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Different Diets for Weight Loss/Lean Muscle Building in Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercising??

by (264)
Updated about 7 hours ago
Created April 17, 2012 at 12:36 PM

I'm going to attempt to help my partner lose weight through diet. Having just completed the Whole30 myself, I'm partial to going that route but I realize it might not be best for his needs. I do a mixture of cardio and weight training 5 or 6 days a week so dropping all the sugar, dairy and legumes was not that hard for me and I never felt depleted of energy. My partner, however, is a competitive road cyclist who rides an average of 150-200 miles per week. He is 5'9 and weighs 171. He wants to lose at least 10 lbs but hold onto lean muscle. He does not want to build upper body muscle, as clearly more top-mass could be detrimental to his speed.

His diet is currently decent as far as SADs go -- he eats Paleo when he's home with me but is less strict when he's out and about. He also drinks beer on the weekends...

Would the Whole30/Paleo be a good diet for him to consider to drop weight? What might his meal plan look like? Fwiw, he's extremely allergic to tree nuts and doesn't do all that great with dairy.

Or would something like Leangains/ESE be a more appropriate way to go? I have to admit I've only perused Martin's site after reading about it on here so I'm not well-versed. What struck me first was that he seems to be recommending a lot of supplementation (amino acid and speed-y type stuff if I remember correctly) and that he's pretty lax when it comes to eliminating alcohol. Is his diet VLC? Would VLC be recommended at all for an endurance athlete? Are those types of athletes able to achieve optimal speed and endurance? My partner seems uneasy about skipping meals, especially pre-rides. He uses those honey stinger gels now. They're organic and all but is that the smartest way to refuel?

Would love some feedback. Thanks in advance.

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3703 · May 16, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Totally concur. I found the same -- I carb up for nearly all workouts whether aerobic or anaerobic but I vary the timing for post wod food

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20353 · May 16, 2012 at 4:48 AM

One thing to know is that the FT40 is perfect for gym and the FT60 is better for outside (and also works in gym). FT60 allows for accessories. the RCX5 is over the top for many.

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14877 · May 16, 2012 at 2:11 AM

Good advice right there.

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8 Answers

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328 · April 17, 2012 at 10:36 PM

For me, VLC doesn't work with my running. Also, my performance starts to suffer if i skip meals. With endurance sports, calorie counting works best for me to lose weight but it's important to take a long-term approach with a small calorie deficit so it doesn't hurt performance. You might check out Cordain and Friel's Paleo Diet for athletes. Also, I've had success with Matt Fitzgerald's Racing Weight books. Though those are not paleo, I make them paleo by substituting his grain recommendations with sweet potatoes or other starches.

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14877 · May 16, 2012 at 2:11 AM

Good advice right there.

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3703 · May 16, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Totally concur. I found the same -- I carb up for nearly all workouts whether aerobic or anaerobic but I vary the timing for post wod food

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5188 · May 16, 2012 at 11:18 AM

My concern is generally less with the type of exercise and more with the frequency. Hitting hard every day is simply exhausting, if nothing else the stimulating effect of carbs may be necessary to keep going. I don't know that it's actually necessary though - the energy and speed are always there, it's just a question of how I feel. If I overload on carbs though after exercise then it can seriously disrupt recovery.

Depending on his current situation with regards to competition, I'd say it's really worth trying training rides on different strategies or even fasted. Paleo certainly, you can still have honey and fruit if you want. I'd recommend trying not to rely on it and eating plenty of steak and eggs for breakfast before deciding if he wants to play with rice and potatoes. One of the biggest mistakes I think people make is switching food sources while trying to restrict quantity. Always better to make sure you're eating enough for what you want to do, then once you've adjusted to the new lifestyle you can fiddle with it to lose weight if necessary. Do it right and skipping a meal will probably be no big deal.

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20353 · May 16, 2012 at 4:41 AM

Have him get a newleaf assessment and use fitday to track calories. With a Polar FT60 watch or http://www.polarusa.com/us-en/products/maximize_performance/running_multisport/RCX5 (splurge and or triathlete).

This works for my cycle friends.

They will however tell him eat anything which we know better...

Focus on meat, eggs and green leafy vegetables and then a bunch of carbs around workouts over an hour long...

Have him do burpees as an exercise that will challenge but not create bulk. Make sure he sleeps alot. Early to bed and early to rise. The cycling is going to spike cortisol and sleep helps lower cortisol. Early to bed help keep grehlin levels low.

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20353 · May 16, 2012 at 4:48 AM

One thing to know is that the FT40 is perfect for gym and the FT60 is better for outside (and also works in gym). FT60 allows for accessories. the RCX5 is over the top for many.

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2934 · May 16, 2012 at 4:28 AM

As an athlete, Cordain's Paleo for Athletes works really well. Essentially, eat regular paleo with a special focus on carbs in the pre- and post-workout meals. I tried low-carb during the season, and, even when I was hitting my calorie needs, I felt drained far more than normal.

Mark Sisson (and others) maintain that, properly trained, an athlete can train and compete on a fat-prominent diet. There is a 2-3 week period to retrain the body to prefer fat stores to glycogen stores, after which normal performance levels should return. Personally, I'm a bit skeptical, as many of his recommendations are more geared to the casual aesthete than the competitive athlete, but it may be worth further investigation.

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14877 · May 16, 2012 at 2:13 AM

I like Lindsay's post. A potentially useful site is called paleoista.com. It is run by Nell Stephenson and she is a paleo endurance athlete heavily influenced by Cordain.

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1578 · May 16, 2012 at 1:18 AM

Lean gains is pretty dam tough for competitive athletes. I wouldn't suggest that to him. Also he's most likely not going to build much if any muscle unless he's doing some sort of resistance work.

As suggested by one of the posters above me. A high carb paleo diet would benifit him. He can try high carb low fat on training days. High fat low carbs on off days.

I don't think you should keep throwing paleo diet at him though. Better to lead by example & let him customise it as he please. Rob wolf has a good write up about this.

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78422 · April 17, 2012 at 10:55 PM

High-carb Paleo for the first 30. Yams, potatoes, carrots, instead of wheat stuff. Also their is nothing wrong with honey if you are a hardcore athlete.

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264 · April 17, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Oh my! Note to self: Don't ever go back to bicycling forums to attempt to find quality nutrition information. Sheesh. It's like another world on those sites. Chocolate Soy Milk for recovery, they say!

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