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The Paleo Diet for Athletes: A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance [Paperback]

Loren Cordain , Joe Friel
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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The Paleo Diet for Athletes: The Ancient Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance The Paleo Diet for Athletes: The Ancient Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance 4.0 out of 5 stars (3)
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Book Description

Oct. 13 2005
Loren Cordain, Ph.D., follows his success of The Paleo Diet with the first book ever to detail the exercise-enhancing effects of a diet similar to that of our Stone Age ancestors.

When The Paleo Diet was published, advocating a return to the diet of our ancestors (high protein, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables), the book received brilliant reviews from the medical and nutritional communities. Jennie Brand-Miller, coauthor of the bestselling Glucose Revolution, called it "without a doubt the most nutritious diet on the planet." Doctors Michael and Mary Dan Eades, authors of Protein Power, said, "We can't recommend The Paleo Diet highly enough."

Now Dr. Cordain joins with USA triathlon and cycling elite coach Joe Friel to adapt the Paleo Diet to the needs of athletes. The authors show:
o Why the typical athletic diet (top-heavy with grains, starches, and refined sugars) is detrimental to recovery, performance, and health
o How the glycemic load and acid-base balance impact performance
o Why consumption of starches and simple sugars is only beneficial in the immediate post-exercise period

At every level of competition, The Paleo Diet for Athletes can maximize performance in a range of endurance sports.

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About the Author

LOREN CORDAIN, PH.D., a world-renowned scientist and the leading expert on the Paleolithic diet, is a professor in the health and exercise science department at Colorado State University. He is a member of the American Institute of Nutrition and the American Heart Association, among other organizations. His work has been featured on Dateline and the Wall Street Journal. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.

JOE FRIEL, M.S., is founder and president of Ultrafit Associates, LLC, an association of elite endurance coaches. His books include The Cyclist's Training Bible and The Triathlete's Training Bible. He lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great book targeted for athletes but the paleo diet works for everyone. This diet is heavily based on rationalizing what you should eat and why for your non-training diet and combines this approach with years of research and field testing of athletic dieting.

I love this book but remember to do you own research (check who funded that research to reassure yourself that it's not biased, ie milk producers telling you dairy products are great for you) before buying into anything.

The Paleo Diet for Athletes works for me, I hope it works for you too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Endurance Athletes, Paleo Diet Jan. 31 2010
If you are an endurance athlete, do not run another step until you read this book. If you want to make every step count, you must provide your body with the proper fuel and L. Cordain and J. Friel know what that is. They provide all the details for every step of your training for the entire year and each race. They cover all different race distances as well. This book gives you all the information needed and the scientific background explaining why the paleo diet is the only way for athletes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Paleo diet Sept. 27 2010
Very interesting book. The approach is more towards long distance or endurance athletes but it can be apply to strenght athletes like I am. Since I have started paleo diet, I have kept my weight but loss fat. I also feel stronger and faster.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great book Oct. 7 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
great ''know how to do'' book to optimize nutrition before, during and after workouts...their is also some great quick recipes that are smart and low fat...recommend for everybody that want to reach another level in their training.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  82 reviews
123 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A natural diet with the athlete in mind Dec 19 2006
By Johnson Cognito - Published on Amazon.com
This book changed the way I look at nutrition. I have always been active and eaten a decent diet, but I knew I was too heavy on sugars and carbs in general. When I got into triathlons, I got Joe Friel's The Triathlete's Training Bible, and it turned me onto the Paleo Diet.

Since both authors have advanced degrees (Loren Cordain has a PhD in Exercise Physiology and Friel a M.S. in Exercise Science), it is heavy on science. The authors base their claims on numerous sources, and reference these sources throughout.

The basic premise is that the way we currently eat is contrary to how our bodies evolved over the millions of years prior to agriculture. Lean meat, fish, and fresh fruits and vegetables should be our staple, with a small twist. Paleolithic man could never have been a high level endurance athlete, as he just wouldn't have gotten enough carbohydrate to replenish his glycogen stores after a long or very intense workout.

This book, then, makes adjustments to the standard Paleo Diet to include certain types of foods normally not allowed during SPECIFIC periods of the pre and post-exercise window.

Post Script: Though I don't like to comment on others' reviews, I feel I must say that I don't agree with the assertion that the book doesn't place enough emphasis on when to eat the foods you eat. After the intro, the entire first few chapters are exactly that: What types of food to eat, and EXACTLY when to eat them.
115 of 128 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Really Paleo July 12 2010
By Kay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased the book because I was particularly interested in learning some a-little-less-than-laymen explanation of what happens physiologically in the body of the Paleo runner. But this book stayed very, very on the surface (a whole section on how to hydrate? Hey, that's filler!) and sophistication-wise, was a far cry from Gary Taubes (or, really, any competent blog on the subject, of which there are a few).

Most disappointingly, this book is standard high-carb advice for runners. A majority of its content is indistinguishable from any other guide to endurance nutrition. So, basically, you are advised to eat x grams of low glycemic carbs x hours before a race, and x grams of higher glycemic carbs as you approach race time. In fact, there is little in this book with regard to true paleo diet metabolism or low carb/high fat fueling and how that diet effects running. Perhaps the argument there is that one cannot be an endurance athlete while truly paleo. Touche. But don't write a book called "The Paleo Diet for Athletes."

But here is where my real beef is, and what really made this book a waste of time. Where the authors do seem to describe the Paleo diet, they get it pretty wrong. For instance, they push lean fats (not fatty animal ones) and warn of cholesterol and "bad" saturated fats, while encouraging vegetable oil consumption, issues at the very core of Paleolithic nutrition that have been specifically and comprehensively studied and debated, to the opposite conclusions that these authors come to. In fact, these authors are, by definition, not paleo at all, maybe just picky about which carbs and how many.

At the very least, if these writers had meant to promote neolithic nutrition, and totally diverge from paleo, I really wish they would've explained why.
109 of 127 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful, but not perfect Nov. 20 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I bought this book because my diet was already headed in the Paleo direction without anybody's book telling me to do so, but also because Joe Friel's web site recommended it. That made me curious about the details of why I should eat that way. I have slightly elevated blood pressure (pre-hypertension), and managed to bring it down from an average of about 129/84 to 124/81 or so just by eating low-sodium (I already was riding my bicycle 150-300 miles a week, so clearly more excercise wasn't needed). After having real trouble finding low-salt foods, I discovered that the produce section was my best friend, and the fresh meat/seafood section too; that was pretty close to Paleo already. But I was still eating lots of grains and beans, and this book convinced me to go full Paleo for non-sports reasons. Now I seem to be recovering much quicker and no longer have any of those rides where my legs are dog-tired. I've also gotten a bit leaner, though I was already at just 8% body fat. I then bought his first Paleo Diet book and read that. I now have pretty much gone completely Paleo, with some intentional lapses, and I don't really follow this second book so much. I follow his first book with its non-athlete orientation primarily to maintain my health as I get older, but I find that I can eat a Paleo omelette for breakfast, and ride for three hours with no sports drinks or gels (though I do bring dried fruit for any ride over three hours, and sports drink for long races or very hard training rides). Leaves me wondering if this second book was really needed. I strongly recommend his first book, and this one only if you're in the Ironman Tri, RAAM, or something extreme like that.
50 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very focused on endurance athletics. Feb. 25 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I was excited to try the Paleo Diet in conjunction with a general fitness improvement plan. However, I was slightly disappointed by the fact that the book is focused almost entirely on endurance athletics. Barely a mention is given of Paleo in conjunction with weight training or general weight loss.

The book does give lots of details for implementing the Paleo way of eating for intense athletes, so it's a great book if you fit that category.

Regardless of fitness level, there are many tasty sounding Paleo recipes in the book, so it will be a good companion to the original Paleo Diet book even if you're not a high-volume athlete. But for beginners, I would recommend the original Paleo Diet book first, because it is geared more towards general fitness and weight loss.

And one thing that I like about both of Cordain's books is that they have an extensive bibliography of references, so you can be sure his research is backed-up with lots of research.
78 of 95 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Regurgitation of bad conventional wisdom under the guise of paleo Dec 16 2009
By D. Grant - Published on Amazon.com
This book makes a lot of claims that aren't true. First and foremost, it is not paleo. It recommends a diet that is extremely out of whack in the macro-nutrient sense with that of paleo. Second, it purports that it is based on science and experience. The science piece of that claim is non-existent, and the experience portion is circumstantial (or anecdotal) evidence in support of their arguement. Third, it sets up contradictory advice for recovery. Fourth, it is extremely painful to read not just because it constantly passes opinion off as science, but because it talks down to the reader the whole time. Lastly, it defines "athlete" as endurance sportspersons.
1. Not paleo. Sure it tells you to eat a version paleo during the times when you aren't "training" (aka work out or exercise), but most people reading this book work out on a very regular basis. It also recommends that you prepare for exercise and immediately following an exercise by carb-loading. The carbs it chooses are very often not paleo - bars, sports drinks, grains, and legumes. In essence, if you work out every day, 2 out of 3 meals in a day would not be paleo. Even if you only work out 3 days a week, which is pretty much the bottom line if you are an "athlete," that is still 6 meals minimum a week that are heavily un-paleo. Why even bother calling yourself paleo at that point?
2. Science and experience. It makes claims, like "stay away from all that bad artery clogging saturated fat." I know a lot of people believe that claim, but that claim is not based on science, it is based on two epidemiological studies from the early to mid 1900's that cherry picked their data. There has never been any proven connection between cholesterol and heart disease. They never find a reasonable link between the two when they do clinical trials. By the way, Paleolithic people ate saturated fat. This is just one of the examples of this book pawning off opinion as science. As far as experience - Friel does have a lot of endurance experience. However, there are plenty of athletes who are in better total shape who eat paleo the whole time or who even fast for intense workouts. I know several first hand who switched away from the books suggestions to strict paleo and seen enormous results. In both Friel's and my case this is anecdotal evidence to support the claim, and shouldn't be used as proof that either works.
3. Recovery advice. Make sure you eat lots of protein, but all the protein has a high amount of acidity and you shouldn't eat any food that is acidic to recover. Make sure you get the base alkalines in there too, but to counteract the acidity of the majority of foods you need to eat, you need to consume unrealistic amounts of the alkalines. I could keep going in circles based on the advice, but I think 2 examples will do.
4. Talks down. "Optimize Performance. This is a big one." No kidding, huh? "All athletes are susceptible to inflammation of muscles and tendons" Really? I had no idea. By the way all those carbs they tell you to eat, promote inflammation.
5. Athletes. It bothers me that they define athlete as endurance sportsperson. There are soooo many other types of athletes that they never address. Sure you can make up some sort of variation and apply it to your sport, but then why'd I buy the book? I'd rather have specific advice from experts (not that I consider the advice in this book "expert") than make my own. Not that I consider the advice in this book "expert", it's just more regurgitated bad conventional wisdom that we've all heard - carb load, look out for saturated fat, etc. [...]
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