CrossFit Discussion Board

CrossFit Discussion Board (
-   Nutrition (
-   -   Caloric Restriction (

Robert Wolf 01-01-2003 12:33 PM

Coach...I have been really casting about trying to decide where my caloric intake should be. When I calculate your recomendations from the foundations page i am comming up with 22-2500 cals/day. This does not cover theoreticly my BMR let alone activity level, repair etc...or does it? Will the body adapt to this caloric level (become more efficient) and reap the benefits of caloric restriction while maintaining performance and muscle mass?

Related to this is the notion of an optimal bodyweight. Dave Werner and I have bounced this idea around and our take on this is that in things like olyimpic lifting and powerlifting for a given height one will maximize the strength to bodyweight ratio at a certain point (usually pretty heavy compared to a non trained person of the same height). For gymnasts this is also true however one really notices that the upper body is much more developed hypertrophy wise than the lower body. So the crossfit approach may limit ones ultimate achievement as a gymnast (due to significant development of the lower body) but one will be a better over all athlete.
Finally the question: has it been your experience that following the nutrition guidelines in the foundations brings one to their ideal bodyweight,and composition to maximize athleticism. If I follow this protocol and drop from 165 to 160 or 155 will I be over all a better athlete?

I have been eating a significant number of calories and have been making very good progress...muscle gain, fat loss, increased power and strength...but am I ultimately cheating myself out fo some benefits?

Sorry this is so long!

Coach 01-01-2003 01:48 PM


Our process is to start with "Zone" parameters and generally the athtlete starts to "lean out." Typically, measurable (parameters (body fat, muscle mass, strength, body fat) and subjective parameters (hunger, "energy", mood, etc.)improve substantially. But, at some point in the leaning process the athlete loses the "edge" and performance and mood take a dive. This generally happens with the men somewhere below 5% body fat.

At that point we increase the fat intake until the leaning stops and the performance increases to earlier, better levels. Now, Robb, this settling point has been 25-30% lower in calories than was expected by those who've counted calories in the past. We've been OK with that in light of what we know about caloric restriction and longevity. My sense of it is that the diet is thermodynamically efficient which is not a bad thing. By the way for super-elite athletes that settling point has been, in the Zone's block system, Pro: X blocks, CHO: X blocks, FAT 3-5X blocks.

Caloric restriction when excessive results in loss of muscle, fatigue, lethargy, etc. With the Zone we've seen low calories, and dramatic increases in LBM, elevated mood and energy. Interesting! No?

Thermodynamic requirements for health and performance don't exist entirely independent of
macronutrient composition. I think that is the important lesson.

We encourage our athletes to eat essentially paleo/Zone and what we've found is that their instincts/hunger/satiety will guide them to some optimized level of performance and aesthetic that tops what they've seen on other protocols. That is, our general experience is to take a guy that has hung out for years at 3,000 kcals/day and 200 pounds with a 7% body fat and to take him to 2,500 kcal's per day, drop the body fat to 5% and bring the body weight up to 210 and find that performance improves across the board.

Finally, the answer, yes, Robb, we found that gearing the diet to performance (Zone parameters) brings one to an ideal composition, but kcals are lower and bodyweight is higher than was expected by the athlete. For instance one of our BJJ legends told us that he'd be fat at 185 (he'd been 165 for ten years). Well he looked leaner at 185 than 165 and was fitter by every measureable standard.

Sir, send us ([][/email]) a three day log of your intake. Good, bad and ugly. I'd like to see where you're at and where we can go. Include all activity. Pick three days that best represent your norm.

Your friend,


Robert Wolf 01-01-2003 03:14 PM

Thanks Coach

What you said is confirming what I have been experiencing. I am at about 5% bf and have started to see...what I can only describe as odd amount of muscle gain and strength increase. I will get the logg to you with in the week. Interestingly Art Devany said he was less lean and athletic at 195 vs 210. Aparently too much caloric restriction.
Thanks again

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:10 PM.

CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit Inc.