Paleo Fitness – How Does Food Figure?

There is a deal of confusion around the relationship between food and fitness mainly because there are so many companies trying to sell products that purport to aid fitness and health and in the ensuing competition there are conflicting efforts in the market aimed at the worst end at discrediting the competing products and at the best end claiming greater efficacy of their own brand. I hope that this post will help guide you in some of the things that you might like to think about in the relationship between your Paleo food and your Paleo fitness.

The Plain Unvarnished Truth

Many people come to Paleo or any other diet regime looking for support for weight control or weight loss. Each successive regime is trumpeted by its proponents as the ‘magic bullet’ to health and fitness.

I have news for you whatever diet regime you are on; the science is very simple and clear on this matter at the end of the day when we get it to its simplest form the equation is all about calories consumed versus calories subsequently burned.

There is no magic bullet, there never has been. Diet alone will not, and cannot, result in healthy sustained weight loss with an attendant level of general body health (as well as mental health) and fitness.

Life is about balance; a balanced diet and a reasonable and appropriate level of activity, that keeps your heart in good condition and which maintains your mobility and flexibility as you grow older.

There is a lot of research out there today that will talk to you about actually being able to slow down the effects of aging by paying attention to these two aspects of life; I invite you now to strap into your Google search machine and go have a look. But when you do, don’t be distracted by all the articles you will find which will drive you towards the latest miracle product for doing it with a pill, because it all still boils down to the fundamental balance which I have discussed in this section of my post.

Do The Research

I can give you a snapshot here of the kind of things that you might think about in planning your balanced approach to Paleo fitness but I am not an expert. I am an enthusiastic disciple of the Paleo lifestyle who does a lot of reading and research and attempts to point my friend and readers of this post in the right direction to make their own choices about what approach they want to take to their health.

One of my favourite Paleo authors, Nell Stephenson, who is a prolific author on the subject, is a former endurance athlete who has done extensive research and shared her ideas through her books. One of these books; Before and After Workout Recipes, goes into the theory of balance between the Paleo diet and the right forms of exercise, discussing timing of exercise, what to eat before a workout, what to eat after a workout and other very useful tips and includes recipes to support workout regimes. She also makes recommendations on other very well researched Paleo and general diet and exercise balance authors.

I recommend Nell’s book highly, her compilation Pocket Paleo – Breakfasts Snacks and Workouts was one of the first Paleo books that I bought and I have reproduced some my darted versions of her recipes on my posts here. You can find Nell’s Before and After Workout Recipes book at Amazon.com. Have a look its well worth a read and I know you will learn a lot if you are an athlete in particular seeking to try or are already following the Paleo lifestyle.

Paleo Fitness – How To Get Started

As we all know Confucius said a thousand-mile journey starts with the first step (or words to that effect). So it is with exercise. If you have done no exercise for a long time, if you are pregnant if you have high blood pressure, a heart condition or some other pre-existing condition that is of concern, then before embarking on a workout programme you should really consult your doctor.

Exercise can be much more fun if you take a social approach to it.

Many years ago I was in various HHH (Hash House Harriers) Clubs. This was an activity started just after the war by British Force in the Far East where a group of people would meet up at a pre- determined location. One of the number would be the hare and would have arrived earlier and set a paper trail and all the others (the foxes) would follow. At certain points the paper trail would be deliberately gapped and continued somewhere along the line and the foxes would then hunt for the trail (sometimes false trails would be laid). These gaps and false trails were to allow the less fit or slower people in the group to catch up and take a breath while the more athletic foxes went searching for the trail. Once the foxes found the trail they would call On On to beckon the pack and away they would go again. At the end of the run the idea was that most of the pack would arrive at the same time but each individual would have had the level of exercise appropriate to their ability and or motivation that day. There are Hash House Harriers Clubs all over the world today maybe there is one near you?

I would be surprised if there was not at least one local fun run or park run somewhere near where you live. These are also great ways of doing exercise socially meeting people and having fun while staying fit.

An approach to building up with simple exercise in your home is to take 3 simple exercises; for example press-ups, star jumps and sit ups. Set yourself a 10 day or two week goal and on day one do, 1 of each on day two increase each repetition by 1 or start on 5 for each and increase by 1 or increase by 5. The point is that you will know your capability, tailor it to fit you starting condition and build slowly until you get to a point where you feel comfortable perhaps sustains 20 of each very day. The great thing about this approach is that it doe not matter where you are you can accommodate this kind of plan into your day. For this to work you must set targets and goals and hold your self to them..have a go and let me know how you get on.

Where To From Here

I hope that this article provides the basis to initiate some of your own thinking and spurs you to do, some research of you own and perhaps get hold of a copy Of Nell Stephenson’s book. The message that I would want you to take away is that this does not have to be complicate, intimidating or full on. Just think about balance, your own capabilities and how much you want to push yourself to gradual improvement and meeting your own goals whether it be around weight loss or general fitness levels

Feedback

I am always delighted to hear from my readers on any and all aspects of what I publish here. If there are things that you would like me to write about, if you are looking for information on a particular subject or just seeking general advice or want to share your own experiences and thoughts then leave a comment on any of my pages and I promise I will come back to you with an answer or point you in the direction of one. in the meantime have fun with your own Paleo fitness goals and if you want to have the Paleo Food List for Beginners to hand you will find it here.

Hamish

 

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4 Comments

  1. Thank you for spilling the beans on what Paleo is all about. We can’t argue with science! I totally agree with what you said on calories consumed versus calories used, I think this is what it all boils down to. I have a question – pardon my ignorance, what is the difference between Paleo and Keto? 

    Sunny

    • Sonny thanks for that, and what a great question! 

      In general terms Keto seeks to manage the macro nutrient groups:: Fat, Carbs and Protein by manipulating the balance 

      Paleo eliminates dairy grains and processed foods; hereafter it doesn’t matter what the balance is in the macro nutrient groups available. 

      Interestingly in one of my other posts I outline a study that demonstrated, that as a general rule, Paleo results in a lower calorie intake compared to traditional diets without, actually applying any restriction.  There is a natural tendency to eat less because Paleo leaves hunger satisfied. 

      There is a great more thorough comparison between the two diets available here https://www.yeshealth.com/keto

      I hope that this was helpful

      Hamish

  2. I have been working out at the gum for 2 years now. My program consists of about 15minutes of cardio and the rest is toning with weights and other resistance. My problem is that I look and feel great but I need to lose some weight (about 8 pounds). I don’t eat junk, don’t like anything sweet, my beverage is mostly water or coconut water, and I don’t eat much. My trainer wants me to go on some drastic diet which I could do, but I know myself. I cannot maintain that kind of eating and I feel that it makes no sense taking off pounds in a way that cannot be maintained.  I see a suggestion from your article that might suit me. I am going to join a dance class an have some fun. I could live in that lifestyle because I like the social aspect of it . Thanks for this article.

    • I have always considered as a lifestyle I don’ hold with diets they imply denial. This is not about denial it’s about understanding your metabolism and adjusting the way you eat. On Paleo I have never gone hungry. The sugars and starches put you artificially in the hunger cycle and you retain belly fat.

      Good luck with dance!

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