Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Ride like a cavetrackie

As well as now being a one trick pony, I am going to out myself as a paleo fuelled trackie. You may have noticed the new byline on the blog header. Okay, fine. So what does that mean?

Paleo means no grain, no starchy carbs, no processed foods, no sugar, no dairy, no industrial seed oils (eg canola). This provides a good definition and outline.

But as an athlete, I need to fuel. So the grains and starchy carbs will be in, in a very specific manner, at a very specific time. The proviso on the grain is to prefer other starchy carb options such as sweet potato etc, and to totally avoid wheat and gluten loaded grains. For example, after training last night I had porridge of rice flakes and buckwheat groats, nuts, coconut flakes, LSA, 2 eggs scrambled in, berries, banana and some lactose free yoghurt.  Mostly organic of course. Okay, so I compromised with the yoghurt (maybe I should call myself primal instead?).

I have progressed to this point over the last 6months, modifying my diet to overcome gut related issues. It wasn't a massive change, just some small progressive tweeks. Gluten and lactose were the first to go, and probably the biggest change I made. In doing so, I’ve had some excellent side effects, such as an almost immediate disappearance of joint pain and flu-like muscle fatigue and pain, and brain fog, with an increase in overall energy. Whodda thunk??? I’m liking those kind of side effects. Combine that with becoming an anti-wheat convert after reading about the nastiness of this beasty on the human gut, my ideas about what constitutes healthy, healthful eating have changed.

Why is this here, and not in my eatmydragster blog? Because it’s actually about training and racing bikes. As in, how do you fuel quality performance and recovery in training and racing when you don’t eat the regular stuff such as pasta and bread etc? There are some excellent books (see Cordain and Friels Paleo Diet for Athletes for one) and an abundance of great blogs (check out the blogroll on eatmydragster) as to the hows and whys of the paleo eating regime. But there aren’t too many blogs or books on paleo eating for track racers, let alone sprinter types. Most training for racing literature focuses on endurance, because, as we all know, anything done on a bike is an endurance event, even if it takes 10seconds to do. Uhuh.. mkay.. riiiiiiiiiight. (I actually suspect it's easier to do research on endurance cycling, quite simply). You’ll hear that sprinters need endurance because they’ll have several sprint rounds to the final, and need to be able to cope with that. Sure thing, but it’s not the same as racing 40km, 90 km, 160km, or an IP on the track. And to find anything about fuelling for a 500m -1000m TT, forgedditabout. That kind of event is frequently dismissed as it’s so short you don’t need to worry about it, so long as you are plenty hydrated.

So I am turning myself into an experiment of N=1. Heaven forbid, I am not even in the usual cohort range of experiment guinea pigs: wrong gender, wrong age, wrong total training hours per week to qualify for most ex phys cycling trials. But this is my blog, it’s about me. So you’ll now get the occasion menu for racing and training, as well as how I feed myself while away from home. And you'll get the odd research article. And the occasional link to an interesting blog post. And maybe some motivation/incentive to give it a crack yourself.


Groover said...

I laughed about your post heading. I hope the experiment works out for you and I'm definitely interested in reading how you go.

I read the Paleo Diet for Athletes last year and found it extremely interesting. Only problem for me is: I have been living on a semi vegetarian diet (I do eat seafood) since I'm 13 and cannot bring myself to eat meat again. It has been suggested numerous times to me that a vegetarian diet may not be ideal (esp as an athlete with Hashimotos) but just the thought of eating meat makes me gag. :-(

Lawrence said...

Hey Groover,

I think your situation is not uncommon ie the vegetarian vs Paleo debate. The Paleos believe they are right, but how many times did our paleolithic ancestors do without meat because the hunt failed, or animals were scarce?

As with all things, balance is good, and sticking to your guns and honouring your beliefs should guide you. :-D But how the hell you get your specific protein requirements in beats me chicka! lol