“Tying it All Together”
We’ve now gone full circle to our original problem. With all the diets out there, what the heck should I do?
Now that we’ve taken hold of the root of the problem and defined our 3 working macronutrients, let’s discuss how to apply them in your life.
So far our key take-aways from each macronutrient (in a nut shell) are as follows:
- Control insulin (master hormone)
- Insulin tells your body to “hold” things
- Are rated on how fast they break down and enter your blood stream by the glycemic index
- Control Glucagon (hormone)
- Glucagon tells your body to “Use” things
- Break down into amino acids
- Amino acids are the “building blocks of life”
- Are essential for healthy cells
- Keep your hormones balanced
- Regulate the digestion/absorption of other macronutrients
- Make you feel satiated
Now let’s go over some common goals of a CrossFitter. Some of these may resonate with you:
-Improved health (insulin sensitivity. Reduced inflammation. Gut function.)
-Reduction of body fat
-Improvement of performance
-increase of strength
The CrossFit methodology has always supported the Zone Diet or Paleo diet or a combination thereof. With both of these diets, you combine protein, carbs, and fats in each meal, and the main concern of doing this is the balancing of hormones.
The Zone™ is a real physiological state in your body that can be measured in clinical tests. If you are in the Zone, you have optimized your ability to control diet-induced inflammation. This inflammation is the reason you gain weight, become sick, and age faster.
There are three clinical markers that define if you are in the Zone. If all three clinical markers are within their ideal values, you are in the Zone. Otherwise, you are not.
Based on these values, less than 1% of Americans are able to manage diet-induced inflammation and fall within the parameters of the Zone. In the Zone, you will live a longer and better life because you are controlling diet-induced inflammation. That is the secret to maintaining wellness.
Benefits of being in the Zone include:
- Losing excess body fat at the fastest possible rate
- Maintaining wellness for a longer period of time
- Performing better
- Thinking faster
- Slowing down the rate of aging
Controlling diet-induced inflammation is a life-long effort. It is inflammation that disrupts the hormonal communication in our cells that prevents us from reaching peak performance. Making the dietary changes to reach the Zone and stay there may initially appear difficult, but is well worth the effort.
The Zone Diet requires that you simply balance your plate at every meal and snack with the 3 macro nutrients:
PROTEIN – 1/3rd of your plate
Add some lean protein, about the size and thickness of your palm.
CARBOHYDRATES – 2/3rds of your plate
Add a lot colorful low glycemic vegetables and a little fruit.
Add a little bit of monounsaturated fat.
Typically, The Zone is broken down into “blocks”.
One Zone block consists of:
7 grams of protein
9 grams of carbohydrates
1.5 grams of fat.
To determine how many blocks you need in your diet. You can go to
However, you will need to know your body fat percentage and your weight to calculate this. If you have access to getting a body scan, water body fat test dunk, or manual calipers, you can assess an approximate percentage of body fat to work with.
Another way of getting your body fat percentage approximation is with a handful of simple measurements entered into this website:
The Paleo Diet is another popular diet for CrossFitters and health/body conscious individuals.
The Paleo diet is the healthiest way you can eat because it is the ONLY nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic! Research in biology, biochemistry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology and many other disciplines indicate it is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility. – Robb Wolf
A Paleo diet should be high in fat, moderate in animal protein and low to moderate in carbohydrates. Calorie counting is not encouraged, neither is portion control.
Eat generous amounts of saturated fats like coconut oil and butter or clarified butter. Beef tallow, lard and duck fat are also good, but only if they come from healthy and well-treated animals. Beef or lamb tallow is a better choice than lamb or duck fat. Olive, avocado and macadamia oil are also good fats to use in salads and to drizzle over food, but not for cooking.
Eat good amounts of animal protein. This includes red meat, poultry, pork, eggs, organs (liver, kidney, heart…), wild caught fish and shellfish. Don’t be scared to eat the fatty cuts and all meals with proteins should contain fat as well. Learn to cook with bones in the form of stocks and broths.
Eat generous amounts of fresh or frozen vegetables either cooked or raw and served with fat. Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and yams are also great as a source of non-toxic carbohydrates.
Eat low to moderate amounts of fruits and nuts. Try to eat mostly fruits low in sugar and high in antioxidants like berries as well as nuts high in omega-3, low in omega-6 and low in total polyunsaturated fat like macadamia nuts. Consider cutting off fruits and nuts altogether if you have an autoimmune disease, digestive problems or are trying to lose weight faster.
Preferably choose pasture-raised and grass-fed meat from local, environmentally conscious farms. If not possible, choose lean cuts of meat and supplement your fat with coconut oil, butter or clarified butter. Also preferably choose organic, local and/or seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Cut out all cereal grains and legumes from your diet. This includes, but is not limited to, wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, brown rice, soy, peanuts, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans and black eyed peas.
Cut out all vegetable, hydrogenated and partly-hydrogenated oilsincluding, but not limited to, margarine, soybean oil, corn oil, peanut oil, canola oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil. Olive oil and avocado oil are fine, but don’t cook with them, use them in salad dressings and to drizzle over food.
Eliminate added sugar, soft drinks, all packaged sweets and juices (including fruit juices). As a rule of thumb, if it’s in a box, don’t eat it. At the grocery store, visit primarily the meat, fish and produce sections.
Eliminate dairy products other than butter and maybe heavy cream. You don’t need dairy, but if you can’t live without it, read this article and consider raw, full-fat and/or fermented dairy.
Eat when you’re hungry and don’t stress if you skip a meal or even two. You don’t have to eat three square meals a day, do what feels most natural.
Eliminate external stressors in your life as much as possible and sleep at least 8 hours per night. Try to wake up without an alarm and to go to bed when it gets dark.
Don’t over-exercise, keep your training sessions short and intense and do them only a few times per week. Take some extra time off if you feel tired. Consider short and intense sprinting sessions instead of very long cardio sessions.
Consider supplementing with vitamin D and probiotics. Levels of magnesium, iodine and vitamin K2 should also be optimized. Iodine can be obtained from seaweeds. You probably don’t need a multivitamin or other supplements.
Play in the sun, have fun, laugh, smile, relax, discover, travel, learn and enjoy life like a daring adventure!
Both of these methods of eating support longevity, health, and performance!
If you have any questions about this, or would like nutritional consultation/guidance, contact Coach Andy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you will read and re-read this four part blog series to have a better understanding of what you are putting in your bodies.