The Paleolithic Diet for Bodybuilders

The pros, cons, and who should follow it.

PHILOSOPHY

Our ancient ancestors didn’t have access to crops, convenience stores, or fast-food restaurants. They were limited to consuming the plants and animals they could hunt or gather. This meant that the bulk of their diet consisted of large amounts of meat (when it was available), and otherwise they subsisted on plants—wild berries, certain greens, and often bugs (although bugs aren’t an emphasized part of the contemporary Paleolithic diet). What was absent from our ancestors’ diets were grains, large amounts of sugar, and processed starches.

Based on this, proponents of the Paleolithic diet argue that our bodies are genetically adapted to better process the foods we’ve been eating for eons rather than those that have been added since the advent of agriculture and modern food processing. Consuming these ancient foods leads to better health, muscle growth, and reduced body fat.

WHAT YOU SHOULD EAT

Meat, meat, and more meat, plus vegetables, fruit, tubers (yams and potatoes), seafood, nuts and seeds, and oils such as coconut and olive

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T EAT

Grains, legumes, dairy (especially low-fat milk because of the lactose), and processed foods, particularly sugar and salt (other than sea), artificial sweeteners, and vegetable oils

CONS

From a bodybuilding perspective, a Paleo diet is neither a cutting nor a mass-building plan. It fits in the middle, which is not the best option for those trying to maximize muscle mass or fat reduction.

PROS

This is a good lifestyle nutrition plan that’s highly beneficial for bodybuilders who want to stay lean year-round and slowly increase muscle mass. You can eat as many calories as you want, as you’ll get in most of these calories through foods high in protein and dietary fats.

WHY YOU SHOULD FOLLOW IT

Consider following the Paleolithic diet if you’re trying to decrease body fat while adding muscle mass, but you don’t aspire to compete on a bodybuilding stage.

Proponents of the Paleo diet argue that our bodies are adapted to process the foods we’ve been eating for eons rather than those that have been added since the advent of agriculture.

HOW TO FOLLOW THE PALEOLITHIC DIET

Many people also include milk-derived protein shakes and insulin-spiking sugars around workouts to boost muscle gains while decreasing body fat.

BREAKFAST

Eggs, salmon, fruit

MIDMORNING SNACK

Chicken breast, spinach salad with olive oil

LUNCH

Lamb shank, sweet potato, asparagus

PRE-WORKOUT

Turkey breast, fruit

POST-WORKOUT

Egg whites, fruit

DINNER

Steak, baked potato, vegetables

BEDTIME SNACK

Whole boiled eggs

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