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John Frazer 05-02-2004 04:37 AM

In the May Journal, there's a chart showing how many Zone "blocks" are needed at each meal for various body types, ranging from small females (2 blocks for each of 5 meals & snacks) to "athletic, well-muscled male" (5 blocks per).

I'm a little unsure which group I'd fall in. At 6'2", 180 lbs., 13-15% body fat, I would guess "large male" (and the block requirement would be consistent with my calculator results on Dr. Sears' site).

But there is also a category for "large hard gainer" which would increase my food consumption by over 20%. What's Crossfit's definition of a "hard gainer"?

Larry Lindenman 05-02-2004 06:15 AM

Just a guess, hardgainer = very low bodyfat (5-8%), low level of muscle development, at 13-15% BF it ain't you! I'd stay with the "large male" until I approached 5% BF the switch to "male athlete" with fat added to increase calories for preformance.

Ryan Shanks 05-04-2004 11:41 AM

Think hardgainer = a person w/ ectomorphic tendencies. It's difficult for them to gain weight, hence hardgainer.

Larry's advice is right on, eat in the normal zone until you get your bf down to what you want. Then add more fat blocks so you can maintain your weight.

Robert Wolf 05-04-2004 11:46 AM

People who follow the guidline Larry and Ryan mention find themselves becoming "mesomorphs". Lean and gain muscle easily. That was me!

Lynne Pitts 05-04-2004 03:10 PM

Related question (or rant): as a "small female" I'm supposed to eat 10 blocks. Depending on the calorie computation for a block, that comes out to 7-900 calories a day. And a 2 block "meal" isn't enough food to keep my cat going. It's a series of "tease your appetite but never not be hungry" snacks. I'd get "lean" all a skeleton! Interesting to see that the Zone biz comes down to starvation dieting. Surely my math is off???

Kelly Moore 05-04-2004 06:58 PM


I just tried the math myself (scary thought) and I came up with the same figures...I would starve on the mini girl diet. I think using the athletic female diet sounds much, much more pleasant!

Lynne Pitts 05-05-2004 03:52 AM

Yep, it certainly does.

I'd be interested in the thoughts of the experienced Zoners. The 10 block biz is what originally turned me off the Zone when I looked into it several years ago. I'm not interested in always being hungry and starving myself; I'll put up with the extra bodyfat to be comfortable. Now, if there's some way to lean out and not have to starve...

Michael Rutherford 05-05-2004 09:29 AM

Lynn- In true CrossFit form I work backwards towards the science. I use the ZONE'S eyeball method. I also look at my energy levels and coach people to take this into consideration.

Are you hungry in an hour after eating?
How are your workouts progressing?
What does your scale/bodyfat indicate?
What type of cravings or moods are you experiencing?

I know this intuitive process would drive a purest crazy but I found it more real world.

This link presents the eyeball method.

I do believe there is a good lesson in learn portions from weighing and measuring but maybe not for everyone.



Ryan Shanks 05-05-2004 09:51 AM

On the 'zone is too low cal' comments:

I'm not sure if it's covered in the CFJ this month, but you are supposed to add fat blocks until you reach your designated calorie level. So it works out to 7-900 calories, PLUS WHATEVER YOU NEED. Once you reach your body fat percentage that you want, you add fat to the diet to make up for the extra calories. You could even add the calories at the start, the weight loss would be a slower process. It takes practice to figure out what block ratios work best for you. No-one is telling you to starve, in fact that's a big point of the zone - no hunger.

If 'small female' is too little protein/carbs for you, add more protein. It works out usually to be about 1 gram/pound of lean body mass. I've been zoning for about 5 years, and it's the best diet I've ever tried, bar none. The only thing I don't like it for is putting on large amounts of fat.

Lynne Pitts 05-05-2004 03:43 PM

Rtman and Ryan,
Thanks - "food for thought."

I guess if I were good at the intuitive biz, I wouldn't be struggling with figuring all of this out!

Of course, all the counting and calculating kinda makes my head spin...

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