Lifting Meet Nutrition, Water Intake & Salt, Supplement Dosing, Genetic vs. Nutritional, Mono, Brain Tumor – Paleo Solution Episode 118

Performance Menu: Journal of Health & Athletic Excellence

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  1. [3:25] Game Day Nutrition For Weightlifting Competition
  2. [18:45] Increased Water Intake
  3. [24:16] Supplement Dosing Strategy
  4. [31:33] Can Paleo Predecessors Prevent Genetic Disease?
  5. [39:33] Mono Relapse and Recovery
  6. [44:29] Last Meal
  7. [46:07] Brain Tumor
  8. [56:21] Intermittent Fasting: Healthy or Dumb?


1. ‘Game-day’ nutrition questions from a competitive lifter
James says:
Hi Robb/Greg

Hoping to pick your brains from both of your experiences with lifting competitions of some form or another!

I’m a powerlifter in the UK, competing in the 66kg class in Raw, drug-free, IPF-sanctioned events. My questions pertain to manipulating bodyweight around competition time, something I’ve experimented with the past year, not always entirely successfully!

Outside of competition I sit at about 68-69kgs bodyweight at around 10% bodyfat. My diet is mostly moderate-carb paleo aside from a little dairy from the occasional protein shake and a bit of good quality cheese/goats cheese a couple of times per week. To get under the 66kg weight limit I’ve been using the ‘hyperhydrosis’ trick you’ve discussed on the podcast before, plus some major cutting back on carbs like fruit etc in the week preceding the comp. I’ve never missed weight (though I’ve come perilously close a couple of times!), but my problem is I always feel sub-par and weak on the morning of the competition, and rarely manage to equal/better my gym PBs on the platform. Typically after waiting my turn for weigh in and kit check, I get about 1hr 15 mins to re-hydrate and re-fuel before I need to start warming up. I basically pound down as much water as I can, with electrolytes added, plus plenty of high GI fruits along with a protein shake or two to get some energy into my system. My strength and energy levels never seem to recover by the time I head out onto the stage, and after an hour or two by the time it gets to the deadlifts I start to feel like crap.

So my first question (at long last!), what insights can you share from your own personal experiences, and those of the lifters you’ve coached at meets, on the best ways to cut weight and more importantly re-hydrate and fuel yourself for maximum performance on the platform without resorting to the colossal portions of cereal and pasta type foods that most other lifters seem to use?

Second question: Obviously it would be great if I could just be sub-66kgs all year around and not have to worry about cutting weight. However, at 10% bodyfat at 68-69kgs I’m pretty lean and don’t have a lot of bodyfat to lose and obviously don’t want to lose muscle mass. What in your opinion is the lowest one can take bodyfat WITHOUT seeing any drop in strength numbers? I’m deeply jealous of most of my main rivals who turn up to competitons and make weight at >15% bodyfat whilst having had a full breakfast before arriving! (Had to get the obligatory use of the word ‘whilst’ from a British listener in there somewhere Greg!)

Any and all help greatly appreciated, and thanks for all your great work in these podcasts and your books.

Cheers, James

2. Increased water intake
Jay says:
G’day Rob,

I have just started my training in the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service here in Australia. Its summer at the moment and we are reaching temperatures of around 35 degrees Celsius, which I believe is roughly 95 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity around 80-90%.

My question relates to increased water intake and the resultant requirement for increased sodium intake.  I have eaten paleo for around 2 years.  I envisage that during training there will be times when I am  consuming a significant amount of water.  I have no idea exactly how much, as we are yet to start the practical components, however I think 2-3 times my current daily intake, which is approx 3 litres, would not be impossible.

Would this increase in water intake require increased sodium intake (or an increase in anything else for that matter) and if so, what is the best way to achieve this.

If this or a similar question has already been answered please direct to the relevant podcast/blog post.

Thanks very much for your help and thanks for this awesome website/podcast.

3. Beards! Drinking! ….and supplement dosing

Trevor says:

Hey Robb and Greg,
Does growing a huge ZZ Top beard directly affect performance in the olympic lifts?  I have found a Greg Everett or Matt Foreman type beard adds 10 lbs minimum to my lifts, but am hesitant to prescribe this to people in my gym who may have plateaued. If so, what would our women counterparts do? Should I be trimming the beard on 73%/83% days and prep for the max days at weeks end or cycles end?

On a more serious note, the best drinking game ever is a shot every time robb says “jive” on the podcast. I’m trying to use it in everyday vernacular as much as possible, let’s make it mainstream.

Okay finally a question. When supplement dosing, what is the effect of taking the full amount all at once, versus periodically with meals or over the course of the day.  Take Fish Oil as an example.  If I am currently taking all 3-4 grams before bed, am I not getting the full benefits? I have played around with this for 2 week cycles where I alternated full dose and split evenly with meals.  I always felt like I woke up feeling much better with that high dose.

So do certain individuals respond better to single high doses versus periodic? Is it only certain supplements or across the board? i.e. Vitamin D, Glucosamine, etc…
Thanks guys,


4. Genetically predisposed Illnesses
Josh says:

Me and my wife have “discussion” going. Both side of which have no scientific knowledge to back them, so that’s where you guys come in.

There are some types of illness that seem to be extremely genetically preordained. Type 1 diabetes and Huntington’s being the main ones i can think of. I’m sure there are a few others that you can think of. The question is: If a person and a persons mother and grandmother ate a paleo style diet would those types of diseases manifest? My wife’s major point being the kids that come out born with type 1 “diabeetus”. She says that shows it has nothing to do with diet. Huntington’s being a bit different because there is plenty of time for a diet to make a difference. Genetic screw ups are I’m sure possible. It seems like these are more predispositions to a problem and not certainties. Thanks for you time. Sorry for only having 1.5 jokes in the question.

5. Mono Relapse, Recovery and Crossfit
Jay says:
Robb… (and/or Greg):

I had a pretty bad case of Mono 1 year ago in January (contrary to popular belief, kissing is not the only way of getting this… case in point, try beer pong every weekend for a couple months).  Was sickly and in bed for a long time.  Once recovered, stress and poor diet led to a relapse in May, which was even worse.  Despite very low impact cardio, decent sleep, mostly Paleo diet, tons of books/research on adrenal fatigue/mono, and sadly no beer pong, recovery this time has been incredibly slow.

I want to get back into Crossfit, and wanted your thoughts on a good way to approach this, and if you have ever heard of / had any clients undergoing the same issues.  I understand that hitting a metcon 4 days a week is probably out of the question, but at this point I am tired of just walking or rowing for exercise so would like to begin working my way back to more high intensity programs.

Thanks for your help; I know you live a mucho crazy life (or at least it seems so from the podcasts), but if you get time I would really appreciate a response via email if this doesn’t get aired on the next one.

6. Best meals
gregandbeaker says:

Hi Robb,

The Gingrich administration has sentenced you to death for causing profit losses in big Pharma and big Agra.  What do you request for your last meal?

7. Brain Tumour

Andrew says:

Hi Rob

I have been referred to you by my brother who has been a convert for the past 5 weeks and reaping amazing rewards. I have just been diagnosed with a brain tumour and think it is a good idea to start a strict diet. Have you had any luck reducing brain tumours? It is a type 1 glioma about 2.1cm circumference located in my thalamus.

I have started your diet yesterday but a quick review of the net has unearthed a huge amount of literature on eating to reduce brain cancer.

Look forward to your thoughts

8. Intermittent fasting: Healthy lifestyle or DUMBEST IDEA EVER?
Ashleigh says:

Hey Rob and Greg:

OK, I’m biased, because I already hate the concept of IF. But it seems like it’s the new hot thing to get people lean and losing weight, so I want to know more about it. Despite the myriad articles on the subject these days, it’s hard to find a clear directive on how to fast properly (how often, how long is long enough to fast, are we actually skipping a meal or do we still have the same amount of meals, etc). All I keep thinking is, if some women’s magazine covered this lifestyle or “diet” and talked about the benefits of “caloric restriction” there would be an uproar. I know most of the Western world is fat these days and that’s a problem, but is intermittent fasting really a good idea?

First, can you tell me what YOU think of IF? Do you ever do it, do you support it, do you think there’s ample evidence that it’s good for you if done properly? And how exactly do you “do it properly”?

Second is a more personal application: what if you’re someone like me who wakes up hungry and usually eats a delicious protein-rich breakfast immediately? What if your body just really likes the routine of eating every few hours? Is the stress on my body and mind of going hungry for no real reason worth the supposed benefits of intermittent fasting? I eat a pretty strict Paleo diet and enjoy it; I’m fit and relatively lean (5’4, around 125#, 17% body fat) but I’m looking to take it up a notch.  As a woman who really enjoys eating, I strongly dislike the idea of IF, but I guess I’d give it a try if I really though it was worth it. I want the truth, but I’m kind of hoping you’ll tell me IF isn’t that great so I can stop thinking about it.


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Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation

Have you heard about the Paleo diet and were curious about how to get started? Or maybe you’ve been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? Then Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation is for you.


  1. Tudor says

    Rob, please translate your shopping list into Romanian!…i want to begin eating paleo but i just can’t figure out what’s the right designation into Romanian for some of the foods you listed.(used google translate to write this message, also posted this on a couple of the blog posts but no answer from you or your staff)

  2. James says

    Thanks for answering my question!

    The next weight category up from 66 is 74, not sure where you got 88kgs from Robb! I guess the obvious solution would be for me to go up in weight. However, ego will probably get in the way of that; in the 66’s I’m one of the top 2 or 3 lifters in the country with a real shot at nationals this year, but as a 74 I would get humped by the competition!

    The thought of cold sweetpotatoes in the morning in the post weigh in period doesn’t exactly fill me with delight, but I guess I could give it a whirl at the next comp! Anyone got any good cooking methods for having sweet pots still tasting nice the morning after, bearing in mind i’ll have no way of reheating them in the morning?!

    Guess i’m gonna have to bite the bullet and try and drop some more bodyfat in the next couple of months. Ugh, i HATE dieting!

    Cheers, James

      • Charley says

        I almost prefer mine cold! I bake a batch full at a time so that I can have it without the wait. I take a fork, mash it up with cinnamon and ginger and a spoonfull of coconut oil. Taste like sweet potato pie to me.

  3. Amy B. says

    Hey Robb!

    Great answer about the genetic predisposition to illness. I know Paul Chek can be wacko sometimes, but he’s talked about this a lot — how the emotional state of the mother has an enormous impact on the psychological tendencies of the child. (And those tendencies last throughout life.) This is why things like depression and anxiety tend to “run in the family.” I think there’s a certain degree of hard-wiring that probably can’t be undone. If a mom is constantly stressed out, or worried, or something like that, it’s priming the baby to enter a world in which it has to be able to cope in an environment like that. (Same thing with overweight, diabetic mothers and the tendency for those kids to develop T2D.) I think a lot of psychological issues can be helped a great deal by diet (a la Julia Ross’s Mood Cure), but I also think there is a degree of hard-wiring that simply can’t be overcome.

    As for the brain tumor and a lower-protein ketogenic diet, SPOT ON! I’ve been invited to give a guest lecture to biochemistry and PA students and faculty, and while the bulk of it is going to focus on correcting all the myths about carbohydrate restriction, you can bet I’ll be addressing a couple of things as an outgrowth of that: specifically the connections between high blood glucose/insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and cancer.

    You’re right on about cancer cells being sugar junkies. In GCBC, Gary Taubes has an entire chapter devoted to dementia, cancer, and aging. It’s FASCINATING. He explains very clearly (and in darn near plain English, go figure!) how it is that high-carbohydrate diets fuel the fire. It’s not that a high-carb diet *causes* cancer. Not at all. But like you said, high-carb diets give cancer cells what they want and need to thrive — a constant supply of fuel. I agree with you – I don’t know why cancer patients aren’t immediately put on ketogenic diets. (Probably due to standard of care and legal issues, plus the ridiculous fear of saturated fat and cholesterol, of course.)

    As for Alzheimer’s, some progressive docs out there actually call it “type 3 diabetes.” When you start looking at the research on glycation and IDE (insulin degrading enzyme), it’s madness. If you wanted to write a recipe for how to destroy the human brain and then deprive it of all the best things to *repair* itself, you could not do better than a low-fat, low-cholesterol, high-carbohydrate (particularly refined sugar) diet.

    Hehheh…I get so worked up over this stuff. I’m gonna have a hard time getting through my talk without turning into a potty mouth! 😉

  4. snowcreature says

    Great podcast. I have a cousin who has brain cancer, so this could not possibly be more timely for me.

    But my comment is more around how interesting it is to hear your take on intermittent fasting. Especially love having that rare moment of surprise where you DON’T say something I already have come to agree with. (A hormetic stressor?)

    Not surprised to hear that recent research doesn’t suggest IF will yield anything approaching the life-extension benefits seen in animal studies.

    But… (as a relative noob to this whole scene) it seems like the life extension angle really has little or nothing to do with why people are excited about intermittent fasting.

    The excitement seems more around issues like:

    – nutrient partitioning
    – insulin levels and insulin sensitivity
    – body fat levels
    – benefits to HGH and other hormone levels
    – retraining one’s body to do just fine drawing down stored fat as a fuel source

    These are the aspects of IF that have DeVany, Berkhan, Mark Sisson, Brad Pilon and other apparently well-informed and research-based guys all suggesting it’s a great thing.

    I’m just left with the feeling that you veered off into the life extension cul de sac and never got out to answer the real question.

    I’m not concerned about life extension. Assume it’s not gonna happen. But am very concerned with the other purported benefits listed above. Does IF deliver them or not? My sense is that it probably does deliver.

    I bet I’m not the only one left wondering.

  5. Kira says

    Thnx for the Intermittent Fasting explanation – I am relieved to hear the answer both me and Ashleigh were hoping for ;-)))
    Although it may be useful for me personally for the perspective of strengthening will power – I am too damn addicted to tasty food…

  6. says

    Can’t wait for the transcript of this one. Sadly, a friend of mine has colon cancer and is really struggling with her treatment side effects. I know she could be helped so much with a dietary intervention, but it does not seem to be in the works.

      • Andy says

        “Now, however, a collection of >90,000 plant remains, recently recovered from the Stone Age site Ohalo II (23,000 B.P.), Israel, offers insights into the plant foods of the late Upper Paleolithic. The staple foods of this assemblage were wild grasses, pushing back the dietary shift to grains some 10,000 years earlier than previously recognized.”

        This part seems to suggest that the idea (common among paleo people) that humans didn’t eat grains at all until 10 000 years ago isn’t totally accurate. The paper doesn’t really talk about whether grain consumption was something peculiar to this particular site or if it was more widespread. Also I wonder how significant a part of their diet these grasses were – were they major staples or a relatively insignificant part of their diet? It makes sense to me that hunter gatherer peoples would eat whatever they came across in times of scarcity, including grasses, but whether they could ever be gathered in large enough quantities to form a major part of their diet seems unlikely to me.

        As someone who knows more about this stuff than me I just wondered what your thoughts were on the topic?

  7. Dwayne says

    Interesting note on the epigenetics question and Robb’s answer about how stress manifests itself in subsequent generations: my son has ADHD and I read a really interesting book called Scattered Minds by Gabor Mate, M.D.

    He reports much the same phenomenon with Jews during WWII and the stresses associated with period. There is an extremely strong correlation between women who were pregnant during that era (and the first few months of a baby’s development)and developing ADHD.

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