What Is the Paleo Diet?

I have written the following posts for those soon-to-be Paleo folk that have only just now stumbled out of their cave and have started hearing about this Paleo Diet. You may be a little overweight from your time in hibernation, completely broken from years harnessing your addiction to food or maybe you are an already fit person but looking to tweak your diet and become the fastest and strongest that you have ever been.

What is the Paleo Diet Anyway?

In short, the Paleo Diet is not a diet, but a lifestyle that aims to emulate the best things that made our hunter gatherer ancestors strong, lean and healthy. This generally starts as a diet but quickly encompasses other lifestyle factors such as exercise, sleep and  how we use technology.

From a diet perspective this means eating the foods that were available to our caveman ancestors around 10,000 years ago. These included meat, seeds, nuts, vegetables and fruit. What the Paleo Diet aims to limit is wheat, grains, legumes (beans, peas etc), dairy and processed foods. The Paleo Diet can be pigeon-holed as a high fat, medium protein and low carbohydrate diet but this all depends on your goals as an individual and your level of activity

Why Should I Follow the Paleo Diet?

There is a saying that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution – Christian Theodosius Dobzhansky”. In your own experience you should be able to reflect back throughout your life or even reflect on the life of your parents or grandparents and easily see how the food we eat, the way we sleep and the way we exercise has changed dramatically. Whether this looks like increased sugar consumption, greater reliance on wheat and grains, sleeping shorter hours, watching tv or reading on the iPad before bed, looking at our computer screens all day. Whatever it is, it has changed from the natural way that humans have evolved over 2 million years and it is impacting our health and lifestyle. This impact can be as increased weight gain, increased stress or greater susectibility to diseases such as Diabetes, Alzeimers, Parkinsons and Auto Immume diseases.

Where Can I go to Learn More?

The Paleo Diet was started by Dr Loren Cordain and has been refined by Robb Wolf. Another diet following this template includes the Primal BluePrint by Mark Sisson.

 

Paleo Diet for Karate

I recently stumbled upon this great infographic created by Greatist which does an excellent job at summarising the Paleo Diet.

For the past few months I have been experimenting with the Paleo Diet, and furthermore the Paleo Lifestyle (as diet is just one element of this). The results spoke for itself and echoed with many of you in my post on .

Since returning from my holiday in America I have maintained this Paleo Diet style of living and eating and today would like to evaluate it from the perspective of the karateka. Essentially creating the framework for the ultimate Karate Diet.

The Paleo Diet for Karate

Since beginning this Paleo Diet I have found my performance in my Goju Ryu Karate improve in the areas of endurance, strength and focus. I have discovered that I can effectively use fat as my primary energy source and regularly consume both complex carbohydrates such as Sweet Potato or Yams post training or fruits such as banana, berries etc the night before to ensure my glycogen levels in my muscles are ready for a big workout or training session.

Fueling on fats for karate has its benefits in that alot of the time that we are at training we are oscillating between high intensity and low intensity movement. Especially during the beginning of our training session when we are warming up with pushups, situps, squats and core exercises my heart rate maximises and I am working my muscles to the point that I need to work in that glycogen energy state. Then as training for martial arts gets into Kihon Ido and Kata we regularly move from high intensity explosive movements to almost no movement as we sit in seisa and listen to our instructor explain the mechanics of the movement and its application to generating power.

Other changes I have noticed include better endurance for training after the warmup. So when I have completed all those pushups, situps and squats I can transition more effectively into Kihon Ido and don’t suffer from the usual muscular fatigue that would take up to 10 minutes to wear off. I have also found that I am less effected by my blood sugar levels as my body is constantly pulling energy from my fat stores.

Running on fat does have its issues from time to time. If I go too low on the carbohydrate intake I can really hit a wall. This makes movement more lethargic and I feel completely wiped out after training. This has been overcome by making the switch from complex carbs to like sweet potatos to more available energy found in fruits. The change can be felt within minutes as my muscles are refueled.

At the end of the day. I find the Paleo Diet for Karate to be great and I will continue down this path. There are other great benefits around sleep, training outside of karate including weights and high intensity interval training that I will explore in further detail as I continue along the paleo path.

So if you are playing around with Paleo let us know how it is working for you in the comments section below. If you are looking for the Paleo Diet for Karate or just looking for some ultimate karate diet then I highly recommend giving it a try for yourself. Some great resources to get started include reading Robb Wolf’s and reading his blog. I also really enjoy what Mark Sisson has to say.

So give it a try and let us know how you go.

paleo-022012/” target=”_blank”>The Ultimate Guide to Eating Paleo

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