Since my latest blog I’ve made quite a few changes in my 30 day Paleo experiment. I have also made a lot of progress!
In my second week of doing the Paleo diet, I found myself to be lacking energy to work out hard and also my performance went down. Especially with weight lifting, the difference was remarkable. Perhaps I didn’t eat enough of certain things or too many of others but whatever caused this, it was a problem. The fact that I teach martial arts and do personal training for a living has surely something to do with it. My body definitely needs more fuel than others since I am on my feet all day and I try to participate when teaching as much as possible. This easily adds up to 18 hours of training every week.
One more problem I had with the diet (which is a personal fault) is that I got bored of most foods. As mentioned before, if you are a picky eater it will become frustrating since you can’t eat certain things and you have to eat tons of others. This is of course a personal problem and most people are not as picky as myself (if in doubt, talk to my mom or wife about my eating pickiness!)
With these issues in mind, I decided to keep the general ideas of the Paleo diet but modifying it so I could again eat more carbs. Therefore, I switched to the Paleo for Athletes diet. This is a customized Paleo diet with the needs of athletes in mind. Our bodies need more energy and need quicker recovery. When training in and outside of classes as much as I do, I believe it is necessary. The first week I seemed to have no issues but after, I felt this was the right thing to do for me personally.
After the first week I dropped 7 lbs. As mentioned before, most of that was water weight, which I didn’t like. Once I started eating carbs again, I retained that water weight back (thankfully because I seemed very deflated!) Once retaining the water put to normal levels, I weighed 210.5 lbs. Since I switched to the Paleo for Athletes method, I dropped to 207 lbs. I feel great and energetic and feel like this is the best way for me to go Paleo. I can sustain my blood sugar levels, am not losing lean mass and am dropping the right weight. I’m looking forward to keep going on the Paleo for Athletes diet and continue to get leaner in my preparation for my triathlon races and Tough Mudder!
Again, this is my personal experience and does not reflect on anyone else and should not be considered nutritional advice.
Let’s start with the numbers: 7 lbs. in 7 days! I know, I was shocked too. However, keep in mind that a big part of this amount is water weight. Since I eat much less carbs, my body also retains less water. Fortunately, I still feel energetic and have no dips in my energy levels throughout the day. Also, after weight lifting my muscles seem to be recovering at the same pace as they did before the Paleo diet. This seems to demonstrate that my post training recovery is similar and this should prevent muscle atrophy (I hope)! I am keeping a close eye on feeling weak or lacking energy since that may be a concern (although there are no signs at all yet).
As I mentioned before, Saturdays are a pretty intense workout day for me. This is what I did last Saturday:
- Youth martial arts class (teaching and joining in the interactive games)
- 60 minutes of weight lifting (chest and shoulders)
- 30 minutes of a Modern Martial Arts class (Drew taught the rest of the class)
- 30 minutes of a Strength & Conditioning class (instructed the rest without joining)
- 1.5 hour Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, of which about 40 minutes rolling (grappling with your opponents)
As you can imagine, I was eating all day (to a point that my clients said: ‘Are you eating again??’) Nonetheless, I dropped a good amount of weight that day, mostly because I couldn’t keep up with my water intake vs loss.
Sunday and Monday I was mostly out of town, which did not make this diet any easier. Luckily, we were able to bring a lot of previously prepared foods and we had access to an empty fridge where we stayed. This made it more manageable but it was still not easy at all.
So far I have been able to keep up with the diet but it is definitely a challenge. This is not how I normally eat at all. I can imagine the Paleo diet is a slight change for many people but for me it’s pretty much a complete turnaround. The temptation is not a major issue right now, however the biggest problem is variety. This is why we’re exploring more options to cook the same foods, the problem is that I am a picky eater so I am forced to resort to the same foods pretty often. I have to say I am eating many different things but considering the amount of food I have to eat, it gets quite boring.
So far this week these have been my workouts:
- 45 minutes weight lifting (chest and shoulders)
- Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class (60 minutes)
- 30 minutes Strength & Conditioning
- Modern Martial Arts (60 minutes)
- 30 minute run
- 45 minutes weight lifting (back)
- Modern Martial Arts (of which I joined 30 minutes)
- 60 minutes weight lifting (upper back and shoulders)
- 60 minutes Strength & Conditioning
- 60 minutes Modern Martial Arts
I have not yet measure my body fat % but will most likely do tonight. I will keep you posted!