From CrossFit Nor'Easter
The Zone Diet
The Zone Diets premise is to control your bodies hormones by maintaining a specific “40:30:30″ ratio of calories obtained from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, respectively.
Consuming too many carbohydrates causes us to overproduce insulin, a hormone that tells the body to convert carbohydrates into fat and store them. Protein, on the other hand, has a contradictory effect to insulin by triggering the body to produce the a hormone called glucagon. Glucagon essentially tells the body to “let go” of carbohydrates.
The so called “Zone” is when we have insulin and glucagon levels balanced .
Furthermore, when we are “in the Zone”, a third set of hormones called Eicosanoids are released. These are anti-inflammatory agents that have a similar effect as aspirin to the body (without the negative side effects). Controlling inflammation is ideal for recovery.
Getting Started on the Zone Diet
The first thing we need to do is establish a system to easily measure and create meals that are balanced with this 40:30:30 ratio. We do this through “blocks”:
A block is a unit of measurement that equals 7 grams of protein, 9 grams of carbohydrates and 1.5 grams of fat.
Blocks can be expanded into what we call “mini-blocks” – which simply refers to each individual block of carbohydrate, protein or fat that when put together, make up a block.
Lets say you need to make yourself a 1 block snack. In exact terms, you need to eat something that will get you exactly 7 grams of protein, 9 grams of carbs and 1.5 grams of fat. So you go off and start reading labels, looking up nutritional information and doing all sorts of math trying to find this ratio… yeah, this is going to drive you crazy!
The easier way is to create meals is to pull up one of the many “mini-block” listings or spreadsheets out there that simply list foods and their quantities that are equal to 1 block. Then all you have to do is choose yourself a protein, a fat and a carb – and tah-dah – dinner! Basically, work backwards, pick your foods then make your meal, not pick your meal then struggle to find a way to balance the ingredients.
For example – looking at the CrossFit Journal Zone Meal Plan – our 1 block snack could be a hard boiled egg (1 mini-block protein), 2 cups of broccoli (1 mini-block carb) and 3 almonds (1 mini-block fat).
Here are some links to zone block food lists:
Seven rounds for time:
20 Back Squats (135#/95#)