I am a huge fan of The Zone Diet and this article will continue our adventure into figuring exactly what The Zone is and how to set yourself up for success with this way of eating. Today’s list is a compilation of advice from several sources, many of which are straight from the horse’s mouth being that Dr. Sears recommends them. A few are my own, and a few are hybrids. I hope you enjoy them…
1. Hydrate, then die. I have been touting the Camelbak slogan for several years (“Hydrate or Die”), but just a few weeks ago, someone brought it to my attention that death is not an option. So, for my hydration promotion, my new slogan is “Hydrate then Die”. We are all going to die anyways, so why not get the most out of life by staying hydrated. I tell people to drink two cups of water upon waking and at least one cup before each meal or snack. Watch the color of your urine and try to maintain a slight yellow tinge. However, don’t drink so much that you are up one or more times throughout the night.
2. Eat within 30 minutes of waking. I know fasted cardio is a hot topic right now, but it’s totally bogus. You burn less fat when you fast than you do when you eat even just a little. Since it is difficult to eat before early workouts, I recommend a simple snack of 1-2 blocks. My Zone-balanced Bacon Berry Protein Muffins are a good option. You are in a fasted state throughout the night and nearing semi-starvation as you wake. If you don’t fuel your body, it will shut down and hold onto stored energy i.e. FAT! Get up and eat. I know it’s not easy, but it is worth it.
3. Never go more that 5 hours without eating. In other words, ditch the bottled energy drink and use blocked out grub to provide your own “5 Hour Energy”.This is a pointer from Barry Sears himself and I find it very easy to follow. I am more in the 2-3 hour range and when I am working out hard, I can barely make it 2 hours without eating again. Keep yourself in the 2-5 hour window, eat before you’re hungry and don’t expect huge numbers in the gym at 5:30pm if the last thing you ate was a Snickers at your 9:00am break. Set an alarm on your phone if you have to and stick to it.
4. Don’t eat more than 5 blocks at a time. If you break the blocks down calorically, they contain approximately 91 calories each. So, limiting your meals to 5 blocks or less is pretty much like saying, don’t eat more than 500 calories at a time. If you are eating every 2-3 hours, this isn’t an issue, but when you try to stretch it 6+ hours, you typically end up having a gorge session which puts you way out of The Zone. Don’t do that! Limit portion sizes and eat more often. Got it? Good.
5. Eat like you lift heavy weight. Go lift heavy weight. Then, Eat like you lift heavy weight.The Zone is not a starvation diet. You have to eat. Get that metabolism rolling, then be active and burn through your fuel. I know this one ties into some of the other tips, but it makes an important point. Fuel according to your activity and don’t expect results in the gym unless you do. It’s hard to deadlift 500 pounds (like JVD above) when you eat like a bird. Plan out your meals, get after it in the gym and don’t forget to refuel afterward.
Alright guys, there you have it. I had to fit in a picture of JVD because I’m so proud of him and because he’s going to be working at my booth at the CrossFit Games on Saturday from 11:00AM-3:00PM. Don’t miss out!
Speaking of The CrossFit Games. This week is when things really vamp up for me. They actually already vamped up being that it is 1:21AM when I am writing this, but it’s going to get intense for me for about a week. I’ll do my best to publish as much content as possible, but please understand that I’ll have a lot on my plate for about 10 days.
Okay. I need to get some shut eye. I hope you guys had a great weekend and are ready to crush this week by eating Paleo foods in Zone portions.
Let me know how I can help.
I’ll leave you with a rhyme from Wyclef Jean’s CrossFit Song:
“Yes sir, I’m on my new plan,
Eating like a caveman,
Trying to see a few more years before the quicksand.”
Even Wyclef knows how to…
“Keep It Paleo!”
(Slangin’ Ribs at Saturday’s CrossFit Avalanche/Blizzard 5 Year Anniversary BBQ.)