Just wondering how many of you out there are...How is Paleo different from the industry standard? What's the most crazy/austere/dangerous thing you've ever done? Just curious
asked byPilatesGatekeeper (1015)
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on March 26, 2013
at 07:33 PM
I'm not a bikini or fitness competitor but I have been approached by people telling me that I look like I do compete (in fitness) and that I should consider it. I have also trained under Gregg Avedon in the past (Men's Health Magazine's most featured cover model), have been to a lot of fit expos where I've met most of the top models in the industry, and basically learned the foundation of my nutrition philosophy from fitness models in my mid teens.
The difference between "paleo" and fitness is quite large.
Protein is often the main source of calories, then carbs, then fats. However, during muscle gaining phases, carbs often take precedence. This does not mean it is a low fat diet, between 20 (at the very low end) and more typically 25-30% (at the normal end) of calories come from fats. However, if carb cylcing is employed, fats will sometimes make upwards of 35% of calories on some days for some people that use extreme forms of carb cycling.
The foods emphasized are different as well. I'll start with proteins. Protein sources favored are always lean. Chicken and turkey breasts and whitefish, as well as protein powders (no fat, no lactose milk protein isolates/concetrates...whey/casein). That being said, lean red meat (flank steaks) and leaner cuts of bison are eaten as well (more often by men, but women competitors and models DO eat lean red meat, just small quantities). Salmon is a favorite for omgea 3s. A mixture of eggs and egg whites are also eaten, typically between 1 and 2 a day for women, and between 2 and 4 a day for men. Egg white quantities can be ridiculous for men and women alike.
Fats are different as well. Whereas paleo favors a large amount of saturated, models prefer monos and sometimes omega 3 PUFA (flax oil). Staple fats to make up the typical 25-30% of total calories, and these fats are typically almonds, avocado, 100% natural peanut butter, flax oil (sometimes), olive oil (sometimes), egg yolks, salmon, and very lean cuts of red meat. Nonfat plain Greek yogurt and low fat cottage cheese are not uncommon either. Many will cut out dairy (besides protein shakes) before competition, but many others do not.
Carbs are very different as well. Models universally (essentially) prefer predominantly bland starchy carbs for calories. This is because starch is better at filling muscle glyocogen stores, which they need to complete their workouts and because they carry larger quantities of muscle than most every other person on the planet. Fruit is kept to a minimum (0-2 pieces a day) except for maybe in the off season for some. Carb favorites are oatmeal, Ezekiel bread, brown rice, quinoa, and sweet potatoes. Potatoes are incorporated into post workout meals sometimes as well. Not all shy away from wheat either. THere are some that consume white bread post workout (Lydia Reese, for instance) and some many that consume cream of wheat or whole grain pasta as well. Fruits that are favorites bananas (for the energy the supply, more starchy than other fruits). Apples because of the fiber content are sometimes eaten as well, and berries because they make a good oatmeal topper and provide "valuable antioxidants." Dextrose (pure glucose) or waxy maize (pure corn starch) or maltodextrin (pure corn starch) are sometimes consumed in a post workout drink concoction with between 20-40 grams of protein powder, 30-60 grams of carbohydrate, and under 5 grams of fat (sometimes people will mix protein shakes with unsweetened almond milk, which adds some fat).
Typical macros are 40% protein/30% carbs/ and 30% fats, 40% protein/40% carbs/and 30% fats and sometimes 40% protein/50% carbs/ and 20% fats. Obviously protein is always high, fats and carbs are kept moderate.
Nutrient timing is important as well. Carbs are consumed at breakfast/earlier in the day, pre and post workout. 5-7 meals/snacks a day is typical. Many see more as better, so long as calories remain the same. Practically none practice IF, but there are some Martin Berkhan devotees stepping on stage in recent years (still an insignificant amount though). A steady supply of nutrients is provided from within an hour after waking to within 30 minutes before bed. Final meal usually protein (often casein) and fat based, while, as said before, earlier meals are protein/carb. SOme meals may be just lean protein and green vegetable with no fat or carb immidiately leading up to a competition or photo shoot. Total carbs are typically between 150-350 grams for men and women a like, whether cutting or not. Calories aren't nearly as low year round as many believe. Foods are nutrient dense.WHen dieting for a show or photo shoot, the goal is to keep calories as high as possible while still dropping the the little bit of extra fat. most prefer to cut down and fats before cutting down on fats BEFORE cutting down on carbs, which seems counterintuitive to many paleo people, but it's the reality. There are bikini competitors who drop calories way too low (like 1200 a day) and crash diet to compete, and these are the people that are in and out of the industry in weeks to months. The people that are around for years and decades are the ones that eat a lot of quality calories consistently. Crash dieting is temporary. Fitness lifestyle is much of if not more of a lifestyle than paleo/primal is, because in most every way it's actually less restrictive.
("Fat is burned in the flame of carbohydrate" is phrase you'll often hear if you talk to a model about their diet an expo. This sound like dogma but it is actually correct. Fat is only EFFICIENTLY burned in the flame of carbohydrate.)
Typical Meal Plain for maintenance man or woman (adjust portions accordingly) might look exactly like this.
Meal 1: 2 whole eggs and 6 egg white omelet (with arugula, watercress, and spinach) + 1 bowl of (0.33-1 cup serving) of oatmeal with a handful of berries.
Meal 2: Greek yogurt with a handful of almonds
Meal 3: salad with chicken and avocado + 1 slice of Ezekiel bread
Meal 4 (pre workout): chicken and broccoli and brown rice/sweet potato OR protein shake with oatmeal again
Meal 5 (post workout): protein shake with carbs (dextrose/maltodextrin/waxy maize/fruit/rice cakes)
Meal 6: extra lean flank steak with sweet potato/potatoes and a salad or green vegetables.
Meal 7: casein protein shake with a spoonful of all natrual peanut butter.
Another might look like this:
Meal 1: oatmeal with proteins shake
Meal 2: salad with nuts/avocado and chicken
Meal 3: chicken with broccoli and rice
Meal 4 (pre workout): whey protein powder (some may add dextrose)
Meal 5 (post workout): protein powder with dextrose/Creatine/Bcaas/glutamine
Meal 6: lean steak/kangaroo with potatoes
Meal 7 (pre bed): eggs and salmon
Most everyone in fitness is aware of exactly what the paleo diet is, but choose not to follow it because it doesn't sit well with their particular physique and workout goals. That is not to say it can't be done, but the it is to say that once you have reached a certain level of fitness and are already healthy, switchint to a paleo/primal diet will result in diminishing returns to fitness/health/body composition, where as for people who eat SAD or are not fit, switching to paleo/primal will likely result in increasing returns, not diminishing ones.
Also, some think that they eat paleo and will say they do, but when pressed about what it is they eat, it's often the case that they see whole grains as paleo when it's widely accepted (though may not be true) that whole grains are not in fact paleo approved.
on March 26, 2013
at 09:26 PM
I feel competitive when I am in a bikini, but probably not in the way you are asking about.
on March 26, 2013
at 11:49 PM
I entered a figure fitness competition last year although I'm definitely not a typical competitor. I'm a pole dance instructor and recently started doing aerial silks, and like many pole dancers/acrobats I'm pretty muscular.
I was doing low carb paleo and for the last few weeks before the competition I did cut down on calories (no idea how much as I never counted them but I just ate less than usual) and I did more jogging and sprinting to burn off fat.
The competition was great fun and I met lots of lovely people. I was by no means the most ripped but I didn't stand out as being the odd one out, I was plenty muscly enough complete with full 6-pack abs :)