So to start going primal the first thing I had to do was dump the bottle of electrolyte drink that I had on my bike and replace it with plain old water. I put a banana in my jersey pocket just in case and left home with a sense of purpose and excitement. Ninety minutes in and I was starting to hit the wall. This was the longest ride I had done with out taking in any external calories and the first time riding in a fasted state for a couple of years. There was self doubt questions and disbelief that what I was doing was going to work. That sense of excitement was fading fast, as were my energy levels.
Primal Endurance training stresses that you do a minimum eight week block of training where you keep your heart rate in your aerobic zone The easy way you do this for the majority of the population is to take the figure of 180 and deduct your age. For me it is 180 - 45 = 135 BPM. This is the heart rate that I was to keep my heart rate below for ALL my training. That first week was interesting to say the least. My performance on the bike was sub par with my heart rate constantly spiking above 135 BPM. To keep it below I was having to crawl up some small hills,this constant low level exertion felt really easy, almost too easy.
Primal eating is to eat whole foods with minimal processing, Eat lots of veggies, meat, nuts, seeds and some root vegetables like sweet potato. The aim is to keep total carbohydrate intake below 100 grams per day. After 2 days my craving for carbs and sugar was as intense a need as anything I have ever felt. The only thing that kept me going this long was the fact that I felt I had nothing to lose. After 4 months of training and racing as I had always done I hadn't seen any improvement. So why not try something different.
Per chance I was talking to a Pharmacist next door to our shop about the troubles I was having with sugar cravings and the battle I was having with in myself. He explained to me that some stomach bacteria feeds on sugar. If you take that food source away they can actually send very powerful craving signals to your brain. He suggested to me that I try a powerful Pro-Biotic that could help get rid of that bad bacteria from my stomach. I was sceptical but desperate, I was sick of starting healthy eating diets only to derail myself with poor eating choices, often it didn't even feel like it was a choice, it was more like a mindless march to get that sugar fix to keep me going. I started taking them immediately.
With in 24 hours my sugar cravings were subsiding and I felt my mood and energy levels starting to level out. This for me was a massive turning point. I finally felt like I had some control over what I was putting my mouth. I felt a glimmer of hope that I might be on to something to give me a chance at better health.
With my sugar cravings under control it was amazing to feel the difference that was starting to happen with my eating and my training. I had dropped my total carb intake to 100 grams per day or less and I was comfortable there. With in 2 weeks I was heading out on 90 and 100 km fasted rides with only water and completing them with ease and getting no post ride energy crash. Around 6 weeks in to the training people started commenting. "Wow you look amazing", "How much weight have you lost?." What diet are you on and have you changed up your training regime?. This felt pretty damn great I must tell you.
At the eight week mark I jumped on the scales. They read 85 kg, 12.5% Body Fat with 71 kg muscle mass. I had lost 9.6 kg. All fat. I was ecstatic as I really didn't feel like I was being restricted all that much and didn't feel like I had changed all that much. With Primal Training the base phase or endurance phase is where it is hypothesised that you should spend more time there if you have poor endurance at least 8 weeks with only 4 weeks of high intensity phases. After my long lay off I decided to carry on the base phase of Primal Endurance for another 4 weeks. It really didn't bother me as I felt like I was finally on the right path.
Now entering my 13 th week of Primal living. I feel better than ever. My weight is stable at 85 kg and I have started to implement some interval training in to my riding and I have resumed racing. My first race back was at a course where 4 months earlier I was struggling to keep up, up some of the small hills. This time I was the one pushing the pace and was even able to initiate a break away. The following week during a time trial while not setting the world on fire I got a great indication that my fitness level was definitely heading in the right direction.
Primal way of life is for me the for me to move forward. Mark Sisson States in his book "The Primal BluePrint" Aim for 100% compliance of the primal way of life and be happy if you achieve 80%. I think this is a great philosophy as it allows a little deviation with out the pressure of felling like you have failed like many diets do. It is a healthy moderate way of life that makes perfect sense to me.
Next month is what I eat most days and the macro ratio break down.