Trader Joe’s, where you been?!

BY KENNETH LUNDGREN

So, I’ve started on with the Paleo Diet, have been researching it for over a month… I was startled when I learned that two of the most successful athletes I coach both rigorously follow this diet… I’ve slowly been whittling out the cereals, pastas, beans, all daily products from my kitchen and restocking it with more meats, fish, salads, fruits, veggies, soups, nuts…

I’m not an expert on the subject (yet!). I read Friel’s The Paleo Diet for Athletes and scoured plenty of research by Dr. Ben Balzer… Dr. Balzer writes, “There are races of people who are all slim, who are stronger and faster than us. They all have straight teeth and perfect eyesight. Arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, depression, schizophrenia and cancer are absolute rarities for them. These people are the last 84 tribes of hunter-gatherers in the world. They share a secret that is over 2 million years old. Their secret is their diet, a diet that has changed little from that of the first humans 2 million years ago, and their predecessors up to 7 million years ago. Theirs is the diet that man evolved on, the diet that is coded for in our genes. It has some major differences to the diet of ‘civilization.’ You are in for a few big surprises.”

One of the main goals in the Paleo diet is to avoid foods that are mainly carbohydrate… Balzer writes, “Antinutrients have an incredible range of biological effects. As you have probably already guessed, the vast majority and highest levels of antinutrients are in Neolithic foods like grains, beans and potatoes. The Paleolithic diet has incredibly low levels of antinutrients compared to the usual modern diet. I believe that this is the number one advantage of the diet.”

Now, for the endurance athlete, carbs cannot be avoided altogether. Friel writes if you live a cleaner life and adhere to this diet, it is easier for your body to recover and restore its glycogen levels… He writes that most athletes can get their glycogen supply from fruit alone! Still, he mentions that it’s good to eat carbs before you workout, during, and immediately after…

During this time of the year, where I feel AS SLOW AS A SLUG (SO SLOW!!!), I’ve been lifting weights twice per week, riding the PowerCranks 3 times per week… This alone can at first give you that FLAT feeling, but the diet isn’t helping… Friel writes you’ll feel very tired at first, getting over the sugar kick and detoxing the body, but within a month you’ll feel recharged…

So right now the energy levels are low… Still, the workouts themselves this week went welll…

MON Gym + Road Bike Recovery Ride.

TUE PowerCrank Recovery Ride, high cadence.

WED Tempo ride on road bike, into beautiful hilly country… Tempo pace on the flats, 100+ rpms, and during this phase of training all climbs are taken out of the saddle, SubThreshold pace or less, 68+ rpms. It’s funny, I used to be a solid road racer, and my strength would be attacking out of the saddle on power climbs or near the top of longer climbs, soloing away or powering a small break and winning the sprint. NOW? Lol, now when I get out of the saddle, I feel like I weigh 50 pounds, just nothing there, zero power, zero acceleration, lol… Over the years, I’ve matured into almost a time trial specialist, and it REALLY shows when I do this early Foundation-type work…

THURS PowerCrank Tempo ride, 100 minutes, high cadence over rolling terrain. 94+ rpms. That hurt! It’s very important to NOT get overgeared, ever, and to really spin up the rollers… I’m feeling better and better on this bike, can’t wait to accelerate the rides over the coming months…

FRI Gym.

SAT PowerCrank Recovery Ride, high cadence.

SUN Recovery Ride on Felt, flat to rolling terrain, natural cadence. Pure recovery…

So before my workouts (especially the harder ones), I’ve been avoiding my cereal and instead having orange juice, a few eggs, and bananas. I try to eat 3 hours before I work out, no closer than 2 hours… Here you want the carbs and reduce the amount of fiber you eat. You also want to eat protein. Friel writes of the benefits of eating branched-chain amino acids before your workout and how it benefits your performance…

During the workouts, I eat my trusty Clif Bars and drink my high-glycemic drinks. Always eat, always hydrate when you’re working out. Always. ALWAYS.

And then after you’re done, you want to eat immediately. You want to eat high-glycemic foods that can be easily broken down and absorbed into the blood and muscles… Glucose, which is in potatoes, rice, and grains, is a great source for quick recovery. Fructose, in fruits and juices, is also a good option, just isn’t as fast to absorb… This meal is best taken in liquid form, as it’s absorbed more quickly and begins the rehydration process…

Also, you want to get some protein in there. Friel writes that with a hard 1-hour workout, you can use 30 grams of muscle protein for fuel! So we need to take in foods that are rich in branched-chain amino acids. And simply, the best source is egg.

And then the later meal(s), which most athletes usually screw up, should relate more to the Paleo Diet: no foods high in carbs, no sugar, no salt, no dairy, no grains… Athletes are probably concerned about filling their glycogen levels, but Friel writes that the more we can live with this diet, the better and more efficient we get at restocking this lost glycogen. If we eat more fruits and vegetables, it takes a less concentrated effort to rebuild the level. In fact, it’s more maintaining, not rebuilding. Low glycemic fruits and veggies can accomplish this while also providing micronutrients necessary for recovery…

And that’s that. I’m going to stick with it, see how it works out… I figure with a bum knee, really cleansing the diet may be a good thing. AND if you’re going to try a new diet, you may as well do it as FAR away from your goal event and peaks as possible. So now’s the time! I look forward to seeing how I feel and how I perform on the bicycle… Now my friends, my girlfriend, they may have a hard time! I can already see a Saturday night at the restaurant!

“And sir, what would you like?”

“Do you have a plain bowl of tuna? And I’ll take a glass of water to go with it.” 🙂

In closing, in recent Elite Endurance news, we’ve been tearing up the ‘cross scene! Laura Winberry of Team Campmor won the women’s Pro/1/2/3 race up at the Westwood Velo Cross at Campgaw Mountain. We won the State Championship last year, and this year she’s looking to make the trip to Nats in Oregon. We’re still early in our training, so I have to ensure we don’t hit form and peak too early, something not so easily done (the stronger her aerobic engine is, she’ll adapt better to the progressive weeks)!

What is interesting is, during a two-race weekend, Laura almost always performs better during the second race, a sign her aerobic engine is very powerful, something I try to ingrain into most of the athletes I coach…

And just today, Nick Salerno of Death Row Velo WON the C race up at Hidden Valley. HUGE day for that young man and I couldn’t be happier… Way to be on top, Nick!!! And Laura came back and WON the women’s race, everything clicking as she powered away, taking her second victory of the year… What’s scary is Laura is coming off her Foundation work and we’re still early in the Build weeks, and in training she continues to improve…

Getting these race report e-mails just makes my day. Hearing them do well is give me much more satisfaction than doing well in my own races… I suppose that’s why I love this job so much…

Thanks for reading.

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Kenneth Lundgren's Diary | Monday, November 9th, 2009 | | |