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Old 05-30-2008, 08:13 AM   #1
Amy Tompkins
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Blocks for a tall girl

Sorry, I know the topic is beaten to death already, but I really am having a "mental block" (har-har).

Zonediet.com told me I should be on 14 blocks, which I was all cool with until I finally got around to reading CF Journal #21, now I'm not so sure. I don't know if I'm small, medium, large, etc.

Dear CrossFit Journal: Please understand that asking a woman to use the words "small", "medium", "large", or "well muscled" to describe themselves is like putting a Newfoundlander in a round room and telling them to sit in the corner.* What woman, even a XFitter, wants to call herself large?

I'm 5'10", 160lbs, and 26%BF. Looking at the CFJ#21 chart my brain says "Well I guess I'm large because I'm tall, but I'm pretty skinny so maybe I'm medium, but I WANT to loose some weight so maybe I should pick the body type that I WANT to be - so would that be small? But Zonediet.com told me to eat 14 blocks - does that make me well muscled? I like having muscles and all, but I'd never call myself athletic."

I've been trying to eat Zone-ish for the month of May with no weight goals, just to see what my body did. I've been shooting for 14 blocks, which often puts me up at 1800-1900 calories for the day. I've gained 6+ pounds, but I've also consistently hit PRs every week and since May was "CrossFit Total" month for me that's been great. June is going to be "Amy finally does a pull-up" month - and I think loosing some excess fat would go well with that goal.

Knowing my stats and my goals, can anyone help me figure out how many blocks I should be doing?

*Sorry yankees, you have to be a Canadian to really appreciate the joke.
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Old 05-30-2008, 08:27 AM   #2
James Forshaw
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Re: Blocks for a tall girl

You have a lean body mass weight of 118lbs, so we have to work from that number (don't want to be feeding fat afterall).
Do you just follow CF 3 on 1 off? This is pretty much all I do, aside from twice weekly soccer (I play in goal so I don't bother to allow for the energy expenditure). If you do, I think that 0.7g protein per pound of lean mass is the right mark, especially if getting leaner is a priority.
Using this - 118lbs x 0.7 - you should be consuming 12 blocks of protein. It doesn't sound like a lot, but it's adequate. I was disbelieving with my 15 block prescription, but I'd honestly feel bad eating any more. Dial it in for a couple of weeks, and see how you go with it. If you're eating right (loads of veggies), sleeping plenty, drinking LOTS yet feeling a little tired, then you might want to double your fat. But not until everything else is in check.
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Old 05-30-2008, 09:14 AM   #3
Laura Kurth
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Re: Blocks for a tall girl

I'm sorry but it seems crazy to me that you would recommend a 5'10 160lb girl to basically eat 1200-1400 calories per day (usually what 12 blocks comes to if being very strict with fat).

I couldn't survive on that and I am only 5'2

Amy has your weight gain stalled or do you continue to gain weight? How long have you been doing crossfit? I believe ladies usually experience a slight gain upon introduction to crossfit, I know I gained a couple myself but I think it is muscle. So if the weight has stalled, then I would say continue with 1800-1900 for now, monitor a couple of weeks.

If your weight continues to go up, then perhaps drop one block. OR just mix up your macros, more fat/less carbs.

If weight stays the same, this is your maintenance now, if you want to loose weight perhaps again drop a block.

I don't do zone, I am more likely to count calories if I feel like tracking. I lean towards higher fat and lower carbs when I am being a good girl, it is what feels better.
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Old 05-30-2008, 09:30 AM   #4
Tirzah Harper
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Re: Blocks for a tall girl

You're not a small woman - small is, like, 5'2" or 4'11" or maybe someone like me who is 5'4" but small-boned. Trying to eat like one is just going to starve your body and thrash your performance and health.

I'd say - and I don't Zone because I hate combining constant math and food - to start out with 14 blocks for a two-week minimum. If it's not working at all after two weeks, evaluate and change. If it's working fine, go another two weeks.
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Old 05-30-2008, 10:49 AM   #5
Amy Tompkins
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Re: Blocks for a tall girl

Answering questions asked so far:

- I do the CF WOD on a regular schedule, 5 days a week. M, T, Th, Fr, Sat, Sun.

- My weight has kind of stalled the past week and leveled off at 160.

- This is the end of my second month doing CF at an official CF gym (ie: I get pushed a lot harder than I pushed myself when I was working out alone)

I really appreciate the feedback so far! I'm still waffling between keeping my blocks at 14 (but being more strict about adherence) or dropping to 12 blocks or so. Would 12 blocks really take me to 1200-1400 cals a day?!?! I've been working out and tracking my food long enough to know I don't really function well with less than 1600 calories a day.
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Old 05-30-2008, 10:57 AM   #6
Camille Lore
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Re: Blocks for a tall girl

I'm 5'3" and eat 12 blocks. CFJ21 recommended 10 and that was way too little and I felt really poorly on that. People on here said to try 12-13, so I did. I lose an average of 1lb per week. Lately, I've felt tired and blah, so I think I'm going to up my fat.
I would think that 12 blocks would be way too little for you. I've only been zoning for a couple of months tho...
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Old 05-30-2008, 11:24 AM   #7
James Forshaw
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Re: Blocks for a tall girl

Apology accepted Laura, because I don't think I'm wrong. What's height got to do with anything? It's lean body mass that matters. I'm a 170lb, single-digit bodyfat male doing very well on 15 blocks with double fat, so why is it such a stretch to imagine a girl with just 118lbs to feed eating 12 blocks? Nicole Carroll was on 11 blocks for her initial 2 week period. If you're Zoning, you will be taking in less calories than one would expect, as we've long since learned to think in terms of hormones, not calories.
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:24 PM   #8
Elliot Fuller
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Re: Blocks for a tall girl

Once again...

Dr. Sears has what is called the "protein prescription." It is a mathematically derived amount of protein necessary to support your lean body mass at varying activity levels. I, and most CrossFitters I've known, are between 0.7g and 0.8g of protein per pound of lean body mass.

The only room for error in calculating the number of blocks you require is in your calculation of your lean body mass. If there is any question about it, go and get it done by a professional.

Whether you are short, tall, skinny, round, etc. has no bearing on your protein prescription. You could be 6'10" and have the same lean body mass as a very fit 5'5" woman, and thus would require the same number of blocks. As your lean body mass increases (muscle gain, etc.) so would your protein prescription.

So the best thing you can do, if you have any confusion at this point, is go and have your LBM measured correctly. From there you will take your lean body mass and:

( LBM * 0.7 ) / 7g = Number of Blocks

There is good reason that Dr. Sears recommends this to start out. It's not a guessing game, and should not be based on how much food/calories you think you can or cannot survive on. If you want more calories, then eat foods with higher calorie content; it will have only limited bearing on your protein/carb prescription.

After two weeks of strict Zoning using the protein prescription that is correct for your lean body mass, if you are feeling low energy or hungry, then you need to consider a few things before you consider increasing your blocks:

1.) Consider the food choices you're making to meet your block requirements. High GI carbs are less preferable to veggies and some fruits. If you're eating bread at every meal, you'll be hungry again much quicker than if you're completely stuffing yourself full of veggies and healthy carbs. Your feeling of hunger will most often be a result of your poor choice of foods, assuming you are consuming the correct # of blocks for your lean body mass.

2.) Consider the many recommendations for athletes to use fat as their conduit to increased energy. Fat has little to do with your insulin (which is the whole point of Zone, btw), and you can go nuts with healthy fats for the most part. They are full of calories and if energy is an issue, you should start by increasing your fat blocks by 2 or 3, then by 5 or 6. If energy, and not hunger, is the issue, then first consider your fat blocks before increasing your total blocks.

3.) Consider how much rest you are getting

4.) If you're eating good food choices, are getting enough healthy fats to sustain a CrossFitter's fitness level, and are getting plenty of rest and recovery time, THEN you may want to consider increasing your total block count. Return your fat blocks to normal, then try increasing your total blocks by 1 block every week or so until you find a spot that fits you. Rinse and repeat with the steps from above.
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Old 05-30-2008, 04:26 PM   #9
Camille Lore
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Re: Blocks for a tall girl

That's really helpful info.
I do have a question about figuring blocks. It seems that the online calculators take into account a man's frame size, but not a womans i.e. with measuring the wrist or anything like that. According to sites that give categories for frame sizes, my frame is large.
Shouldn't I be able to eat more food? Because I really just want to be able to eat more food!
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Old 05-30-2008, 06:44 PM   #10
Nick Hanson
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Re: Blocks for a tall girl

Quote:
Originally Posted by Camille Lore View Post
That's really helpful info.
I do have a question about figuring blocks. It seems that the online calculators take into account a man's frame size, but not a womans i.e. with measuring the wrist or anything like that. According to sites that give categories for frame sizes, my frame is large.
Shouldn't I be able to eat more food? Because I really just want to be able to eat more food!
Camille, try here (wfs):

http://www.drsears.com/ZoneResources...4/Default.aspx

and click on the female tab
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