Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The "D" Word (Diet)

I am going to start this off by saying that there is no right or wrong way to eat. The only way to find the “right” way to eat is through experimentation. Everyone is slightly different and consequently everyone is going to have slightly different dietary requirements and inclinations. The only way to determine whether or not a specific dietary tactic or routine is benefiting oneself is see how you feel and how you perform (mentally, physically, and emotionally). That being said your diet should not be yet another source of stress and constant deliberation. It should be something that is both performance enhancing and easy to maintain.

CrossFit recommends a paleo/zone diet, which is in my opinion the best way to attack the infamous “D” word. The paleo diet is all about quality. “Eat meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar.” It stresses the consumption of whole foods as opposed to processed foods like grain, dairy and obviously sugar.

The zone diet is a way in which to measure one’s nutritional intake based upon lean body mass and energy output. It measures macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) in “blocks.” For example a 200lb male CrossFitter with a relatively low body fat percentage would eat somewhere between 18 and 20 blocks of each macronutrient on a daily basis. If the zone sounds like a headache and a source of stress, I agree whole-heartedly. Although the zone diet is an excellent and precise way to measure macronutrient intake, it can be very difficult to eat weighed and measured meals consistently given the ebb and flow of travel and work schedules.

Although I am a huge proponent of the paleo/zone diet, I think that an exact zone is extremely difficult to maintain and consequently simply making sure that all three macronutrient groups are present (and well proportioned) in one’s meals, while stressing paleo quality is an excellent way to attack the “D” word.

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