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The Paleo Diet for Athletes: A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance Paperback – Oct 13 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books; 1 edition (Oct. 13 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594860890
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594860898
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.5 x 23 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #177,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Wheeler on March 4 2010
Format: Paperback
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 By Heather A. Rundle on Jan. 31 2010
Format: Paperback
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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By Marc Simard on Sept. 27 2010
Format: Paperback
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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By mike brown on 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: 85 reviews
123 of 125 people found the following review helpful
A natural diet with the athlete in mind Dec 19 2006
By Johnson Cognito - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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 129 people found the following review helpful
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
Very helpful, but not perfect Nov. 20 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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
Very focused on endurance athletics. Feb. 25 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Modified Paleo - which is not a bad thing June 18 2012
By Neologian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
First to the handfull of one & two star reviewers out there: I've found that if I ask 5 different people what "paleo" is I get five different answers. Meanwhile the evolutionary assumptions that underly the Paleo diet are often disputed and remain hotly debated. That said, I find merit in the Paleo and Primal diets if only for the fact that they get you thinking about whole foods and lower glycemic foods while steering you away from the highly processed foods in the modern Western diet which are often high-glycemic foods or variations on the theme of corn and corn sweeteners.

If Paleo works for you then stick to it. It's certianly popular with the Crossfitters out there and seems to work exceedingly well for many of them. As a longer duration "endurance" athlete I found it did not work for me without modification and so I was really pleased to have access to this book

This book was co-authored by Joe Friel who is an endurance athlete coach and competitor who specializes in the training and nutritional requirements of endurance and ultra-endurance athletes. We are not talking 40 minute Crossfit WODs here, and that's no slight on Crossfitters who are "athletes" of the highest caliber, it's simply to recognize a WOD and an Ironman distance triathlon are two very different things. Freil is talking ultra-endurance events exceeding 3 hours in duration and going upwards of 17-24 hours. Keeping Friels pedigree in mind one has to realize that the Paleo diet was reviewed through that particular lense and the caloric needs of athletes who train and compete in long duration events NOT athletes who compete in short(er) duration bursts of power like your average weight lifter or Crossfitter. This does not exclude other athletes from laying valid claim to the title "athlete"...it merely recognizes the difference in the nutritional and caloric needs between say...an olympic lifter and a ultra-marathon runner. Once cannot do what the other does and vica versa and thus they should not necessarily train and eat like the other does and vica versa.

Like me Friel finds merit in the Paleo approach but experienced diffuculty with the diet relative to long duration endurance events. It's not that the Paleo diet can't provide the carbs you might need going into a 15 hour Ironman event....the problem is that they would come with such a high fiber load that a strict Paleo approach can be untenable for that format.

Personally I applaud both authors for trying to modify the Paleo concept in a way that might work a bit better for some endurance athletes. There's no better proof than personal experience and I know for certain that the total elimination of some high quality but simple carbs resulted in a reduction in performance and increased feelings of poor recovery and fatige after my longer runs and rides. I found I absolutely HAD to include these things as a component of my long distance training efforts and competitions AND as part of my immdediate post workout recovery plan. In between when I'm doing shorter base building or recovery work I'm able to cleave more closely to what many would consider a genuine Paleo diet....but there's no way I'd want to be staring down the barrel of 4-6 hours of hard effort without some high quality endurance fuels in my pocket. FOR ME there are simply just some non-paleo fuels that are an absolute necessity as to go strick paleo would mean loading my gut with a ton of undigestable fiber.....not what you want on a 90 degree day half way into a 100 mile ride.

So kudos to Cordain and Friel for their willingness to "unbox" their thinking and risk angering the purists by considering a modified approach.


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