At some point in an athlete’s or fitness enthusiast’s career, he or she hits diet overwhelm. It becomes all so complicated. “Luckily, eating right as an athlete can be straightforward and uncomplicated,”, says New York Times best-selling author, research biochemist, personal trainer and athlete, Robb Wolf. In his book, The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet, Wolf describes how people evolved in a natural environment as omnivores (meat and plant eaters), hunting and scavenging for meat and shrubs, nuts, fruit and edible plant life.
Behold the 21st century diet, which to a large extent consists of sugar, grains, dairy, beans/legumes and artificial sweeteners, soda, corn syrup and processed meat. We are obviously and blatantly no longer eating and living as our ancestors did in that natural environment.
Thanks to researchers like Loren Cordain, Ph.D., of Colorado State University and author of the book The Paleo Diet, and now Robb Wolf, we have come to understand that our bodies have not kept up with modern diets, and we are getting fatter, weaker and sicker as a result.
What would our ancestors eat? Wolf says they’d eat whatever they could kill, dig out of the ground or rip from a shrub or tree. They would not eat the staples of our 21st century diet.
Wolf, an athlete and former research biochemist and review editor for the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, is co-founder of the nutrition and athletic training journal The Performance Menu. He is also co-owner of Paleo Brands Inc., a paleo food company selling meals and snacks featuring grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish and all organic ingredients.
Wolf is also an intense researcher who is passionate about the power of ancestral diets to help athletes and fitness enthusiasts feel, look and perform better. Studies of indigenous populations worldwide, from the South Pacific to the Arctic, confirm that when people live on ancestral diets, they live long and surprisingly healthy lives free of the chronic diseases that plague Western society. Although, as Wolf humorously notes, “our ancestors lived a rough-and-tumble existence that left their skeletons looking like equal parts Olympic athlete and rodeo clown.”
As an athlete, Wolf is a former California State Powerlifting Champion (565 lb. squat, 345 lb. bench, 565 lb. deadlift) and a 6-0 amateur kickboxer. In his own words, Wolf says, “Athletically, I’ve competed in powerlifting and Thai boxing. I’ve dabbled in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and am working to finally get my blue belt. Since late 2001, I’ve been involved with CrossFit in some capacity or another, and for the past six years I’ve been co-owner of NorCal Strength & Conditioning in the hot box of Chico, CA, named one of Men’s Health magazine’s “top 30 gyms in America.”
Wolf is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. In addition, he is a USAW Olympic Weightlifting coach, and a certified CrossFit Coach, the highest level of CrossFit training certification, possessed only by a handful of strength and conditioning coaches throughout the world.
He coaches athletes at the highest levels of competition, and consults with Olympians and world champions in MMA (mixed martial arts), motocross, rowing and triathlon. He’s provided seminars in nutrition and strength and conditioning to various military organizations, including the Canadian Light Infantry and the United States Marine Corps.
Wolf received his scientific training at California State University Chico, where he earned a B.S. degree in biochemistry. From there, Wolf worked as a research biochemist for five years, which included metabolism research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center as well as Paleolithic diet research with Dr. Cordain.
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The Paleo Solution covers how metabolic derangement comes about vis-a-vis our standard Western diet and illustrates the chemical mechanisms by which the Paleo diet works. Grains, carbs, vegetarian diets, hormones, fats and the digestive process are all clearly explained, and false diet information is dispelled. Wolf’s book also describes how to optimally exercise (run fast for short periods of time; lift heavy weights; and take walks, both slow and fast) how to understand your own blood work; what a daily menu should look like and how to make a Paleo eating plan that works for you.
In addition to dietary changes, Wolf also delves into the importance of vitamin and mineral supplementation with a focus on the quality and duration of sleep, along with a proper fitness routine.
Over the years, depleted soils have lost a great deal of their mineral and nutrient value. Modern farming practices have leeched the minerals out of the ground, and as a consequence, our foods are not nearly as mineral rich and nutritious as they were in the past.
One such depleted mineral is magnesium. Wolf explains that “magnesium is a vital mineral that unfortunately takes a backseat to its cousin, calcium. It seems that everyone knows about calcium and yet, it is important to understand that magnesium works synergistically with calcium in the body to enable the proper absorption of calcium. Magnesium is one of those universally needed supplements that helps with sleep, athletic recovery, muscle tone and muscle tissue regeneration.”
Wolf adds, “It is a rare athlete or fitness enthusiast that has not experienced sleep disruption from training or overtraining, and if you do not sleep well, you will completely block the fat loss process and hamper training recovery. That’s why I feel comfortable recommending Natural Vitality’s magnesium product Natural Calm® to most of my clients.”
“One of my clients, a prolific author and Lightweight Mixed Martial Arts Champion, uses Natural Calm,” says Wolf. “This individual, who works at a nonstop, breakneck pace, tells me that the product helps him relax so that he can mellow, unwind and recover from his frantic schedule of writing and training.”
Wolf adds, “Among several other benefits, this product delivers better sleep quality, which is a good return on investment when it comes to managing your health and fitness.”
For more information, visit the NorCal Strength & Conditioning web site at http://norcalsc.com.