3

votes

Paleo for the not-so-active

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 20, 2013 at 9:20 PM

I get the impression that most people here are running or weightlifting or crossfittin' it up almost every day. I miss being able to do that, but for the past 5 years a varied collection of undiagnosable joint problems has severely limited my ability to do cardio or strength training. I walk 5 miles a day and can manage 40 minutes of moderate-intensity elliptical machine exercise once or twice a week.

How does this affect the way I should eat? I'm male, 135lbs, 5'8 with ~16% bodyfat and not much muscle.

  1. I know I don't need as many carbohydrates as people who are more active, but what's a reasonable level to start with?

  2. Is it reasonable to expect that I might improve or at least maintain my body composition on a paleo diet?

  3. Are there any other issues I should be aware of, aside from making sure that I'm not eating hundreds more calories than I actually need?

And finally: Is walking even considered meaningful exercise by this community? (I know walking is very very paleo, but is it exercise?) Would there be benefits to walking more than 5 miles a day?

PS - Yes, I know a paleo diet might cure my joint pain... but I'm trying not to get my hopes up.

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on March 30, 2013
at 05:26 PM

AG- I totally missed the 5' 8" & 135. I would definitely suggest doing body weight only exercises to encourage muscle gain. You're at a tremendously advantageous starting point. Low weight / low body fat... higher protein and some careful intermittent self weight exercises should encourage muscle gain. Check out Paleo for autoimmune issues.

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on March 21, 2013
at 05:36 PM

You're welcome. I have to admit that I never asked for HS-CRP yet myself (will try to the next time) but it's my understanding AFAIK that is one of the most useful markers. I have an insurance that I guess It would cover it so I don't care much about it but maybe I should be more careful with what I suggest to people that maybe will be spending a good deal of money on this.. just guessing, always question everything! :)

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on March 21, 2013
at 05:29 PM

Thanks for the advice! Bodyweight exercises have proven to be more than enough to screw up my joints, unfortunately. Glad to hear you think hs-crp testing is useful. I'm currently hassling my doctor to see if he's willing to order one for me...

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7 Answers

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2
32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on March 21, 2013
at 12:07 PM

Actually, you will hear both Robb Wolf and Mark Sisson say that walking is ESSENTIAL. They call it "moving slowly." Sisson would promote walking over jogging any day. His fitness "blueprint" is walking slowly almost every day, 2 days of working out (which are very simple - if you sign up for his newsletter you get a free ebook with exercises almost anyone can do) and 1 day of sprints.

For people who are struggling with weight loss, Wolf will say walk, walk, walk.

I don't know if this suits you, but the Perfect Health Diet has this page on weight loss for the rather sedentary:

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/02/perfect-health-diet-weight-loss-version/

Since you are not overweight you would want to tweak it, but I think it is worth seeing how they deal with the issue of carbs.

5
F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on March 20, 2013
at 11:05 PM

Dear AG-

I would suggest you pay a visit to Primal Blueprint. There is a ton of great information there. Don't be "put off" by the slick presentation. Mark Sisson is honest about what he's doing. He sells supplements, books & seminars but he offers a lot (all?) of the necessary info for free. If you're a reader & a thinker you can glean what you need. If you can shop & cook there will be little need for his products. If you're jammed up for time & want some easy meals...get some supplements, it not cook. :)

I've been low carb / slow carb with higher protein for nearly 8 months. I'm 6' ~192 (down from ~220) ... I estimate my body fat at about 18%.

I've also done 4 Hour Body (Tim Ferriss) and The Blood Sugar Soltion - Dr. Mark Hyman.

IMO all of these guys are in a "simiar space"... slow carb, decent protein, low inflammation / allergen load, minimize blood sugar rise & insulin response.

I've got a fair amount of muscle for a guy my age and I don't do any extraordinary exercise. I work in my yard & walk about an hour every other day. Depending on what your objective is.... I'd dial back on the exercise.

  1. I know I don't need as many carbohydrates as people who are more active, but what's a reasonable level to start with? >>> since weight loss is not an issue I'd go with ~25%.

  2. Is it reasonable to expect that I might improve or at least maintain my body composition on a paleo diet? >>>> YES! imo, one of the benefits of Paleo is fat loss while maintaining or gaining muscle. I'd shoot for ~35% protein... the rest good fat. With moderate load bearing exercise you'll build muscle eating Paleo. Too much cardio will prevent muscle gain.

  3. Are there any other issues I should be aware of, aside from making sure that I'm not eating hundreds more calories than I actually need? >>>no suagar, bread, pasta, wheat, grains, juice

  4. And finally: Is walking even considered meaningful exercise by this community? (I know walking is very very paleo, but is it exercise?) Would there be benefits to walking more than 5 miles a day? >>>>> yes, walking is considered meaningful exercise (at least by me & I still have muscle). I doubt you need more than 5 miles per day, I'd dial it back a bit...gives those joints a rest.

check out http://home.fuse.net/clymer/bmi/

play around with your numbers.... I think you'd be well served to try and build some muscle. People with a decent amount of muscle live longer healthier lives.

Consider signing up for Mark's Daily Apple... it's a free one week program (an email per day) and gives oyu the basics of diet & exercise.

cheers

2
5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on March 21, 2013
at 01:12 AM

  1. Walking is awesome for general health, although I wouldn't expect it to work wonders in terms of body comp (it helps, but obviously not as much as lifting etc).

  2. I wouldn't fret about your macros. If you're concentrating on one ingredient foods you're most of the way there without counting.

  3. Yes, but if it were me I'd be trying to address some of the pain issues so that I could lift. You don't need to do anything crazy like crossfit, but lifting will do much more for body comp than cardio will. Tim Ferriss has a good chapter in 4 Hour Body about reversing permanent injuries that helped me discover MAT Therapy, which in turn has helped address some "chronic" back pain. Just saying not to give up on that and write it off as a lost cause. Also some people do find relief from joint pain with the exclusion of different things from the diet, notably gluten. Granted everything I've heard on that front is anecdotal, but it's something.

2
9215c97e4d3296f0de599ef9292cee15

on March 20, 2013
at 11:13 PM

Not everyone here is a crazy exerciser, so don't fret too much.

The answer to all three of your questions I believe is just keep an eye on carbs. If you find yourself gaining weight the answer is going to be most likely too much carbs. Use mostly fat to fill up. When that blood sugar spikes you can turn into a food vacuum in a matter of seconds.

1
048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

on March 21, 2013
at 11:26 AM

The other folks already gave very good advice regarding nutrition so I'll only add a different approach to this, related to your joints pain.

Have you tried exercising with your own bodyweight? It is a lot easier on joints as it's more natural, maybe you could give it a look. There's a book called Convict Conditioning that has a pretty good plan to get strong and jacked with just body-weight exercises. I've done some of them with some success, though I still train mostly weight-based I add them from time to time.

http://convictconditioning.org/

You can do a search at YouTube for callisthenics, which is based on the same idea.

Also, keep in mind that with Paleo and grain-free, you may start feeling a real deal on relieve on your joint pains over the time, because of the inflammatory response of the body that is avoided by ditching the bad food. Some people had great success with fish oil supplements, also having check your HS-CRP from time to time with labs may be useful for tracking inflammation.

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on March 21, 2013
at 05:36 PM

You're welcome. I have to admit that I never asked for HS-CRP yet myself (will try to the next time) but it's my understanding AFAIK that is one of the most useful markers. I have an insurance that I guess It would cover it so I don't care much about it but maybe I should be more careful with what I suggest to people that maybe will be spending a good deal of money on this.. just guessing, always question everything! :)

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on March 21, 2013
at 05:29 PM

Thanks for the advice! Bodyweight exercises have proven to be more than enough to screw up my joints, unfortunately. Glad to hear you think hs-crp testing is useful. I'm currently hassling my doctor to see if he's willing to order one for me...

1
C28ae8c7a12a730363835acf21e962a2

(715)

on March 21, 2013
at 01:13 AM

don't worry about restricting carbs unless you think your joint pain will directly benefit. maybe experiment and try low carb for a month. but if it doesn't do anything don't be afraid to incorporate more carbs. i don't exercise at all other then riding my bike to and from work, about 2 miles 5 days a week. my diet is very high in carbs. obviously it varies from person to person, but given your situation i think you're fine. keep walking, incorporate some other low impact exercise if you want, but don't stress.

0
4610451431ec7155c87a5698be682a95

(1122)

on March 21, 2013
at 12:56 AM

Dude, 5'8 and 135? 16% fat? You are way ahead of 90% of all SAD eaters. Don't fret and keep up the walking.

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