Zone Meal Planning

Most serious CrossFitters adhere to either the Paleo Diet, the Zone Diet, or some blend of the two. After completing my CrossFit Level 1 Trainer certification in November 2012, I realized that just clean-eating wasn't cutting it. To optimize my performance as an athlete, I needed to take my nutrition to the next level, and the Zone Diet provided just that. 


Diet comes from the Greek language and means “way of life”. A diet is a lifestyle, not a set of dogmatic rules that you follow blindly. The Zone Diet controls gene expression and hormonal balance, allowing us to feel better, look better, and perform better not only as athletes, but as parents, teachers, nurses, soldiers, etc. Whatever we are, let's be the best version of ourselves we can be. Nutrition is the root. Just like we say in CrossFit, "core to extremity ... " Nutrition is no different. What we fuel ourselves with on the inside, is expressed on the outside. 

The Zone diet is all about regulating our hormones to allow for optimal gene expression. The balance of hormones within our body affects every aspect of our wellness, from our body composition to our energy levels. Food is a drug. Think about that for a moment. Ingesting drugs causes physiological changes in your body. Ingesting food has the same effect. It can bring about positive or negative changes in your body. To cure a headache, do you take 19 Extra Strength Tylenol? Of course not. Then why do we expect our body to be able to handle it when we feed it 19 times the amount of sugar we're supposed to eat in one day, in one sitting?! 

The American Diet today is made up of processed garbage and fast food - it sits there, seductively wrapped in pretty plastic and brightly colored papers, with words printed on them like, "low-fat" and "low-carb" or "all-natural", it's no wonder we just reach for the Oreo's; because who know's what to eat these days? But the Zone Diet isn’t about eating only "low-carb" or "high-protein" or anything like that. 

It’s a diet balanced in:
• Protein (lean, natural meats are preferred)
• Carbs (mostly low glycemic-load fruits and vegetables)
• Fat (one of the most important macronutrients!)
With the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats, you can control three major hormones generated by the human diet – insulin, glucagon and eicosanoids.
Insulin – A storage hormone. Excess insulin makes you fat and keeps you fat. It's also the catalyst behind silent inflammation. 
Glucagon – A mobilization hormone that tells the body to release stored carbohydrates at a steady rate, leading to stabilized blood sugar levels. This is magical key for optimal mental and physical performance.
Eicosanoids – These are the hormones that ultimately control silent inflammation. They are also master hormones that indirectly orchestrate a vast array of other hormonal systems in your body.
The essential method: Calculate your lean muscle mass in pounds against your activity level. From there, figure out how much physical repair your body is trying to institute daily and then calculate how many grams of protein you need to get per day. The protein prescription is how you derive your number of "Zone blocks" you need to get in a day. These blocks are distributed throughout the day into meals, ie: 4-block meal or a 2-block snack. In each meal and snack, you eat about a handful of lean protein, balanced by a smaller amount of fat, and the rest of your plate is carbohydrate (vegetables and fruits, limited starches.) For athletes with higher training volumes and low body fat percentages, we increase their fat intake.




A “Zone Block” is a unit of measure used to simplify the process of making balanced meals.
7 grams of protein = 1block of protein
9 grams of carbohydrate = 1 block of carbohydrate
1.5 grams of fat = 1 block of fat (there is an assumption that there is about 1.5 grams of fat in each block of protein, so the total amount of fat needed per 1 block meal is 3 grams.)
When a meal is composed of equal blocks of protein, carbohydrate, and fat, it is 40 % carbohydrate, 30% protein and 30% fat.
The wonderful thing about the Zone diet is that you will never be hungry, because your blood sugar is stable. If the brain isn't hungry, then you won't feel hungry. The Zone diet consists of all the good proteins, carbohydrates and fats that keep you in the Zone, due to their low glycemic-load. In other words, they don't cause an insulin spike that leaves you light-headed, hungry and lethargic. 



How does it work? In my case, my energy levels have been high and consistent, and I’ve experienced an improvement in mental clarity. My body fat has dropped. As far as athletic performance, I’m training well! I continue to get stronger, while staying lean, feeling good, and don't need to take naps to get through the day.

But I remember when I first started just how time-consuming it was weighing, measuring, and planning everything! Eating out was a nightmare. Planning meals was a headache. Figuring out how to "block-out" some of my favorite foods, like avocado hummus and canned soups, left me scratching my head. Do I count that as a carb block, as a fat block, or both? I fell off the Zone wagon many times before it started "clicking".

And click it did! The Zone is a popular diet among CrossFitter's and fitness minded folks because it works. 

Anyone who's put time and effort in at the gym or the box and isn't seeing results, would benefit from nutritional counseling and a solid meal plan built around their Zone prescription.
 
 

So you've read all the books, you've gone to nutrition seminars held in your box, you've tried the Whole 30, but you're still not where you want to be? I'm here to help!


I'm now offering Paleo Zone meal planning, including:
  • Body Fat Calculation
  • Personalized Zone Block Prescription: How many blocks YOU need to be eating based on your activity level and goals
  • Grocery Shopping list
  • Meal Plan and Food Prep Guidance
  • Over 30 Paleo Meals 'blocked out' for your Zone block needs
  • Pre and post-workout CrossFit supplementation Guidance
  • Unlimited communication via email and iMessage.
I currently have a waiting list. Please email me at petiteathleat@gmail.com if you're interested, and I will let you know when you can go ahead and purchase.

15 comments:

  1. Good morning, I tried your PayPal link but it doesn't link me to your bill. Should I just send it to your email address? Thanks, Susan

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  2. This is something I might keep in mind for the future! I am currently trying to get my sugar eating under control because I know that I eat way to much sugar than I should. My only thing about the "zone" diet is that I ideally want to have an all vegetarian diet. Is that something that is possible with zone eating?

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    1. Yes, it definitely is. There are many protein sources that come from vegetarian options, I am a fan of many of them!

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  3. Did the price increase!? I was just on this page on 7/16 and 1-month meal planning was $100 :-(

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  4. I was wondering the same thing about price increase.

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    1. Yes, there was a price increase. similar services charge two or three times what I'm charging now. Also, due to client demand and just the sheer amount of time and detail that goes into planning each individual meal for each one of my clients, it had to be raised.

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  5. Would you be willing to sell your meal plan minus the consulting? I'm pretty good at being regimented but would love access to the meal plan! :)

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  6. Hi Courtney!!
    I LOVE your blog!! I had recently been considering doing zone (and maybe even paleo zone - eeek!). I love seeing what you come up with for meals - would you consider posting a typical day for you in the zone would be? Personally, I do better knowing what I am having for the week, and don't care if it is the same every day haha - I like to switch it up every now and then! How many blocks do you go with? I've got a nutrition cert, and enjoy playing around and testing out the best diet for me! And I like eating weird things....and my friends make fun of my concoctions haha, which is why I love your recipes, because they are the exact "weirdness" that I like!

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  7. Hi Courtney!
    I LOVE your blog!! I am so happy you are doing zone - recently decided to go for it, AND (gasp) paleo as well! I am not sure if you do paleo/zone, but I would love to see your block amount and what a typical day of eating would be! I love seeing your recipes - my friends make fun of me because I like weird and healthy concoctions, and some of your recipes are right up my alley! Would you also consider posting some of your zone recipes, regardless if they are paleo or not? Again, love your blog! I will be at the upcoming crossfit competition in Statesboro on sept 14 - are you in Texas or still in Atl? Would be crazy to see you there!

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  8. Hi!
    i just started crossfit and i was wondering...when you work out early in the morning before a WOD do you eat or do eat after the WOD?
    Thanks!

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  9. Love the post!!! Looks like you are helping many!!!

    The Zone was the missing piece to the puzzle for me and a pinnacle discovery in my training. I started feeling better both mentally and physically, which allowed me to push harder within my training and performance, thus resulting in a leaner, stronger, happier, and fitter me!!!

    Below is a post I wrote on my experience on the Zone and Paleo Diets

    http://myjourneyrx.com/2014/03/11/my-experience-on-the-zone-diet/

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  10. I'm trying zone & dairy free right now, but is it me, or is 11 blocks WAAAYYY too much food? There's no way I can eat all that! I consider myself a pretty big eater, and I do CrossFit, but that's still a LOT. I don't think I even eat half of that. Maybe a third. Can someone help me? How do I eat all that?

    So for a 3 block meal, you eat 3 blocks of protein, 3 blocks of carbs, AND 3 blocks of fat? Or am I not understanding it correctly?

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    1. For a three block meal you eat- 1 block protein, 1 block of carbs, and 1 block of fat

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  11. Hi Courtney, I love your blog. I have been doing Paleo for about 2 years and decided to try Zone (day 3 woohoo). I think I saw that you eat Quest bars, do you add fat or carb blocks to them or just eat them as is? Thanks!

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  12. Curious, I did Zone(following the book) years ago(definitely wasn't exercising as heavily as Crossfit) and I remember the meal plan was so scant on calories. I was always starving and waiting for the next snack/meal time. When I calculated the calories its was just barely 1200cals/day. No wonder someone could lose weight so easily on it! Does the Zone plan you and Crossfitters do include way more calories?? Thx!

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