleo diet and exercise? Tell us in the comments below, and don’t forget to share this article with anyone who’s looking to boost their endurance and exercise efficiency!

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