Paleo – It works.
Recovery – Is the reason you get better (faster, stronger, etc).
The Sweet Potato – In your diet
My neck – Was what I was up to in mud…while attempting to train.
My relationship with the paleo diet has been tumultuous and considerably trial and error. Check out my post Paleo is Dead from last year. Didn’t sit well with many peeps in the CF community, rightfully so.
In the beginning, I saw immediate physical results. Not in body composition but in systemic inflammation. Tendonitis in my knee was something that had bothered me for so long that limping down the stairs in the morning was normal. Walking crooked up steps on the way to work was just how I walked. Doing a 15min knee prep warmup before any track work was par for the course. After being introduced to paleo by Brent Wenson, a good friend and fellow trainer at CF Atlanta, and implementing it for a solid 3 weeks with the addition of a good fish oil, tendonitis in my knee had disappeared. That was huge.
Fast forward a couple of years. I’m back competing on the track. In addition to training at a very high level, I’m coaching 4-6 classes a day, watching my daughter full time and trying to run a business at CrossFit San Mateo. Free time is a foreign phrase to me. The overall picture is that I’m not consuming enough calories and sleep is terrible. Thus, I’m not recovering properly, I have no energy and I’m getting injured. Big surprise.
I was eating a strict high fat/protein paleo diet. No post WOD supplements, lots of fat, lots of protein, only about 20% carbs. I was hitting the wall big time. Muscle glycogen stores were on a constant E. I would have a week of awesome workouts and 2 weeks of feeling like I was running in mud…up to my neck.
So, stupidly and in my fog induced glycogen depleted brain, I swore off paleo eating. In the month or two that I was “off” paleo, I noticed my aches and pains in my joints came back. My face broke out. My stomach hurt, all the damn time. Irritabal Bowel Syndrome?? I thought taking a deuce 3x-5x a day was normal…no?! Damn it! All of this and my energy still sucked. The answer was two-fold. Day to-day nutrition and post WOD recovery.
Let’s start first with overall nutrition. Enter my buddy Badier of The Lazy Caveman. His first response to all of this was, “Dude, everyone thinks paleo is a low carb diet. It doesn’t have to be. We just have to get your carbs from better sources.”
Because my training is so anaerobic (2-3x track wods, 3-4 CF WODs + strength) Badier put me on a 60-70% carb diet. 70% carbs, 15% fat 15% protein. I started eating banana’s paired with protein and fat. Rice has snuck in there from time to time to vary things up. In the end, sweet potatoes have become my Holy Grail. Since consuming at least 1 sweet potato nearly everyday, recovery, energy and overall mood (note: mood has nothing to do with being an asshole) is at an all time high. Most importantly, I can maintain a high level of performance throughout my program w/o any breakdown.
I could devote a whole post to sweet potatoes. My good friend is actually coming out with a book on its benefits. Real quick it:
- Is a ”slow” carb
- Is packed full of vitamins
- Helps stabilize insulin levels
- Has natural anti-inflammatory properties
- Tastes great
- Is easily transportable, stays well in storage
- Is a must for endurance athletes
Missing an extra gear in your workouts? A liberal peppering of sweet potatoes in your diet may be your answer.
Post WOD Recovery
Nothing comes close to Vitargo Genr8. I’ve blogged about it in previous posts and over 7 months of taking it as a supplement can attest that it works better than any other product I’ve tried or try (Hammer, Endurox, etc). All of them are usually made with crap maltodextrin or dextrose (corn) which has shown to reach muscle stores slower than eating a piece of white bread. After a hard track session, swim or WOD, in the past I would have NO ENERGY. Usually I’d be very tired. With Genr8, my energy levels stay up as does my insulin levels (no crash). You know what this means??? It means no muscle catabolism. It means my body absorbs more work. I’ve noticed I need less sleep while taking this as well, another sign of superior recovery. The icing on the cake? I’ve put on 12 lbs of lean muscle mass in 12 months. That’s huge! That is with everything else remaining the same ie. diet, protein intake, caloric consumption.
In the end, nutrition is the athlete. If what you’re doing isn’t working for you, keep plugging away. The combination of an overall proper diet AND post workout recovery is what makes the athlete a high performer. If you’re bonking before/after/during your workout, you need to fix your nutrition!!
Hope the above shed some light on your nutrition plan and what works or what doesn’t work for you.
Never Let It Rest,