Paleo Diet for Athletes
Originally Posted by viking kaj
The basic supposition is that there is an optimized diet for human beings and athletes in particular. That diet is similar to what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate. In particular, for optimum performance, your diet should be based upon lean meat (preferably fish or free range), and minimally processed nuts, fruits and veggies. And absolutely no dairy, grains or cereals. This of course flies in the face of much of the conventional wisdom regarding diet and training which, for a very long time, has focussed on carbo loading both before, during and after exercise.
For optimum performance they say you should start out with a high pro breakfast with fruit and/or low fiber veggies, since fruit carbs (fructose) and vegetables are metabolized more slowly than danish and pancakes so you avoid an insulin spike. Caffeine taken before a work out also has beneficial effects, with coffee three times as effective as tea. During the day where you are engaging in events with four to twelve hours of continuous exercise you need to keep reloading carbs early on and continuously. Also dehydration becomes a serious issue, so lots of fluids. They recommend sports drinks, fruit juice, and small meals that are high in energy content during exercise. Immediately post exercise it looks like some type of a recovery drink with a little protein powder is extremely important, since your muscles are more receptive to reloading energy stores in the 30 minutes immediately following exercise. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like beer and nachos qualify, they like fruit juices, fruit and protein powder with lots of branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucin and valine) kind of like egg whites.
If I'm understanding this correctly a typical day for the skier seeking optimum performance would start with a hearty breakfast of fish, lean meat or egg white omelettes and fruit/veg with black coffee at least an hour before you start skiing and preferably up to two or three. Then lots of small meals with high energy content foods and sports drinks and juice during the day, things like nuts, tuna or jerkey, a banana for electolytes, other dried and fresh fruit, carrot sticks, etc. You would probably want to stop at 11 and 2 instead of eating a single big heavy lunch, and alcohol during exercise is absolutely prohibited. Then the recovery drink immediately apre ski and followed by an early dinner with lean meat or fish again and 2-3 minimally processed (fresh or fresh frozen) vegetables, a glass of wine or two if you so desire, and fruit for dessert.
I'm reposting info from an earlier post on the "Paleo Diet for Athletes", which apparently generates less interest than the general "What do you eat for lunch?" type of post. So anyone who is really interested can go there for more detail.
The newer answer for optimum performance for all athletes in longer term (more than 2-3 hour) athletic events is:
1) a good breakfast involving lean protein, fruit and fresh veg at least an hour or two before you start skiing; and
2) lots of small meals/snacks including complex carbs and electrolytes (sports drinks and juices, fruit and dried fruit) and lean protein (nuts and lean meat, tuna, salami, jerky, etc.) during the day. You need to start reloading complex carbs (fruits and veggies) within an hour or so after you start exercising for optimum performance.
3) a recovery drink including complex carbs (fruit juice, fruits) and protein (whey, egg white or similar) as soon as you finish exercising (lemon in the hefeweizen unfortunately does not count). You can actually buy a prepackaged protein drink with fruit juice in health food stores like Whole Foods if you don't want to premix you own, or I imagine a large OJ with some jerky or salami on the side could work in a pinch.
I think one of the reasons most people get tired after lunch is because they are dehydrated, by eating a meal you change the solid content of your body and unless you hydrate sufficiently you feel the effects more severely after a meal. On top of that you are usually fighting dehydration in skiing since this is exacerbated by cold and altitude. So stopping to drink often or using a hydration pack with sports drink or fruit juice, in addition to the above small meal strategy should work to alleviate the post lunch crash.