The nutritional requirements an athlete have will depend on each individual, their sport and the level of activity needed. A marathon runner will have different needs compared to that of a power lifter. Despite these differences, they all have very similar foundations, and all athletes share a couple of things important to all of them: optimizing recovery and performance.
When it comes to the Paleo diet, you can also tweak it according to your needs if you want to become a great athlete that is eating right. Here are some ways you can change a Paleo diet to give you what you need.
Take into account the nature of your training when you plan to change your Paleo diet. Every athlete should begin with a foundation of good quality protein. Most of the meals you have should contain about 3 to 8 ounces of protein. Typically, 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight is needed. With this amount of protein, this ensures that you are getting the right amounts to help in recovery.
Carbohydrate is necessary for the energy stores of an athlete while also helping muscles rebuild and recover. The best place to start is to add Paleo-friendly carbs after training such as squash, sweet potatoes or fruits. The general rule here is a ratio of 1:1 protein to carbohydrate after training.
Veggies and Fats
You shouldn’t skip on these two. Veggies provide fiber, tons of vitamins and minerals and fullness as well. Fats are important in providing long-lasting energy, helps keep you full also and is important for living. You can add as many vegetables as you can throughout the day. Add in more fats on days where there are lighter training and fewer carbs and keep them a bit lower in your meals when training.
Endurance and Power Athletes
As mentioned above, the type of adjustments you make will depend on the training that you are doing. This goes hand in hand with the different types of athletes today. A power athlete will train differently compared to an endurance athlete.
Power athletes such as sprinters and powerlifters should have most of their meals based on quality protein with additional healthy fats and vegetables. Including Paleo-friendly carbs are a great addition to the week, but in moderation only. You should add most of these carbs directly after training sessions with higher intensities.
Endurance athletes such as swimmers and long-distance runners should also build their Paleo meals around quality protein, healthy fats, and vegetables. The difference here is the increased quantity of Paleo-friendly carbs, especially after training. To restore glycogen stores, about 50 to 100 carbs post training is needed for the best recovery.