Nicole Carroll forwarded a great question to me. Here is the question and my subsequent response:
I attended the CrossFit Charlotte Level 1 Certification and I have to say you all were absolutely brilliant. I have attended many certifications in my career and CrossFit was by far the most educational. I wanted to ask you a few questions about the zone diet if you don’t mind. I downloaded the info. off the CF journal. I also re-read entering the zone, I had it at home.
I weigh 143, height 5’7″my body fat is exactly 17%- I did the hydrostatic (underwater) testing exactly 1 week prior to the cert.
I have exactly 116 lbs. of lean muscle.
So, I should calculate 116 multiplied by .7 activity level, equals 81.2 dived by 7 puts me between an 11 and 12 block meal plan.
So, I went with the 12 block. 3,1,3,1,3,1 I weighed everything! portioned it perfectly. Well, day 4 I got up to teach my kickboxing class (I only teach once a week) had a raging headache and my muscles would barely allow me to make it through the class. I felt awful all day, no energy, headache, nauseous etc.. I had a zone friendly but much larger dinner that night and felt quite a bit better. I had lost 3-4 lbs. in the first week. I had a cheat meal that Saturday night but stuck to the diet. The following week the same thing happened on day 3. It is awful to feel that way. I didn’t want to continue doing this if I am going to feel awful on it. For the duration of the week I followed the daytime regimen perfectly but had to increase by about 1 more block at dinner so I didn’t wake up feeling so awful in the morning. It’s not that I am hungry (yes, a little at night) but I wake up with no energy and I usually only have a 1 block snack first because I workout first thing. I can’t workout on an empty stomach but I can’t do it on a full stomach either I am on week 3 and have stuck to a 1,3,1,3,1,4,1 diet and all my weight is back. Performance is still not good either. according to my calculations 12 block is about 1200 calories which is a lot less than I am used to, I usually ate the “perimeter diet” at about 1900 a day. I workout 6 days a week. I do the CrossFit workkouts daily and about 2-3 days add about a 2 mile run. 1 day a week I teach a 1 hour kickboxing class. I have had 1 dessert Saturday night as my cheat and that is all.
Here is my daily schedule m-sat.
I get up at 6:00am and eat the 1 block snack right away and have 1 cup black coffee,
1 get to the gym at 7:30am to workout.
Have breakfast 3 blocks by 9am,
lunch 3 blocks between 1 and 2,
1 block snack about 5pm,
get home from work between 8:30pm and 9pm and have dinner 4 block ish,
maybe 1 block snack at 11pm if I am famished.
I really want to decrease my body fat and increase my performance but I am most definitely frustrated and struggling with this. Any advice you can give me would be great. Maybe I am missing something? Either that or I am a big baby and just need to suck it up. Either way, I know you are busy but I would appreciate if you could offer any insight.
Here is my response:
Nicole shoots a few of the fun Zone questions to me from time! It sounds like you were eating pretty clean and not too much before…good stuff. The deal with the Zone is it starts off a calorie restricted diet which allows people to lean out at a remarkable rate. When folks hit a desired level of leanness, the fat content is increases anywhere from 2-5x. This is a maintenance Zone that is higher in fat and fuels nearly all of the top crossfit performers.
Now…why have you been feeling like crap? You may have cut your carb level quite a bit as compared to your previous eating, you may be a bit sluggish in ramping up your fat mobilizing enzymes, or you might be pretty near an optimum level of leanness for you. Most of the top females have their abs up and run around 12-14% BF. You are pretty darn close to that…do you want to lean out more?
Here is what I’d do: Increase your fat blocks to 2x. That means for every meal double the fat you are eating, at the end of the day you will have taken in 12 blocks of protein, 12 blocks of carbs and 24 blocks of fat. Do you feel better? If not bump it up to 3x. Same deal. You may need to tinker this all the way up to 5x fat. So, if you are at a level of leanness you are happy with you can run with this plan and you should feel great and see your performance take off. If you want to lean out more drop back to the base Zone for a day, then back up to the higher fat level for the next day. Alternate this and see how you feel. You should continue to make progress, both in terms of your leanness, and your performance. It will take a little patience but it sounds like you have PLENTY of discipline!