If any of you listen to Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution podcast you may have already looked into Carb Back-loading (episode 160). I have always been interested in performance nutrition and being able to sustain my energy during particularly grueling WODs, in recent times my energy levels have been extremely low and honestly this has all coincided with a big effort to be low carb paleo. Low carb and high metabolic demands of training just don’t mix for the majority of the population. This doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel and go back to eating pasta and grilled cheese sandwiches (whole grain of course); this just means we need to look into how we can best fuel our bodies to perform optimally and stick to the cleanest fuels available to us.
Let’s quickly define a few things when we discus our goals with going Paleo.
1. reduce/eliminate metabolic derangement
2. heel your gut
3. absorb nutrients in our foods
4. become more insulin sensitive
5. look better naked… (this may have honestly been your original motivator and that is perfectly fine!)
So, you went Paleo, saw some amazing results,, started feeling great, lost some fat, your hormones became more balanced but after a while you started to feel worn out by your training. Personally I felt lack-luster, had a very tough time maintaining a good split time on my rower and overall just felt crappy. I would always feel foggy in the morning and never ‘on it’ for training. I went back to eating oatmeal for breakfast because I had always felt good working out on a belly full of oatmeal. This couldn’t be the answer… could it?
Something else that changed was my post workout nutrition had now become proteins and fats(protein powder and coconut milk) rather than proteins and carbs(protein powder and waxy maize or coconut water) after listening to some early PS podcasts. Sure I was in a strength building phase in my ‘off season’, I had put on 8lbs of lean mass but I felt like crap! I wanted to feel good on the rower again, be able to drive hard with my legs and recover, actually recover, to drive hard again. Something had to change and I knew it was nutrition.
When I first heard about carb back-loading the principles behind it didn’t surprise me. Honestly I think I had know all along what I needed to do but resisted following my intuition because I was trying to be 100%Paleo. Lately I have added in some white rice to our evening meals a couple times a week (always ahead of a big metabolically demanding training session) and gotten back on the waxy maize train. I feel fantastic! Gone are the foggy mornings, lack-luster training sessions and I’m seeing all my olympic lifts go up! Even my rowing is back to feeling ‘happy’…
Paleo is still the way! But as an athlete my demands on carbs are higher than the average person and honestly yams just were not cutting it. White rice does not seem to be an issue for me thankfully and with feeling this good I’ll be keeping it in my diet regularly as long as my metabolic demands warrant it.
If you are interested in leaning the principles behind cab back-loading I strongly recommend you download the Carb Back-Loading e-book from Kiefer. The book starts with all the science behind why you follow this protocol and gives you plans for fueling depending on what time of day you train. If you don’t care about the science you can always skip right to the goods. Please keep in mind I am not recommending you eat cherry turnovers like Kiefer, if you want to stay as close to primal as possible then you will make ‘smarter’ fueling sources. Let me know how it works for you.