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Old 04-12-2005, 07:47 AM   #1
Jake Seeley
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I am currently gathering some information about the Zone diet and have a few questions that I would like to pose to the forum. First, let me say that I am not religiously following the WODs. I am a triathlete and have a few questions about the zone. I am thinking of committing to the zone diet during a lull in my season, which is coming up in about 6 weeks. I would also like to continue the zone throughout my training for races later in the year, but have some concerns about my carb intake relative to more pure CrossFit athletes.

What are the block recommendations for someone like me? I am 6’1” tall, 185 lbs and 10-11% body fat. I currently engage in some form of endurance training every day and take only one day completely off about every 10. I am training for a half-Ironman taking place on May 22, but am doing an Olympic-distance race in 12 days. My training volume is usually about 1-2 hours per day on the weekdays and 3-4 hours on Saturday and Sunday. Most workouts are done at about 85% of max heart rate and usually include some type of interval training with periods of hard effort followed by recovery during a run or cycle session.

During my workouts, I typically intake some sort of energy/carb drink. While running longer distances (9+), I intake 4 ounces of Hammer Gel (264 cals, 66g carb, 6g sugars). On the bike, I drink one 20 oz bottle of Extran at half strength per 20 miles ridden (288 cals, 73g carbs, 60 complex carb, 13 sugars/bottle). For recovery after running or brick (bike/run) workouts, I drink Endurox (270 cals, 52g carbs, 40g sugars, 13g protein, 1g fat). For swimming workouts, I usually sip Gatorade every once and a while.

I am guessing that for my recovery, I can substitute a zone-approved snack instead of the Endurox. What about while exercising? In order to commit fully to the zone, am I going to have to cut out the carb/energy drinks during exercise? If this is the case I feel my workouts will suffer. Is there some type of hybrid zone diet that is recommended based on the nutritional habits of endurance athletes?

I would like to implement the zone after my May 22 race. Any additional reading that anyone can recommend as well as any thoughts are greatly appreciated. I would be happy to provide any additional information needed. If it comes down to the fact that I cannot do the zone with my current training schedule, that’s OK. I have read of the success that is enjoyed by other members of this forum and would like to see the same results! Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-12-2005, 09:23 AM   #2
Robert Wolf
Member Robert Wolf is offline
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Chico  CA
Posts: 2,669

I would highly recomend posts from Eugene Allen and Mark Twight, they have perhaps the most experience around here regarding a marriage of CrossFit, long endurance efforts and Zone eating. The Testimonials section has a number of posts from people who have found CF and the Zone to be highly beneficial to their training.

After this next race I recomend jumping into the workout of the day, 3 on, 1 off slowly ramping up intensity and volume. You may need to alter the WOD quite a bit in the beginning but after a few weeks to a month the intensity will ramp up. Every 5-7 days do a longer effort, rotating through the bike, swim, run options. Eugene or Mark might have different ideas on this, if they do listen to them!

Start the Zone. You sound like you are likely around 18 blocks, but you can verify this by going to, buying Enter the Zone from Amazon for $2, or buying the Crossfit Journal devoted to the Zone. You will lean out at a blistering pace (really) and as you start heading towards 5% bodyfat you will need to ratchet up your fat intake. This process has been discussed several times in the Nutrition archives so you can use the search function again to find those entries or get a copy of last months Performance Menu, as we covered the Zone from stem to stern.

What you can expect from this is improved performance with a dramatic reduction in training time and volume. I know it sounds preposterous, you just have to try it and see. Regarding the need for things like Cytomax during long events...I'm honestly not sure. Coach and Lauren have mentioned some Zone paramater "sports drinks" they have concocted for clients with good sucsess. I remember Mark Twight leaning towards just glucose type supplementation if one is near lactate threshold and if the distance is not overly far (he considers triathalons sprints! He does endurance events that last DAYS so he includes fat and protein in the mix if intensities ar not too high and gastric emptying is not impaired). I like Cytomax...but i would try to train for the most part without these items to force beter and better fat adaptation but do experiment enough so that you know precisely what you need/can tollerate on game day.

Sorry this is so long and rambling! Please keep us posted on your progress and do not hesitate to ask more questions.
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Old 04-12-2005, 10:14 AM   #3
Alexander Karatis
Member Alexander Karatis is offline
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Athens  Attica, Greece
Posts: 786

During the normal leaning out phase where you haven't yet upped your fat intake, have you found any loss in performance, or is that apparent only when you reach +-5% BF levels?

I never was that low while on CF or any type of Zone/Paleo eating but I have tweaked my diet to Zone parameters now and am noticing that I am starting to lean out again. Should I be expecting a loss in performance and/or recovery as long as I stick with the "stock" caloric/fat intake, or should that become apparent only when BF levels drop real low?
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Old 04-12-2005, 12:28 PM   #4
Eric Keller
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Join Date: Jan 1970
Posts: 47

This is completely anecdotal, but I found that my performance dropped off around the 7% BF level. I have gone to 2x fat and have felt markedly better.
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Old 04-12-2005, 02:27 PM   #5
Jake Seeley
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Thanks very much for the information. I will definitely look into posts by the names you mentioned. Also, do you think the CFJ#21 will suffice for me or would i benefit from reading the whole "enter the zone" book? I'm trying to avoid overkill for now, but if the book does address endurance athletes, i would read it. Otherwise i feel like the CFJ would have more athlete-minded information in it, even if it's not specific to endurance athletes. Thoughts?

Eric - when you mention performance loss at 7%, are you speaking of performance at endurance sports or more CF-related workouts?

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Old 04-13-2005, 07:24 AM   #6
Jake Seeley
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Thanks for the posts so far.

I've been reading up on Eugene and Mark's posts that relate to endurance sports. Frankly, I am very excited about applying the CrossFit protocol to my routine during my summer lull in my race schedule. As I mentioned before, I have an Olympic-distance race coming up in 11 days and a half-iron May 22. I am also going to do another Olympic-distance race in September. After my half-iron race, i plan to begin the WODs and the zone diet for the four month period between races. I have a feeling that i'm going to be happy with the results! I also plan to work quite heavily on my run discipline this summer.

If anyone (Eugene, Mark, etc) have any ideas how to merge CrossFit and a strengthening schedule for my run, please let me know!
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