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123 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A natural diet with the athlete in mind
This book changed the way I look at nutrition. I have always been active and eaten a decent diet, but I knew I was too heavy on sugars and carbs in general. When I got into triathlons, I got Joe Friel's The Triathlete's Training Bible, and it turned me onto the Paleo Diet.

Since both authors have advanced degrees (Loren Cordain has a PhD in Exercise Physiology...
Published on December 19, 2006 by Johnson Cognito

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116 of 130 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Really Paleo
I purchased the book because I was particularly interested in learning some a-little-less-than-laymen explanation of what happens physiologically in the body of the Paleo runner. But this book stayed very, very on the surface (a whole section on how to hydrate? Hey, that's filler!) and sophistication-wise, was a far cry from Gary Taubes (or, really, any competent blog on...
Published on July 12, 2010 by Kay


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123 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A natural diet with the athlete in mind, December 19, 2006
This review is from: The Paleo Diet for Athletes: A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance (Paperback)
This book changed the way I look at nutrition. I have always been active and eaten a decent diet, but I knew I was too heavy on sugars and carbs in general. When I got into triathlons, I got Joe Friel's The Triathlete's Training Bible, and it turned me onto the Paleo Diet.

Since both authors have advanced degrees (Loren Cordain has a PhD in Exercise Physiology and Friel a M.S. in Exercise Science), it is heavy on science. The authors base their claims on numerous sources, and reference these sources throughout.

The basic premise is that the way we currently eat is contrary to how our bodies evolved over the millions of years prior to agriculture. Lean meat, fish, and fresh fruits and vegetables should be our staple, with a small twist. Paleolithic man could never have been a high level endurance athlete, as he just wouldn't have gotten enough carbohydrate to replenish his glycogen stores after a long or very intense workout.

This book, then, makes adjustments to the standard Paleo Diet to include certain types of foods normally not allowed during SPECIFIC periods of the pre and post-exercise window.

Post Script: Though I don't like to comment on others' reviews, I feel I must say that I don't agree with the assertion that the book doesn't place enough emphasis on when to eat the foods you eat. After the intro, the entire first few chapters are exactly that: What types of food to eat, and EXACTLY when to eat them.
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116 of 130 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Really Paleo, July 12, 2010
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This review is from: The Paleo Diet for Athletes: A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance (Paperback)
I purchased the book because I was particularly interested in learning some a-little-less-than-laymen explanation of what happens physiologically in the body of the Paleo runner. But this book stayed very, very on the surface (a whole section on how to hydrate? Hey, that's filler!) and sophistication-wise, was a far cry from Gary Taubes (or, really, any competent blog on the subject, of which there are a few).

Most disappointingly, this book is standard high-carb advice for runners. A majority of its content is indistinguishable from any other guide to endurance nutrition. So, basically, you are advised to eat x grams of low glycemic carbs x hours before a race, and x grams of higher glycemic carbs as you approach race time. In fact, there is little in this book with regard to true paleo diet metabolism or low carb/high fat fueling and how that diet effects running. Perhaps the argument there is that one cannot be an endurance athlete while truly paleo. Touche. But don't write a book called "The Paleo Diet for Athletes."

But here is where my real beef is, and what really made this book a waste of time. Where the authors do seem to describe the Paleo diet, they get it pretty wrong. For instance, they push lean fats (not fatty animal ones) and warn of cholesterol and "bad" saturated fats, while encouraging vegetable oil consumption, issues at the very core of Paleolithic nutrition that have been specifically and comprehensively studied and debated, to the opposite conclusions that these authors come to. In fact, these authors are, by definition, not paleo at all, maybe just picky about which carbs and how many.

At the very least, if these writers had meant to promote neolithic nutrition, and totally diverge from paleo, I really wish they would've explained why.
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109 of 127 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful, but not perfect, November 20, 2006
This review is from: The Paleo Diet for Athletes: A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance (Paperback)
I bought this book because my diet was already headed in the Paleo direction without anybody's book telling me to do so, but also because Joe Friel's web site recommended it. That made me curious about the details of why I should eat that way. I have slightly elevated blood pressure (pre-hypertension), and managed to bring it down from an average of about 129/84 to 124/81 or so just by eating low-sodium (I already was riding my bicycle 150-300 miles a week, so clearly more excercise wasn't needed). After having real trouble finding low-salt foods, I discovered that the produce section was my best friend, and the fresh meat/seafood section too; that was pretty close to Paleo already. But I was still eating lots of grains and beans, and this book convinced me to go full Paleo for non-sports reasons. Now I seem to be recovering much quicker and no longer have any of those rides where my legs are dog-tired. I've also gotten a bit leaner, though I was already at just 8% body fat. I then bought his first Paleo Diet book and read that. I now have pretty much gone completely Paleo, with some intentional lapses, and I don't really follow this second book so much. I follow his first book with its non-athlete orientation primarily to maintain my health as I get older, but I find that I can eat a Paleo omelette for breakfast, and ride for three hours with no sports drinks or gels (though I do bring dried fruit for any ride over three hours, and sports drink for long races or very hard training rides). Leaves me wondering if this second book was really needed. I strongly recommend his first book, and this one only if you're in the Ironman Tri, RAAM, or something extreme like that.
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50 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very focused on endurance athletics., February 25, 2006
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This review is from: The Paleo Diet for Athletes: A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance (Paperback)
I was excited to try the Paleo Diet in conjunction with a general fitness improvement plan. However, I was slightly disappointed by the fact that the book is focused almost entirely on endurance athletics. Barely a mention is given of Paleo in conjunction with weight training or general weight loss.

The book does give lots of details for implementing the Paleo way of eating for intense athletes, so it's a great book if you fit that category.

Regardless of fitness level, there are many tasty sounding Paleo recipes in the book, so it will be a good companion to the original Paleo Diet book even if you're not a high-volume athlete. But for beginners, I would recommend the original Paleo Diet book first, because it is geared more towards general fitness and weight loss.

And one thing that I like about both of Cordain's books is that they have an extensive bibliography of references, so you can be sure his research is backed-up with lots of research.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modified Paleo - which is not a bad thing, June 18, 2012
This review is from: The Paleo Diet for Athletes: A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance (Paperback)
First to the handfull of one & two star reviewers out there: I've found that if I ask 5 different people what "paleo" is I get five different answers. Meanwhile the evolutionary assumptions that underly the Paleo diet are often disputed and remain hotly debated. That said, I find merit in the Paleo and Primal diets if only for the fact that they get you thinking about whole foods and lower glycemic foods while steering you away from the highly processed foods in the modern Western diet which are often high-glycemic foods or variations on the theme of corn and corn sweeteners.

If Paleo works for you then stick to it. It's certianly popular with the Crossfitters out there and seems to work exceedingly well for many of them. As a longer duration "endurance" athlete I found it did not work for me without modification and so I was really pleased to have access to this book

This book was co-authored by Joe Friel who is an endurance athlete coach and competitor who specializes in the training and nutritional requirements of endurance and ultra-endurance athletes. We are not talking 40 minute Crossfit WODs here, and that's no slight on Crossfitters who are "athletes" of the highest caliber, it's simply to recognize a WOD and an Ironman distance triathlon are two very different things. Freil is talking ultra-endurance events exceeding 3 hours in duration and going upwards of 17-24 hours. Keeping Friels pedigree in mind one has to realize that the Paleo diet was reviewed through that particular lense and the caloric needs of athletes who train and compete in long duration events NOT athletes who compete in short(er) duration bursts of power like your average weight lifter or Crossfitter. This does not exclude other athletes from laying valid claim to the title "athlete"...it merely recognizes the difference in the nutritional and caloric needs between say...an olympic lifter and a ultra-marathon runner. Once cannot do what the other does and vica versa and thus they should not necessarily train and eat like the other does and vica versa.

Like me Friel finds merit in the Paleo approach but experienced diffuculty with the diet relative to long duration endurance events. It's not that the Paleo diet can't provide the carbs you might need going into a 15 hour Ironman event....the problem is that they would come with such a high fiber load that a strict Paleo approach can be untenable for that format.

Personally I applaud both authors for trying to modify the Paleo concept in a way that might work a bit better for some endurance athletes. There's no better proof than personal experience and I know for certain that the total elimination of some high quality but simple carbs resulted in a reduction in performance and increased feelings of poor recovery and fatige after my longer runs and rides. I found I absolutely HAD to include these things as a component of my long distance training efforts and competitions AND as part of my immdediate post workout recovery plan. In between when I'm doing shorter base building or recovery work I'm able to cleave more closely to what many would consider a genuine Paleo diet....but there's no way I'd want to be staring down the barrel of 4-6 hours of hard effort without some high quality endurance fuels in my pocket. FOR ME there are simply just some non-paleo fuels that are an absolute necessity as to go strick paleo would mean loading my gut with a ton of undigestable fiber.....not what you want on a 90 degree day half way into a 100 mile ride.

So kudos to Cordain and Friel for their willingness to "unbox" their thinking and risk angering the purists by considering a modified approach.
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78 of 95 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Regurgitation of bad conventional wisdom under the guise of paleo, December 16, 2009
This review is from: The Paleo Diet for Athletes: A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance (Paperback)
This book makes a lot of claims that aren't true. First and foremost, it is not paleo. It recommends a diet that is extremely out of whack in the macro-nutrient sense with that of paleo. Second, it purports that it is based on science and experience. The science piece of that claim is non-existent, and the experience portion is circumstantial (or anecdotal) evidence in support of their arguement. Third, it sets up contradictory advice for recovery. Fourth, it is extremely painful to read not just because it constantly passes opinion off as science, but because it talks down to the reader the whole time. Lastly, it defines "athlete" as endurance sportspersons.
1. Not paleo. Sure it tells you to eat a version paleo during the times when you aren't "training" (aka work out or exercise), but most people reading this book work out on a very regular basis. It also recommends that you prepare for exercise and immediately following an exercise by carb-loading. The carbs it chooses are very often not paleo - bars, sports drinks, grains, and legumes. In essence, if you work out every day, 2 out of 3 meals in a day would not be paleo. Even if you only work out 3 days a week, which is pretty much the bottom line if you are an "athlete," that is still 6 meals minimum a week that are heavily un-paleo. Why even bother calling yourself paleo at that point?
2. Science and experience. It makes claims, like "stay away from all that bad artery clogging saturated fat." I know a lot of people believe that claim, but that claim is not based on science, it is based on two epidemiological studies from the early to mid 1900's that cherry picked their data. There has never been any proven connection between cholesterol and heart disease. They never find a reasonable link between the two when they do clinical trials. By the way, Paleolithic people ate saturated fat. This is just one of the examples of this book pawning off opinion as science. As far as experience - Friel does have a lot of endurance experience. However, there are plenty of athletes who are in better total shape who eat paleo the whole time or who even fast for intense workouts. I know several first hand who switched away from the books suggestions to strict paleo and seen enormous results. In both Friel's and my case this is anecdotal evidence to support the claim, and shouldn't be used as proof that either works.
3. Recovery advice. Make sure you eat lots of protein, but all the protein has a high amount of acidity and you shouldn't eat any food that is acidic to recover. Make sure you get the base alkalines in there too, but to counteract the acidity of the majority of foods you need to eat, you need to consume unrealistic amounts of the alkalines. I could keep going in circles based on the advice, but I think 2 examples will do.
4. Talks down. "Optimize Performance. This is a big one." No kidding, huh? "All athletes are susceptible to inflammation of muscles and tendons" Really? I had no idea. By the way all those carbs they tell you to eat, promote inflammation.
5. Athletes. It bothers me that they define athlete as endurance sportsperson. There are soooo many other types of athletes that they never address. Sure you can make up some sort of variation and apply it to your sport, but then why'd I buy the book? I'd rather have specific advice from experts (not that I consider the advice in this book "expert") than make my own. Not that I consider the advice in this book "expert", it's just more regurgitated bad conventional wisdom that we've all heard - carb load, look out for saturated fat, etc. [...]
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paleo diet, with special attention on the "For Athletes" part, December 16, 2006
This review is from: The Paleo Diet for Athletes: A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance (Paperback)
Paleo Diet for Athletes

A lot of what Dr. Cordain says (The Paleo Diet) makes sense -- basically, from the time of humanity's existence, 10,000 years is a short time to make adaptations in the way our bodies have evolved. Agriculture and dairy products, for instance, just happened in the past 10,000 years.

I won't go into the details of the hunter-gatherer diet that Cordain mentions. I believe that there are also other diets out there are similar (in fact, probably identical) in both reasoning and implementation (i.e., Evolution Diet, and other hunter-gatherer diets out there).

The Paleo Diet part gets 4 stars, and the additional star goes for the "for Athletes" part.

What makes this book different is the "... for Athletes" part. (On a separate note, the title would have been more apt if they said "ENDURANCE Athletes" instead, as other non-endurance athletes could probably be recommended the regular Paleo Diet by Dr. Cordain, or the other similar ones by other authors.)

I have always watched endurance athletes take down gobs of pasta and carbohydrates. And with that, assumed that Joe Friel, a premier coach of endurance athletes (just check out his "Bible" series books and his website), I assumed that Joe Friel was another carb junkie. Apparently, he WAS. Note, "WAS" is the past tense.

Dr. Cordain introduced him to the Paleo diet, and though Joe was hooked, he did some modifications on the diet for endurance athletes. And that's where this book stands out from other hunter-gatherer diets out there. (If you want to know more about hunter-gatherer diets, do a search for similar books here in Amazon and read the reviews. And a bit of search 'round the internet wouldn't be a bad idea).

I particularly like Joe's modifications in what he calls various stages: what to eat before exercise (both a few hours before, and immediately before), during exercise (obviously only applicable to endurance athletes in multi-hour events), and after exercise (further broken down into the first half-hour after, the succeeding hours or so, and the long term recovery strategy via nutrition). And that's what makes this book worth it, especially for endurance athletes and those regular blokes who work out or exercise everyday (those who put in maybe an hour or more of exercise a day). By the way, this is good for "regular" endurance athletes as well, not necessarily marathoners and other ultra-distance racers, or ironmen triathletes (i.e., this book is still perfect for "sprint distance" triathletes as well... and also 5k and 10k fun-runners).

Friel is especially keen on making sure the nutrition strategy gives one optimum performance (for either an exercise session or a race), as well as the all-important recovery (so you can go hard again in your next training session -- IF that is what you have scheduled).

I find it amusing that I know what parts Friel wrote, and what parts Cordain wrote, simply by reading. Maybe it's because I have Friel's other books that I already know his writing style, but it was easy to see which parts were written by whom.

I cannot comment if the Paleo Diet is better than The Evolution Diet (but, truth be known, I don't have The Evolution Diet), but I assume they're similar to the point of being nearly identical, as are PROBABLY all other hunter-gatherer diets out there. I cannot comment either on who has written a better book, or a better explanation, or a better implementation of the hunter-gatherer type of diet. But it is only The Paleo Diet for Atheltes that has a collaboration with an "endurance athelete guru" (i.e., Joe Friel) that addresses the needs of athletes. If you fall into that category, you will surely like the part that Friel contributed, especially the various stages of pre- during, and post-exercise nutrition strategy.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Paleo Diet for Endurance Athletes, August 18, 2009
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This review is from: The Paleo Diet for Athletes: A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance (Paperback)
While this book was a great learning tool on what one should focus on as far as eating, and when to best eat before, during, and after a workout, it is geared more towards the endurance athlete. I picked this book up expecting to be able to find stuff that would help me as a Soldier, or, as I like to think of myself, as a "tactical athlete", but was disappointed to see that it focuses more on people who compete in ultra-marathons, Ironman triathalons and the like. It does have some great advice on the best foods to eat, as well as some recipies to choose from, but unless you're working on finishing a 100-mile ultra-marathon or something simliar, I would definitely recommend his first book, or even Mark Sisson's "The Primal Blueprint".
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43 of 53 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More appropriate for strength athletes, July 12, 2006
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This review is from: The Paleo Diet for Athletes: A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance (Paperback)
The authors play a rather silly game of exclude the middle.

They start from the premise that most endurance athlets overconsume refined grains to the exclusion of dietary protein and veggies. This isn't necessarily incorrect, I've seen endurance athletes do that very thing. I've done it myself.

Therefore, endurance athlete should go to the opposite extreme and eat lots of lean meat and fibrous vegetables and some fruits. Basically, a retread of Cordain's Paleo Dieting thing.

Except that somehow they then shoehorn recent research into pre/during/post workout nutrition on top of that. They argue that this will optimize endurance performance.

Apparently the idea of eating sufficient protein AND vegetables AND digestible carbohydrates was lost on them.

As well, they apparently forgot to look at data on the Kenyan runners who routinely consume 70% carbs and 10% protein and seem to be doing ok performance wise. Or the Tarahumara indians who eat massively high carb intakes and are known for their prodigious running abilities.

Don't get me wrong, I think many endurance athletes get insufficient protein and eating plenty of veggies should be a huge part of any athletic diet (or any healthy diet for that matter). But let's not pretend that you can't eat sufficient lean protein, plenty of vegetables AND get sufficient digestible carbohdyrate (from grains/etc) to support the monstrous training volumes common to high level endurance programs.

IMO, their recommendations would make far far more sense for strength/power athletes who simply don't have the carbohydrate requirements of long-duration endurance athletes.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Geared towards endurance athletes..., August 14, 2009
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This review is from: The Paleo Diet for Athletes: A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance (Paperback)
I enjoyed Loren's first book so much I thought that this book would be an excellent addition since the title suggests it is for athletes. The book is geared mostly towards those that are involved in endurance sports/multi-sport athletes. Being a powerlifter/bodybuilder for a number of years, I was hoping there was going to be some insight in how to apply the principles for losing unwanted bodyfat, but this is mostly about maximizing post workout recovery and performance during workouts, not so much as how to become a leaner athlete. While it was an interesting read, I would probably choose his first book over this one.
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