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Help for a female college soccer player looking to lean down and boost performance

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 30, 2012 at 8:06 PM

Hello,

I just recently started eating paleo, I am currently on my second week and I love it. I play college soccer and performance is everything to me. The first week of eating paleo was difficult for me because I felt like I had no energy in my workouts which were extremely hard that week. This week, however, has been a whole new story. My deadlifts, power cleans and push-presses all went up in weight and I felt great. I really want to lean down though, I am 5'2" 123lbs and am around 17% body fat. I have always measured everything that I ate and worried about meal frequency, so I was wondering if any one could help me with what a meal plan should look like for some one who works out 2-3 times a day, running, practice, and weights. I wouldn't necessarily classify myself as an endurance athlete, we do a lot of sprinting which I was also wondering if it would be detrimental to my goals. Should I be eating more yams or fruit? I am currently not eating any really because I do want to lean down. Please help me with some advice or a good meal plan. I really want to be successul in my paleo lifestyle.

Also, my body fat goal is around 13-14%

Thank you!!

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on July 31, 2012
at 03:42 AM

At first, leanness is correlated with performance. However, once you reach a certain point, you can no long improve in both metrics, you do need to pick one.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on July 31, 2012
at 03:37 AM

I agree that the extreme end of too lean will hurt performance. Up voted to get rid of that minus.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 31, 2012
at 03:12 AM

Go watch the olympics. Most of these ladies are top in the world and with a few exceptions usually in sprinters and tennis players all of them are strongly muscled and 20%ish body fat. I was watc hing Volleyball and none of them had abs or even serious visible muscle. Workout and eat as much as your body asks for and when you are off season and performance is a non-issue drop most of your carbs and lean out to 15%, enjoy your abs, and then get back to work.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on July 31, 2012
at 02:36 AM

being lean is conducive to performance. Your reasoning entails only that the diet you personally use to stay lean is deficient in glucose. For people who handle root vegetables well, leaning out and performance go hand in hand.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:51 PM

Absolutely :)

Da86688aca2981bb64977a1e1ef413f9

(0)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:38 PM

Yeah I do need to make sure I get enough sleep its hard to get 8 hrs being in college and I work at a bar to make things even worse. I will try to add more carbs and get even more sleep. Thank you for the help I just want to make sure Im doing things right to get the best out of the paleo eating!

Da86688aca2981bb64977a1e1ef413f9

(0)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:36 PM

my strength coach has pinch calipers skindex & i just had it done about 2 weeks ago and thanks

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:25 PM

And again, youre going to need calories.. and It was my experience and is my opinion that so long as you are eating clean foods, avoiding processed foods, you're not going to gain unwanted weight. Listen to your body, fuel it, and let it recover. Sleep is crucial. You'll be jammin in no time. Best of luck

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:22 PM

When I finally decided to add carbs, everything turned the corner. My performance went through the roof and I started leaning out even more. Carbs are absolutely paleo, despite what some say. I added carbs in the form of potato, sweet potato, white rice, both jasmine and basmati, rice cakes, and occasional fruit. Looking back, I probably may have added a little more fruit here and there after more grueling workouts.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:19 PM

It's my opinion that your calories are much too low. I just had knee surgery from soccer (meniscus, cartilage damage) but prior to that I was playing at a higher level about 3-4 times a week. I made the mistake of trying to do so still on low carb much for the same reasons as you (everybody likes to look good, I'm not ashamed to say it). It was a complete disaster... My performace suffered, I was always weak, even if I tried to add more fats. During this time, I also found it very tough to get more lean. I wasn't gaining, just stuck in a rut.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:14 PM

And by the way, you mean sweet potatoes not yams. Yams are from africa. Sweet potatoes are from america. Sweet potatoes were once called yams as a marketing scheme and the name stuck. In any case, eat your carbs: fruit, starches, whatever.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:10 PM

You're already really lean and any "loss" can be in the form of muscle.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:09 PM

Ditto @conciliator. Make sure you eat carbs. Eat those fruits and yams. Don't worry. Take care of yourself. Focus on healthy foods rather than losing fat...that's not synonymous with better athletic ability

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:08 PM

What are your goals? Strength? Endurance? Less body fat won't make you any stronger. You're not a distance runner and I think that for your sport, getting too lean can be a disadvantage and backfire.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:05 PM

http://www.leighpeele.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/female-body-fat-percentage-pictures.jpg

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:04 PM

How did you measure 17%? If you are truly 17% you should not lean down any further, 17% is pretty shredded for a girl. It's the equivalent of like 8% for a guy, any lower and hormones crash. Make sure you eat carbs, you don't want the female athlete triad and amennorhea, and don't lose weight fast esp. at low bodyweight.

Da86688aca2981bb64977a1e1ef413f9

(0)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:03 PM

Oh & Thankyou!!

Da86688aca2981bb64977a1e1ef413f9

(0)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:03 PM

Yeah I am pretty lean but nowhere I would like to be for my goals, too be honest I would like to have some abs and just be really cut. I am small especially compared to my competition so I dont want to lose strength while getting leaner I guess. Just want to be healthy while reaching my goals and supplying my body will all the fuel. Thank you!

Da86688aca2981bb64977a1e1ef413f9

(0)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:00 PM

normally i will eat this: Breakfast: 3-4 eggs 1 white spinach salad w/broccoli cucumbers about 4 oz chicken breast w/ 1tablespoon olive oil pre-work out: handful almonds or 2oz of salmon dinner: spinach salad w. tilapia w/ tablespoon olive oil my workouts vary I have workouts with our strength/conditioning coach so either speed, agility, conditioning or explosive lifting all 1 hr. I also have soccer practice for about 1hr & a half after and will usually do a little extra stuff. That is my usual schedule throughout the week

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4 Answers

2
78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

on March 30, 2012
at 08:18 PM

Lean =/= mean.You're an athlete, and a very lean one already. I bet you could toss me across the fence because you sound like a hunk of muscle.

Cutting down your body fat doesn't necessarily mean your performance will improve. It is already on the low-side. In fact, it could deteriorate if you don't supply your body with enough fuel for such an active lifestyle.

I would focus on more whole, healthy foods in order to get the most out of your workouts and for physical health. Try not worry so much about your percentage of body fat. I'm not sure why it's such a specific number of 13-14%...

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:08 PM

What are your goals? Strength? Endurance? Less body fat won't make you any stronger. You're not a distance runner and I think that for your sport, getting too lean can be a disadvantage and backfire.

Da86688aca2981bb64977a1e1ef413f9

(0)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:03 PM

Yeah I am pretty lean but nowhere I would like to be for my goals, too be honest I would like to have some abs and just be really cut. I am small especially compared to my competition so I dont want to lose strength while getting leaner I guess. Just want to be healthy while reaching my goals and supplying my body will all the fuel. Thank you!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 31, 2012
at 03:12 AM

Go watch the olympics. Most of these ladies are top in the world and with a few exceptions usually in sprinters and tennis players all of them are strongly muscled and 20%ish body fat. I was watc hing Volleyball and none of them had abs or even serious visible muscle. Workout and eat as much as your body asks for and when you are off season and performance is a non-issue drop most of your carbs and lean out to 15%, enjoy your abs, and then get back to work.

1
50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on March 30, 2012
at 08:10 PM

Can you give us an idea of what your meals currently look like? And also, what a normal week of exercise looks like?

With that amount of exercise, you're going to need a lot of calories

Da86688aca2981bb64977a1e1ef413f9

(0)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:03 PM

Oh & Thankyou!!

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:19 PM

It's my opinion that your calories are much too low. I just had knee surgery from soccer (meniscus, cartilage damage) but prior to that I was playing at a higher level about 3-4 times a week. I made the mistake of trying to do so still on low carb much for the same reasons as you (everybody likes to look good, I'm not ashamed to say it). It was a complete disaster... My performace suffered, I was always weak, even if I tried to add more fats. During this time, I also found it very tough to get more lean. I wasn't gaining, just stuck in a rut.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:22 PM

When I finally decided to add carbs, everything turned the corner. My performance went through the roof and I started leaning out even more. Carbs are absolutely paleo, despite what some say. I added carbs in the form of potato, sweet potato, white rice, both jasmine and basmati, rice cakes, and occasional fruit. Looking back, I probably may have added a little more fruit here and there after more grueling workouts.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:25 PM

And again, youre going to need calories.. and It was my experience and is my opinion that so long as you are eating clean foods, avoiding processed foods, you're not going to gain unwanted weight. Listen to your body, fuel it, and let it recover. Sleep is crucial. You'll be jammin in no time. Best of luck

Da86688aca2981bb64977a1e1ef413f9

(0)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:38 PM

Yeah I do need to make sure I get enough sleep its hard to get 8 hrs being in college and I work at a bar to make things even worse. I will try to add more carbs and get even more sleep. Thank you for the help I just want to make sure Im doing things right to get the best out of the paleo eating!

Da86688aca2981bb64977a1e1ef413f9

(0)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:00 PM

normally i will eat this: Breakfast: 3-4 eggs 1 white spinach salad w/broccoli cucumbers about 4 oz chicken breast w/ 1tablespoon olive oil pre-work out: handful almonds or 2oz of salmon dinner: spinach salad w. tilapia w/ tablespoon olive oil my workouts vary I have workouts with our strength/conditioning coach so either speed, agility, conditioning or explosive lifting all 1 hr. I also have soccer practice for about 1hr & a half after and will usually do a little extra stuff. That is my usual schedule throughout the week

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:51 PM

Absolutely :)

0
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on July 31, 2012
at 01:48 AM

Leanness and performance are often contrary goals, especially at the extreme end. From looking at your stats, I think you're at the best you can do unless you pick only one. Go down the leanness route and lose performance or go down the performance route and not lean out.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on July 31, 2012
at 02:36 AM

being lean is conducive to performance. Your reasoning entails only that the diet you personally use to stay lean is deficient in glucose. For people who handle root vegetables well, leaning out and performance go hand in hand.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on July 31, 2012
at 03:37 AM

I agree that the extreme end of too lean will hurt performance. Up voted to get rid of that minus.

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on July 31, 2012
at 03:42 AM

At first, leanness is correlated with performance. However, once you reach a certain point, you can no long improve in both metrics, you do need to pick one.

0
Fe89404721f7ac52e89179277ad4815f

on July 31, 2012
at 12:05 AM

hey lexy, the main thing u need to work on is sticking to the diet for a long amoutn of time. also listen to your bf that guy seems to be very smart and a handsome devil at that is his name dustin lol

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