The topic of nutrition is a huge one for me and I feel like it is one of the most important things to look at when you are trying to improve your performance and health. I take my own nutrition extremely seriously and have completely committed myself to only putting balanced, nutrient dense food in my body. I have been a big advocate of the Zone diet since I was first introduced to it years ago. I have always stuck with it and truly believe it is the best approach to nutrition for CrossFitters or anyone for that matter. The Zone focuses on balancing protein, carbohydrates, and fats in specific portions that ramp up performance and allows your body to function at its best. What I also focus on is making sure that the sources I am using for my protein, carbohydrates, and fats are the highest possible quality so that I am getting the best balance of my macronutrients while getting the most possible micronutrients. The Paleo diet gives good guidance as to what foods are best and what foods should be excluded when it comes to finding the best sources for our bodies. The combination of Zone quantities with Paleo quality is powerful and delivers exactly what my body needs to train at a high level, recover, and perform. The Zone has gotten somewhat of a bad reputation over the years because of how people misuse the system. The diet itself categorizes all food as either a protein, carbohydrate, or fat and allows you to get your blocks (the Zone serving size) from any source. Some people see that and think including processed carbohydrates, low quality proteins, or omega-6 heavy fats will yield good results. In reality, the Zone provides that information with the idea that anything can be balanced in a pinch, but the real success is found with lean meats, low glycemic vegetables and fruit, and as many omega-3 rich fat sources as possible. I have gone through periods where I balanced lower quality food sources and when I increased the quality, but kept the Zone balance the same I immediately saw increases in the way I felt and performed. Balancing the macronutrients becomes second nature with a little time and anyone who commits two weeks to learning the system will obtain the skill for a lifetime. In future blogs I am going to dive into even more aspects of my own experiences with nutrition and what I see as vital to success with the Zone diet combined with Paleo quality foods.
7 thoughts on “Paleo-Zone Nutrition”
I look forward to reading about your experience. My diet has recently taken a turn towards more Paleo quality foods (I would say 80-85% of my intake is Paleo type foods, with no major “cheat days” or meals. A serving of dark chocolate, or a serving of creamer constitutes my deviance from the Paleo style of eating) but since I’ve started this, my weight and body fat have dropped to levels I find very low (under 12% for a female) in that amount of time. Do you think following the Zone type of quantity could help me with gaining lean muscle mass and preventing further fat loss?
First off, congrats on your success with making changes to your nutrition! It can be very challenging but oh so rewarding! I am a firm believer in knowing exactly what and how much you are putting in your body on a daily basis. The downside to a strictly Paleo diet is the lack of knowing how much you are consuming. With following the Zone you are able to consume enough protein, carbs, and fat to allow your body to gain lean mass as well as make sure you are getting enough good carbs to give you the fuel necessary. It will also allow you to slow down and stop your fat loss by knowing how much fat you are taking in. I love having complete control of my performance and body by simply controlling my nutrition. I hope that answered your question.
Yes, thank you for the feedback!
I just wanted to follow up on this. I adopted the Paleo-Zone way of eating, and increased my fat intake substantially and it’s like a light switched on in my body! I went from 118 pounds and 11.6% body fat to 121 pounds and 10.7% body fat-so I’m glad I finally put some muscle on!.I’m still not sure how to stop the fat loss, but my body appears to be functioning normally even at such a low body that that i am just kind of assuming my body is OK being a little leaner than normal.
Anyways, thanks for all the information you’ve provided on your blog. It’s definitely helped me as I continue to try and play around with my “blocks” and I’m finally not hungry ALL the time.
Congrats on your success! When increasing your fat intake you still need to keep track of how much you are consuming per meal. What I suggest to our members and what I do personally is when I want to slow down the fat loss I will go from 1x fat to 2x fat. Meaning in a 3 block meal I will double my fat intake so instead of 3blocks of fat I will consume 6 blocks of fat. When that isn’t enough I increase to 3x fat, then 4x, then 5x if necessary. This is a wonderful problem as I thoroughly enough fat. Then you have to continue monitoring your intake and your performance as well as your body fat. If you are following 3 or 4x fat and you notice you are gaining body fat then drop back down to 2x fat and build back up. You should be able to find a good balance. Hope that helps. Glad to help.
The Zone was the missing piece to the puzzle for me and a pinnacle discovery in my training. I started feeling better both mentally and physically, which allowed me to push harder within my training and performance, thus resulting in a leaner, stronger, happier, and fitter me!!!
This is my story on the paleo and zone diet below