All of the content written here is based solely on personal experience and things I have read.
Okay so we know Paleo is considered the Caveman diet, so essentially the working out part is based on the Caveman lifestyle. It should mimic natural movements, so that means you don’t have to go spend 45 minutes on an elliptical at the gym (all the non-gymrats rejoice). “I pick things up and put them down.” Seriously, repotting some plants or moving rocks around the yard would be the ideal workout.
In my opinion, for anyone who just goes to the gym to run on the treadmill, cut it out. That goes for anyone following Paleo and is trying to achieve maximum results! If you are trying to lose weight and get fit, all that cardio won’t do much for you. I read that it causes your adrenal and thyroid glands to get over worked…ANNNNND it can accelerate aging! Yikes! But, fear not! If you like your cardio, then you should start doing it at a slower pace. Hiking, riding a bike, snowboarding…they all fit the “slow and steady” category which is ideal for Paleo people. And just for the record, the graphs and fancy things on a treadmill that track fat burning zones and whatever else, don’t believe them. ’nuff said.
Paleo workouts should include movements that mimic and improve skills that would help us in the “wild”, so to speak. Paleo and machines at the gym are not friends. Go over and use the free weights. Do some lunges, dips, and a few pull-ups. You need workouts that will give you functionality strength. You can integrate P90X into your workout regimen…if you don’t own it, get it! The “Plyometric” DVD will be your BFF.
If you’re not an outdoor-sy kind of person, you should start getting more acquainted with the great outdoors. Pull weeds, move rocks, wash your car, push the lawn mower…all of these types of activities are good! I am a big fan of spending hours cooking. I’m on my feet, walking around the kitchen, mixing things in bowls, cutting things up…and it’s been working for me. Plus, the reward of the delicious food you create, makes all that hard work worth it. Whatever you decide to do, be creative!
Paleo is all about HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). If you’ve heard about Crossfit, then you know all about HIIT. That would be any workout that you alternate between intense bursts of activity and periods of less intense activity or complete rest. (e.g. 1 minute sprint, 2 minute walk) You will have better results doing 15 minutes/3 times a week of HIIT, than that guy that spends an hour jogging on a treadmill. HIIT will help you burn calories during your workout…as well as hours after your workout! That sounds like a sweet deal to me. All you have to do is get that heart rate up; push it to it’s limit.
Steady cardio will encourage muscle loss, so if you’re trying to maintain your muscles…2 words: HIIT and weights. Your weight loss will come from the fat stored, not your hard earned muscles. Let me try to give you a visual…we’ve all seen marathon runners, usually their stature is lean and fit, but if you look at Olympic sprinters, they are generally more muscular than the marathoner. Marathoners do steady cardio, but the sprinter does HIIT. Make sense? You’ll burn more fat at high intensities for a longer period of time than at a steady state, and HIIT will be the key for this!
There’s also something called EPOC (excess post exercise oxygen consumption). With HIIT you increase your metabolism and your human growth hormone (HGH), this will keep you burning calories up to 24 hours after HIIT. If you go for a jog, sad to say, but you burn almost ZERO calories afterwards.
I know that’s a lot to take in…but you got this!
For everyone just getting started with Paleo, check out the list on this site: Pillars of Paleo.
“Never say the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”