Paleo for Lifters

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In late 2007 I shifted my training focus from two years of  “bodybuilding style stuff” back to an emphasis on performance. In early 2008 I started doing CrossFit exclusively for several months. As I was studying Kinesiology material in school, I also soaked up training and nutrition information at home. I read Loren Cordain’s “The Paleo Diet” and implemented it immediately. I quickly found that lots of protein and fat with controlled carbs was not only optimal for performance, but also helped me gain almost ten pounds of lean body mass in a month even though I was doing CrossFit. I was meticulous. In the beginning of 2009 I focused on strength training and put an emphasis on low quality, yet high calorie foods in high quantities. I ate like this for 18 months and gained weight and got stronger, but I always felt a bit sluggish. Since the middle of 2010, I’ve steadily experimented and progressed my diet into something that uses the Paleo diet as a base, but provides enough calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fat to fuel strength and conditioning training.

I constantly aim to improve my knowledge and how I teach nutrition on 70sBig.com has evolved over time. It’s possible to consume enough macronutrients and calories to recover from training and do so with quality foods that make our bodies more efficient and healthy; increased efficiency improves training recovery.

The result is that I maintain a sub-10% body fat while hovering between 210 and 215 pounds and can perform the following any day of the week: squat 450 for reps, press 225, deadlift 500, snatch 125kg, and clean and jerk 155kg. I don’t like humble-bragging, but these methods are effective not only for me, but lifters and trainees I work with.

Paleo for Lifters is an e-book I’ve been writing off and on for months and is about 26,000 words and 60 pages. It surpasses the length of Texas Method: Part 1 by several thousand words but isn’t as big as The Texas Method: Advanced, which sits at about 35,000 words. While the TM books were riddled with figures, graphs, and images, Paleo for Lifters is mostly just old fashioned text and explanation. Those who have read my books in the past know that I don’t put out crappy e-books, and this book is chock-full of useful information.

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Table of Contents
Preface
1 —  Introduction
2 — Nutrition Basics
3 — Why Paleo?
4 — Implementation
5 — Tips and Such
6 — A Final Word

The early chapters explain the basics of nutrition physiology as well as how much food a lifter, athlete, or trainee needs. Chapter 3 explains why the Paleolithic Diet is a good foundation for quality food and how it can help reduce systemic inflammation and therefore improve training recovery. Chapter 4 teaches readers how to use the Paleo diet to get enough quantities of protein, carbs, and fat and even how to tweak it based on body type and goal. Section topics include questionable and acceptable food choices (that differ from Paleo zealot recommendations), supplements, types of trainees, and a step-by-step guide to improving food quality. Chapter 5 ties up loose ends by covering topics like how to effectively use “cheat meals” (a goofy term that I use for consistency’s sake), how to read food labels, cooking tips, eating on a budget, eating while traveling, timing food intake with training, and how to tweak carbs intake, and information on sleep and hydration.

There are no recipes in this book, though there is a section that gives information on learning how to cook.

6 thoughts on “Paleo for Lifters

  1. Hi Justin, came across your site and book via Zite. Always been a nerd for nutrition and was introduced to Paleo through CrossFit, and I’m now also becoming a trainer. With my experience as a T1 diabetic I want to provide nutritional support and guidance for our athletes – so decided to buy your book. Fast read, great info, condensed and to the point. Good job!

    Q: I’d like to know what are your guidelines on eating on off/rest days?

    Also, I’ve been experimenting abit with Intermittent fasting too but totally get it if I want to pack on muscle I need to Eat. More. Food! Sweet potatoes and rice have been my go to foods post workout, and from your book I’ve realized I need to pack in more low gi starch throughout the day, not just post workout

    Thanks – really enjoyed the book!.

  2. I was looking on the web for information about how to treat a sore Popliteus and came across Justin’s video on Youtube – 70’s Big. Not only did he help me get some treatment, he helped me understand why I was getting the soreness. I needed to change my foot position whilst squatting. From this, I downloaded and read Paleo for Lifters (I’m not a lifter – I do more Cross fit and boxing based training) and this lead me to The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson.

    Both books have improved my training and taken me on a journey of paleo/primal style eating which has really changed my life, my body composition, my energy levels, my concentration. Overall – a big thank you!!!

  3. I originally found 70′s big through a crossfit forum when I realized crossfit and my goals were not compatible. Justin offered one of the linear programs that didn’t recommend the GoMAD diet, or much of any fluff/supplements (“a simple yet effective strength and conditioning program”).

    Fast forward a couple of years and a couple of injuries later (unfortunately I had joined a bad box which trained out my previously good form. Injuries started occurring once I started hitting 2x my body weight). In addition, I also was medically advised to stay away from inflammatory agents for an unrelated medical condition.

    I downloaded this book pretty much right when it came out based on my past experience with 70′s Big. I was not disappointed. I should disclose that I don’t like step by step books, I like getting a good foundation then experimenting from there (it also gives me less opportunities to mess up and feel bad about myself).

    This book gives a pretty good base explanation (and points to additional information if you want) on adapting a paleo diet to being athletic. More accurately, this book focuses on a low inflammatory diet (however that doesn’t have as much of a ring to it “Avoid Inflammatory for Lifters).

    This book is not a cookbook. You can take classes for that.
    This book is not “true paleo”. Most of my “true paleo” friends are skinny fat and/or weak and would have a embolism reading some of this stuff. I do not want to be like them.
    This book does not give you exact guidelines. It tells you general categories of what to eat, and what not to eat. Honestly, I knew a lot of this stuff just from my prior research into various eating styles, but this is a quick/entertaining read that condenses a lot of information into a short e-book.
    This book does not tell you how to replace your vices with slightly less bad ones (paleo soda and brownies – they are totally healthy). You’re an adult. Eat like one (to paraphrase Justin).

    Overall, I recommend this book as a good jumping off point. It made some connections I failed to recognize and sets up general nutrition guidelines that my doctor supports (although she wants me to cap my protein intake at 40g less than what is Justin recommends). So read up, eat right (keep a journal for a couple of weeks so you don’t cheat), and workout hard.

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