• Is Whey Protein Paleo?

    Is whey protein Paleo? | stupideasypaleo.com

    Is whey protein Paleo?

    “No whey. Whey.” Gets confusing after a while.

    Is whey protein Paleo? | stupideasypaleo.com

    Kinda reminds me of these guys. (I’ve just dated myself.)

    Perhaps one of the most common questions I get from athletes is whether or not they can use whey protein if they’re Paleo. It’s used by so many people for training and competition, and it’s heavily marketed to athletes for recovery. Why is it such a darling? It’s relatively cheap, digests fast and is convenient.

    Let’s explore this question because the answer isn’t purely cut and dry.

    The short answer: No.

    The long answer: It totally depends on your context whether or not it could be part of YOUR Paleo.

    First, we’ll deal with the arguments against and then, the arguments for.

    Argument #1: Whey protein isn’t Paleo because it’s a dairy product.

    If we want to be dogmatic about it then yes, whey protein isn’t Paleo because it’s an isolated fraction from cow’s milk.

    Milk is a complex brew of protein, fat, sugars and growth factors. After all, milk exists in nature to make baby mammals grow…fast. The protein components are many, but the two most well known are casein and whey. Casein is slower digesting while whey protein is broken down faster in the gut (part of the reason it’s used by athletes for recovery nutrition).

    Folks with lactose intolerance sometimes don’t react to whey protein like they would to something like milk. Why? Most whey protein supplements are isolates, meaning they’ve been separated out from the rest of the milk components.

    Even so, if you are strict Paleo, whey protein may not pass your test simply because it’s a component of dairy (even though the casein, lactose and other components have been stripped away).

    Argument #2: Whey protein isn’t Paleo because it’s processed.

    If you’re doing your best to avoid processed foods, then whey protein is probably off the list.

    As described above, milk must be processed and treated to obtain the isolated whey component. Then, it’s usually sweetened (even with “natural” sweeteners like stevia) and may have other stabilizers or preservatives added.

    Is whey protein even food? I’d argue no. It’s a component of food. A macromolecule if you will, consumed in isolation and devoid of the rest of the package it naturally comes with.

    You can’t get anything from whey protein isolates that you can’t get from real food (read: meat).

    Argument #3: Whey protein isn’t Paleo because most brands are made from low quality milk.

    If you define your Paleo on a food quality basis, it’s easy to get confused here.

    Some companies, including the brand of whey I use (when I use it) advertise that the cows their whey comes from are grass-fed. Sounds great and appeals directly to the Paleo crowd, but let’s examine this for a second.

    When cows are fed on grass, the real benefit is in the fat component of the dairy (or meat). Grass-fed cows produce more vitamin K2 in their milk, more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) (reference) and a better ratio of anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids to pro-infammatory Omega-6 compared to their grain-fed counterparts (reference).

    While that’s all well and good (and one reason I only eat grass-fed butter or ghee…go Kerrygold!) guess what? Whey protein is virtually fat free. That’s right. You get little direct nutritional benefit from buying a pricier grass-fed whey protein isolate.

    Now, is there indirect benefit? I’d argue yes. If you are concerned about how the animals that produce your whey protein are raised or you want to invest your money in a smaller company that aligns to your personal philosophies, that’s perfectly fine. But grass-fed whey really holds no superiority from a protein perspective.

    Argument #4: Whey protein is okay for Paleo athletes because nutrient timing matters.

    Yes. Nutrient timing matters when you’re training hard. The demands some athletes place on ourselves is very high with back to back to back training sessions on consecutive days and (relatively) little rest. If your athletic goals are great and you’re asking superhuman things of yourself with the amount of beatdown you’re giving yourself, getting recovery started ASAP after your training session is critical.

    This means a solid post-workout refeed of protein and carbs is critical for most athletes. You’ll also generally need more calories / energy than someone who is sedentary. Want to gain muscle mass? That’s right. You’ll need to take in more protein than someone just wanting to maintain theirs.

    As a result, many athletes who are otherwise “Paleo” take whey protein because it’s faster digesting than a chunk of meat, releasing amino acids into the bloodstream quickly and making them available for muscle protein synthesis (reference). On the other hand, does spiking the concentration of amino acids quickly (which then falls quickly as it’s used for substrate), provide as much benefit as a slower-digesting protein (which then provides substrates for muscle protein synthesis for more hours to come)?

    Drinking your protein (or calories for that matter) is also easier than physically chewing them so folks trying to mass gain or take down more calories may find whey protein shakes easier to handle. I regularly eat 1 gram protein per pound of bodyweight and even that is not an easy task for me. [Side note: this is why I often discourage people from taking in liquid foods if they’re trying to lose fat or improve body composition.]

    Argument #5: Using whey protein doesn’t make you “not Paleo.” It just means you’re using whey protein.

    When you’re first starting out eating Paleo, you really need to do thirty days of strict eating to figure out what (if any) sensitivities you have to different foods (I recommend something like a Whole30). If not, you’ll never know. To this end, many Paleo books and websites advocate a hard-line, strict approach, even eschewing basic things like salt. Pretty extreme. Others are really liberal…cakes and cookies for days.

    Why do strict Paleo advocates give whey protein a red light? It 1) isn’t a whole food; 2) isn’t as nutritious as whole food; and 3) may cause reactions in folks who are sensitive to dairy. It’s not because they want to be jerks or go against conventional wisdom.

    Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what’s right for you based on your goals and context and if it fits into your version of Paleo or not. If you end up using whey protein, that’s your decision. You haven’t “failed at Paleo” or upset any imaginary Paleo gods. And as far as the Paleo police, you know how I feel about that.

    If you’re trying to lose fat or not trying to gain muscle, my general advice is that you don’t need whey protein shakes. In fact, nobody needs whey protein. Period. It’s a factor of convenience, really.

    What about me? Have I used whey protein?

    Yes, at different points in my training I have used whey protein for convenience’s sake. When I was training for CrossFit Regionals, hitting demanding workouts 5 days a week, I routinely used it. I definitely had a bit more muscle mass (maybe the whey protein helped?) than I do now, but I’m also not in competition season now. The photo below is me competing in May 2013…my peak event for the year (admittedly, I look pretty jacked). I also knew full well that there isn’t anything in whey protein that food can’t supply.Is whey protein Paleo? | stupideasypaleo.com

    Right now, I’ve switched gears to include more weightlifting and less CrossFit and while I continue to build strength, I don’t feel I need whey protein as my training demands aren’t the same as they were back then. In October, I wanted to see if I could PR my back squat while taking no protein supplements. On a three week Smolov Jr. program plus only whole foods, I put 4 kg on my all-time one-rep max, ending up with a 130 kg back squat.

    Bottom line:

    You don’t need whey to get strong. You can get all your nutrition from real, whole foods. If you’re not an athlete, I strongly recommend against it.

    If whey fits your athletic goals, you may decide to use it…even if you’re Paleo in all other aspects. Know why you’d use it. After all, knowledge is power.

    Questions? Leave them in the comments below.

    Is whey protein Paleo?

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    75 thoughts on “Is Whey Protein Paleo?

      1. Just read your thoughts on Is whey Paleo? I don’t do whey from isolate – I do whey protein from concentrate. What are your thoughts on whey concentrate?

        1. Hi Jean…concentrate isn’t as pure as isolate and tends to have more casein, for example. If it works for you, shouldn’t be a problem but if you get bloating, etc it’s probably time to try an isolate.

    1. Great post! Thanks… Maybe now I can stop feeling guilty as I’m Paleo EXCEPT for my Ultragen recovery drink (which might have casein but I don’t react to it and I’m incredibly lactose-intolerant and I think perhaps casein-intolerant), my Hammer whey protein and (hey, it’s protein! it helps me recover!) my Arctic Zero – vanilla maple and strawberry. Those are the only dairy products I eat – I haven’t even given in to the temptation of my beloved goat cheese.

      I’m a Masters distance runner so more endurance athlete than strength. Went gluten-free due to bad stomach issues and gluten-intolerance (which I think is celiac but the test got screwed up and I wasn’t going to re-gluten to re-test). Then this last year went Paleo. I think Paleo has been harder as I’ve always been a carbaholic and was loving the gluten-free pretzels, popchips, etc. that I can’t eat on Paleo. Being grain-free seems to have helped me somewhat though not as much as I’d hoped. Of course, given my other sensitivities and issues, probably the best I can do.

      Looking forward to your book chapter!

      1. Hi MJ! Thank you for writing in. I think the big thing you have to ask yourself is why the guilt is there. If you know why you use it, it’s the best choice for you, and it helps your performance, then I don’t know if anyone can truly argue with that, right? It’s tough: folks who are at the forefront of what Paleo means are often talking to a wide audience with different needs and goals, so they often take a strict approach because it will benefit the most people.

        I’ve done a lot of running in the past, too. Are you training for anything right now?


      2. What would you recommend as a substitute? I have read Coconut Milk with maybe some almond butter….added fruits, like mango, banana or strawberries. I am on a Whole 30 and working out 5 days a week late at night and would like a recovery shake before I go to bed. I really am trying to keep my sugars at 0 so would not like to use fruit but want the shake to taste good…yes I want my cake and to eat it too…
        Any suggestions?

        1. Jennifer, you’ve got that backward. You WANT carbs in your post-workout shake. Protein and carbs yes. Tons of coconut milk and almond butter, no. If you’re working out hard 5x a week, you need carbs. Whole30 isn’t by default 0 sugars…please don’t make that mistake. I’m guessing you’re thought process is that zero sugars will lead to faster weight loss, but remember, Whole30 isn’t a weight loss diet. And, you have to protect your hormonal health. Too many women work out too intensely while cutting carbs back too hard…and they put their thyroid / adrenal health in jeopardy. If you’re after fat loss, EAT your post-workout food of carbs and protein and skip the shakes. Read more here in this article I wrote: http://whole9life.com/2015/02/eat-post-workout/

    2. What a great post! I love how you break things down so clearly and really appreciate you sharing your knowledge.

      I briefly explored using recovery drinks but found they sparked cravings that weren’t psychologically healthy for me. I train hard but refuel with whole foods. It’s what works for me but might not work for someone else (my husband physically can’t eat after a tough workout). Here’s to the experiment of one!

      1. Thank you for the kind words Michelle! You’re so right…what works for one person is disastrous for another. Thanks for taking the time to write in!

    3. Great post!
      I am living in Norway, where Grass-Fed meat or pastured anything, is a rare and expensive treat.
      So getting all my lovely protein without bursting the wallet is a challenge!
      What would you recomend in my situation?
      Go for the not-so-good meat, or going for whey-protein?

        1. Thank you! I will probably think about that then. I do not see any bad signs from the Whey yet, but maybe it is stupid to take the chance?

          1. Everyone reacts differently but if you don’t see any negative symptoms from using it, it probably comes down to convenience and cost 🙂

    4. oh, girl. what a great post. i really loved this so much and was looking forward to reading it right when i saw the title. i personally use whey protein but only post workout usually since i am trying to gain mass. gosh, girl, i cannot wait until your ebook comes out! i really want to know more about how i can cater my diet to my training. since i am trying to gain, i really want to learn more about what i need/what sources it should come from/etc. 🙂

      1. Much appreciated! For someone like you, I could see it being appropriate. Gotta get a bit more food in you every day I’m guessing but without seeing your meals it’s hard to know 😉

    5. Thanks so much for the post! I’m curious as to Hemp Protein. Would it be similar? I currently do use Whey Protein…. it is an important part of my athletic training as I need that extra source of protein. I am an age group triathlete who competes for top spots so do hit it hard and during the off season keep up that high intensity training by bringing in some CrossFit as well. Thanks for your thoughts…..

      1. Hi Jill! Hemp would be dairy free so if that’s a concern you might go toward that route. On the other hand, my concern is how heavily processed it must be to extract and purify the protein. I’m having a tough time finding info on that to give you a better answer.

      1. I’d rather just eat eggs to be honest. I tried to find out more about how hemp protein is processed and purified but ran into a bunch of dead ends. Suffice to say I’m imagining it’s highly processed. Might be an option for people with dairy sensitivity but depends on the person.

    6. Thank you for this article! I really appreciate that you give a full explanation of the subject, both pro-and anti- whey! I did have a quick question that maybe you could help me with–I used to take Whey protein to help with recovery after workouts, as it seemed to help DOMS better than some other proteins for me. I also used Garden of Life Raw Meal after workouts when I wasn’t using Whey. However, neither of these things are paleo, so I stopped using them! The troubling part is that since going paleo, I have had muscle soreness lasting 3 or so days after a workout! I used to only be sore the next day. I’ve tried balancing my meals, eating more carbs, and I’m certainly getting enough protein. Nothing is working. Do you have any suggestions for eliminating this extended recovery time AND still keeping a paleo diet? Thank you so much! 🙂

      1. Have you tried supplementing with fish oil and / or eating more oily fish to bump up your Omega 3 intake? There’s nothing in whey protein that isn’t available in meat (amino-acid wise), so something else must be going on here. Is it possible your protein intake was lower overall when you stopped the whey protein?

        1. I don’t think my protein is lower because I still supplement with egg protein, and I am probably getting much more protein overall from eating meat for ever meal. (I used to eat it MAYBE once a day, if that. I was honestly not a huge fan of meat!) Omega-3s are a great idea and I hadn’t thought of that, however I am allergic to fish! Do you know of a safe omega-3 supplement that could work around that? Most I have seen are not paleo-friendly. Thank you so much! 🙂

            1. I wish I could remember, lol! I looked into a couple kinds about a week ago that weren’t fish-based so they would not aggravate my allergies, but they had…..um….let’s see….I think a few kinds of vegetable oils and soy in them? I can’t remember exactly, though. Do you know of any fish-less ones that you would recommend?

    7. I beg to differ – there are 3rd party studies that have serious health benefits so I guess I am hybrid-Paleo 🙂 I use undenatured whey protein concentrate – grass fed only or health and muscle building.

        1. Sorry, I should have been more specific in my comment. It was to your statement, “You don’t need whey to get strong. You can get all your nutrition from real, whole foods. If you’re not an athlete, I strongly recommend against it.”

          Whey protein concentrate (organic in nature, grass fed, no abx, no hormones) can be used for anyone to help build immunity, repair the gut, for BCAA’s, and so on.

          Supplementing is the only way real way today with all the environmental factors including the food supply to get all the nutrition to be in good and optimal health. Of course coming from addressing GMO concerns, depletion of nutrients in the soil and such.

          1. BCAAs are also found in meat and I would recommend interventions like bone broth and probiotic-rich fermented veggies to helps with gut integrity.

            I guess we disagree with the needs for supplementation in some ways (I do agree with vit D supplementation, for instance, but I don’t think it’s necessary to supplement with concentrated whey). I respect your opinion, however, and thank you for adding to the dialogue.

    8. Very helpful. I have been doing cross fit and paleo for a year noe and I’ve lost A lot…but now I’m not gaming muscle like I’d like too;( any ideas? jay

      1. Are you doing any extra stuff, like running, on the side? These activities can be quite catabolic and discourage muscle mass gain. Also, make sure that the programming you follow includes plenty of strength-biased activities. If it’s all metcons with light weight, you may not see the muscle mass gain you’re looking for. Keep in mind that sustainable increases in muscle mass are slow and steady.

    9. Hi! I am chasing a quality high protein shake that isn’t dairy, gluten or soy. Is there a particular one you can recommend? I am not heavily into exercise, I need to move to more protein/paleo for my PCOS (Poly Cycstic Ovarian Syndrome)

      1. Hi there,

        I really like Stronger Faster Healthier…have used it almost exclusively. There are some other “clean” brands that don’t have any flavoring. The “natural” versions are usually unflavored.

    10. Thanks for the post, I’ve been paleo for 3 months (my version) so I buy into the idea of what works for you. I train 6 days a week and getting enough protein is a challenge as you note. I’ve been using Hemp protein for a while but will be starting to use whey post training, faster recovery. I’m not going to stop using Hemp as it’s way less processed and plant based. I’m also a big fan of goat milk kefir, which is strictly speaking not paleo. I started ‘my paleo, diet for my health, for me is a way of removing complex and difficult to digest foods from my diet. I haven’t felt this good in years. It has to be what works for you! PS I’m not going to feel guilty about using whey 🙂

    11. Hi Loved your article! I am just starting Paleo and am not using it for anyting but weight loss at this point. I have am getting back into walkng and have a goal to run a 5K in October. So for now my primary .foucus is loosing weight. So as far as whey shakes go do you feel this will help/hinder/not matter in my journey? Thanks for your advice!!

    12. This question may have already been answered, but I’ve read through comments on multiple posts and I think generally there tends to be some confusion about weight loss vs. fat loss- I am not trying to lose WEIGHT per se, but I am also not necessarily trying to gain lots of muscle (yet). My main goal at this point is losing fat, and moving forward from there. I have been doing crossfit ~3 times per week for about two months. Not lifting heavy AT ALL (I’m doing what I can) and would definitely like to improve and get stronger, but competing, etc. are not really something I’m working toward (again… yet). Eating post WO for me is tough in terms of convenience and timing and I feel yucky eating too soon after working out. I have been mostly paleo (or trying, or paleo-minded, etc..) for about a year and a half, but still struggle with food prep without living my entire life in the kitchen. I want to make sure I am getting enough protein for recovery/building strength. I’m definitely not one of those people (okay, women) who is afraid of getting “bulky” (whatever…) – I would just like to lose fat (admittedly, get smaller), then build from there. Would you still recommend staying away from whey protein in this case? Does any of that make sense? Is that even a thing? …Am I a weirdo?

      In addition, what are your thoughts on isolates vs concentrates? I can’t seem to find answers on either end that I feel are solid. :\

      1. Hi Jessica,

        In general, if you’re trying to lose body fat, avoid drinking your calories. That should give you an answer right there. Also, you’re CF 3 times a week, not 5 or 6. I honestly don’t think you need a special post-workout unless you feel your performance is suffering. You have plenty of time to refuel if you are working out say, every other day. Eating too soon after a workout can be problematic because your body is coming out of a sympathetic (flight or fight-ish) state. Wait until you are calmed down (parasympathetic rest and digest state) to eat if you’re going to.

        In terms of isolate vs concentrate, here’s a pretty good summary of the issue: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/protein-powder-marketing-claims/.

    13. I was wondering about this for a while now! I am training on a German volume training program at the moment. (I need to replace muscle lost due to an injury that kept me sedentary for far too long!!!) So 10 repetitions 10 sets it’s grueling! I bought some albumin pro . powder to avoid the whey now that I’m paleo. Ugh! It foams up like u wouldn’t believe and gives me such gas I’ll soon have no friends! I will go back to whey! U have made me feel ok to do so! 😉
      As always, thanks!

    14. My friend, YOU ROCK!! Oh THANK YOU for this.
      I was feeling overwhelmed and all sorts of guilty about being paleo but not with my shake (which was difficult to find to begin with because so many taste like cardboard and garden dirt)! I’ve told you before that I am an Irish-Italian-Greek born FOOD WHORE so you can just imagine my struggle over this (and giggle with me)! I am SO glad you wrote this and SO glad I found it! #lifestruggles Xoxo!

    15. I have a question: I have been wheat free for nearly a year. The reason is I have severe arthritis in my knees and hands. My ortho doc attributes it to inflammation. The wheat free choice was mine, prior to seeing the ortho doc or my current integrationist. The integrationist doc wants me to go off dairy as well. However, he feels that whey protein is OK. When asked how it was all right and not a problem as it is basically dairy he made a comment which leads me to believe he thinks it comes from meat, not milk. My question is, if dairy is also causing the inflammation then is a dairy by-product going to continue to cause inflammation? Otherwise he wants me to go paleo. I was thinking that the whey protein might be less expensive than trying to buy enough meat in order to get enough protein. After consideration I am unsure if it will actually cost less. I am on a very strict budget. I currently get much of my protein from dairy sources. I have started making coconut yogurt. Is it safe to use a raw egg in a smoothie for protein? 35 years ago it was recommended by my OB but many advise against raw eggs today. I am not an athlete. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Soy is an absolute NO.

      1. Hi Carol…it sounds like you already know the answer. If you’re concerned about inflammation because of your arthritis, avoiding dairy is probably a best bet. I would recommend doing a Whole30 to determine how dairy really affects you. You can find more info here: http://whole30.com. Then, you’ll be able to make a more informed choice based on how it affects you when you reintroduce it. Eating any raw food carries a risk of bacterial contamination. You may remember several years back when folks got sick from eating raw spinach. If you don’t have a compromised immune system it may not pose as much of a risk to eat raw eggs, but I can’t say either way if it’s right for you.

    16. Would someone please give some recommendation for what to buy and try. Right now i occasionally do hemp protein and that is the only ingredient in the powder but it would be nice to switch up once in awhile. Thank you for your help and this blog rocks!!!

      1. Hi Kathleen,

        The type of protein you decide to use largely will depend on your individual tolerances. If you can’t tolerate whey, for example, you’d be best to avoid that. For whey, I recommend SFH. You might also try egg white protein but it’s pretty expensive.

    17. Hey I have a question about having protein and losing weight. I am coming off my second Whole 30. I do crossfit 4 to 5 times a week and on our lifting days I like to lift as heavy as I can safely. I usually I am an early bird I workout at 6am so I usually eat a hard boiled egg before my workout. Then once I get home I have my breakfast(2eggs and 2 pieces of bacon). I really don’t eat again until I have lunch. I just got your Performance Paleo book. I know you say don’t drink your calories if you are trying to lose weight/fat, but should I still be eating pre work,post work out and breakfast? Could I get away with whey protein (just to make life easy) or not right now?

      1. Hi Jamie,

        Given your schedule, I think it’s fine to eat a little something pre-workout like you’re doing and combine post-workout with breakfast. However, your breakfast / post-workout seems too small and is very high in fat and too low in carbs. Now, while fat is not a bad thing (and certainly the fat in eggs and bacon is good), eating a lot of fat postWO slows your digestion which can delay recovery. I would keep my breakfast on the lean protein / carb side. Eating carbs post-workout is going to help your recovery.

        Whey protein alone is very low in carbs so if you go that route, you’ll need to add carbs to it. And I do stand by my statement that drinking your calories is less optimal for fat loss 🙂

    18. What’s your thought on vegan protein powders? I’ve been hesitant on whey because of the lactose (I’m a little sensitive to just butter) so I opt for vegan. Is this still a good choice?

      1. I think they’re incredibly highly processed and very expensive and if you can’t tolerate whey, you’re better off eating real food protein sources (meat, seafood and eggs).

    19. Hi, my name is Roberta and I struggle to gain weight , and Sometimes is really hard for me to want to eat… So it’s easy to drink a whey protein …. What I should do in this case? Use whey and some source of fruit or greens ? To complementary it?

      1. Hi Roberta,

        Sometimes struggling to gain weight could mean that you’re eating a lot less than you think you are or that you have some gut integrity issues where it’s difficult for your body to absorb all the nutrients you’re eating.

        If you truly are a hard gainer, you may find some luck with a protein shake in addition to the 3 meals a day you’re already eating. I toss some greens and a frozen banana in mine and it’s pretty delicious that way.

    20. Awesome article! I’m about to start the Paleo diet and this was one of my biggest concerns! I train hard and do weight lifting 6 days a week and having a protein shake as recovery is a must in my book. I’ve seen different types of “paleo protein” any ideas if those are good?

      1. Hi Samantha,

        Why is it a must? Getting clear on that will give you your answer 🙂 In terms of being “paleo” always check what the source of the protein is. If it’s “beef” make sure you check with the manufacturer to be sure it’s beef muscle protein and not beef connective tissue protein (i.e. gelatin) since the amino acid content won’t be ideal for recovery.

    21. Hey Steph, thanks for the article! I’ve been toying with the idea of adding a shake/BCAA’s into my diet after my workouts, as I feel like I’m not getting enough protein, I was hoping I could get your advice? I’m lifting 5-6 days a week in the evening after work, and doing cardio (run/stairs) 4-5 mornings a week. So in the morning’s I’ve been eating a banana before my cardio, and my breakfast is normally an hour later and is usually a ground meat and sweet/white potato hash topped with a few eggs. Lunch is 6 hours later, and is usually a salad with veggies, a whole chicken breast, and a piece of fruit and almond butter. Then I hit the gym to lift after work, and dinner is usually right after. My goals are to gain muscle/lose fat/weight, but also to increase endurance. Lately I’ve been feeling that I’m not eating enough for the amount of activity I’m doing daily. I just purchased The Performance Paleo Cookbook for pre/post workout ideas, but was hoping I could get your input. Thanks in advance!

      1. Hi Leah,

        My best advice in the short term is to track how much you’re eating via an app like MyFitnessPal so you can get a rough idea. You can go from there.

        It’s hard to know from your description what kind of lifting, how taxing it is, if it’s focused on compound movements like deadlifts and squats or isolated movements like biceps curls and leg extensions, etc. Training 2x a day for your goals may actually be working against you. I do consulting and would be happy to chat with you via Skype. Let me know!

        1. Hey Steph, with lifting I’m doing a 4 day split. So chest/tris, back/bis, legs and shoulders, then a rest day. Usually about an hours worth per day. And I think it’s a bit of both types of movements. I’ve done Whole 30 in the past and part of what I like about it is not having to really worry about measuring and weighing everything. I was hoping to do the same with going paleo. My brother is a bodybuilder and trainer and wants me to count macros, but I feel I can get a little obsessive about it and would rather just eat and not have to stress that much about it. But I guess a week or two wouldn’t hurt.
          How does your consulting work?
          Thanks again!

          1. Hi Leah…I guess I didn’t explain right…I don’t mean to get obsessive about counting but I mean to get a ballpark of what you’re eating. A lot of women, in my experience working with clients, underestimate how much they eat. From there you can sort of eyeball it, but I’ve seen what is in a lot of the Whole30 pics out there and oh my…the portions are miniature.

            The link to check out my consulting is here if you’d like to read more: https://www.stupideasypaleo.com/product/nutrition-or-fitness-coaching-with-steph-gaudreau-one-on-one/

    22. Thank you for a very informative article. I started doing CrissFit about 18 months ago and I’m trying to go Paleo and trying to lose weight, a lot of weight! I read that you do not recommend drinking calories if one is trying to lose weight. I usually make an egg white protein smoothie with almond milk, frozen berries, kale and peanut butter for my breakfast (and keep drinking the same smoothie post workout). What are your thoughts on this and is there a particular Paleo-approved protein powder that you can recommend? Thank you.

      1. I would recommend switching to solid food for breakfast and if you want to use a shake, save it for after your workout.

        The type of protein you choose is very personal and depends on your digestion, budget, etc. There are lots of paleo-friendly options out there. Some are made with beef protein. Check out PureWOD for a version of that.

        1. Ok thank you, I will check it out. However, why do you recommend solid food for breakfast instead of a protein smoothie?

          1. Protein shakes digest waaaaaay too fast. Typically will leave you feeling hungrier throughout the day. Liquid food digests faster than having to chew your food and chewing is part of satiety. If you’re focusing on weight loss, eat your calories…don’t drink them.

    23. I’m new to this paleo thing. I’ve just started exercising 6 days a week. Mostly cardio and some weight traing. I want to lose fat and gain lean muscle, but not bulk up. What carbs do you recommend for pre/post workout meals?

      1. If your main goal is fat loss, 6 days a week may be too much to start with depending on how intense it is. Intense exercise, lots of cardio, etc can raise stress hormones, making it harder to lose fat. You’re not going to “bulk up” unless you do some really specific high rep, moderate weight exercises. You may gain muscle but that’s a good thing. More muscle = increases your metabolism.

        If fat loss is your main goal, you’ll want to stick to carbs in the post-workout period only and eat things like sweet potato, plantains, etc that are not grain-based.

        There’s no simple answer and your carb intake is personal based on your body size, intensity of workout, etc. For most people I recommend they not go below 100 grams of carbs a day, and many people will need more even if their goal is fat loss.

        You can read more about it in my book, The Paleo Athlete: https://www.stupideasypaleo.com/product/the-paleo-athlete-ebook/

    24. Hi Steph –

      I have been doing HIIT consistently 3x/week for the past six months. When I first started, I had a lot of weigh to lose and was smack dab in the middle of a W30 and then continued to eat mostly paleo until December, where I indulged perhaps a little too much during the holiday season. Over the past six months, I have lost 31 lbs, am down 9% in body fat (40.9 to 31.9), have reduced my BMI from 32 to 28, but have only increased my dry lean muscle 1.5 lbs.

      For the last four weeks, I switched things up and am doing a 5/3/1 weight training program 3x/week and am doing HIIT 1-2x/week. I do all of this at 5:00 a.m.

      I’d like to see more gains in muscle as I understand that will aid in fat loss? I still have a long way to go with getting my body fat percentage, BMI, and weight in a healthy range. I am almost done with another round of W30 and am looking to incorporate more protein. In reading through the comments, I see that you’ve recommended SFH in the past. I also know you recommend protein and fat pre-workout and protein and carbs post-workout. I have a hard time eating that early in the morning. I was doing hard boiled eggs pre-workout but I don’t think that’s enough protein. Can you tell me which SFH protein you recommend? Would you recommend a protein shake both pre and post workout?

      Thanks so much!

      1. Hey Megan,

        I’ll make the answer simpler for you than you think it is: if you’re trying to repair metabolism and gain muscle, it’s best for most people to eat their calories instead of drink them. Do whatever preworkout you’re doing (the eggs sound perfect) and just be aware of your protein intake throughout the day. Maybe in the meal after your workout, have a bit more protein than your other meals.

        Shakes aren’t ideal for fat loss clients in most cases, plus they’re way more expensive than real food.

        On the note of fat loss, sleep is actually way more critical than working out. Be sure you’re getting at least 8 hours!

    25. You could always consider using Plant Based proteins such as Warrior Blend by Sunwarrior. This product, which contains Peas, Hempseed and Goji Berries is a much more suitable option than Whey for those on a Paleo Diet.

      1. Plant-based definitely works for some though the amino acid profiles are often a bit different, it can work. Personally, I’ve tried many plant-based protein powders and am not a huge fan of the texture or flavor but that’s just me. If it can help someone who must be 100% non-dairy and is training hard to close the protein gap in their diets, that’s awesome. I think “paleo” is a moot point for someone who has to use protein powders anyway…just find what works with your body and don’t worry about “paleo” or not.

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