Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30: The Ultimate Guide to Transforming Your Fitness with Natural Eating

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Before we address anything along the lines of Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30, I want you to think about something: how many times have you been told to eat your fruit and veg?

At the threat of sounding like a cantankerous parent, I’m here to tell you that there are few things more important than your nutrition.

You may already know that poor diet, obesity, and a lack of exercise are among the major risk factors that lead to cardiovascular disease, responsible for more than a quarter of all UK deaths each year. And you may have seen Cancer UK’s current anti-obesity campaign, driven by recent research that shows obesity is the biggest cause of cancer after smoking.

All pretty scary stuff, right? But how do you go about changing bad habits?

The truth is, to make big life changes, like completely changing what and how you eat, you’re going to need some direction. If you want to nail your fitness goals or get your body competition-ready, clear meal plans are the final piece of the jigsaw alongside regular exercise.

And if this is the kind of advice you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place…

In this Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30 guide, we’re going to take you through three of the most popular nutrition movements out there.


Chapter One: How to kickstart your fitness with Whole30
Chapter Two: Where to go next: how to win in the long-run with Paleo
Chapter Three: A Different Approach: Everything you need to know about Keto
Chapter Four: Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30: Choosing the best nutrition for you and your fitness needs
Chapter Five: The best hacks you need to know to stick with your new nutrition
Chapter Six: Hello from the other side: Nutrition success stories from Fitness Fanatics
Chapter Seven: The OriGym Nutrition checklist: Everything you need to nail your nutrition

Before we get started, you can develop your nutrition knowledge and become a nutritionist in as little as 12 weeks with our Level 4 Sports Nutrition Course. Enquire today to find out more or download our course prospectus to see exactly what we offer.

Chapter One: How to Kickstart Your Fitness with Whole30

Tired of scrolling through Instagram or Twitter, seeing tags like #Whole30 and #EatCleanWhole30 without knowing what the heck it’s all about?

Well, look no further! You’re about to get the lowdown on all things Whole30: what it is; why it’s so popular; what you should look out for; and, most importantly, what you can eat while following this program.

What is Whole30?

Whole30 is a nutritional program that eliminates any foods that may harm your body. These negative effects typically include a lack of energy, inflammation, skin issues, and bloating. The foods that you cut include dairy, sugar, grains, and legumes.

Now, this may sound quite extreme, but there’s a catch…

The reason we started with Whole30 in our guide to Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30 is that, rather than a long-term lifestyle change or a nutritional program to stick by until the end of your days, Whole30 is specifically designed to give your body a quick reboot. You know when your computer runs too many programs at once, freezes, crashes and starts making that weird fizzing noise until you’re forced to power off? Well, that’s kind of like what happens with Whole30…

One of the defining features of the program, and a large part of its enduring appeal, rests on the fact that it lasts just 30 days.

30 days? Just 30 measly days of clean eating? Why didn’t you say! Surely that can’t be that difficult…

Well, the answer to that may change depending on who it is you ask. Whole30’s co-creator Melissa Hartwig would say not: cutting out certain foods for a period of 30 days is not difficult. And this is echoed in Whole30’s strict line against cheating. Just check out the language used on the Whole30 website:

Fighting Cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Drinking black coffee… Is. Not. Hard. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.

Is that the voice of the cantankerous parent I hear again?

It’s true, Whole30 takes a pretty hard line on rules and cheating. That is, however, another part of its appeal. In the battle between Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30, Whole30 holds the ace in the sleeve of having a central guide, with recipes, do’s and do not lists, and rules.

Do people like being given rules? You bet!

The Whole30 plan is about rebooting your approach to food, and the program wants you to focus on what you eat, and that’s it. For example, one of the more surprising rules is that participants are not allowed to weigh or measure themselves for the full 30 day program. This is to get you to focus on how you feel, and the positive effects of cutting certain foods from your diet.

If there is one golden rule to the Whole30 program, it’s that if you are ever unsure about something in the supermarket, opt for whole foods and vegetables, as well as organic meat and seafood (if organic is in your price range, that is).

For those of you wanting to know exactly what you can and can’t tuck into during mealtimes (let’s face it, that’s why we’re all here…) check out this handy table we put together:

What are the benefits of Whole30?

There are several physical benefits of taking on the Whole30 challenge. Those who are brave enough to take the plunge (and importantly, do it without cheating) have experienced tangible health benefits including better sleep, improved skin, and more energy. Find out how else you can increase your energy levels by checking out our article on '13 Best Vitamins for Energy: Health & Purchase Guide'.

Perhaps the most important benefit of Whole30 diet is that it allows you to identify foods that negatively affect you on a day-to-day basis.

Think about that for a second. As humans, we all tend to ignore small aches and pains, especially if we can’t see their source. Imagine knowing exactly what is was that was affecting your sleep or your ability to concentrate, and being able to eliminate it from your diet for good.

Perhaps then, the main benefit of Whole30 in the Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30 equation is that it is a fantastic tool for investigating your body. A gateway program to more sustainable nutrition choices at a later stage.

What are the drawbacks of Whole30?

Despite Whole30’s strict, no-cheating-this-is-really-not-that-difficult stance, it turns out that it might be a little bit difficult…

The Whole30 diet was recently ranked at the bottom of a US nationwide poll of diets (as judged by expert nutritionists from America) for precisely the reason that it argues against that it is unsustainable and unrealistic.

In fairness, however, the short and concentrated time frame of the Whole30 does make a difference. Put it this way, if I’m running on a treadmill and someone tells me that a sprint is coming up and that it’s my choice whether to complete it or not, I’m more likely to agree if I know it’s only for 30 seconds, rather than 30 minutes.

The diet does, however, suffer a little from its inflexibility.

Picture the scene: you’ve just been shopping, loaded up on all your Whole30 ingredients – no cheat ingredients in sight –and you have a lightbulb moment: “I bet I could make an amazing dessert, using only the ingredients in front of me.” On any other program, this would be fine – encouraged, even.

Not on Whole30. The team behind Whole30 frowns upon what they call the “Sex with your pants on” approach to food (or, making treats out of Whole30 ingredients). Complete abstinence is what you should aim for, for your psychological clarity, and therefore you should refrain from trying to remake brownies out of your clean ingredients, however tempting that might be….

Whole30 Grocery List

When stripped back, Whole30 is pretty easy. Buy whole ingredients, or contain only one or two products, and you should be okay.

If you do need some handy pointers, though, here’s what our Whole30 shopping list would look like:

Our Favourite Whole30 Recipes:

Savoury Breakfast Salad via Rachel Mansfield
Chicken Pot Pie Soup via Jay’s Baking Me Crazy
Lime and Garlic Salmon via Laughing Spatula

Chapter Two: Where to go next: How to win in the long-run with Paleo

When we talk about Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30, if we consider Whole30 the key to unlock the door to better nutrition – the starting gun and the initial sprint off the line – then Paleo is the hard miles that follow.

If you’ve heard of any of the three nutritional programs out of Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30 before reading this guide, more likely than not is that you’ve encountered people talking about eating Paleo.

But what is it, and why is it so flipping popular? 

What is Paleo?

Paleo – or Palaeolithic Diets– are all about eating as our ancestors did.

Which ancestors? Our Palaeolithic ancestors! Well, what kind of things did they eat?

The Palaeolithic era was pre-agricultural, so we’re talking about hunter-gatherers as ancestors, not farmers. Think, of animal skins and spears, not dungarees and corn between the teeth.

As you can imagine, this means a lot of organic meat, fish, and vegetables. For many, this absence of sugars and processed foods constitutes a massive change in nutrition.

But why would anyone do this to themselves, especially when there are doughnuts in the world?…

Here’s the thing: over the years since the Palaeolithic era, the kind of foods we eat have quite clearly changed. However, despite such changes in diet, followers of Paleo believe that our digestive systems have remained much the same.

The kinds of foods Paleo cuts out of diets – think: legumes, cereal grains, dairy, processed foods and potatoes – are in fact, according to Paleo experts, placing strain on our digestive tracts, because our bodies aren’t readily designed to consume them regularly. Therefore, the more you cut these foods out of your diet, the better you will feel.

Essentially, what we’re saying with the Palaeolithic Diet is that you have to go all in: grab the bull by the horns…and then eat the bull.

What can and can’t I eat with Paleo?

As we’ll soon discuss in the pros and cons of Paleo, unlike Whole30, there is no central guide or standardised rulebook. This allows for a degree of flexibility in interpretation – which for many is a good thing!

Just remember, the golden rule of Paleo is to eat as your ancestors did. Therefore…

Forget about grains. When you go Paleo, they will become but a distant memory. Why?

Well, it’s kind of linked to the above. Our bodies don’t really digest grains well, and this can lead to bloating, illness, skin conditions, and other pretty nasty things. This is all down to a little thing called Gluten.

Ah, you’ve heard of that!

As it turns out, there’s a good reason why gluten-free products are proliferating in the market. Gluten found in things like rye and wheat, and therefore found in bread, pasta, biscuits and just about everything else you thought you loved from the supermarket, is not good for our bodies.

Yep, even your comfort foods are out to get you.

You’re also going to have to scrap additional sugar (unless it’s coming from a natural source), and processed foods are a no-go: a hunter-gatherer wouldn’t be able to nip to Tesco for a pepperoni pizza, so neither should you. Similarly, milk and dairy is off the list. Although there were dairy-producing animals in the olden days, hunter-gatherers weren’t prone to running up to cows and sucking on their udders.

If you’re feeling a bit demoralised right now, stick with us.

There are loads of benefits to going Paleo, and once you get the hang of it, the diet can be as fun and varied as more flexible programs. For the time being though, check out our handy table below for a quick checklist of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to Paleo.



What are the benefits of Paleo?

To start with, Paleo is fantastic when you’re training hard. This is as much about the psychology of Paleo, as it is about the benefits of eating clean meals (though, the abundance of lean meats, proteins, and veg will help to drastically change your body composition, too).

Paleo is a lifestyle and a culture. Because it is not a regimented diet plan, more of a guiding ethos to eat as our Palaeolithic ancestors once did, it allows people to be flexible and improve their nutrition by abiding by a neat framework.

For example, many CrossFit athletes are Paleo enthusiasts because that kind of culture is fostered within the sport itself.

As a result, Paleo is sustainable. Many people find that the open framework allows them to mould a Paleo nutritional plan into something more personalised. It is also the natural stepping stone after Whole30.

What are the drawbacks of Paleo?

A contentious drawback of Paleo, in some people’s eyes, is that there is no central expert to refer to. This means, with some more obscure ingredients, Paleo enthusiasts can often be found arguing whether something is Paleo or not on online forums.

There are, however, a couple of go-to experts who can be referred to when you need some advice. These are Dr Loren Cordain, whom many consider to be one of the founders of the modern Paleo movement, and Robb Wolf, a former student of Cordain, and author of The Paleo Solution.

As with all nutritional changes, there is also the danger that you will go through an initial period of feeling sluggish and lacking in energy. However, as your body adapts to the lack of carbs and sugar, it will begin to use up fat to produce energy. As we will soon discover, this process is called Ketosis, and it is the foundation of success in the Keto Diet.

Paleo Grocery List

Want to know how to shop like a hunter-gatherer, without heading into the forest? Here’s our shopping list for kick-starting your Paleo journey!


Favourite Recipes

Chapter Three: A different Approach: Everything you need to know about Keto

And then there was one.

In this battle of Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30, we have already seen that opinions on nutrition are polarised. Whole30, while being an excellent way to reboot your health, is considered by many to be unsustainable, and in some cases, dangerous. Conversely, followers of Paleo can be found disagreeing with each other as to whether products like Chia Seeds are Paleo at all (and let’s be honest, do any of us have the time to be arguing about seeds?).

However, of all the nutritional programs we’re looking at, Keto is by far the most controversial.

What is Keto?

A good way of thinking about Ketogenic diets is to consider them the radical, slightly scary but intelligent, siblings of the Paleo movement.

If we look to compare just Paleo vs. Keto, both programs cut carbohydrates, sugars, and processed foods from your diet. So far, so normal, right?

Well, things get a little more interesting when you consider the science behind the Keto Diet…

While eating less carbs is a knock-on effect of following the Paleo movement (no grains seriously reduce the number of carb-heavy foods), the Keto Diet relies on eradicating most of your carb intake.

This is deliberate. On the Keto Diet, drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake forces the body to use fat for energy, as opposed to glucose (produced by carbohydrates). This means, not only are you burning fat to produce energy, but the lack of excess carbs also means that no fat is being stored.

This is why the Keto diet can lead to quite radical weight loss over a short period. Find out more about how you can aid weight loss by reading our article here - '17 Best Herbs for Weight Loss'.

This process, of the body burning fat in the absence of glucose to produce energy, is called Ketosis. As you can imagine from the name, inducing Ketosis is the primary goal of the Ketogenic diet.

Any questions?


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How to induce Ketosis?

Now, you may be sat there thinking, hold-up, this all sounds pretty scary. And it’s true, a lot of the fine details of Keto tend to scare people off when it comes to Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30. Mainly, what the heck is Ketosis, and how do I get there?

More to the point, do I want to get there?

Well, if you’re following the Keto diet, the answer to the latter is most definitely, yes. Reaching Ketosis is kind of the whole point. How to get there is also, surprisingly, not that difficult to grasp. It just takes a little perseverance, as we’re about to find out…

As we’ve covered, you need to restrict your carbohydrates. This is the most basic, and probably the most important aspect of the Keto diet. Most guides suggest staying below a total of 35g of carbs per day (below 20g in terms of net carbs, which are the total amount of carbohydrates, minus the total fibre).

Another key to success on the Keto Diet is keeping track of your macros. Now, Macros, or macronutrients are like the building blocks of food. About the Keto Diet, your most important macros are carbohydrate, protein and fat.

Here’s where things get a little baffling…

If you’re reading this article, the likelihood is that you’re into your fitness, or, at the very least, you’re interested in how to improve your health. In almost every nutrition guide for people who want to increase strength and fitness levels, protein is suggested as the primary macronutrient. Protein helps muscles grow, and contains essential amino acids for muscle repair.

Long story short, we should all be eating more protein, right?

Wrong. The Keto Diet favours fat over protein, perhaps contradicting every piece of health advice you’ve ever received. In fact, when measuring macros, the Keto diet suggests that you should eat 70% fats, to 25% protein and 5% carbs.

Because your body will begin to run off fat when you enter Ketosis, providing your body with this direct source of energy is essential…though we admit, it may feel a little strange trying to convince your friends that bacon and double cream is part of your new health kick… 

What can I eat on a Keto Diet?

Given the above information and everything else to consider when we talk about Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30, it’s probably best that we just tell you what you can and can’t eat on a Keto Diet, before head-scratching turns to full-on, head banging on the table…

This is a general round-up to help you on your way. If you want a more specific idea of what foods are best for a Keto Diet, check out our Keto Grocery List below, as well as this amazing round-up of the best and worst Keto foods

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Find out more about health and nutrition with our articles below:

What are the benefits of Keto?

If you follow the Keto diet strictly – drinking plenty of water, not snacking, and tracking your macros – you will see weight loss, increased energy levels, and sustained satiety. There is, however, a catch: you may have to endure the dreaded Keto Flu before you see any benefits. But more on that in a second…

Because the Keto Diet completely changes how you approach food, and the kinds of foods you allow yourself to eat, your body transforms from a sugar-burner into a fat-burner. You are therefore constantly burning excess weight, which in the long-term, alongside regular exercise, will help you to achieve a lean body.

Keto has also been found to control blood sugar, which has practical benefits for anyone suffering from type 2 diabetes. Given that, in the UK, over three and a half million people have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the diet could help to improve the health of many, setting them on the right track in the long-term.

What are the drawbacks of Keto?

If you’re looking to start the Keto Diet straight away, there are a number of associated side-effects that you should know about. Oddly, they all seem to have their own Keto-themed names (cute, right?). Having cut carbs from their diet, people have, for example, reported instances of Keto Breath, Keto Rash, Keto Ache, and of course, the infamous Keto Flu.

Keto Flu is by far the most common side effect, and it usually occurs in the first couple of days after starting the diet. The most common symptoms are headache, fatigue, and light nausea, but these should subside fairly quickly, especially if you drink enough water.

There are perhaps some more serious concerns. For many, Keto constitutes a huge change in approach to nutrition, and many experts have argued that there isn’t enough evidence to suggest the benefits outweigh the potential dangers. The Keto Diet, for example, ranked only one place above Whole30 in a poll of diets judged by expert nutritionists in the USA, which is to say it came second last…

For many, the Keto Diet may be too radical, and they would in fact benefit from the more relaxed approach of Paleo. The Keto Diet suffers from the fact that it feels like a diet. You are unnaturally altering your approach to nutrition to enter a state of Ketosis, which means that a lot of people find it hard to sustain motivation.

Keto Grocery List

Keto can be hard enough without adding meal planning into the equation. Here’s a quick Keto shopping list to get you started:


Favourite Keto Recipes

Chapter Four: Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30: Choosing the best nutrition for you and your fitness needs

So, where does that leave us in this debate between Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30?

You may be stuck in a loop of googling things like “Keto Paleo food lists” or “Paleo ketogenic diet menu”, or even, “ketogenic help, how the heck does this work”, without really moving towards any concrete answers…

Similarly, you may be sat there thinking, I really need to change my nutrition somehow, but it's best to commit to one single meal plan for beginners, as opposed to mixing and matching between Paleo, Keto, and Whole30.

And we agree: if you’re looking to make a big change to the way you approach food, committing 100% to a plan will help you set off in the right direction. This is perhaps one of the best aspects of diets, despite many faults: they give you a framework to work with.

We dedicate a large chunk of our time to nutrition during our Level 2 Gym Instructing Courses and Level 3 Personal Trainers Qualifications, precisely because it is an often overlooked aspect of improving health and fitness.

So, how do you go about choosing?

For something as important as nutrition, you don’t want to just choose a program out of a hat. You also need to factor in your fitness and exercise, alongside your fitness. If you’re looking for your nutrition to provide you with extra energy during workouts, and to help you recover, you need to know which foods are best for helping in these specific areas, and which nutritional plan is best suited to your specific needs.

Well, you didn’t think we’d leave you to figure all that out for yourself, did you?

Food as Fuel: The Basics of Good Nutrition During Training

Now, we’re going to quickly take a step back from Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30 for a second, to explore, more generally, the basics of what you need to eat during training and exercise.

In terms of nutrition to fuel your fitness, you need to plan for three stages: before, during, and after workouts.

Here’s some quick, need-to-know pointers, following traditional nutritional advice:

Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30 – How do the diets measure up during training?

Given what we know so far about Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30, you may have some questions as to how you’re going to consume all of the required carbohydrates to keep your energy levels up.

Well, it’s true, you’re going to have to steer off the beaten track in terms of your nutrition if you’re going to follow one of these nutritional programs. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice performance, compared to athletes on a more traditional nutritional plan.

Let’s start with Paleo. It’s true that most people will suffer a drop-off in performance in the first couple of weeks after starting a Paleo diet. However, remember we mentioned earlier that CrossFitters, some of the fittest athletes on the planet, subscribe to the Paleo way of living?

Paleo allows you the flexibility to eat natural sources of carbs, including sweet potatoes, bananas, and some squashes. Eating these things before and after workouts will replenish your energy resources, alongside the ample stocks of proteins you’ll be getting with the abundance of lean meat.

Paleo also encourages you to ramp up your portion sizes, or at the very least, not restrict them. This means you can scale up your meals in line with your training – no more starving yourself on fad diets. 

With Keto, it’s a different story. The complete aversion to carbohydrates on a Keto Diet means that you are relying on reaching ketosis for energy. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough long-term studies with regard to the benefits of Keto for athletes, and while your body adapts in the earlier stages of the diet, your performance is likely to suffer.

Fat may indeed provide more sustainable energy than glucose, but you are severely restricted in the sources of energy you are allowed to consume, especially during and immediately preceding workouts.

The good news is that research does seem to indicate that being Ketosis helps prevent fatigue during aerobic exercise, and that the body adapts to the low amount of carbohydrates in terms of maintaining energy during exercise.

Whole30 is a little different. Because Whole30 isn’t designed as a long-term program, it is slightly unfair to compare it to Paleo and Keto in this context. And, in reality, Whole30 is probably not the best nutritional move for someone looking to compete athletically, or even looking to make major performance improvements.

It is, however, a great way to test how your body is going to react to making changes to your diet. As we’re about to discuss, this is super-helpful about transitioning to the Paleo, or even the Keto diet.  

OriGym’s View: How to approach your nutrition using Paleo, Keto, or Whole30

If you’re at all worried about how a change in nutrition is going to change your body, and the effects it will have in terms of exercise, we suggest trialling the Whole30 diet. The strict parameters of the program allow you to identify exactly which foods are negatively affecting your ability to perform, and which are crucial about your chosen sport.

Having completed, or at least trialled, the Whole30 plan, our suggestion is to transition to Paleo. For many, this is a natural progression, and the proven application of Paleo within fitness contexts gives you the confidence that you can improve your previous levels of fitness.

That added flexibility also allows you to adjust Paleo eating to whichever sport it is that you are competing in. Strength training? Eat more protein during recovery periods. Marathon training? Load up on natural carbohydrates in the lead up to longer workouts.

In our eyes, Keto is probably not the best move for those serious about improving their fitness. Like everything, it might work for some, but for the majority, the drawbacks and restricted nature of Keto will not align with their everyday lives, as well as their fitness plans.

Chapter Five: The best hacks you need to know to stick with your new nutrition

Knowing the nutritional change you want to make and when you want to make it is one thing. Sticking at it, without cheating, is another…

Those doughnuts and cookies are just too damn tempting, right?

Well, to make sure you are best prepared for your new lifestyle, and to make the best decision for you when it comes to Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30, you need to know some of the best tips that will prevent you from sliding back into a brownie shaped pit of despair (however tasty that sounds…).

In any case, we’ve got you covered. Here are ten of the best hacks to stick with your new nutrition!

1. Start with realistic expectations
As we covered in our last chapter, going Paleo is not a shortcut to amazing abs, and going Keto will not instantly result in radiant looks and boundless energy. You will have to prepare for a transitional phase, where you might feel sluggish and sapped of enthusiasm.

Don’t set off into this new journey with inflated expectations. As with all good advice, there is, of course, a cliché to neatly sum all this up: nothing good comes easy.

2. Follow our grocery lists – keep unhealthy foods out of the house
If you don’t have bread and donuts in the house, you can’t eat them. This is a simple supply and demand equation, and no matter how hard your brain tries to argue, your body does not need processed foods and unhealthy carbohydrates. If you stick to our grocery lists supplied in chapters one, two, and three, you’ll be all set for success.

3. Plan your snacks
Everybody loves to snack, and just because deciding between Paleo vs. Keto vs.Whole30 will mean that you’ll change what you eat, it doesn’t mean that you have to restrict yourself. You just need to be more intelligent with how you go about snacking. This is all about prepping: if you know exactly what you are going to eat between each meal, then the cake trolley is less likely to sneak up on you.

Try some of these amazing Paleo snacks and Keto snacks for some inspiration.

4. Start meal prepping and batch cooking
Just like planning your snacks, planning your meals is a must. Take a leaf out of the Bodybuilder’s guide to success and do a week’s worth of cooking on a Sunday. This may sound arduous, but batch cooking and freezing will eliminate the need for ready meals and pizzas, with the added benefit that you know exactly what you’re eating.

5. Track your progress – however infrequently
Now, we know the whole idea of Whole30 is to wave goodbye to tracking, so obviously this doesn’t apply here. However, keeping track of what you’ve eaten, instead of measurements like weight and the size of your waistline, is crucial to identify how your diet is helping you.

We would suggest measuring your athletic performance, even during Whole30, as well as more holistic things like how you feel about yourself. The psychology of making a lifestyle change is just as important as physical transformations, and therefore should not be ignored when we’re judging between Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30.

6. Eat foods you enjoy
Making a final decision on Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30 does not mean that your love affair with food has to come to an end. First of all, all of the above diets allow you to buy spices, so your food is going to taste amazing.

There’s also the fact that, even on the strictest program (we’re looking at you Whole30…) nobody is forcing you to eat anything you don’t like. Find a set of recipes that you love, and customise them until you have a full recipe book.

7. Don’t starve yourself
This is an important one: if you’re doing exercise, you absolutely can’t starve yourself. You need energy, and you get most of your energy through your nutrition. Don’t cut your food. If you want to lean down, scale up your workout. These diets are also designed so you can eat more because you are eating ingredients which will actively supply your body with the energy it needs.

8. Experiment!
What’s the point in subscribing to a lifestyle change if you aren’t prepared to go the whole way and try new things? You shouldn’t view this as something that restricts your freedom in terms of eating what you want. Instead, view it as an opportunity to try new recipes.

The more you experiment, the more likely you are to succeed in sticking to your new nutrition. So, if you’ve never tried a sweet potato, now’s the time (unless you’re on Keto, of course).

9. Be accountable, but don’t beat yourself up
Of course, accountability is important. But if you accidentally eat a chocolate button, or have some bread with your soup in the early days, don’t beat yourself up. We all slip sometimes, and the important thing is knowing you’re committed enough to carry on with your new nutrition. If you’ve demoralised yourself for cheating at an early point, carrying on is not going to be so easy, so don’t do it!

10. Listen to your body
The best indicator of what the best option for you is out of Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30, isn’t any guide online (including this one), but the reaction of your body. We suggested Paleo as the best long-term option because we’ve had the most success with it personally, and have seen clients really benefit from it in the past. This does not mean, however, that it is right for everyone. The important thing is to at least try, as you’ll never know otherwise. 


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Follow your passion for nutrition with our Level 4 Sports Nutrition Course!

Chapter Six: Hello from the Other Side: Nutrition Success Stories from Fitness Fanatics

So far, I’ve done a lot of talking about Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30.

And, to be fair, for good reason. Nutrition, after all, is super interesting, and it’s also something that you have to get right to maximise your performance gains in your given sport. This is especially true if you decide to 100% commit to a decision between Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30.

So, I thought it would be a good idea to ask some successful health and fitness professionals about how their nutrition choices helped them, and how it drove them to success in their fields.

At the end of the day, we can give you all the facts and details in the world about Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30, but the best information is from those who have tried these nutritional programs first-hand.

You can see what they had to say below! 

Andy – Founder of Low Carb Lab

I have a good perspective on the Paleo vs. Keto debate, having recently tried both diets. With each diet, I was very disciplined measuring and watching all the ingredients. I was on Paleo last year for six months and loved the energy and feeling it gave me.

I then took the plunge and did a strict Keto diet for two months as I heard about the athletic performance gains that come from being fat adapted. Switching to Keto from Paleo was easy. On Keto, I made sure I ate a little extra salt every day; probably around 5mg and another 5mg when I was training.

For the first three weeks, I felt fine and had great energy but it started to decline. Over the next several weeks I lost more and more strength, and by week six I was ready to give up, but my buddy/coach said to keep going to make sure I was fat adapted. However, after eight weeks I was still not feeling that great, and decided to stop my experiment. I finally switched back to Paleo and have never looked back.

I’ve not tried Whole30 but I would say it does look interesting.

Jonathan Hawkins – Personal Trainer for Discount Supplements

I tried Keto for around six months, and although I found it to be great for weight loss, the focus on fats and protein seemed excessive and I found I felt sluggish, tired and sore.

When I re-introduced carbs back into my diet full-time, having switched to a plant-based diet, I found my energy levels were through the roof. I also found I recovered considerably quicker following workouts.

Michele Spring – Founder of Thriving On Paleo

So, I’m a little different than a lot of other Paleo stories, since I came into Paleo because I had some autoimmune diseases that prevented me from being able to do pretty much any physical activity (too tired and weak).

In the past, I had competed in Ironman triathlons and other endurance sports. I believe doing those contributed to getting my autoimmune diseases, because I had never given my body a proper chance to recover. During this stage of my life, I was also eating foods that weren’t helping me in terms of recovery or performance.

Eating Paleo has helped me get my health back, so that I can now participate in more gentle exercises, like walking, yoga, Pilates, Barre, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, or snowshoeing. Because of my Paleo diet, I feel great doing all of these where otherwise it wouldn’t be possible.

Having autoimmune diseases kind of puts me in a different bucket than healthy people: I’ll always have an autoimmune disease (once you get one you always have one) and I need to take measures to keep it in remission which include eating Paleo and not working out too much.

Chapter Seven: The OriGym Nutrition Checklist: Everything you need to nail your nutrition

How are you feeling?

Excited? Nervous? Overwhelmed with information? Hungry?… If you’re overwhelmed, don’t worry. You are certainly not alone (believe me, I had to put all this into writing!).

We thought, given that most of you will want to get started straight away with your journeys into the tricky world of Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30, we’d provide a comprehensive nutrition checklist, in order to ensure you are prepared before, and during, your new nutritional lifestyle change.

Before Starting Your Nutritional Program

During your program

Before You Go!

And that’s our ultimate guide to navigating the Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30 debate!

We hope you enjoyed the article, and that you found our advice helpful. If you have any experience with any of these nutritional programmes, we’d love to hear from you!

Leave us a comment and let us know what you liked about our resource, or what you think we could have included, and be sure to check out our Blog for more great resources to help you achieve peak athletic performance.

As we mentioned earlier, nutrition is a huge part of our level two gym instructor and level three personal trainer courses. Whether it’s Paleo vs. Keto vs. Whole30, or just knowing how to best advise clients to make the most of their fitness gains, knowing about what and how to eat is crucial for success in the fitness industry.

If you want to find out more, you can check out our online qualification in nutrition or talk to one of our enrolment team by filling in your details. Download our course prospectus to see exactly what other courses we have to offer.


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Written by George Aird

Fitness Professional & Marketer

Join George on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

George Aird is a content writer and marketer with specialist knowledge of health and fitness, online marketing, and start-up businesses. In his spare time, he is a keen climber, and a (reluctant) runner. 

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