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Old 06-23-2005, 04:54 AM   #1
Matthew Townsend
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My wife and I have been having a great discussion over the last few nights, with me extolling the virtues of the paleo diet and her saying that it's a crock and a fad etc.

Tonight, she asked me "Are any elite athletes on this diet?" To which I responded that Loren Cordain is writing a book about it.

Quite fairly she responded that didn't answer her question. So I thought I would seek the collective wisdom of the Crossfit community.

Can anyone point to any examples of elite athletes on a paleo diet?
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Old 06-23-2005, 05:26 AM   #2
John Daniel
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I guess it depends how you define elite athlete.

Take a look at the Fran video from the FAQ - Greg A. follows the paleo zone. I think it would be difficult to find many better athletes than Greg. (Coach told me he placed 4th in a statewide triathalon with no preparation!)}
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Old 06-23-2005, 06:47 AM   #3
Troy Archie
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Old 06-23-2005, 10:06 AM   #4
Beth Moscov
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My unresearched guess is that the greater pool of athletes eat a wide range of diets and few eat purely paleo. At the crossfit seminars, Coach recommends the zone and doesn't say anything about paleo. That doesn't mean he thinks it is bad - just that he rates the zone higher for athletes based on his experience (and this is my view of his comments). Check Eugenes notes in the community section for two different seminars to make sure.
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Old 06-23-2005, 02:47 PM   #5
Carl Herzog
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Paleo eating - a fad for 50,000 years.
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Old 06-23-2005, 04:42 PM   #6
Scott Kustes
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I would almost venture a guess that many of the elite athletes would have trouble on a Paleo diet. The trouble would come in consuming the quantities of food that they have to eat in order to get enough calories for their workouts. With just doing the WOD and eating nearly Paleo Zone, I can sometimes find the 6 cups of vegetables at dinner difficult to take in. Think about Michael Phelps and the amount of food he eats just to maintain his extremely lean stature.
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Old 06-23-2005, 04:56 PM   #7
Paul Theodorescu
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I'm not sure about athletes, but I think you could make a very strong case for paleo leading to improved health, lifespan, bodyfat levels, etc.
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Old 06-24-2005, 04:52 AM   #8
Larry Lindenman
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First answer is, elite athletes aren't necessarly healthy. Most know little about nutrition and less about training. Most of the information is fed (sorry) to them from coachs and consultants, some comes from other athletes ("eat jello powder just before a race" yes I've seen this). A majority of athletes (elite or not) eat like crap. They get away with it because of natural talent, long hours of SPP, and the fact that there freaking YOUNG. Is training for and racing in the Tour de France healthy, a resounding NO, how about Football? So the original question is flawed...we should not equate elite athletes with optimum helath (IMHO)...just don't tell your wife I said her question is wrong! Most older athletes, begin to see the errors of their ways and, if they continue to train, they modify diet and get smart about training.
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Old 06-24-2005, 07:11 AM   #9
Stephen Troy
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Just so long as nobody's changing the motto from "Forging Elite Fitness" to "Elite Athletes Aren't Necessarily Healthy." :biggrin:

The elite guys could probably throw down enough calories if they hit more calorically dense foods, but it's enough of a bother and the science is new enough that they'll tend to stick with what's working for them.

Most folks I know who turn to paleo eating do so because of body composition issues or depressed energy levels, both of which are rarely a problem for an already elite athlete.

Plus, as Larry points out, being young forgives a lot of training/nutrition mistakes.
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Old 06-24-2005, 10:04 AM   #10
Beth Moscov
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Tagging onto Larry's line of thought, it might be that the real question your wife wants to ask is something like: When elite athletes eat paleo is there a performance difference over elite athletes that don't?

I don't know that answer but it would be interesting. Again, I know Coach recommends the zone proportions. It is easier to do zone when your paleo cause you get more food.

This is the official crossfit recommendations on food:

Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.

It is cut and pasted from the web site.
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