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Steve Schlegel 03-17-2009 07:25 AM

The Zone and Muscle Mass
Hi -
I am exactly one week into the Zone diet and so far so good. Had a few bouts with light-headedness during some of my workouts last week but reviewing the discussion board showed me that this was pretty normal. Anyway, my question is about the Zone diet and gaining muscle mass. I have read Enter the Zone, the CF Journal article, and a lot of other posts but haven't found the answer I'm looking for. It seems that the goal of the Zone is to lose body fat and [B]sustain [/B]your lean body mass, but what if you want to gain lean body mass? I am 6'2" and have gone from about 185 lbs and 26% BF in the middle of November to just under 170 as measured at my gym this morning. I did the Zone calculations last week using a weight of 170-175 (the results are identical) and according to the chart in the back of the book my body fat percentage is 11%. I also had my BF measured at my gym a couple weeks back and they said it was 16%. I put everything into a spreadsheet and regardless of which BF% I used I came out to 15 blocks of protein a day using the .7 activity factor and I've been sticking to that with the occasional +1 fat block and not to mention beer. I have 4-block meals, a 2-block snack in the afternoon, and a 1-block snack before bed.

OK, so after all that, my main problem is that I've always had a hard time putting on muscle even back in high school when I was doing the traditional weight lifting approach (chest and back, bis and tris, etc.) and eating everything in sight. So while I am very happy with the effect on body fat (I almost have abs now!!) I am a bit concerned as to whether my current diet will allow me to gain the right type of weight - lean muscle mass. Ideally, I'd like to get up to about 175-180 with around 10% body fat. I have definitely improved my strength and overall fitness since starting CrossFit and can see the results, so it's not that I'm looking for overnight results I just want to make sure my diet is not detrimental to my progress. Should I perhaps add some more protein blocks to my diet or is it a situation where I just need to be patient and it will come?

Thanks for your patience reading through this and any thoughts, assistance, or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Jamie J. Skibicki 03-17-2009 07:40 AM

Re: The Zone and Muscle Mass
Use the blocks for the amount you want to weight.

Or just do paleo and eat alot.

Laura Kurth 03-17-2009 07:43 AM

Re: The Zone and Muscle Mass
Hi Steve

when you say you have a hard time putting on muscle, does this also go for fat? Or do you tend to gain fat easily on excess calories, but not muscle?

Either way, you can gain weight on the 'zone' diet, just like you can gain weight on any diet - the key is to intake more calories than you expend. On the zone this would mean, keeping blocks as they are and increasing the fat to 2- 3x or higher perhaps.

Honestly though, I wouldn't recommend the zone to people trying to gain weight, because there really is no need to be so anal about intake... unless you really like counting almonds and what not.

Eat a lot of good food, (meat, veggies, fruits, fats etc.) as much as you want, if you can tolerate dairy well, start drinking a few cups of whole milk each day.

Since you only want to gain a few lbs, you won't be needing a HUGE calorie increase, just a few hundred extra calories a day.

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