The Zone Foundations Class

23 Jan

The basics of the Crossfit London approach to  a healthy diet is the Zone. We base all our initial education on the Zone as it appears in the Crossfit Journal No 21.

Download your free copy . You will need to know it really well to get the most out of the Zone Foundation Classes ( thee are lots of tests, with burpee penalties!)

The trick of mastering the Zone, and to  getting all its benefits ( weight loss, nutritional understanding, enhanced performance), is being really, really simple. The almost unbearable temptation is to attempt to change it. I’ve seen beginners , from day 1, combine the Zone with intermittent fasting, cheat days , reducing the carb content blah, blah.

The aim of the Crossfit London zone session is to get you  do a months worth of  the basic zone: as its written in the journal .

So when reading issue 21 what do you need to “get” ?

What are the principle messages?

1) the zone has broken down all the types of food into 3 types.

Carbohydrates, protein and fat. ( if you are stupid you may need to repeat these slowly to your self).

2) Every time  you eat, or consume calories ( drink stuff) , your meal must have all three types of food in it . You dont have to scoop all 3 types into your mouth at the same time, but at the same  sitting ( they can be spread over a starter, a main course and  a”pudding” ( gosh you can tell Im over 50!).  The most basic example is this.

If you are inspired by old sayings and you decide that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”  thats probably a good plan (better than  chocolate bar). However, , if all you do, at that snack , is to eat an apple , you are not Zoning!  A proper snack, would be ( for example) an Egg for the protein, the apple ( which is carb), and some nuts for the fat.

3) Finally, you need to balance the proportions of these 3 types of food. You must eat in a strict ratio  of protein to carb to fat.

How the hell do you do that?

This is the same problem that all economies have. How do you make a medium of exchange that puts a value on different things.  If you go to market with a goat, is that worth 1,2 or 3 chickens. If you sold a chicken and  you got a DVD in exchange,  is that a fair trade??

Advanced economies use currency: The Zone uses “Blocks”

So, how do you match up protein with carbs and Fat: All foods are different. The carb content in bread is not the same as in  an apple: the fat content of meat varies as the wind blows.

Enter the BLOCK.

Rather than say, put some protein and  some carb and some  fat on your plate, we say put , 1 block of protein, 1 block of carb and one block of fat on your plate.

How much of a certain  type of food goes to make up a block is done for you. Issue 21 has columns with types of foods, and the amount of each  you need to use to  make a block (see below).

To really understand that, you measure and practise ( and we will show you how in the foundations class).

But to give you a more practical example, from our apple snack that I mentioned before: a one block snack would be  1 egg, half an apple and 3 almonds

4) So you need to be able to use “cups” and a scale. ( we will show you how)

5) finally you need to understand how many blocks you need. Once again, Crossfit simplified  this into this chart

At the end of the zone foundations class, you will have practised and drilled these concepts ( in  a fun lively environmnet: which will include finger painting  crayoning  and picture you can take home to your mum to put on the fridge).

Then its 4 weeks of practise ( if you want to).

After this  there will be other sessions  where we will discuss in (boring) detail food quality, paleo, intermittent fasting, high/low protein, blood types  but for now, you need the basics.

The obvious question. Is this diet good for you. It could be a wacky fade  diet. it could be ok for some, but not ok for you as an individual ( you may have an illness that means you need to eat in a certain way). Every  diet observation we give you  is based on the assumption that you will take the information and get your doctors input into it, and use the internet and other  research  methods to understand how your body uses food.

Good Crossfitters take  responsibility for what they eat. You too need to take responsibility for what you put in your mouth.

See you at a Zone Foundation class, I’ll be presenting along with the phenomenal Kate . I’ve got all the flashy qualifications: Kate learned her business in the trenches.

See comments below for dates of  the next session ( once a month…ish)






8 thoughts on “The Zone Foundations Class

  1. The next Zone foundations session is 11.30 sunday 5th February (2012). you will find it in the class schedule. Come prepared to weigh and measure and cut stuff up.

    Open to all, even if you have not completed your beginner session yet.

  2. Superb introduction, Andrew x
    A lot of this first class will be about identifying the food groups, and weighing out the block portions. The kitchen scales are your friend. The measuring cups are your mates.
    The Zone is not about obsessional eating, it’s about food enlightenment.
    See you all on the 5 Feb at 11.30 xx

  3. Reading about it – check
    Understanding the principles – check
    Have scales and cup – check
    Worried about imminent starvation and life of boredom – check
    Momentum to implement – not so much!
    I think I will come along in the hope that you boundless energy and enthusiasm will rub off.

  4. I wouldn’t have the patience to eat in such a regimented manner but big respect to those who do. Also I’m part french so would be disowned by various family members for restricting foodgroups like that.

    Btw as an aside. Kate and Andrew: you both write really well about nutrition and diets in my view. Always enjoy your articles. Would you consider doing a post where you explain your views of the merits of various popular diets (eg paleo, tim ferriss slow carb, dukan etc)?

  5. Just to be clear, the Zone does not restrict food choices. You can eat absolutely anything at all, including camembert, pork pies, wichety grubs and bread – if you so desire. Whether these choices are wise ones is another matter, and to remain in the Zone, you’ll have to weigh them out into blocks.
    Paleo is the one that restricts your food choices

    Thank you Pat. You’ve inspired me. I can’t write about something outside my experience, so Tim Ferris and Dukan here I come!

  6. Pat – I lived in Paris last year. I slowly turned into a pain au chocolat. I shared a barge on the Seine for a bit with a Belgium guy who’s idea of breakfast was three Gauloises, several black coffees and jazz. I tried to eat healthily but it was nearly impossible!

  7. just occurred to me that lots of people weigh in grams. so looked up a conversion on the net.

    is 1 ounce = 28.3495231 grams?

  8. Yes. But its the ‘cup’ that gets me, and its variable depending whats in it. Makes no sense to me.

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