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Scott Kustes 01-22-2005 10:31 AM

For about the past 8 months, I've been eating Zone-ish, but not actually measuring. I would eat a protein portion about the size of my hand and fill the plate with veggies from there. My performance has improved markedly over my previous diet. Well, yesterday, I decided to start actually following blocks. I'm training for an amateur boxing tournament here on campus that is at the end of Feb and I want to improve my performance even further.

My question is this: have I calculated correctly? I'm 5'10, 185-190ish, and measured at about 13% BF (went up a couple points over xmas break....eating in a non-Zone household and hanging out with a very non-Zone fiancee). I gave myself an activity level of .9 due to 5 days/week of 2 hours/day boxing training and a couple CF WODs per week. So multiplying my 188lbs by .87 gives me an LBM of 163.5 and then multiplying that by .9 gives me a protein intake of 147, or 21 blocks. That seems like an awful lot of food for me to be taking in, considering that much better CFers than I aren't eating that much. Have I overestimated my activity level? Or should I just start piling the food in my mouth?

I made a Zone meal of 3 blocks walnut crusted baked salmon (it's easy...toss walnuts in chopper, put on top of salmon, add lemon pepper and cajun if you desire, bake at 400 for 20 minutes), 2 blocks of brown rice, 2 block of broccoli, a block of teriyaki, 2 blocks of cottage cheese, and 6 blocks of olive oil. Wow that was alot of food!

What do you more experienced Zoners suggest?

Larry Lindenman 01-22-2005 11:17 AM

I weigh about 200 - 205 and do three meals at 5 blocks and two 2 block snacks. With your extra boxing workouts your about right. I'd start at a total of 19 blocks and adjust the fat as needed; ie. if performance suffers or bodyfat goes too low adjust the fat blocks up. Extra fat could come from fish oil, flax oil or seeds, olive oil, or nuts (almonds or walnuts). Watch the rice and only use it as a condiment. I suggest making some meals and the ones you like record them in a notebook for future reference. Once you get about 10 - 15 meals, you don't need to count blocks anymore, just follow the instructions in your notebook. The "eye hand" method still works well in resturants, just remember double the protein size for "healthy carbs" and use the same size as the protein portion for "unhealthy carbs and grain based food.

Beth Moscov 01-22-2005 11:55 AM

It is also important to break up your zone blocks over the day into at least five meals and two snacks. You can even break it up further if you want. Don't go more than 3-5 hours without eating a zone balanced meal.

Keep a food log from now until the competition and look at it every two weeks or so to see if something needs adjustment. Start looking at your performance after two to four weeks to see if it improves (though it might not be as dramatic since you have already been sort of doing the zone already)

Scott Kustes 01-22-2005 12:47 PM

Thanks Larry and Beth! Larry, I do use rice as a condiment....I rarely eat any grains period, but it goes soooo good with salmon and broccoli. I don't expect huge gains since I've already been Zone-ish with mostly Paleo foods (a bit of dairy thrown in), but any improvement counts when someone is throwing punches at your head. Good to know that my calculations weren't too far off. I'll start out a bit lower and see what happens. I already eat more than x blocks of fat....5 blocks of olive oil doesn't go very far on a large salad. I started a log today as well in Excel. Does anyone already have one that they use which will probably be more robust than mine?

Beth Moscov 01-22-2005 02:36 PM

I use a program called DietPower I got online. You can get a free month of it. The only problem I have with it is that I can't log by meal as it only tracks what I eat over the day (I can log meal by meal, it just doesn't show it that way). It does show the macronutrient breakdown as well as micronutrient. Maybe you could get the free month and then use what you learn from it to modify your excell sheet.

Lynne Pitts 01-22-2005 03:25 PM

[url=][/url] is a free on-line diet tracker; similar in features to DietPower (which is great and worth the $$ if you are into tracking your intake).

Chris Forbis 01-23-2005 06:50 AM


Beth is right, if you can fit it into your schedule, I HIGHLY recommend having as many small meals/snacks a day as you can. I eat 6 "meals" of 2-3 blocks throughout the day. In addition, I have a large ~6.5 block breakfast about an hour after my workout. The longest I go without food is 3 and a half hours (after the big breakfast). When I was on a more "Zone standard" 3 meals and 2 snacks my energy levels were good. Now they are even better. I seem to be recovering better from the WOD as well.

And if you want to get finicky about portion sizes, buy a kitchen scale. Or a postage scale works too. I love my scale, but then, I'm borderline OCD on getting my zone portions just right...

For what it's worth, I'm ~170 pounds, ~8% BF. I get 20.5 blocks a day, with 3x on the fat. The biggest key with the zone is monitoring how you feel and adjusting from there. Eating 21 blocks makes you feel sluggish or adds bad weight? Drop a couple blocks. The Zone is kind of like Crossfit in its adaptability.

Larry Lindenman 01-23-2005 07:36 AM

Scott, I was up early this morning and, somehow, I was thinking of your situation. If you had more time I would encourage you to try to get down to 6 - 7 % bodyfat, by dropping you fat blocks down to 5 per meal and 2 for snack. My 2 cents regarding training for your fight: Taper for a week prior to your event. I'm guessing this is a three round, 1 - 2 minutes a round event? People tend to train with longer rounds. I'm going to suggest the WOD gives you the endurance to complete your event, so shorten your training rounds and increase the output and power of each round. So if the event calls for 3 X 1 minute rounds, I would spar 3 x 45 sec. rounds but up the punch count. These type of fights are primarily offensive battles and you want your output to be very high. Also, you should use three training partners (one for each round) so you have fresh meat each round. Continue to work focus mitts, heavy bag, speed bag, and top and bottom bag. Good luck, don't get hurt (too bad)!

Scott Kustes 01-23-2005 07:46 AM

Chris, I already eat 5 or 6 meals/snacks per day. Like I said, I've been Zoneish, just not hard core about the portions. All I'm doing now is getting the portions down right, except that I don't have a scale for weighing protein portions, so those are still eyeball method. Any suggestions for an inexpensive scale (I am a poor college student after all)?

Larry, it's 3 x 1.5 minutes with 50 seconds of rest for all fights except the finals, which are 3 x 2, 1 minute rest. Unfortunately, I don't have a chance to pick my training partners and when we do spar, we have to stay with the same person for all rounds, but when I'm on the bag, I'll try shorter rounds with more punches.


Chris Forbis 01-23-2005 08:26 AM

This is the model I have.


$30, but you might be able to find a similar model on sale for cheaper if you are alert.

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