Since my latest blog I’ve made quite a few changes in my 30 day Paleo experiment. I have also made a lot of progress!

In my second week of doing the Paleo diet, I found myself to be lacking energy to work out hard and also my performance went down. Especially with weight lifting, the difference was remarkable. Perhaps I didn’t eat enough of certain things or too many of others but whatever caused this, it was a problem. The fact that I teach martial arts and do personal training for a living has surely something to do with it. My body definitely needs more fuel than others since I am on my feet all day and I try to participate when teaching as much as possible. This easily adds up to 18 hours of training every week.

One more problem I had with the diet (which is a personal fault) is that I got bored of most foods. As mentioned before, if you are a picky eater it will become frustrating since you can’t eat certain things and you have to eat tons of others. This is of course a personal problem and most people are not as picky as myself (if in doubt, talk to my mom or wife about my eating pickiness!)

With these issues in mind, I decided to keep the general ideas of the Paleo diet but modifying it so I could again eat more carbs. Therefore, I switched to the 
Paleo for Athletes diet. This is a customized Paleo diet with the needs of athletes in mind. Our bodies need more energy and need quicker recovery. When training in and outside of classes as much as I do, I believe it is necessary. The first week I seemed to have no issues but after, I felt this was the right thing to do for me personally. 

After the first week I dropped 7 lbs. As mentioned before, most of that was water weight, which I didn’t like. Once I started eating carbs again, I retained that water weight back (thankfully because I seemed very deflated!) Once retaining the water put to normal levels, I weighed 210.5 lbs. Since I switched to the Paleo for Athletes method, I dropped to 207 lbs. I feel great and energetic and feel like this is the best way for me to go Paleo. I can sustain my blood sugar levels, am not losing lean mass and am dropping the right weight. I’m looking forward to keep going on the Paleo for Athletes diet and continue to get leaner in my preparation for my triathlon races and Tough Mudder!

Again, this is my personal experience and does not reflect on anyone else and should not be considered nutritional advice.

By Sander Vanacker, owner, head instructor and personal trainer of Define Defense Martial Arts & Personal Training.

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