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The Role of Clean Eating on Athletic Performance

The Role of Clean Eating on Athletic Performance - Guest Blog by Stina Sloyer, SoCal Regional

Athlete After Regionals, Pete and Sarah asked me to guest blog about the role of clean eating on athletic performance…. So exciting! I’m honored! So I’m going to touch on that, and some other things as well. Let’s be clear, I’m no scientist, but this is going to be a rather qualitative account of my own personal experiences and thoughts on the subject.

First of all, I think paleo is awesome. I’ve been (mostly) paleo for over a year and a half and it’s had a profound effect on my life. "Paleo Stina" is much, much happier than "Non-Paleo Stina". She feels better, she’s way more ninja, and she’s experienced a whole host of other awesome side effects (incessant acid reflux eliminated, faster recovery, more toned physique, stronger hair and nails, etc.) Ok, I’m done with the third person, I promise. Sure, it’s taken some time to adjust, but the process has been well worth it. For instance, I had to figure out how to not drive my non-paleo family and friends crazy with my paleo lifestyle. I had to re-learn how to shop, cook, eat out, etc. I also had to learn how to read my body’s needs better; over time, I’ve become better at telling when I need to eat more fat or more starches (upping the sweet potatoes and other starchier veggies), depending on how I’m feeling and performing, and what I am doing training-wise.  But - bonus - it’s also becoming increasingly easy to be paleo as gluten-free and other such diets are becoming so much more mainstream – especially here in Southern California.

So all of that is pretty glorious and exciting. And while I had been eating paleo for a while, leading up to the SoCal Regionals this year I was eating Pete’s Paleo almost exclusively, which was wonderful and awesomely delicious, of course, but also had other positive and remarkable impacts. Pete’s ingredients are way higher quality than my own shopping/cooking (I confess, I’m not so diligent about organic, grass-fed everything), and I was very pleasantly surprised by the even-more-profound effect this had on my athletic performance leading up to and at Regionals. Not only did I have an Individual Regionals performance in which I think I surprised everyone, including myself, but in the few weeks leading up to Regionals, I was hitting PRs all over the place: power clean, squat snatch, front squat, overhead squat, etc. Now…. Is this the result of tapering? Strategic cycling? Years of practice? Stars aligning? Random chance? It’s hard to say for sure, but one thing that I was doing differently was the version of paleo I was pursuing was of the highest quality, thanks to Pete and Sarah. (You guys are awesome! Thank you!!!)

But all of this brings me to a bigger point: quality matters. And everything has an impact. So seek and demand quality in every aspect of your life – in athletic pursuits, health, career, relationships. Make the inputs count because they all have an effect – the food, water, sleep, training, attitude, intentions, thoughts, goals, smiles, all of it! Of course, these things manifest themselves in different ways and have varying effects, but everything plays a part in some way, shape, or form – and it’s all connected. And food is the most obvious source of fuel, so make it good. As a very wise man (Pete) once told me, “You don’t put 87 in a Ferrari…” So how could you put crap food in your body and expect to perform at your best?

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