Being an athlete who fuels your body on fat you might be questioning whether you are actually getting enough fat or not. I know I have certainly questioned that at points myself. Ultimately the answer to that question is something that is very personal. There is no right answer that will work for everyone. However, there are some things you can look for that might indicate you need to be eating more fat. Check out Mark Sission’s blog post 9 Signs You Need to Eat More Fat.
Primal Endurance puts a huge emphasis on the amount of carbs you take in. As the book states the amount of carbs is dependent on your goal. If you goal is fat loss than you will have different carb intake requirements than someone who wants to maintain their current body composition. Regardless of what your goal is you need to make sure you feel right. If you start to eat low carb and your performance decreases or your energy suffers than you might be to low carb. It is important to remember that everyone’s body is different. Some people might perform fine with a certain level of carbs but someone else with the same goals might not. In this article Chris Kresser explains that you might be lower carb than you might think. It is worth reading if you are just starting out on your low carb journey.
So what is this blog all about?
Good question, I am not even sure I know yet, but I think there is a need for it. Before I get to the point of this blog, let me introduce myself.
My name is Ryan Baxter, a father, husband, IBMer, and amateur obstacle course racer. If you are looking for my technical content you are in the wrong place. Head over to my other blog. If you are here to learn more about being a primal obstacle course racer, than continue on! I have a passion for three things in life, my lovely family, my career as a software developer, and lastly living a Paleo lifestyle and running obstacle course races. It is my passion for Paleo and obstacle course raceing that led me to creating this blog.
For the better part of 30 years of my life I was not Paleo, all that changed once I decided to experiment with my diet. Since about 2008 I had been pretty active, going to gym fairly regularly and exercising. I thought that this gave me the right to eat however I wanted, so I did. I ate OK not terrible (or what I thought was terrible at the time) and I was happy with my weight, fitness, and health. Then in early 2015 after my daughter was born I made the decision to try to “eat better”. I was not terribly concerned about loosing weight, but instead about putting higher quality foods in my body with the goal of fueling my workouts and possibly getting some definition in my body. In addition I wanted to be setting a good example for my daughter as she grew. I made the typical changes to my diet, ate more veggies and fruits, eliminated soda, ate more protein, limited carbs, and started eating only whole grains. By sticking to these types of changes I started to see results. I was able to push myself harder during workouts and saw some weight drop and definition in my body.
Becoming A Spartan
After seeing these changes I decided it was time to challenge myself, I wanted to do a Spartan race, so I signed up for a Spartan Sprint at Fenway Park in Boston. In order to train for the race I decided to start running. I have never been much of a runner so I started to slowly build up my distance over the Spring and Summer. In addition to running, I also started doing specific exercises that would help with completing some of the obstacles. I practiced rope climbing, monkey bars, wall climbs etc. As I researched more and more about how to train for obstacle course racing in general I was coming across a lot of information about how to eat as well. I continued to refine my diet and over the course of training for the Spartan Race I decided to limit my carb intake a little more than I was. I stopped eating bread and pasta almost completely. With the additional training and changes in my diet I saw further increases in my performance and was able to run distances longer than I ever imagined doing. I was also able to exercise longer and more frequently than before with pretty good recovery times.
In the fall of 2015 I was able to successfully complete the Fenway Spartan Sprint and needless to say I was hooked on obstacle course racing. I immediately made the decision that in 2016 I was going to complete the Spartan Trifecta.
As I began to prepare myself mentally and physically for the journey that awaited me in 2016, I continued to refine my exercise routine and diet. As I read into different diets and training programs people were using I kept on hearing about this diet called the Paleo diet. While I found the theory behind the diet sound, I was not ready to give up all grains, and things like beans, and peanut butter. I still enjoyed many of these things and thought it would be hard to live without them. Eventually though as I evolved my eating habbits, I found myself eating less and less grains and found plenty of alternatives to things like pasta and bread. Eventually I was close enough to eating Paleo already I decided to try out the diet and I have never looked back. This is not to say I don’t “cheat” every once in a while, but 99% of the time I eat Paleo if I can at all help it.
One of my favorite health and fitness podcasts to listen too is the Ben Greenfield Podcast. While I don’t follow every thing Ben says in his blog articles and podcasts, I do find it interesting and a majority of the content useful. I particularly found his articles and podcasts on eating a low carb high fat diet very intriguing.
Ben’s book, The Low Carb Athlete, is something I suggest you pick up and read if you are at all interested in a low carb high fat diet. In the book Ben does not necessarily promote a Paleo diet but instead a general diet that is low in carbs high in fat and targets endurance athletes.
I had heard of Mark before, as he is pretty much a legend in the Paleo community. However as I listened to his interview with Ben, I realized this book was something that could help me not only train better for my upcoming Spartan Trifecta but also hone in my Paleo diet so I could fuel myself properly for the training and the event itself. I quickly purchased the book and started reading.
Get To The Point Already
The goal of Primal Endurance is to teach you how to train smarter for endurance events in the most healthy way possible. Mark and Brad (Mark’s co-author) explain in the book how traditional approaches to training and eating for endurance events are really not healthy. Traditionally, endurance atheletes fall into a “cronic cardio” approach to training and fuel their body with carbs and sugars. Both of these things can wreak havoc on your body as is explained in detail in the book. Instead Mark and Brad suggest you take a much smarter approach to training and follow a high fat low carb Paleo diet for your training. Finding myself already eating Paleo and feeling like I was already experiencing cronic cardio training I decided to follow the suggestions in the book to train for my upcoming Spartan Trifecta.
This blog is going to serve as a way of documenting what I do and how I train by following the Primal Endurance suggestions and hopefully help others doing the same along the way.