Disclaimer: BEFORE STARTING ANY NEW EXERCISE REGIME PLEASE CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR AND/OR PHYSICIAN. I AM NOT A COACH, TRAINER, PHYSICIAN, DOCTOR, DIETICIAN. I HAVE NO EDUCATIONAL DEGREE IN SPORTS MEDICINE. ALL THESE TIPS AND ADVICE I DISCUSS IN THIS SERIES ARE PURELY BASED ON MY OWN EXPERIENCES AND WHAT HAS WORKED FOR ME. PLEASE DO WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU.
Nutrition. Food. Fuel. Whatever you want to call it, the food that you consume is fuel for your body to function at its optimum performance. What you eat can make or break a run. The key to a good run is to find the right foods that works best with (not against) your body. There is not ONE “diet” that works the same for each individual person. Yes, I follow a Paleo “diet” or lifestyle (is more like it). Yes, my “diet” has changed drastically over the course of the last year or so. Yes, I never imagined my “diet” to be like it is today. No, I am not Paleo perfect, in any sense of the word. No, I don’t follow the Paleo lifestyle 100% of the time.
Your Personal Paleo Code
If you haven’t picked up Chris Kresser’s Your Personal Paleo Code, than you need to go out right now and buy it! This book will be your best and smartest investment to date. He goes into detail on finding the right foods for you. He even suggests some rice and legumes. Gasp! I know, crazy!
Protein: 10-20% (50-100g)** (I try to get closer to 20% or a little higher)
Medium/high carb: 25%-35% (125-200)**
Fat: the remaining percentage (range from 45-65%)
*p.304 Your Personal paleo Code by Chris Kresser
**based on my height/weight/activity level: 5’ 5”/145 lbs/workout 5+ days a week each workout exceeding at least 60 minutes
What’s your paleo code?
The following is taken from Chris Kresser’s book where he discusses the basic guidelines to reset your “diet” to your very own personal paleo code. He emphasizes the importance of experimenting with different ratios and finding the ones that work best for you.
*Kresser does not include non starchy vegetables when calculating carb count. (ie-doesn’t include carrots, peppers, green leafy vegetables, etc)
**All these numbers are directly from Chris Kresser’s Your Personal Paleo Code p. 56
Next step after resetting your macronutrient ratio is:
Modifying those ratios based on several different factors.
- Constitution (genetics, physiology, biology)
- Health status (will determine if you need to be on a very low-carb, low-carb, moderate-carb and high-carb diet)
- Activity Level
**all these factors are directly from Chris Kresser’s Your Personal Paleo Code p. 301-303
Carbs are your friends
Paleo is perceived to be a low-carb “diet” which can’t be farther from the truth. What is great about Paleo is that it isn’t a one-size-fits-all. Paleo can be low carb, medium carb or high carbohydrates, depending on your activity level. I am between medium to high carb due to the fact that I workout 6 days a week and 2 of those days I workout 3x a day. I need those carbs to replace the glycogen that was lost.
Another great book to buy is Loren Cordain’s The Paleo Diet for Athletes. I guess you can consider him the Godfather of the Paleo World. Loren talks about how eating starchy vegetables are essential in an athlete’s diet for optimum performance.
Here is an excerpt from his book where he outlines the four reasons the Paleo diet works best for athletic performance, one of those being glycogen stores.
“One of the most important goals of any athletic diet is to maintain high muscle stores of glycogen, a body fuel absolutely essential for high-level performance. Dietary starches and sugars are the body’s number one source for making muscle glycogen. Proteins won’t do it, neither will fat….certain carbohydrates are more effective than others in restoring muscle glycogen, particularly specific types of sugar, such as glucose and net alkaline-producing starches found in bananas, sweet potatoes, and yams.”
The Paleo Diet for Athletes by Loren Cordain (p. 6-7)
What are the (Paleo) foods that keep me going?
1. Sweet potatoes (starchy) work great for before and/or after a run
2. Avocados (healthy fats) before a long run (6+ miles)
3. Pistachios (healthy fats) before a run
4. Eggs (protein) easy to prepare and one whole egg has 6g of protein!
Obviously, I don’t always have carbs before a run. There are so many factors in my decision as to what I eat before a run and each run is completely different.
If you are curious how Paleo and my running performance has changed, by the numbers, read this post, here.
Please remember this post is NOT meant to take the place of a nutritionist, doctor and/or physician. The numbers that I discussed here are ones that work for me and my training. I am not looking to lose weight, but to gain lean muscle. I am following a moderate to high carb “diet” because I live a very active lifestyle and need those extra carbs to fuel my workouts and training runs for my races. I am using the food I eat as FUEL for my body to perform well.
What are your go-to carbs/food that fuel your runs?
Have you made a drastic change in your “diet” recently? Have you noticed a difference in your athletic performance?
Running 101 series:
gear (coming soon)
training (coming soon)
exercises/stretches/strength training/cross-training for the runner (coming soon)
Misc.-weight gain during training, etc. (coming soon)
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