Intro to Zone Living
A One Block meal consists of one choice from the Protein List (pink), one from the Carbohydrate List (blue) and one from the Fat List (green).
A Two Block meal consists of 2 choices from each list.
A Three Block meal consists of 3 choices from each list…and so on.
You can mix and match blocks as you wish. If you aren’t very hungry when you first wake up, then a 2 block meal might be just right for you, perhaps with a 3 block lunch and dinner. Or maybe you prefer to start your day with 3 blocks and have a lighter dinner or lunch.
Here is a sample menu of a possible routine (times can be adjusted 30 minutes or so either way):
7:30 am 10am 1:00pm 3:30pm 6:30pm 9pm/9:30 (bedtime)
bkfst snack lunch snack dinner snack
2 Block 1 Block 3 Block 1 Block 3 Block 1 Block = 11 total
10 to 11 blocks of balanced food is about right for a small woman. Feel free to experiment with your number of daily blocks and move them around as you see fit. Every athlete is different. The below chart will also help you determine your block requirements.
You don’t have to set alarms. The point is to develop the habit of eating at regular intervals so your hormones are balanced all day. Eat within an hour of waking up in the morning, don’t go more than 4 hours without eating something, and eat a snack before you go to sleep so you have some fuel to dream on.
Buying a digital food scale is a great idea since it makes measuring blocks fast and easy. Use “tare” to make it even easier, and you won’t have to use math at all! Put your plate on the scale and hit the tare button. It subtracts the weight of the plate and makes the scale read zero. Measure out one of the items. Hit the tare button and again it starts you at zero once more for the next item. Finally your plate will be full of all your foods, all measured individually, but all on one plate. Very easy!
After about a month you’ll be able to “eyeball” the food and you won’t need to measure precisely anymore…unless you’re having something new you’ve never measured into blocks.
Don’t worry too much about being exact; this isn’t a chemistry test! You’re never going to eat many of the items on the list anyway, and some items you like to eat may not be on the list, but you can find out how to convert anything into blocks.
One last thing: Read the label on already prepared foods you like.
7 grams of protein = 1 block. 14 grams = 2 blocks. 21 grams = 3 blocks.
9 grams of carbs = 1 block. 18 grams = 2 blocks. 27 grams = 3 blocks.
1.5 grams of fat = 1 block. 3 grams = 2 blocks. 4.5 grams = 3 blocks.
For example, if you get a snack bar that says:
8 grams of protein
29 grams of carbohydrates
6 grams of fat
You should count this as a carbohydrate and not worry about the protein and fat in the snack bar. You must be careful not to micromanage your nutrients. If you incorrectly count all of the macronutrients in this snack bar (~1 block of protein, ~3 blocks carbs, ~4 blocks fat) then you will end up underfed and driving yourself crazy. In the case of this snack bar you should just count it as 3 blocks of carbohydrates. Add 3 blocks of protein and fat for a complete 3 block meal. This takes practice and can be frustrating at times, but the results will make the effort worthwhile!
Article c/o CrossFit Impulse
Download this article for more information and MEAL PLANS with examples of Zone-friendly meals, including a 2, 3, and 4 block zone dinner that will perfectly complement your CrossFit diet!
Remember: there is a little bit of a learning curve when you first start the Zone diet and counting your blocks. We promise it gets easier and in no time you will just “eye ball” things and know how many blocks are in different things.