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Russell Greene
08-08-2007, 03:02 PM
I just started the zone three days ago on a 17 block plan. It is definitely much less food than I am used to, but I would like to lose several percentages of BF% so I guess that makes sense. Do most people feel hungry all the time when they first start the zone? I sure do.

I am 5'10 and around 177 lbs. I workout three days on, one day off. Every workout day I run a mile, do three rounds of 15 ohs at 75 lbs, 18 pullups, 15 situps, 5 hspu's, and a superman hold, plus Crossfit workouts and/or heavy lifting around 5 days a week. Is 17 blocks a normal prescription for someone my size and activity level who is trying to lose just a bit of fat?

Nutrition is definitely my weak point, both in terms of knowledge and application.

Eva Claire Synkowski
08-09-2007, 11:27 AM
without knowing current estimates of BF - its hard to know how accurate you are - but 17 doesn't sound far off given your height, weight.

by design, zone is pretty minimal on calories - most people are hungry (at first) with it. ive tried strict zone several times - and barely got past wk 3, and that was starting with 2x fat. the hunger, super strict measuring, and filling carbs with paleo sources was too much for me. perhaps consider IF... if a decrease in BF is what youre after.

i wouldn't up the blocks based on activity level quite yet. crossfit wods are intense, but they are still pretty short in duration - so the activity level doesn't need to be increased. i remember hearing during a cert that if you are following the main page (or a loose variation thereof) the .7 activity level is pretty accurate.

Russell Greene
08-09-2007, 12:24 PM
My bodyfat percentage is not at the level of the top Crossfitters, but I can do 8 deadhang muscleups and have a 3:58 Fran, so it can't be too high either. I can see my top four abs if I flex. I got fed up last night with starving, so I read the nutrition archives on the Crossfit board. Lauren and Robb both mentioned that the fat and protein levels are minimums, but the carb level is a maximum. So last night I had about 20 almonds, salmon, and chicken. I guess I will add almonds and protein from time to time when I am too hungry to continue.

Mike ODonnell
08-09-2007, 01:09 PM
problem I don't like with the zone is that I felt starving all the time.....where as with IF I feel less hunger and more appreciation for what I eat when I eat it on the same amount of calories...without resorting to wanting to eat my hand...

Just a thought....

Dave Van Skike
08-09-2007, 01:20 PM
Russell,

why do you want to lose BF?

Russell Greene
08-09-2007, 03:06 PM
I want to lose bodyfat because I am trying to maximize my CF performance and the top crossfitters have lower BF than I do. I know that as far as health goes, my bodyfat percentage is low already, but to maximize Crossfit performance, especially on the bodyweight exercises, seems to favor, if not require, very low bodyfat percentages.

I have noticed so far on the zone that I fall asleep much more easily. I was having problems with falling asleep around 3 AM and now it is hard for me to stay up past 11:30 PM. This is good because I am getting more and better sleep.

I ran the slightly-over-a-mile loop that I usually run in around 6:00-6:10 in 5:48 yesterday, and it was not at all a max effort. I felt very light on my feet and strong.

Dave Van Skike
08-09-2007, 09:42 PM
I want to lose bodyfat because I am trying to maximize my CF performance and the top crossfitters have lower BF than I do. I know that as far as health goes, my bodyfat percentage is low already, but to maximize Crossfit performance, especially on the bodyweight exercises, seems to favor, if not require, very low bodyfat percentages.

I have noticed so far on the zone that I fall asleep much more easily. I was having problems with falling asleep around 3 AM and now it is hard for me to stay up past 11:30 PM. This is good because I am getting more and better sleep.

I ran the slightly-over-a-mile loop that I usually run in around 6:00-6:10 in 5:48 yesterday, and it was not at all a max effort. I felt very light on my feet and strong.

OK. Is the lower BF % causation or correlation? I'm not being obtuse, I've just seen a lot of strength endurance athletes (former self included) burn up at lower BF percentages and find it unsustainable. Seem like you are enjoying success in the overall though, do you have time to post a log? would be an interesting thing to track.

Robb Wolf
08-10-2007, 09:23 AM
Russ- hve you read the "how to tweak the Zone" piece ia did a month or so ago? One way to minimize hunger is to partition a significant portion of carbs tot he post WO period. I'd stick with 4 meals, tinker with a little IF later.

You will lean out very quickly...you will be fairly hungry during the whole process. Once you ramp up the fat it will be tough to eat your meals.

For most I see the Zone as an intervention...the folks who do well on the Zone are VERY disciplined...make their beds with no creases type of folks. i was a chemist and i find the weighing and measuring unlivable for the long term...in part due to relatively no change in performance. Body comp? yep, I'm leaner on the Zone...can;t say performance is improved however but I am pretty tight IF/paleo due to good allergies and schedule.

Now if only I could sleep more...

Make a journal on this, it would be super helpful for folks.

Steve Liberati
08-10-2007, 02:34 PM
Let me start by saying a 3:58 Fran is very impressive and probably in the top echelon of most CrossFitter's range. If your looking to lean up some more, I'd take Robb's advice and run with it. In fact, I've been eating 4-5 paleo meals on zone ratios tied in with an every other day fast for the last 2 months now and its working very well. Performance, body comp and strength-wise....all up across the board. Love the fact that my abs are start to finally show too. Ties everything together quite nicely...

Russell Greene
08-10-2007, 06:40 PM
I'm up for the journal. I will include both training and nutrition info, so I don't know if it should go in the training or nutrition journal section.

Dave, I don't know if the lower BF is correlation or causation, but I am certain that the zone diet seems to be the causation. Whether the diet leads to better performances which leads to lower BF, or the diet leads lower BF which leads to better performances, I don't know. I have a hunch that it's both.

Rather than adding protein and fats when I am hungry, which upon further reflection is too flexible of an approach, I have just decided to eat 17 blocks with 2X blocks fat.

Steve, I remember when 3:58 was an upper echelon Fran time, now I would say it's good, but nowhere near advanced.

I think the IF and Paleo stuff is cool and all, but I am a beginner when it comes to this diet stuff, so I am going to go straight zone first, and make that my foundation, and then tweak things as I see fit.

Robb, I just read your article. It is good, though I don't fit neatly into any particular one of the prototypes. I am reading the Crossfit nutrition archives. You, Lauren, and others really put a lot of good free info in there.

-Ross Hunt
08-11-2007, 11:29 AM
Russell,

A couple points:

1) Appearance of low body fat is not governed solely by bodyfat levels. Total amount of lean body mass is also a factor. A 6' 200 pound man with 10% bodyfat has a six-pack; a 6' 150 pound man with 10% doesn't. The way to better apparent body comp is often an increase in bodymass. There is a certain weight: height ratio beneath which it is very difficult or impossible to maintain high muscle definition without continually shedding total body weight.

2) What is the limiting factor in your XF performance--peak power (heavy weights) or power endurance? If it's the former, take it from me--don't cut bodyweight. I did the Zone rigorously for a month, with fat levels far beyond the recommended ones; I still lost weight from the vast amount of vegetables I had to eat; my tolerance for volume with heavy loads nosedived; my strength decreased, and with it my overall fitness. I perceived no performance benefit whatsoever from a rigorous Zone diet in relation to a normal Paleo diet. I don't know how fast your metabolism is, but your food and fat intake sounds significantly lower than what I tried when I weighed ~180 at 6'.

So--if you're very strong, but you're carrying a little extra body fat that's slowing you down, and your metabolism is naturally slow, the Zone probably has something to offer you. But if the only reason that you don't have the body comp you want is that you lack total lean body mass, then the way to get that body mass is by moving heavy weights, and cutting bodyweight and reducing caloric intake is not going to help you do that.

Russell Greene
08-11-2007, 10:28 PM
Many, if not most of the best crossfitters are either around as heavy as I am or lighter. There are very few above 190 lbs. OPT who won the crossfit games is my height and 10 lbs. lighter than me. I am 174 now. I seriously doubt that there would be an advantage to me gaining muscle mass. OPT does have better max lifts than me, by about 25 lbs. on the squat and 40 lbs. on the dead, about the same on the press (he did a 340 squat, 440 dead, and 155 press IIRC.) I will be lifting what he lifts now in terms of maxes within 9 months to a year, without doing a strength specialization program. Chris Spealler who was one of the top finishers lifted less than me on every lift.

The commonalities I saw in the people who beat me at the games was that they all were leaner, nearly all were on the zone, and all had more powerful kips on the pullups than me. So I have gone on the zone, and am practicing my kip.

I love heavy lifting, but I think that for pure crossfit performance purposes, a strength-focused lifting program and mass gain diet are completely unnecessary, if not detrimental, for most people.

Perhaps all the top Crossfitters would be better at crossfit if they trained and ate like olympic weightlifters or powerlifters for a large chunk of their training time, but until I see a group of people who do that, and dominate at the games or the WOD's, I will conclude that a Crossfit program and diet is the best way to be good at Crossfit.

Chris Goodrich
08-13-2007, 08:55 AM
Russ,
My stats are similar to yours (5'8", 180, similar lifts and Fran time, mostly mainsite CF WOD schedule for the last 2 years) and I found 17 blocks to be too low for me. Coach Glassman presrcribed 17 blocks to me at a cert back in 2005 but even at 5x fat blocks my lean mass plummeted and my WOD times slowed. As I approached 160 and falling I bumped my blocks up to 22, and later up to my current 24, which built me back up slowly to my current weight while keeping me lean.
Obviously, this is a single data point, and I am very likely some kind of catabolic freak, but I would recommend that you monitor your lean mass and don't be shy about increasing protein intake if it starts to go down. I use the little cheap accumeasure plastic caliper, which isn't super accurate but is good enough to establish a trend line and make some useful judgements from there.

Russell Greene
08-13-2007, 08:01 PM
Thanks for the ideas, everybody.

I will be paying close attention to strength and muscle loss. It's only been about a week and a half, but I am feeling pretty damn good about the diet still. I will probably end up increasing my overall blocks, and I will surely increase my fat blocks at the very least, but for now I'll stick with 17 blocks at 2X fat as long as it continues to work.

-Ross Hunt
08-15-2007, 08:30 PM
I love heavy lifting, but I think that for pure crossfit performance purposes, a strength-focused lifting program and mass gain diet are completely unnecessary, if not detrimental, for most people.

Perhaps all the top Crossfitters would be better at crossfit if they trained and ate like olympic weightlifters or powerlifters for a large chunk of their training time, but until I see a group of people who do that, and dominate at the games or the WOD's, I will conclude that a Crossfit program and diet is the best way to be good at Crossfit.

OK, then it sounds as the game is being played now you definitely have the right game plan.

I would second the other poster's comment that your food consumption sounds low, but I'm just one more data point, and a really skinny one at that; RMR varies a lot. Good luck.