Fitting in working, exercising and sleeping - if I eat after I can't sleep.
July 8, 2010 9:52 AM   Subscribe

I've got a problem fitting in working, exercising and sleeping. Some activities are in the evening, and I eat after, then I can't sleep.

I eat the paleo diet and find that after a meat and fat meal I get an energy boost around 2-4 hours later, then can't sleep. Ideally I'd eat a meal about 3pm, but the problem is that I work, and some classes I attend are in the evening e.g. combat training...and it seems to make sense to eat after to replenish protein and rebuild.

I'm going to start lifting weights for strength and you pretty much have to eat after that, right? If I left it and ate in the morning, my body wouldn't be able to rebuild properly overnight.

I don't know what my work schedule will be, but I may have to fit weights in in the evening as well.

Any ideas for how I can fit all this in that work with a paleo diet..i.e. not a gallon of milk a day etc.
posted by Not Supplied to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'm guessing you are eating a large meal close to bedtime, which will keep anyone awake. Instead, try eating smaller meals, 5-6 a day, which won't overload your system. That way, you always have the food you need, your metabolism is stoked and you can go beddie-bye worry-free.
posted by teedee2000 at 10:07 AM on July 8, 2010

I'm going to start lifting weights for strength and you pretty much have to eat after that, right? If I left it and ate in the morning, my body wouldn't be able to rebuild properly overnight.

If you eat your evening meal an hour or two before working out, and then have a protein shake right afterward (would egg protein powder mixed with water fit a paleo diet? Or maybe you could invent something Rocky-esque with eggs?), I think that'd be enough. It's best to get some protein immediately after working out, but it doesn't have to be an entire meal as long as you're getting enough protein throughout the day. A protein shake before bed is pretty standard, and shouldn't mess with your sleep the way a big meal would.

Rest is as important as protein for recovery, and probably even more so. If you're not sleeping enough, a big end-of-day meal isn't worth it.
posted by vorfeed at 10:11 AM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Why not have a small meal after your evening exercise? Protein with a simpler carbohydrate source, like a fruit. If you want to eschew protein powder as well then bring along something like chicken or hardboiled eggs to consume immediately after.

If you're doing IF, then remember that many people use a feeding window of up to 8 hours. You don't have to shove everything into one meal.
posted by Anonymous at 10:38 AM on July 8, 2010

Also: IF ("Intermittent Fasting") is not a required aspect of Paleo. Paleo is what you eat, with what you eat depending on who you talk to, and IF is how and when you eat it.

Robb Wolf talks a lot about balancing athletics and Paleo, his stuff is well worth reading.
posted by Anonymous at 10:40 AM on July 8, 2010

Strongly seconding Robb Wolf. If you've never engaged in any kind of weight training before, you will see big gains rather quickly whether or not you dial in on your nutrition. Try to have a protein rich snack after you lift, but if it's going to keep you up, it's much more important to get a good night's rest.
posted by telegraph at 10:51 AM on July 8, 2010

I eat steaks in bed and guzzle cottage cheese, milk, olive oil, protein shakes right before going to sleep and I have no problems. You'll get used to it. You'll need to start eating more anyway so that will take away whatever rush of energy you're getting.

The main problem on the paleo diet is going to be getting enough carbs. Almond meal and yams are about to become your new best friends! I can eat about 10lbs of yams a week so I hope you have a costco membership.

T-nation is great site. You'll get good information from experienced lifters over there. Here is a thread called "Paleo Diet Cookbook" - it has some good recipes in there and I'm sure with some searching or posting a new thread over there you can get some better ideas of what to do.
If you post in the beginners forums people will even be nice enough to help you lay out an exact meal by meal plan for your day as long as you put in some effort to construct something first.
posted by zephyr_words at 11:17 AM on July 8, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers...good to hear your experience. So, I know it's hard to say but if I was to eat a main meal earlier, any guesses how much of the day's protein it would be good to put after a strength training workout?

I'm 6' male and weigh about 168 pounds/76 kilos?
posted by Not Supplied at 11:40 AM on July 8, 2010

Honestly, if you are not a high-level athlete or bodybuilder it will not make that much of a difference. As in, unless you need that extra 0.0005% boost if you're getting by perfectly calculating the exact carb/protein ratio it isn't worth it. Get in at least 20-30g of protein and a good amount of carbs (this one you'll have to feel out for yourself--generally a piece of fruit like a banana is a good place to start) and you should do fine.
posted by Anonymous at 12:28 PM on July 8, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks
posted by Not Supplied at 2:12 PM on July 9, 2010

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