The premise of the Paleo Diet is that we should eat as our caveman ancestors would have eaten, and avoid processed foods that wouldn’t have existed thousands of years ago.
The diet includes eating more protein, more fibre, and fewer carbs, and moderate to high consumption of healthy fats.
What health benefits do runners have from the Paleo Diet?
- Consuming plenty of vitamins and antioxidants strengthens the immune system
- Increases fat oxidation, which helps with long-term endurance because the body becomes efficient at using fat as fuel
- Stabilizes blood sugar levels, which leads to less cravings and more stable energy levels
- Boosts post-run muscle recovery
Does the Paleo Diet meet your nutritious needs if …
- You want to get faster over shorter distances?
Yes because it improves muscle recovery and growth, which are both crucial for sprinters.
- You want to train very hard?
Yes, as long as you give your body enough time to adapt to the diet and you’re patient with the process. After a month or so of following the Paleo Diet, your body will become “fat adapted,” meaning that your body will get used to using fat as fuel. Your energy will be stable and available whether you need it for a gentle walk or a hard fell run. Runners usually report increased performance and recovery times, less aches, pains and injuries, as well as less colds and infections.
- You want to train for a marathon or ultra?
Nutrition experts claim that you can run long distances on Paleo, but it’s a personal choice in terms of how strict you want to be.
And this decision depends on the individual. Many can keep to a strict Paleo Diet but increase the carbs pre- and post-training, such as bananas, dried fruits, yams and sweet potatoes. Other people find they need a little gluten-free grain as well something like rice pudding but it’s possible to still train long distances on Paleo. Of course, you can still use energy gels and drinks during the race itself.
The absence of sugar in the diet makes the body more efficient at using stored fat, which is perfect for endurance events. Experts tell that 146,000 calories (85%) of our energy is stored as fat. By training our bodies to burn fat rather than sugar for fuel, we can tap into this virtually endless supply of energy and achieve unbelievable levels of endurance.