::Read about my ongoing Paleo diet at http://www.trueperformancenutrition.com/what-is-a-paleo-diet%E2%80%A8-2::
After a busy 2012, with focus on business and work, I decided to turn my focus in 2013 towards stepping back on stage. After all, it’s what I enjoy, and after speaking to many of my followers at various expos and events, it’s what they most want to see from me.
With the launch of my new sports supplement company this year; www.trueperformancenutrition.com and wanting to take part myself in the 30-Day Ripped Challenge, I knew I add to get back into the habit of performing morning cardio work on a near daily basis. I also needed to get back on track with my diet. Not that I was eating bad, I just wasn’t as structured as I am when I know I see result.
At the start of the year I switched back to a Paleo Diet, which has always worked well for me – up to a point. The Paleo Diet basically refers to sticking to a diet of foods that our great ancestors would have eaten. (Paleolithic Man, otherwise known as the Caveman)
The reason for this is pretty simple; For thousands of years man ate a limited range of different foods, mostly made up from red meats and fish, (complete proteins and fats), berries and nuts, and leafy vegetation. We seemed to survive just fine, as here we are today – a thriving population. So why go back to the way our forefathers would eat if we now have a greater variety of foods? The answer is simple; The reason we thrived as a species is that we provided our bodies with the basics it needed to grow, and had little in the way of diseases to hold us back. It’s undeniable that we are now in an age when technology and science have allowed us to fight and prevent many diseases, but one of the main reasons we even have these diseases (i’m talking about obesity, diabetes, food allergens, heart and cardiovascular problems) is due largely to the manufacturing of high commodity foods. These are foods which feed the masses, foods that are easy to cultivate, grow on a large scale, even modify so that they would grow faster and larger.
I want to add here that I’m not simply attacking carbohydrates, as many of you will know if you’ve followed me over the years, as I will regularly make use of these to fuel my workouts and gains in the gym. I am, and always have had a disliking, towards manufactured foods. Foods that have been modified and changed from the way they were intended to grow. I don’t like the idea of disrupting the flow of the food chain.
Back to the Paleo Diet, which basically means eating like a Caveman would have. I know some people like to follow this and only have one large meal in the day, sometimes known as Intermittent Fasting (like a Caveman probably would have eaten – if he were lucky that meat was available each day), and then snack the rest of the day on nuts, berries, and vegetation. Others may prefer to follow several days without eating any carbohydrates (oats, rice, pasta, grains, yams – as these were later cultivated to feed large groups), and then introduce carbohydrates back in to their diet at the weekend (Carb Refeeding/ Backloading). For me personally, I prefer to stick to the basics and stay committed to this way of eating, for a certain length of time.
The reason I prefer to follow the Paleo diet for anywhere between 4-6 weeks and then change things up is due to one main reason. During periods where I am not following any structured way of eating (which mainly happens when I have no set focus such as competitions or photo shoots, although I do remain eating small, frequent meals of healthy clean foods), I find it a struggle to simply switch back to a measured approach to dieting.
This is where I’ll usually measure and weigh my foods each day (cooking for a day or two every other night) so that I can be sure i’m feeding my body the same amount of nutrition each day, which means there are no fluctuations, (even on rest days I have the same calories and macronutrient ratios). Over the years, I’ve found this approach to work the best when I want to control fat loss without simply just dropping weight (which would include muscle being wasted – usually as a result of lack of calories required). The more control and consistency I have with my food intake, the greater and faster I see results.
By switching to a Paleo Diet before having to organize myself with measuring foods each night (or at least being able to accurately eyeball portions), I find it helps me get back into a habit as I have first have to be conscious of which foods I can and cannot eat before needing to be concerned about how much of what I eat.
What you can and cannot eat is pretty straight forward. I would say that if it had eyes or grew on trees you can eat it as part of your diet. If it came from underground (root vegetables) or from exotic locations that wouldn’t be considered to be found in most places (exotic fruits that grow in hot climates and typically have higher sugar content, such as bananas, melons, kiwis, etc). As for anything that has more than one ingredient in, you can forget it. If it’s been produced or manufactured by man then this is not something a Caveman would have consumed within his diet and therefore not part of the Paleo Diet.
The mainstay foods that I consume within the Paleo Diet are as follows:
Red Meat: Beef/Game/Liver/(Organs – I don’t generally eat these only because they’re harder to come by)
Poultry: Chicken, Turkey, Duck
Fish: Salmon/Mackerel/Oily Fish
Leafy Greens: Broccoli/Cauliflower/Bok Choy/Spinach/MixedGreens/Kale
(I’ll try to keep these as raw as possible to retain the full nutrients and help provide more fiber and roughage to aid digestion)
Fruit: Blackberries (I’ll allow myself other berries, especially around post-workout times)
Fats: Whole Eggs/UDO’s Oil/Coconut Oil/Olive Oil/Avocado/Almond Butter/Natural Cheese/RAW Almonds/RAW Walnuts)
(I realize most of the above foods are breaking my own rule of not touching anything ‘manufactured’, although this is overridden by the fact that these contain no/very few carbohydrates, and the oils are essentially healthy fats ‘manufactured’ to provide a high level of essential fatty acids than otherwise could be received from natural foods).
I will also consume supplements, which were obviously not around during the Caveman era, but so long as these don’t add a ton of ‘chemically modified’ ingredients into my body and are simply extracted, purer versions of what are already present in many o fthe allowed foods, I allow a select few. Mainly Beef Protein, Glutamine, BCAA’s, CLA, L-carnitine, L-Arginine, Beta-Alanine, and my new fat burner – Ripped, prior to morning cardio.
I will still eat every 3-4 hours as that’s what I’m used to, and it’s what I find works best. I don’t worry too much about weighing any of these foods out, just as long as I don’t go crazy with portions. Typically, without the presence of carbohydrates in my meals, I have to consume more proteins and fats to get the calories I need, plus with all the fiber from the raw veg in practically every meal, it slows the absorptions of nutrients, which keeps me from eating too much. Protein also exerts the highest thermogenic effect, giving off approximately 20% of it’s own energy as heat.
Besides the obvious benefits of staying clear from processed and manufactured foods, there is also another benefit to the Paleo Diet which is is the main reason why most are following it these days. That is fat loss!
Without a supply of carbohydrates, the body will search for energy elsewhere, either converting it from protein (meaning you have to consume enough complete protein from animal sources, which for me at 180lbs, is approximately 1.8g per pound of bodyweight, or 324g a day, which is 54g for each of my 6 meals). The other place the body will get energy is from fat stores, which at rest, is almost exclusively is used as fuel. (Hence why I now prefer LISS – Low Intensity Steady State cardio over HIIT).
By consuming a diet of near exclusive complete proteins, natural fats, and fibrous vegetation alongside low-glycemic fruits, we’re putting our bodies into the ideal state to use up stored fat fuels as energy and remain feeling energized throughout the day without any dips in blood sugar level due to spikes created from the ingestion of most carbohydrate based foods (especially modified, manufactured carbohydrates).
After 3 weeks of eating this way, I have not seen any drop in strength at the gym, and remain training with my usual straight set, heavy weight for 10 reps approach. (Although I am now adding a set of abs for 20 reps between each weighted workset) I’ve seen a drop of a pound or two of body fat, and with my conditioning looking am already looking like I’ve dieted for the past 2 months.
I find this works great for me until I run low on body fat (under 6-5%) and then find I need to consume a certain amount of carbs in the form of yams and oats to give me the energy I need and keep my intensity for my workouts high. At this time, I’ll start to reduce my total fat intake, and balance my macronutrients out with my usual ratio of P45/C35/F20.
Below are a few examples of typical meals for me, along with meals when eating out, and how I tend to shop and prepare a few meals. I’ll be posting more about my diet over the following weeks, so if you have any questions, please send me a message on my Twitter @RobRiches
If you want to give this diet a try yourself, why not combine it with my new natural fat burner and start the cardio-based 30-Day Ripped Challenge. One guy in particular, Paul, dropped 6Lbs body weight and lost 3% body fat within just 14 days. Show me the difference you can make in just 30 days, and you might just win the chance to join me at the True Performance Nutrition Team at this years Bodypower Expo in England in May.