Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Question Via Email - How do You Ride and Be Paleo ?

 Hey Peter,

; I was wondering if you could give me some insight what you use / have used for in race nutrition. I'm asking because I have started to follow the principles of Paleo much more closely. I'm finding that I have more energy and feel better when I follow it. I am wondering what you use for gels or energy while you race. When i would race on the road I never had too much trouble taking in food in solid form, but always found that gels worked best when I was mountain biking. Is there any resources out there that could point me in the right direction?


Thanks so much for the email and for following the site . 

Basically, My answer is that it depends on a few variables.

a) What are your goals (see yesterday's post). If you are performance oriented you will likely need more carbohydrate, and more processing in your food.  Most people working 40hour type weeks are not going to be training a ton and are generally more concerned with maintaining markers of health and performing pretty good in their chosen sport. If you are not 100% trying Paleo then 'cheating' for your rides isn't a big deal. Picking a 'good' cheat, such as a honey/dried fruit/fruit or non-paleo maltodextrin based drink like Hammer HEED. *which is worth doing to see how you feel with everything removed.

b) how long are your workouts? if they are generally under an hour and even under 1.5hrs then fueling during the workout isn't a huge concern. things like well cooked yams/sweet potato can make easy snacks for riding, regular potatoes (cooked well/skin off) can do well too. Cover either with Olive oil/ coconut oil and makes a tasty snack for longer days. Things like bananas, dried fruits can be an okay option if you are good with fruit/fructose/sugar, keeping in mind Paleo is not a licence to over consume ... Honey is just Sugar ... Fruit is Sugar.

c) how intense is your workout ? If we are racing for 2hrs or doing a hard interval set, definitely no solid food. For me I use Hammer HEED or Gels, usually adding some BCAA to that mix, the latter especially for longer workouts. Raisins/fruit would be great substitution for gels but remember that sugar is basically sugar so watch over-consuming or using when there really isn't a reason for it (ie. No one eats/drinks in a 1hr cross race)

Lastly, a few resources you may be interested in, they may give you some ideas, but as I say, there are no easy answers just things to try and some general principles based on your goals. Robb Wolf's Book is superb for getting your Paleo gig started but really is more health oriented and leaves the endurance athlete wondering what they should do.  Joe Friel's book starts to address the Endurance approach to Paleo but I think perhaps goes to far for most 'regular' people, and leaves a few key questions about quantity and variation to the imagination.

Please follow up and please keep following the blog.

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Why do you add the BCAA???

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