The minimal processing, high protein and emphasis on vegetables and fruits make the paleo diet a popular option for healthy weight loss and overall wellness. The paleo diet is also popular among fitness enthusiasts, but is it actually helpful for athletic performance?
Find out about the paleo diet for gym performance and see if it can give your workouts the boost you need.
The Paleo Diet
The basic premise of the paleo diet is that certain foods are optimal for human health and others aren’t. These optimal foods are the same foods that humans have consumed for most of our existence over the past 4 million years.
It’s only been in recent years that we’ve begun to consume processed foods like dairy, grains and legumes, which do little to support health and performance. Our bodies are adapted to minimally processed, natural food sources, such as animal protein, fruits and vegetables.
Your metabolism is the collection of chemical transformations that take place within your cells. Though there are many processes that your metabolism controls, this includes converting food into energy, which is what is commonly known as burning calories.
Supporting the metabolism includes consuming the right amount of carbohydrates to provide the body with the necessary energy for performance, consuming the right nutrients to metabolize stored energy (fat), supporting normal thyroid function and maintaining insulin sensitivity. In every aspect, the paleo diet is perfectly suited to promote ideal metabolic function with its focus on low-glycemic fruits and vegetables that are packed with nutrients, as well as abundant lean animal protein sources.
Muscle is a fibrous tissue that contracts to move your body. Our bodies contain over 600 muscles, including both the skeletal muscles and the smooth muscles that support digestive function. Only certain types of muscle fibers are capable of progressive overload, however, which is the idea behind lifting weights to build greater muscle mass.
Protein is the most important macronutrient when it comes to building and maintaining muscle mass, which is well-supported by the paleo diet. This way of eating includes a higher proportion of protein than the Standard American Diet and is perfect for meeting the higher demands of athletic performance.
Plenty of micronutrients are needed for muscle health as well, such as calcium, magnesium, iron and sodium. If these nutrients are missing or aren’t properly balanced, our muscles can’t contract and release as they’re supposed to.
With so many whole foods, the paleo diet includes many of these micronutrients, such as zinc from muscle meat and iron from shellfish. This fills many of the gaps for nutrition that may be present in high-performance athletes.
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The paleo diet has many of the important nutrients necessary to boost gym performance and keep the body functioning at a high level. Unfortunately, many athletes try to meet these performance demands by relying on nutrition shakes and protein bars, which are packed with unhealthy, heavily processed ingredients.
In addition to a healthy, well-balanced paleo meal plan, paleo Power Balls from Paleo Angel can help you fuel your workouts and stay at peak level. These delicious, portable snacks are completely paleo compliant and include many paleo superfoods to fuel your workouts, so shop our collection of Power Balls today!