To get the best results from our training, weight loss, muscle gain, overall performance, avoiding plateaus or getting your self out of one we need to be working on our Nutrition. Here is my break down of the zone diet. The Zone Diet has been adopted and supported by CrossFit from its beginning, because of the results it produces. Simply the zone diet is Macro-Nutrient counting, which can be done in many different ways. I found the zone diet to be simple method that teaches portion sizes so you don’t have to measure for the rest of your life.
Food can be broken up into three different major fuel sources. We have Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats. Each one is just as important as the other, the quantities of how much of each Macro-Nutrient we should eat is what people will debate. Now my view on this is that everyone is different, everyone’s body works differently and reacts to the three Macro-Nutrients differently. To really know what is right for you, you have to weigh and measure your food. Then you can make corrections and find what works for you. If you are not weighing or measuring your food you are just guessing. Now you will not have to weigh your food for the rest of your life, don’t stress. If you spend a few months weighing your food, adjust the quantities to what is right for you, you will be able to eye ball your measurements from there. The best part about the zone diet is that it teaches you what a meal should look like so you can eat healthy for the rest of your life.
Weighing our food (Blocks)
The zone diet has made a simple measuring system called blocks. Think of a block as one serve. It could really be called what ever you like, serves, blocks, bricks, squares or circles but the zone has called it blocks. Each Macro-Nutrient is divided into a block, so there is a measurement for one serve of protein, one serve carb and one serve fat.
1 Block Protein = 7grams of Protein
1 Block Carb = 9grams of Carb
1 Block Fat = 3gram of Fat
* Note that the measurement in grams is not the quantities of food but of the macro-nutrient in the food eg 45grams of banana has 9grams of carbs and equals 1 block of carbs.
See table below for different foods and there grams per block
Prescriptions (How Many Blocks per day)
Now we know what a block is, how many blocks should I be eating per day? To work out where we are going to start with our block prescription we can go off the simple table below.
A more accurate prescription can be worked out by the following equation.
Lean body mass x Activity level / 7grams of protien
This equation is a little bit harder to understand and there is a bit more to it, so if you would like more info see attached CrossFit Journal article on Zone diet or get in touch with me and I can do the workings out for you and explain how it works.
Now we know what our daily block prescription is and what makes up a block we can start planning our meals.
Here is an example of a 3 block meal.
68grams ground beef = 2 Block Protein
29grams Tasty Cheese = 1 Block Protein
16grams Sour Cream = 2 Block Fat
2grams Butter = 1 Block Fat
1 tbsp. cilantro Garnish
1 tsp. paprika spice Flavor
40grams Red Onion = 1/2 Block Carb
4 leaves butter lettuce = 1/2 Block Carb
2 oz. cherry tomatoes = 2 Block Carb
Ok now we know what our three Macro-Nutrients are, we know what a block is and we know what a meal can look like. How do we start? If you feel like you are ready to dive straight in then print out the food tables above and buy yourself a set of scales. Start weighing your meals, it will not be perfect, it will take a few days maybe weeks to get the hang of it, but try make every meal closer and closer to your prescription. It is just like starting CrossFit, the first WOD you don’t have a clue what is going on, but if you stay consistent every day you get better and better.
Now if you don’t feel like your ready or don’t have the time, try a few smaller steps. Cut back on sugar and high GI Carbs (Bread, pasta, Rice), add more fats, try balance your meals with the three Macro-Nutrients and eat three square meals a day. Your next step could be to weigh one meal a day, pick the meal you have the most time for and weigh it every day for a week.
“Eat Meat, Vegitables, Nuts and Seeds, some Fruit, little Starch and No Sugar”
“Keep intakes to levels that will support exercise but not body fat”
If you would like any help with Nutrition at all, please see me after class, send me an email, text or direct message on social media and we can get started on optimizing your results.