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Martial Artists Go Paleo

By The Paleo Diet Team
February 24, 2014
Martial Artists Go Paleo image

Dr. Cordain,

A group of Mixed Martial Artists in Dublin Ireland go Paleo with amazing success.

Mostly we would be on the pure Paleo Diet for 8 - 6 weeks before fights. Otherwise we stick to the diet for about 95% of the time. Since our sport is intense over a short period of time (usually no more than three 5- minute rounds) the modification outlined in The Paleo Diet for Athletes seemed of little use; in fact, many of us took issue with it because the type of sports (and therefore physical demands) discussed are incredibly rare in paleolithic lifestyles. That said, we do champion the Paleo Diet here and are slowly turning people around to it.

Here is my own experience. I used to lift weights regularly, consume whey protein and eat a traditionally accepted ‘good’ diet. I never really progressed to the level I wanted. I stopped lifting weights and a few months later started the Paleo Diet. When I did return to weight training I was stronger than ever before. The Paleo Diet made me drop fat and increase muscle mass, to the point that I gained net weight. And that is the beauty of the Paleo Diet for many athletes involved in intensive training, it’s a weight NORMALISATION diet so it works for everyone skinny, average, overweight.

Everyone else who has tried it has reported the same old story, increased strength and energy, loss of fat and increase of muscle. Importantly to Combat Athletes recovery isn’t just about your standard athletic repairs. Combat athletes are plagued with injuries, minor breaks, sprains, cuts and bruises, the Paleo diet has decreased our healing time.

Another surprising result: when I first started eating right (because Paleo isn’t a ‘diet’ everything ELSE is!) a friend and fellow fighter started too. He had always been plagued with a kidney disorder (if he consumed alcohol he would swell up and spend a couple of days in hospital!), once he started the Paleo Diet all of the symptoms disappeared, in fact, on occasion he consumes alcohol with no abnormal effect.

As an anthropologist and athlete I suppose it was inevitable that I would find the Paleo Diet! We also have a number of sport scientists who train and fight competitively, they took a little more convincing but after reading the book and hearing arguments I have put forward they came around. As you well know, once someone tries it they know the truth. Another resource is which highlights training in a manner close to the type highlight in the Paleo Diet. This website endorses the Paleo Diet.

Pearse Stokes, Fianna Gym

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