[This is a guest blog post contribution by Ben Greenfield. More information on Ben is below.]
Let’s face it. When you look at things from an energy conservation and survival standpoint, it turns out that pounding the pavement on a long run, suffering under a barbell for a good hour, or hammering bicycle cranks for miles on end isn’t exactly Paleo or “ancestral.” However, these hard workouts and feats of stamina can certainly be useful for satisfying our hard-wired thirst for competition, our deep-rooted desire to venture out and get the feeling of slaying a dragon or climbing a tall mountain, and even our need to escape the hum-drum of modern life and tap into a primal swelling of lactic acid, sweat, saliva, blood, and gasping for oxygen.
Because tough workouts, hardcore races and events of endurance aren’t exactly natural, you often need slightly unnatural means to achieve an unnatural end. After all, tucking a steak in your back pocket, shoving seven sweet potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil into a running vest, or strapping a bunch of bananas to the back of your bicycle just isn’t logistically convenient, aerodynamic or comfortable.
On the flipside, you don’t necessarily need to grab commercial sports drinks that are laden with artificial sweeteners, colors and preservatives, energy bars jam-packed with GMO corn and wheat, or gels that rely upon maltodextrin and fructose as primary energy sources. Instead, I’ve got 5 ways that you can be just a little more Paleo during your next big workout. Ready? Here we go:
5 Ways You Can Be Just a Little More Paleo During Your Next Big Workout
1. Chia seeds + honey + sea salt in water bottle.
To pull this one off, just take 2-3 tablespoons of chia seeds – which have a fantastic amino and fatty acid content for a slow bleed of energy – and soak them with 16-24oz of water, 1-2T of honey (I like a 3:1 chia:honey ratio) and a few pinches of sea salt. Put all this into water bottle you can frequently shake. Incidentally, this works quite well with coconut water, which has an electrolyte composition close to that of human plasma, and is much more pleasant than drinking blood.
2. Natural Force’s Natural Stack
This particular mix from company Natural Force is all Paleo Approved fuel. The ingredients include stuff like Bee Pollen, Asian Ginseng, Chia Seeds, Raw Honey, Royal Jelly, Guarana, Maca, Coconut Powder…you get the idea. To use their fueling strategy, you would take Natural Force Raw Tea before, Iskiate Endurance during and Recovery after.
PRO TIP: “BEN10” will get you 10% off all supplements there.
3. UCAN Superstarch
UCAN Superstarch is a very high molecular weight, non-GMO starch that allows for a very, very slow release of sugars into the bloodstream, which keeps you in fat burning mode. Superstarch + MCT oil (fats that bypass digestion and are readily burnt as energy) + amino acids (I’m a fan of any essential amino acids capsules or powders) + electrolytes. I describe exactly how to mix all this together in this post.
4. Any of these fat-based energy gels at 1-2/hour
Many gels are actually not using sugar as a primary base ingredient, and instead relying upon coconut oil, MCT oil, nut butters, cold-pressed oils and other alternatives to processed sugars. From PocketFuel raw nut butter to packs of pure coconut oil, I introduce all of the ones I’ve found so far here.
5. “Acceptable” energy bars
When you’re looking for a good energy bar, you should ideally use something that doesn’t have wheat or soy as a base, doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup or lots of other preservatives and sweeteners, and also uses fats from things like coconut, nuts and seeds as a primary energy sources. Some good ones include Onnit Hemp Force, BonkBreaker, Hammer Bars at HammerNutrition.com, Epic Bar or Pemmican.
There you go.
You’ll never again be trying to figure out how to get boiled free-range eggs and giant yams into a Ziploc bags to chew on during a trail run. The trick is that you just need to find a good balance between ancestral living and practical convenience. I’ll be talking about these strategies and many more in detail (and answering all your questions) at this year’s PaleoFX 2015. Get in now by clicking here.
About Ben Greenfield
Ben Greenfield is an ex-bodybuilder, Ironman triathlete, Spartan racer, coach, speaker and author of the New York Times Bestseller “Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health and Life” (http://www.BeyondTrainingBook.com). In 2008, Ben was voted as NSCA’s Personal Trainer of the year and in 2013 and 2014 was named by Greatist as one of the top 100 Most Influential People In Health And Fitness. Ben blogs and podcasts at http://www.BenGreenfieldFitness.com, and resides in Spokane, WA with his wife and twin boys.
The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.