The Truth About Lifting on a Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet has become increasingly popular as people struggle to get away from a diet of heavily processed foods and dive into healthier lifestyles.

Eating like the cavemen did 2.5 million years ago ultimately takes us back to our roots. It focuses on a diet exclusively made up of natural foods that were available back then, long before grains and processed foods came about.

But what happens when you change your diet to something like this while you’re working out?

Is it a suitable way to eat if you’re weight lifting or are active beyond simple daily activities?

Let us share the truth about lifting on a Paleo diet and what you can expect or should know:

What is Paleo?

A Paleolithic diet (aka the Caveman diet) is most often used for weight loss, but the truth is that it's actually a reasonably healthy meal plan to live by overall. 

The concept behind this diet is that we go back to a time before everything was so heavily processed, to eat food foraged from the land.

Back in the Stone Age, modern foods like grains, dairy and sugar had not yet been discovered. Avoiding these foods in current times has translated to many people seeing radical health improvements.

The Paleo Diet Focuses Primarily On:

  • Fruits & Vegetables
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Lean Meats (Wild Game & Grass-Fed Meat)
  • Wild-Caught Fish (Salmon, Albacore Tuna, Mackerel)
  • Oils derived from Fruits & Nuts (Olive Oil, Almond Oil, Coconut Oil, etc)

Paleo Diets Avoid:

  • Salt
  • Refined Sugar
  • Grains (Wheat, Bread & Pasta)
  • Legumes (Beans & Pulses)
  • Dairy 
  • Highly Processed Foods

The Paleo Diet and Lifting

Because Paleo foods are full of vitamins, nutrients and protein, they can be a good fuel for working out. Your food will give you energy, and it’s clean energy that lasts.

However, on the same note, you might still see your performance change. This is most noticeable when you’re in the transition period to a Paleo diet. While your body adjusts, it might take some time for your workouts to improve. 

During the first 2-3 weeks of using the Paleo diet, you should listen to your body and give it time to get used to your new eating habits.

It can be frustrating to cut out sugar and caffeine and maintain your usual energy levels, so be sure to take care of your body in the process.

Tips to Improve Lifting on the Paleo Diet

If you are concerned about your lifting or workouts while on the Paleo diet, there are some steps you can take to improve if you’re struggling. Try these simple solutions out:

Increase Your Carb Intake

Your body needs to be able to burn carbs for intense exercise. You can eat carbs on the Paleo diet, if you know where to find them. Try things like bananas, plantains, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and brown rice.

Increase Your Electrolytes

With salt reduction, your body has fewer electrolytes. Look for ways to supplement your body’s electrolyte balance – look for powders and other supplements out there to help.

Make Sure You’re Eating Enough!

One common problem people on a Paleo diet experience can be not eating enough food to sustain a heavy workout’s energy requirements. Make sure you're eating plenty of bulk and nutrients to support the activities, with sufficient fat, protein, and carbs in your food.

The Paleo diet will not ruin your workouts, but you may need to learn how to adjust your diet to meet the needs of your lifting requirements.

Try out these tips and always keep in mind that your body does need time to adjust as well. 

Justin | Maine, USA

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