Nutrition is the foundation of health and fitness. You simply cannot out train a poor diet. Yet, many people just don’t know what to do when it comes to diet. They try many different fad diets looking for a quick fix or instant gratification and end up failing and falling right back to square one. The missing link for many of these people who feel like they fail time and time again on fad diets is just that…they are focusing on a diet, instead of a lifestyle change.
The founder of CrossFit, Greg Glassman, summed up the simplicity in eating healthy for life in the “What is Fitness” Crossfit Journal article with these words:
Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.
–Greg Glassman, “What is Fitness?,” CrossFit Journal (Oct. 2002) pg. 1
Athletic performance depends on proper nutrition. All areas of fitness build upon it. Without quality foods eaten in appropriate quantities, no athlete can achieve his or her full potential.
CrossFit Memorial Houston prescribes to the dietary advice of CrossFit founder Greg Glassman: “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.” This simple set of rules highlights the importance of both food quality and quantity in the diet.
CrossFit Memorial Houston believes there are two primary ways of eating that will help you achieve these optimal results: 1 – The Paleo Diet and 2 – The Zone Diet.
A Paleo diet is one rich in nutrients and favors eating garden vegetables, especially greens, lean meats, nuts, seeds, minimal fruits, little starch and no sugar. This is quite a different approach when you look at the USDA food pyramid. To be honest, the USDA food pyramid should be thrown out the window and should be replaced by the Paleo Pyramid:
Another important factor is food quality.
It is essential to eliminate junk foods and processed foods from the diet. We should eat natural, whole foods that support the optimal functioning of our bodies.
Why not processed foods? The human body didn’t evolve eating the diet of modern agricultural societies. Our paleolithic human ancestors ate the diet of hunter gatherers: primarily meats, plants, roots, fruits and berries, nuts, and seeds.
A good rule of thumb is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store to find the healthiest balance of carb/protein/fat.
How Much To Eat: Quantity, Fitness, and Body Fat
As Glassman says: “Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.” For some people, this piece of common sense wisdom will be enough, especially if they are following a strict Paleo-Diet.
Other people will feel that, Glassman’s advice is more easily repeated than lived by. How much food is too much? How much is not enough?
Because every person is different, no one prescription for food quantities will suffice. But there are many interesting theories and ideas about how much you should be eating.
The official CrossFit Main site Nutrition Guidelines, and many of CrossFit’s founding trainers including Greg Glassman, promote the approach to food quantities found in the “Zone Diet” system of Dr. Barry Sears (www.zonediet.com) Others prefer the “Primal Diet” approach of Mark Sisson, the “Protein Power” (www.marksdailyapple.com) diet of Michael and Mary Dan Eades (www.proteinpower.com). Others prefer an “unregulated” Paleo-Diet.
The Zone Diet is a good route to take if you do find yourself struggling with deciding how much food is enough for me. It has a simple formula to follow that tells you exactly how much you should eat at every meal and at every time of the day.
While we actually recommend first focusing on quality of food by shopping the perimeter of the grocery store, balancing your portions and carb/protein/fat intake with the Zone is an incredibly valuable tool for both elite athletes seeking the best CrossFit diet and everyday people seeking weight loss. To take your nutrition to the next level you need the hormonal balance that the Zone Diet provides (http://www.zonediet.com/Plans/Grocery-Additions/portalid/0).
The Zone Diet, by biochemist Dr. Barry Sears, is about balancing your hormones within a specific range to control hunger on fewer calories while still getting the proper nutrients your body needs for long-term health. The Zone Diet can best be described as a moderate-carbohydrate, moderate-protein, moderate fat diet that has approximately one gram of fat for every two grams of protein and every three grams of carbohydrates. With the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats, you can control three major hormones generated by the human diet – insulin, glucagon and eicosanoids.
Insulin – A storage hormone. Excess insulin makes you fat and keeps you fat. It also accelerates silent inflammation.
Glucagon – A mobilization hormone that tells the body to release stored carbohydrates at a steady rate, leading to stabilized blood sugar levels. This is key for optimal mental and physical performance.
Eicosanoids – These are the hormones that ultimately control silent inflammation. They are also master hormones that indirectly orchestrate a vast array of other hormonal systems in your body.
Why is the Paleo-Zone Diet so Effective?
First, any diet can work. But, many diets are focused on calorie restriction, and high attrition rates as participants feel hungry all the time. The Paleo-Zone Diet is different because it is practical. You get to eat delicious food and feel satisfied. Second, controlling your calories to the 40-30-30 ratio has proven to be the optimal balance for both performance and fat loss.
Do not be confused, the Paleo and Zone Diets are not a zero carb diet. You get an adequate amount of carbohydrates every day. However, you get them from the right types of food and in amounts which will not spike your insulin. By controlling your hormones, you control weight loss/gain and health.
We are offering you a way to eat until you are full, while losing weight. If you have tried other weight loss programs, and have quit, or put the weight back on, why go back to something that is not going to work for you again?
Try the Paleo-Zone for 6 weeks, and we know you’ll be happy!
Our Favorite Recipe Sites:
- http://www.zonediet.com/ (you will need to create a login id and password to view the recipes from this site. There are several!)