Gluconeogenesis Exposed

A member of the Tribe recently related his experience from Day 4 of the pure paleo challenge.  He went to his first heavy workout of the year yesterday, and on the menu was CrossFit programming at its finest: a dynamic warmup that included resistance band sprinting, followed by 5-5-5 back squats as strength skill work.  Things were going great.  The band sprints were challenging and felt a bit more taxing than usual, but the squats went beautifully.  It was the metcon portion that stood out, though.

Being on Day 4 of a strict paleo diet, he had already lost 4 pounds and was feeling pretty good (considering the apparent calorie deficit he was running since giving up dairy, grains and legumes).  He had enjoyed a warm breakfast of bacon and eggs, accompanied by a half an apple, about an hour prior to the workout.  What he failed to account for, however, was the need for more (and more readily bio-available) carbohydrates going into the metcon portion.

The metcon part of the workout began.  It was a ladder of 10..1 involving the couplet of one-armed kettlebell snatches (10 on each side, working down to one) paired with burpees.

He got through the rounds of 10, 9, and 8, and then suddenly…he hit a wall.  He felt his breakfast starting to come back up his throat and realized he had to sit down.  He felt like he had absolutely nothing in the tank.  And from a chemical standpoint, he was right.

What he failed to account for was the need for some higher-glycemic carbs in his bloodstream going into the workout.  Of course his body was able to perform gluconeogenesis on some of the protein from breakfast, but it wasn’t happening fast enough for the high intensity demands of this CrossFit workout.

Next time, when he chooses to try a high-intensity workout like CrossFit, he is going to try snacking on some high-glycemic fruits about 15 to 30 minutes prior to his workout.  It is worth noting that so-called most “high-glycemic fruits” are still considered low on the glycemic index.
– Papaya (56 on the glycemic index)
– Banana (50)
– Kiwi (47)
– Mango (41)
– Orange (31)
– Grapefruit (25)

Once it comes back into season, keep in mind that watermelon (72) is one of the only fruits that is rated high on the glycemic index.

Post workout meals are another story, and we’ll save that for another time.

Meanwhile, it sounds funny to say it, but remember to “carb up!” before your next big WOD if you’re new to paleo.

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