Day 27 and frustrated that my athletic performance has not improved.


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I'm a 6ft 210lb male 40y/o- I'm an avid Mountain Biker and Crossfiter. While I do look better on day 27 I'm still low on energy. Now trust me I eat plenty of greens, sweet potatoes, and meat. Why is this transition taking so long? Also I see that the top crossfiters are not Paleo. If Paleo worked so well then why aren't more top athletes eating Paleo?

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The top CrossFitters will die younger than people who eat a true Paleo diet. They will die from the physical abuse they give their bodies and from some aspects of their diets. You need to understand that the healthiest people do not win athletic competitions. A measure of health is sacrificed to make it to the top. 

 

I don't know why you have not become fully fat-adapted after 27 days. It began to happen for me at about 14 days and I was starting to set new records by 30 days. I was 52, 6'2" and weighed 215 at the start. 

 

To assess what might be going on with you, we would need to know your activity and training schedule, recovery practices, sleep quality and duration, general life stress, and a more detailed review of what you have been eating and drinking. 

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Typical eating day for me is-

Breakfast- 2 cups coffee with coconut milk and tastier mana spread. That's like coconut spread.

2 eggs, 2 slices of bacon, half of a small sweet potatoe. Today since I went mountain biking right after breakfast I had an extra hard boiled egg, table spoon of almond butter, and about 2 table spoons of avocado.

On days I go to the gym I'll have a shake with a half cup expresso no sugar added, whole banana, hand full of almonds.

After biking today I had a banana, coconut water, 3 thin pices of grass feed steak. Each piece was a thin slice about the size of my hand. I have big hands. One of the pieces I chopped up in a salad that had arugula lettuce, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, lots of olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

About 30 min after that I had a bowl of blue berries, strawberries, half a sweet potatoe, mana coconut spread, and coconut milk.

For dinner I'll either have the rest of the stake about 3 slices with grilled mushrooms or a chicken breast from whole foods with maybe half a sweet potatoe.

Snack before bed will be another fruit bowl as before with water.

I'm a fire fighter and work every 3 days. While being at work can be stressful I don't think it is over the top. I also get 2 days to rest after.

I tried Paleo awhile ago for about 6 months but I was maybe 90% Paleo. I'd have my dark chocolate and coconut creamer tact had cane sugar and I felt pretty good. But my PR's in CrossFit seemed to be when I was off Paleo. I know being healthy and athletic performance are different but I just wish I could stay Paleo and feel that Tiger Blood I keep hearing about. Please help. Thx!

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Thanks for posting your food, and I do see lots of stuff that can be tweaked here....that's a good thing! It means there is still a chance that this will work for you with a little refinement.

 

First, breakfast: you need more protein and more vegetables. 2 eggs or even three is probably not enough (bacon counts as fat). I like to consider sweet potatoes "extra" when it comes to vegetables. Make sure you have a big pile of greens or broccoli or bell pepper or zucchini too.

 

Next, the workout snack. Is this shake pre- or post-workout fuel? Regardless, shakes are not recommended. If it has been a "pre-workout" item, this could explain a lot of your struggles. If you give your body simple sugars right before a workout, it will use those first, leading to a quick crash before you are done. If your body becomes "fat adapted" you will get better at drawing on your internal stores of energy, keeping more steady energy during the workout. If you need a snack before your workout, take a small fat/protein combination (i have a single hardboiled egg. you might need two, or an egg plus some nuts if you digest those well).

 

Post-workout is when you go for lean meat + carbs if you need them. Fruit isn't ideal: fructose is processed via the liver. Instead, eat starchy veggies (glucose recovers you glycogen stores faster). This is in addition to your lunch. It looked to me like the steak/salad was intended to serve double duty as lunch and post workout fuel? We don't recommend that for hard driving athletes. Get some protein into your body within 30 minutes of your workout. Save lunch for later, after you have showered, etc.

 

Now, the fruit/coconut mana/etc. What is this? A snack? A treat? Dessert? The best results on the whole30 come from limiting fruit to one or two fist-sized portions (at most), eaten during meal times. If you are hungry and need a snack we take that to mean you aren't eating enough at meals and those portions can be increased. I suspect the fruit is doing two things: keeping you a sugar burner/preventing you from becoming fat adapted, and also killing your appetite for meals when you would be getting the nutrient dense food you need.

 

Dinner seems ok, if a little on the small side.

 

Do I need to say something now about the second portion of fruit?

 

Sorry for writing a novel here, but I'm really quite optimistic that following the meal template will make a real difference for you.

 

here it is: http://whole9life.com/book/ISWF-Meal-Planning-Template.pdf

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Thanks for your advice. I'll give it a shot. I just find it hard to believe that by those few changes I'll feel better athletically than before whole30. Hopefully the tweaks will help. I'm thinking I might just take longer to adapt to fat. I admit that I am going to fruit for my sugar cravings but I've list like 8lbs and look a lot better so I think a little fruit indulgence is better than eating chocolate.

I'll be sure to stick with protein and fat pre and lean protein and sweet potato post. I'll try and eat more at meals but 5 pieces of steak about 8 inches long and 4 inches wide with salad twice plus 2 bowls of fruit besides what I had for breakfast is a lot. And is it so wrong to make a kind of dessert with sweet potatoes, fruit, and coconut spread? Don't you ever get sweet cravings?

But again I realize you are trying to help and I will put your advice into practice. Also like I said for breakfast I had 3 eggs 2 bacon and like a quarter of a sweet potatoe. Plus coffe with quite a bit of coconut milk and coconut spread. But I will keep trying. Like I said I love the fat loss I just wish my athletic performance was better. Thx. :-)

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missmary gave you terrific feedback. Glad to hear you're planning to follow it.

 

On the fruit as a dessert/feeding sweet cravings, remember that the Whole30 is about changing your relationship with food. To that end, don't feed the sugar cravings with something sweet. Ideally find a non food distraction. Go for a walk, work on a home improvement project, listen to music, call a friend, whatever. If you are genuinely hungry (hungry = you could eat steamed fish and broccoli), have a mini meal containing a protein and fat.

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I have another question. If we are supposed to have no starches pre workout then why do we eat starches while we workout. I've heard some people hear say that they carry dates filled with almond butter for energy while working out. Why don't we just carry hard boiled eggs to full our long workouts?

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That is a great question! People eating dates, etc. during workouts are typically doing a long duration cardio event. If they were fully fat adapted, they really shouldn't need anything but they are compromising because performance in the short term is more important to them than making this energy systems switch. I have read about ultra marathoners eating a "paleo-type" diet who do not require carby snacks mid-race, so I think it can be done, but most people doing the whole30 are not that adapted yet. Crossfit is not the type of activity that would require a mid-workout snack, mountain biking, I would try to avoid it but if you plan a long ride take something small just in case.

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I only take in carbs after about 2 or 3 hours on a long run. Once you're fat adapted, you won't need as much or as often. If I'm running in the mountains, that involves a lot of hiking up hills, thus a slower pace and I absolutely eat some protein in addition to carbs.

 

I do not use dates to fuel. They contain a huge amount of fructose. You're better off with half a banana or some dried apricots, they have have a better ratio of glucose to fructose.

 

I fully agree with the moderators on snacking on anything sweet or carby, it will only delay your fat adaptation. Yes, it's allowed, but there is a reason it's discouraged. I have this tendency as well, eating more at meals (even when it feels like a little too much) is the only way I can resist it.

 

Hope you find your mojo, it took me quite awhile to fully adapt too, while my ultrarunning buddy (who did her first whole30 at the same time as me) switched over almost immediately. Some people just come around faster than others.

 

Good luck!

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Wow! This is really encouraging guys! I will do my best to put this in practice! :-) Like I said I love the weight loss and the way I look. But I must get that "Tiger Blood!" I'll be sure to let you guys know when I really feel like my body has converted to using fat. I can't wait for this!!!! Thx again. I'm reading the Paleo Athlete right now. Hopefully I'll get something from it.

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