Zone Diet

Most serious CrossFitters adhere to either the Paleo Diet, the Zone Diet, or some blend of the two. After becoming competitive in the sport of CrossFit, I realized that just clean-eating wasn't cutting it. Eating strict-Paleo seemed to make me more fluffy than fit. Broccoli wasn't providing me the fuel I needed to get through a tough training session or a long day of work. So, 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 protein bars, 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 personalized 4-week Primal Zone Meal Plans. Just like your training program in the gym, your diet needs to fit your goals to be successful. Included in the customized 4 week meal-plan:
  • Current & Final Body Fat Calculation (after the 4 weeks)
  • Personalized Zone Block Prescription: How many blocks YOU need to be eating based on your activity level and goals
  • Foods that you like to eat are incorporated into the custom meal plan!
  • Simple, easy to prepare meals & snacks
  • Pre and post-workout supplementation Guidance (Fish oil, creatine, BCAA, etc).
  • Unlimited communication via email and iMessage
To get started, please email me at petiteathleat@gmail.com!

No comments:

Post a Comment