You crazy Zone doing kids out there might get frustrated by the process of putting together meals, specifically, weighing and measuring. I was a chemist and the level of discipline it takes to partition things out in the Zone way can just send me into fits at times. Something I’ve found that simplifies the process a bit is weighing things like yams, sweet potatoes and carrots. These items usually make up my post work out meal and they tend to be oddly shaped…tough to stay consistent with these lil buggars. A nice solution is to weigh your blocks by plugging your item into the USDA Nutrient Database.
For this example I checked on shredded carrots and found that 100g of carrot is ~1 block of carbs (I’m ignoring the fiber…if you want to factor that in go for it…close enough for me!). For my post WO meal I had 2 blocks of carbs from blue berries and 3 from carrots. I added a little ground ginger, rice vinegar and sesame seeds to the carrots and it was DAMN yummy.
Russell Baker says
Question between Paleo and Zone Dieting:
I had the fortunate pleasure of meeting you at the Sonz Palm Beach Gardens CF Level 1 Cert in May, and have really enjoyed some of the info I was able to pick up from you. Diet has always been a huge challenge for me (I am a classic “hard gainer” if you will)
Now to my question- I started with the Paleo diet and transitioned into the Zone diet as I was looking to fine tune my performance #’s etc. The results have been fantastic thus far, but my concern is on the breads that are “allowed” in the Zone (as long as you block them appropriately). If there was one thing I picked up from your lecture, it was how BAD processed carbs are for you. What is the thinking in the Zone diet that allows people to eat this? I will admit, sometimes it is easier to get my 4 block snack down when it involves one slice of bread, rather than 4 cups of spinach (only in dire time crunched circumstances). I have been working on a Paleo oriented Zone, but it has been pretty tough- any suggestions here?
Last question- any suggestion on how to handle sugar cravings? I am not one to eat a tub of ice cream, but sometimes after a meal, a little sugar sounds really good.
Sorry for such a long post, but I couldn’t track down your e-mail address.
Thanks for the help, Russell
If you look at the Top 100 Zone foods or the list of favorable carbs you do not see bread on the list due to the glycemic load. In this sense, there is no conflict between paleo and Zone. Where things diverge is trying to make an otherwise solid nutritional approach (Zone) fit BAD eating practices (refined carbs). One CAN mitigate some of the problems of bread due to the relatively low consumption, this deals somewhat with insulin levels, but it completely ignores the immunological ramifications of gluten….not smart considering the consequences. You bring up another issue, how the hell do I eat all the veggies I’m supposed to eat? Mix it up with fruit, yams and somewhat denser carbs like onions, tomatoes etc. As to the sugar cravings: kind of a classic example of too many carbs in the meal. I tend to only take in 3/4 of the recommended Zone blocks or I over do it insulin wise. In this case you can add 3 fat blocks for every deleted carb block to finish out the same caloricly. I wrote a pretty solid piece for the P-menu called “42 Ways to Skin The Zone”. Check it out for more details.
Not sure if you’ve even seen this site, http://www.nutritiondata.com/. You have to create a log in, but it’s free. They also don’t ever send you any spam or commercial emails.
The site will give you the nutritional break down (to include the glycemic index) of a single item or a combination of items dependng on what you enter. So you could actually enter in a days worth of food, and it will combine it and give you the breakdown. It keeps a record (or “pantry,” as the site calls it) of every food you search for/enter. It also allows you to change the amounts of each food on the spot.
I’ve found it to be pretty helpful.
I’ll see you soon.
…Damn tin foil hats, always messing up my hair.
Hope all is well.
I’m warming up to the tin-foil hats…kinda cooling in the Chico heat! Great find there…I’ll get that up in the links section. Where is that Area 51 manual again…
Hey Robb, completely off topic, but are you competing/attending the CF Games?
I’ll be there! Nicki and a few of our peeps are competing…I’m waiting for the “fat, weak, nearsighted” division to be opened up…I’ll crush that one!
Richard DeFrese says
I started with zone using Paleo content and it was rough at first. I cannot imagine eating more than 2 blocks of carbs from vegetables(wife lost her mind when I filled 2 plates with veggies and needed a third for meat).So I use 2 blocks from fruit on 4 block meals and 1 block from fruit on 3 block meals and on my 2 block I do 1 to 1. Now if I had a 5 block meal I would be eating 3 blocks from fruit.On the GI note I was diagnosed with “IBS” and was having gallbladder/liver pains,all of which have gone away after whats it been 4 weeks I think.
I feel the best I ever have 🙂
Great stuff. Have you seen the info on Celiac and Gall Bladder Disease?
Nick Hanson says
So Robb are you back to strictly zoning (or skinning the zone?).
Also, I have eaten that many tubers (read pretty much none) since I became zone/paleo. Occasionally I have the lightheadedness/bonking going on. Should I add in the Sweet potato’s or yams and will this help when I occasionally bonk?
I’ve been Zoning, modified by shifting some carbs to post WO. I’m not sure i follow your questions…are you bonking AFTER eating yams?
I have a question for you and I’d like to email you directly if possible (due to the personal nature of my question). You might remember me as the redhead who can’t squat at the CrossFit certification in Seattle back in March. Can you provide me your email?
angel s. says
i’m a celiac crossfitter who just started zoning more seriously this past month. the zone really helps me stay on my gluten free diet that’s for sure which has been good for me. i’m still figuring out what works and what doesn’t zone wise, but i think it’s a lifestyle i desire to adopt for the long term. eva t. pointed me your way when i told her i was celiac and i’m enjoying reading your stuff. thank you for all the information, recipes, etc. she also wanted me to tell you that your singing whilst on the toilet is the best. =)
Hey Angel! Welcome to the fun and thank you for the kind words. Not to brag, but I can carry a pretty damn good toon while doing my business!
first, how do sugar alcohol’s play into the zone? i’m not a fan of artificial sweeteners, but don’t know how those would calculate. a client of mine asked about the no/low carb ice cream. there are 2g “net” carbs, with 12g sugar alcohol. 12g of fat.
secondly for me personally. i get most my carbs from fruits. usually on 4 blocks of carbs/ 5 block meak. mainly apples, and oranges. i do eat salads a lot which consist of lettuce and some broccoli. is it necessary to adjust to continue to lower body fat %. i crossfit 3days on 1 day off.
sugar alcohols do still release insulin so it’s a problem in that regard. Too much fruit, even at Zone levels may slow fat loss…you just need to tinker with that and see what happens. Most folks find much faster fat loss with veggies only…but it’s damn hard to eat all those veggies!
Leonid S. says
I was just recently rethinking my block prescription – normally 20-21 blocks I considered perfect for me.
But now I’m coming to realization that it might be too low (constant hunger even with IF seems to prove me right)
What would you recommend for a 6’3″ 220 lbs guy?
By the looks of elite CF’ers – my lower body is about the same size/performance, yet upperbody is clearly lacking.
Seems like the optimal breakdown is like this
Height – weight
5’3-5’5 – 130 lbs
5’6-5’7 – 150
5’8-5’9 – 165
5’10-5’11 – 175-180
6’0 – 200
Such a progression makes me think that to reach optimal performance in CF – I should weigh in at about 230-240 (I like the idea).
Would 24-25 blocks be a good idea?
24-25 MAY move the scale weight up a bit but I suspect not that much. John Wellborne (the big football guy) is on like 50 blocks! You may need to do some SERIOUS eating! I know guys who are much smaller than you who have been in the 30-35 range…just have to tinker with that.
Tiffani Pearson says
I met you this last weekend in the level 1 cert on Camp Pendleton. I had another question i forgot to ask on the subject of antioxidants. Where do you stand on making acai, jus, or monavie part of your regular diet to help combat free radicals? Especially in an athlete
I’m not a fan of ANY juice. I think the acai is a scam and mostly white grape juice to boot. Eat loads of antioxidant rich plants: veggies and fruits. Keep in mind the insulin response and potnetial advanced glycosolation products from high sugar intake. Let me know if this makes sense!
Leonid S. says
I like that idea.
Wellborne – saw his profile on the CF Games page.
Would you still suggest eating 30-35 blocks of carbs? Or go the “42 ways skinning the zone” route and start drinking olive oil?
Eating that much daily and I’ll be in the 300 OHS club in no time! Good thing I can eat!
I’d keep the carbs in there if you can tolerate them…lots of growth potential there!
Nick Hanson says
Sorry Robb I wrote it wrong the first time and couldn’t change it. I was asking if I should add yams, because I feel like occasionally I have been bonking. My diet has had no tubers (cept for the occasional cheat) since I started zoning 6mos ago. Just wondering if it is something I should consider adding.
Totally! Drop them in post WO. See how you feel.
Leonid S. says
If next year I’ll beat them all at the CF games – you’re to blame Robb! And I’ll owe you a beer.
I can tolerate any amount of food, so it should be okay. 96 oz steak in 35 mins with potato, salad and bread is my PR to date.
25 more lbs to go on the OHS.
96 Oz steak…now we are talking. I’ll take you up on that beer! Ohhh…sweet Jesus…BEER….
Just a general inquiry related to the games. I read somewhere that a coach had his athlete go “uber” carb restricted for five days leading up to a triathalon, then carb up, a la Anabolic/Metabolic Diet to ensure that the athlete would be as glycogen loaded as could be for the race.
Any ideas as to whether or not it would be optimal for an athlete headed to the games? I won’t be there this year, but I’m just curious if there may be some better strategies nutrition wise since the competition will be so demanding in terms of workload.
Supercompensation via carb load is a real deal. I’ve set many a PR after a night of Nachos and margaritas oddly enough. I think the basic Zone prescription tends to run skinny on carbs for the workload of CF, but a once weekly carb binge tends to reset things quite nicely. When I ran the numbers on an Athletes Zone vs. a CLC like the anabolic diet the month end totals were almost identical. So, my thought on this is that a very severe carb restriction is likely not necessary. Follow standard eating, have a little more than normal the night before and things should be good.
If we are talking a truly competitive athlete I’d do a dry run of the above and have a very specific meal in mind so you can see how you sleep, how you feel the next day and most importantly, how you perform. The day before an event is no time to pop something new like that…definitely a good plan to test it out!
Leonid S. says
I’m really liking this. Started 33 blocks – that’s a nice breakdown of 230g pro/300g cho/100g fat.
Loving it. Weight is staying the same +/- 2 lbs around 220.
135 thrusters are becoming really easy.
So you guys got a new place for CF Norcal? Looks humongous!
Right on! 135lb thruster and “EASY” are not typically uttered together! you are going to crush the games!!
We signed a lease…moving in late July to a 6,000sqft location. We will unleash some SERIOUS hurt in that facility!
Leonid S. says
Congratulations – big roomy torture chamber!
Please post some progress pics of the build up if you can – I’d love to snatch some bright ideas of CF gym building (we’re getting an Orlando facility up in a couple of months – so I need some sweet ideas for it).
I will do it!
Chris D. says
in the post you say that you ignore the fiber. Does that mean that you only count the sugars when you enter them in the USDA Nutrient Database?
I just downed a 1/2 pound bag or raw snap peas which would be 34.2 carbs: 11.8 fiber, and 18.12 sugars according to the database. Should i count this as 3.5 carb blocks, or 2?
2 blocks in this case…just the effective carbs.
simontly fellows says
i never knew til now you had a website.
Brilliant and fabbo
Oh Man…there goes the neighborhood. Another Canadian 😉
Chris D. says
for some more clarity on “effective” carbs in reference to the USDA site; is that just the “Total Sugars” line? is there anything else that should be added to that value to fit the zone block template for carbs?
It’s everything that is not fiber. It can be starch which is broken into pectin/amylopectin and various sugars.
Mark L says
Funny I stumbled across this dialogue because I’m struggling (psychologically) with eating my zone snack prior to working out, as opposed to eating a post workout snack. For years I weightlifted and had a whey-protein shake after lifting. I know you’re not a fan of these shakes, but I’ve been at 11% BF for the past 28 yrs and don’t see myself getting pudgy anytime soon.
My post-WOD snack is based on the belief that glucogon uptake is huge following physical exertion. Is this true? If so, what can I do to incorporate this? Should I split my 2-block snack (1/2 pre and 1/2 post)?
Glycogen repletion PWO is high, yes. Run with that snack however you like…if you tolerate the food pre-WO, good to go!
Robb. I have yet another Qu about IF.What are the benefits of IF as apposed to just strict Zonin?
Read the couple of articles I did on IF…in particular the one on Hormesis.