triathlon and family can mix

Cavemen & Triathlons

I would run faster if I was being chased by a sabretooth tiger.


I am pretty sure that Grok and his buddies didn’t participate in a stone-aged sprint triahtlon for fun, but swam and ran during their normal day-to-day lives.

I detailed my progression to a Paleo lifestyle in a past post, Lifestyles. I am constantly asked how I can mantain my energy based on my training volume. Questions, and my answers, like:

“How can you do it without carbs?”
I get plenty of carbs, mostly from vegtables and a small amount fruit.
“Doesn’t your body burn muscle when you run out of glycogen?”
My body has developed to burn body fat as opposed to glycogen during my day-to-day activites. Sure, during high intensity I burn glycogen and replace it during recovery.
“Aren’t you hungry all the time?”
I am less hungry now than I was on a high carb diet. I am still hungry from time to time, but aren’t most triathletes?
“That’s too restrictive.”
Alright, not an actual question. I have two words, cheat meal.

I have researched the Paleo liefstyle and how it relates to Triathlon training, experimented during my training season to find what works for me, and discussed with many athletes about their experiences. Many different things have worked for many different people, this is what has worked for me.

The most important part is to recover properley after a workout, especially after intense effort. I consumed a high GI fruit (banana) within 30 minutes of finishing a workout, and continued this routine when I went Paleo. After a month, it wasn’t working as well for me as it had in the past, so I switched to 1 scoop of CarboPro with 1 scoop of protein powder and consumed it within 10 minutes of the end of my workout. Much better.

Pre-Workout Fuel
I do not fuel prior to a workout except for early morning training. Training in a fasted state will help your body burn body fat. For early morning training over 60 minutes, I will consume about 200-300 calories in the form of almonds and a piece of fruit while I am getting ready or driving to the gym.

Workout Fuel
For training sessions over 90 minutes, typically on the bike, I will use GU Gels starting at 60minutes, consuming 200 calories per hour. This is the one aspect I need to change in the coming year. The roller coaster of blood sugar can be tough to deal with, and as I experienced a couple of times this year, if I miss an opportunity to eat my energy crashes. I also need to add some protein as I get pretty hungry around 120 minutes. Once I find a good solution, I will let you know.

I have found that my energy levels are far more consitant than with previous lifestyles. I regularly weigh in at 78kg, fluctuating from time to time after a cheat meal or a weeks worth of high intensity training. I no longer have the morning or late evening munchies, well once in a while I do, but I can handle them with a handfull of dried fruit or some homemade granola. Check for my favorite recipe so far.

So if you are looking for a different approach to your nutrition, good for you. Going Paleo will make you think about more than just food, it will make you re-think your lifestyle.

Question: It works for me, anyone else?


2 responses

  1. I am slowly becoming a big believer in a protein focused nutrition lifestyle. There is a good book written by Phil Maffetone called “The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing” with several chapters dedicated to nutrition. Reading through this and comparing to the Paleo diet there are a lot of similarities, as you pointed out in a recent comment.

    Having started with a two week test I can already see solid improvements in all the areas you talk about. Now I’m currently training within an aerobic capacity with limited anaerobic workouts so the need for carbs/sugar is limited but my energy levels are consistent and higher than before.

    I appreciate you sharing and now on to find some good recipes from the link (I must admit that it is sometime difficult to find good food in all the carb craze out there).

    September 24, 2012 at 9:05 am

    • Good news, I am glad you are finding something that works for you.

      I can feel you on the recipies, it can be tough to find some good inspiration.

      September 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm

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