I've experimented with a variety of dietary changes over the last several years to address specific health problems, and I've finally conquered enough of those to really start honing in on my fitness and athleticism.
Over the last several months my activity level has increased dramatically beyond any level it's been at before. I try to do a weight training session once or twice a week, doing body weight exercises and using small dumbells I have at home. I bike a lot - commuting to work daily, and mountain biking or hill climbing usually 2-3 times per week. I have a very active job, on my feet all day and often lifting and carrying moderately heavy stuff for 40-50 hours a week. I take a lot of yoga classes. Sometimes I hike.
The increase in activity has really made me take notice of the fact that I need to pay closer attention to my macronutrient ratios. It also has me thinking and reading a lot about fat adapting, because I feel too dependent on carbs to fuel my activity level.
The problem is, I have a very unpredictable schedule and lifestyle. My work schedule changes constantly. I often get an impromptu let's-hop-on-our-bikes-and-crush-it-up-this-gnarly-hill phone call. I can't always plan when I'll have my meals.
I've been experimenting with my macronutrient ratios, going pretty moderate carb lately. I've also been doing some intermittent fasting. I've done both of these before with success, but not while trying to sustain the kind of activities I'm doing now.
I've been having a lot of moments in which, for example, after a few days of keeping my carbs low and my exercise sessions in the fat-burning zone, I get one of those phone calls and try to go for a heart-pumping bike ride. And fail miserably.
Probably I would benefit from a more scheduled and calculated approach to matching my diet and exercise, but I'm training to live, not living to train. I'm finding it far too complicated to try to predict my dietary needs and eat appropriately in advance.
It seems funny though - it's not like our primal ancestors could plan their activity levels and nutrient needs. Anyone have any advice here?
asked bycarly_2 (613)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on September 11, 2012
at 03:25 PM
If I were in this situation, I'd start every day off with a good big protein and fat filled breakfast. This way I'm starting the day off fueled well.
It's fine that your workouts/activities are random and unpredictable throughout the day. If you do something pretty intense have some immediate carbs post workout to replenish glycogen. No need to plan that, just have them if and only if you do a hard workout (as close to PWO as you can, the better).
Then finish you day with a dinner to satiety.
The big breakfast and dinner will keep you fueled properly and keep enough energy going in. The PWO carb load will supplement on the days you do the activity and if they're sized proportionally to the effort, you won't run out of energy.
You don't need to worry about getting certain macronutrients at EVERY meal. Your body is good at handling cyclic nutrient loading, so just make sure you replenish what you use up. No need to plan ahead.
on September 11, 2012
at 06:52 PM
make protein the center of every meal.
All meals: include non-starchy vegetables (salads).
Any meal not in the workout window (2.5 hours pre and 2.5 hours post): protein + non-starchy vegetable(s) + fat source
Any meal within 2.5 hours pre workout: protein + non-starchy vegetable (Keep fat low because it interferes with vasodilation by diminishing NO production and takes longer to digest, which has the effect of diminishing blood flow to the working muscles).
All meals within 2 hours post workout: protein + starchy carb and/or fruit. Keep fat lower here, for the same reasons mentioned on number. (you don't need to include a non-starchy vegetable here if you do not wish so). **If workout was low/moderate intensity for longer duration, choose fruit. If workout was high intensity for shorter durations (glycolytic, like weight lifting in higher volumes or sprint repeats) then choose starch. If both glycolytic and fat burning, then choose both.
***Best to take water soluble supplements directly pre-workout, or with your post workout meal. Best to take fat soluble supplements with the meal that fits criteria for number 3.
There you have it, the 5 nutrition rules to live by.