Paleo Diet for Athletes

For many athletes (who have not heard about the Paleo Diet for athletes yet), finding the right diet that will meet both their training requirements and their personal food preferences can be a problem. While they require higher protein and carbohydrate intake, it can be difficult to find good, healthy sources of these foods. Thankfully, nutrition expert Dr. Loren Cordain, Ph.D. has come up with the Paleo Diet for Athletes.

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paleo diet for athletesBasically, the Paleo Diet involves eating foods that were consumed by cavemen millions of years ago before agricultural techniques were developed. This diet, therefore, excludes grains, legumes, potatoes, dairy products, salt, sugar, and processed foods. However, because athletes need to consume higher quantities of carbohydrates to meet workout energy requirements, certain foods are allowed such as sports drinks (which are prohibited from the basic plan).

The Paleo Diet Plan for athletes also recognizes the need for proteins. Lean meats are highly recommended. However, athletes are advised to avoid eating meats with the “marble effect”, meaning with white streaks of fat in the meat. Great meats include chicken, T-bone, sirloin, top round, and strip steak. Aside from their protein content, fish like salmon, herring and tuna are recommended for their high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. And these are included in the Paleo Diet food list.

Paleo Diet Menus for athletes should include foods derived from plant sources, with the notable exception of agricultural products such as grains, potatoes and legumes. It is very important to eat large servings of fruits and vegetables. Of course, not only vegetables need to be consumed raw. It is advised to cook veggies using healthier techniques like steaming and boiling to preserve their vitamin and mineral content.

Paleo Diet for Athletes’s Breakfast

Breakfast may be problematic for athletes who are accustomed to eating large bowls of cereals. The Paleo Breakfast instead emphasizes the consumption of vegetables and fruits, as well as proteins in the form of eggs.

Another factor that may make fitness enthusiasts think twice about going on the Paleo diet is the restricted use of salt and vinegar. Rather than use salt, you can substitute it with dried celery (which has high levels of sodium) or other natural spices like pepper, garlic or chili powder. An excellent substitute for vinegar is lemon juice.

In this book “The Paleo Diet for Athletes”, Dr. Cordain describes a diet plan that revolves around an athlete’s training schedule, which is divided into five stages…

Stage 1 = Eating Before Exercise

Stage 2 = Eating During Exercise

Stage 3 = Eating 30 Minutes Post (or After) Exercise

Stage 4 = Short-Term Post Exercise

Stage 5 = Long-Term Post Exercise


To have a better idea of a Paleo for Athletes diet plan, here is a sample menu for each of the above stages…


Stage 1 = Boiled eggs and fresh peach

Stage 2 = Gatorade or other sports drinks

Stage 3 = Smoothie made from blueberries and pineapple juice mixed with protein and glucose powder

Stage 4 = Zesty grilled turkey breast, herbed new potatoes, and garden fresh salsa

Stage 5 = Buffalo steaks with mushroom sauce, stir fried garlic asparagus, and walnut crusted strawberries


Check out Dr. Loren Cordain’s “The Paleo Diet for Athletes” for a more detailed discussion on this special diet plan!

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