“And that’s why I say you won’t get there by luck. None of our people that just ‘paleo’ things, (meats and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruits, little starch, no sugar), none of those people have been top performers. All of my top performers have been weigh-and-measure folks.” -Coach Glassman, 2007.
It’s 2014, and this is still truer than ever with the athletes at my gym.
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.