Zone Diet

The Zone Diet:

To optimize your performance you need to pay attention to quantity as well as the quality of food. The “Zone Diet” is a calorically restricted diet that balances the intake of the macronutrients. Your metabolism is like a fire. If you put the right amount of fuel in the fire it will burn hot, too much fuel and it will smolder. There is an optimal quantity that you will thrive on. You should strive to keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.

Paleo – Eat quality food
Zone – Weighing and measuring proportions of food
Zone/Paleo – for optimal health and wellness.

Balancing Macronutrients:

CrossFit believes that Barry Sears’ “Zone Diet” closely models optimal nutrition. The Zone Diet accelerates and amplifies the effects of the CrossFit regimen by managing blood glucose, proper macronutrient proportion and caloric restriction. These are the three pillars of sound nutrition whether your concern is athletic performance, disease prevention & longevity, or body composition. The Zone diet neither prohibits nor requires any particular food. It can accommodate paleo or vegan, organic or kosher, fast food or fine dining, while delivering the benefits of high performance nutrition. The information that follows on the Zone Diet is taken from the CrossFit Journal issue 21, May 2004 and Barry Sears’ Zone books.

What should I eat?

It is worth repeating that you should base your diet on lean meats, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar and keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Protein should be lean and varied and account for about 30% of your total caloric load. Carbohydrates should be predominantly low-glycemic and account for about 40% of your total caloric load. Fat should be predominantly monounsaturated and account for about 30% of your total caloric load. What foods should I avoid? Modern diets are ill suited for our genetic composition. Evolution has not kept pace with advances in agriculture and food processing resulting in a plague of health problems. Diabetes Type II, coronary heart disease, depression, Alzheimer’s, hypertension, osteoporosis & obesity have all been scientifically linked to a diet too high in processed carbohydrate. High glycemic carbohydrates are those that raise blood sugar too rapidly. They include rice, bread, pasta, cereals, candy, potato, sweets, sodas, and most processed carbohydrates.

Caloric Restriction and Longevity:

Current research strongly supports the link between caloric restriction and an increased life expectancy. The incidence of cancers and heart disease sharply decline with a diet that is limited in caloric intake. The CrossFit prescription allows a reduced caloric intake and yet still provides ample nutrition for rigorous activity. Calories should be set at between .7 and 1.0 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass depending on your activity level. The .7 figure is for moderate daily workout loads and the 1.0 figure is for the hardcore athlete. (Lean body mass x .7) / 7 grams = blocks per day

What is a Block?

The Zone Diet is based on a block system of measuring food proportions. A block is a unit of measure used to simplify the process of making balanced meals. Block Chart Grams: 7 grams of  protein = 1 block of protein 9 grams of carbohydrate = 1 block of carbohydrate 1.5 grams of fat = 1 block of fat. The block chart assumes that there is about 1.5 grams of fat in your protein source. If the protein source is specifically labeled “non-fat” then double the usual fat blocks for that meal to 3 grams of fat per block. When a meal is composed of equal blocks of protein, carbohydrate, and fat, it is made up of 40% carbohydrate calories, 30% protein calories and 30% fat calories.
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