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Old 12-05-2007, 10:02 PM   #1
Greg Battaglia
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Default Elite Zoners: Athlete's Zone?

Ok, so admittedly, these days I've been a hell of a lot closer to Zone ratios than in the past. I know, some will drill me for going Zone after bashing the hell out of it for so long, but oh well. I'm not afraid to admit I was wrong. I switched from an Paleo/low-carb approach to Paleo/Zone Anyway, I know that over at CF Coach claims that all his top athletes follow the zone strictly. When he mentions this is he referring to standard zone ratios, or the athletes Zone in which fat blocks are increased 3-5X? For example, people like Greg A., Eva T., etc. Thanks, if I get drilled, I deserve it, lol.
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Old 12-06-2007, 04:26 AM   #2
Jane Michel
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Interesting question. I think Coach is referring to Zone + upped fat blocks (even though some would say that isn't Zone anymore) because Nicole and Greg A are (or were) definitely doing that.
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Old 12-06-2007, 06:40 AM   #3
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Greg,
I believe Coach Glassman is really referring to his athletes WAMing their food to ensure consistency of intake.

Without knowing the macros that are going in, one can't gauge their "food" performance.
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Old 12-06-2007, 11:57 AM   #4
Gant Grimes
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The Zone is concerned with carb--protein ratio, so increasing the fat doesn't affect that ratio (i.e. doesn't take you out of the Zone).

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Originally Posted by Greg Battaglia View Post
I know that over at CF Coach claims that all his top athletes follow the zone strictly. When he mentions this is he referring to standard zone ratios, or the athletes Zone in which fat blocks are increased 3-5X?
Robb W. refers to the athlete's Zone in "42 Ways to Skin the Zone" as increasing the fat in a traditional Zone up to five times the normal amount, or 25-15-60.

I have no doubt that many top performers are strict zoners, but there are a few good ones that aren't. One of these guys eats about 3500 calories a day, in Zone conforming ratios, and trains with mostly OLY lifting; another guy eats an "unmeasured" Zone diet; and a third eats organic foods with the occasional rice and pasta. I'm referring to Josh Everett, James Fitzgerald, and Brett Marshall, the top three finishers at the CrossFit Games (CFJ 60, pg. 11).
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Old 12-06-2007, 12:24 PM   #5
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Thanks. I'm aware of the Zone philosophy. I was mostly curious as to what those elite CFer's were doing. The reason I ask is because on the Crossfit main site the recommendations are geared toward standard Zone ratios with no mention of the athletes Zone or upping fat blocks once dialed in. I was also wondering if the 6 meals/day schematic actually works for anyone. I personally can't do it. I'm mostly just sticking to an eye-ball zone in that i fill 2/3 0f my plate with steamed veggies, 1/3 with lean meat or eggs, and a small piece of fruit on the side with a small handful of nuts. Eat when hungry.
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Old 12-06-2007, 12:28 PM   #6
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P.S. So Dr. G, you're basically saying that the main point he was trying to make is that consciously controlling your variables is the take-home message? I'm thinking about giving the Zone a go, 100%. I've never done it full-compliance before (I should have before talking trash on it) and am curious to see if the performance gains are as drastic as I hear.
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Old 12-06-2007, 12:53 PM   #7
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am curious to see if the performance gains are as drastic as I hear.
Compared to what? If people just starting CF are doing the zone are raving about results...I have a feeling their eating was crap before that....so really not going to be a good comparison. Zone keeps your muscle glycogen steady and enough protein to keep muscle so I imagine it works....but it's a pain in the ass eating that much in perfect ratio, and I see greater benefit in more random macronutrient variables and timing...rather than some strict % all day every day. That being said...it can work...but I have a feeling most people that rave about it were not eating healthy in the first place.
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:10 PM   #8
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Greg,
I believe the main point Coach Glassman is making is that the standard Zone ratios are the best place he has found for starting folks into the great nutrition experiment of one (themselves). Even Sears says the same. Start there, then after observation and educated guesses, one can start tweaking.

Without WAMing, ever, one doesn't know where they are coming from in order to make future changes.

Standard Paleo/Zone worked awesome for me to lower BF% in the beginning of my CF experience. I did notice that I didn't like having to eat fruit (fresh or dried) to get to my full carb block allotment, it tended to make me feel really bloated and I got the 2-3pm "crash" when I went hypoglycemic from too many carbs. After the expected BF% "crash" and subsequently upping the fat blocks, I was back on track mostly, except then I felt even more bloated when I had to have fruit.

So I eventually went to mainly Paleo with BED influence. If I had to redo the WAM approach now, I would immediately cut the carb blocks in half and up the fat to compensate.

I would never have come to this realization without ever WAMing my food and watching my performance and how I felt. I don't know that I ever want to associate eating with such an OCD practice again, personally. Was it an extremely valuable learning experience? Absolutely.

BTW, I never actually weighed. If I cooked up a pound of ground beef (16 blocks) and I only needed to eat 8, I'd eat what I estimated was half of it. I did measure, though. Personally, buying a scale was an expense I didn't want to justify, and my results seemed to show that being that anal wasn't necessary.

You may want to "reverse-engineer" your diet, that is, WAM what you would normally eat now, without consciously changing the food amounts you would normally eat. FitDay would likely be a big help in doing that.

Hope that helps! You will benefit from the experiment, you just might not know how at this moment.
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Old 12-06-2007, 02:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Battaglia View Post
Thanks. I'm aware of the Zone philosophy. I was mostly curious as to what those elite CFer's were doing. The reason I ask is because on the Crossfit main site the recommendations are geared toward standard Zone ratios with no mention of the athletes Zone or upping fat blocks once dialed in. I was also wondering if the 6 meals/day schematic actually works for anyone. I personally can't do it. I'm mostly just sticking to an eye-ball zone in that i fill 2/3 0f my plate with steamed veggies, 1/3 with lean meat or eggs, and a small piece of fruit on the side with a small handful of nuts. Eat when hungry.
From CFJ 21, "Unfortunately, the full benefit of the Zone is largely limited to those who have at least at first weighed and measured their food...natural variances in caloric intake and macronutrient composition without measurement are greater than the resolution required to turn good performance to great."

Mike, my results--performance and recovery--improve dramatically the more I WAM. I had CF'd for several months using the eyeball method and had decent results. I decided to follow the advice of other CFers and try to stricter plan for a couple weeks. It didn't take more than a couple days to tell the difference. I was eating the same foods, but my eyeball method didn't come close. 80% accuracy is not 100% accuracy.

I have just now become comfortable enough with nutrition to modify my program. I have increased my protein by about 30%, halved the carbs, and jacked up the fat. If I have to eat out, I get a measured portion of protein, a Greek salad and a shot of olive oil (or a chicken fried steak if the mood hits me).

WAM can be a bit of a pain, but pure Paleo and IF aren't realistic options for me. I eat everything but dinner at work, so it's not a big deal to slap some meat on the postal scale, measure some peaches or strawberries, and take a measured shot of olive oil.

Greg, I eat three 5P/2C/15F meals at work, a 2P/1C/9F preWO, and a 5P/6C postWO shake, and a 5P/4C/9F dinner. Total=27P/17C/63F. Nothing difficult about it.

My advice to anyone contemplating the Zone is to read CJF 21, read Robb Wolf's article about swapping fat for carbs, and WAM for at least two weeks (the eyeball method isn't worth a damn if your eyeballs aren't trained).
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Old 12-06-2007, 02:39 PM   #10
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Thanks for the informative replies. Great stuff. My problem is that every time I try to go Zone I simply can't make it because calories drop to low due to a busy schedule. A more random schedule works better because some days I'll have class earlier or later, some days I don't have work, etc. I'm drawn toward the Zone because recently I've been forced to pack in lots of calories in a very small time period, and this has not done good things for my health. I need smaller portions, as my digestive system simply cannot handle such large quantities of food at once. The Zone may not be an option, I don't know. I could go back to IF with a 6 hour nightly feeding window but that became troublesome in the past due to a lack of time for eating due to family/social responsibilities. Any suggestions?
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