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Feb 11 2014

CrossFit & the Zone Diet

By: Coach Renee Telles

There are a myriad of diets common amongst Crossfitters, the most widespread being the Paleo Diet, founded by Dr. Loren Cordain.  Another popular diet, which can be used in conjunction with paleo food choices, is the Zone Diet, which was founded by biochemist Dr. Barry Sears.   The Zone Diet is a more fine tuned approach to nutrition that takes a bit more preparation and planning but renders some amazing results both aesthetically and performance-based.

According to Dr. Sears, being in “the zone” occurs when our consumption of protein, carbohydrates, and fats is balanced according to a scientific ratio. Maintaining that ratio through our diet results in a physiological state in which your hormones are balanced to help support a healthy inflammatory response. This represents your optimal level of cellular inflammation. Having too much cellular inflammation results in weight gain, the acceleration of chronic disease, and decreased physical, emotional, and mental performance. Therefore, improving that factor, along with food quality can yield improvements in body composition and overall health.

The Zone Diet is based on units of measure known as “blocks.”  Each meal & snack is comprised of a designated number of blocks of protein, fat, and carbs.  Block requirements are determined by body type.  See the table below:

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner Snack Total Blocks Body Type
2 2 2 2 2 10 Small female
3 3 1 3 1 11 Medium female
3 3 2 3 2 13 Large female
4 4 1 4 1 14 Athletic, well muscled female
4 4 2 4 2 16 Small male
5 5 1 5 1 17 Medium male
5 5 2 5 2 19 Large male
4 4 4 4 4 20 X-Large male
5 5 3 5 3 21 Hard gainer
5 5 4 5 4 23 Large hard gainer
5 5 5 5 5 25 Athletic, well muscled male

What EXACTLY is a block?

1 block of protein= 7 g of protein

1 block of carbohydrate= 9 grams of carbohydrates

1 block of fat= 1.5 grams of fat

The table below will help you determine exactly how much of what you should be eating.  I am keeping the list simple & Paleo-friendly but if you’d like more info, you can visit http://www.drsears.com/articlepreview/tabid/399/itemid/10489/default.aspx.”

I highly recommend you invest in a food scale, which can be found at Wal-Mart or Target.

Protein (cooked quantity)    1 block

Chicken Breast 1 oz
Turkey Breast 1 oz
Ground Turkey 1 ½ oz
Beef 1 oz
Ground Beef 1 ½ oz
Protein Powder 1 oz
Whole egg 1 large
Salmon 1 ½ oz

Dr. Sears divides the carbohydrates into “favorable” and “unfavorable.”  In addition, the amount you eat depends on whether you consume it raw or cooked.  Below you will find a short list of favorable carbs to assist in building your meals and snacks:

Favorable Carb (cooked)    1 block

Asparagus 12 spears
Broccoli 1 ¼ cup
Spaghetti Squash 1 cup
Spinach 1 1/3 cup
Tomatoes ¾ cup
Zucchini 1 1/3 cup
Sweet Potato, baked 5 inches
Sweet Potato, mashed 1/5 cup
Oatmeal 1/3 cup

Favorable Carb (raw)      1 block

Celery 2 cups
Lettuce, romaine 6 cups
Spinach 4 cups
Blueberries ½ cup
Apple ½ an apple
Strawberries 1 cup

Fat                    1 block

Almonds 3
Avocado 1 tbsp
Cashews 3
Olive Oil 1/3 tsp
Guacamole ½ tbsp

 

Now that you have a general idea of blocks, the next step is to put together your daily meals:

Sample Day/ Block Requirements for small (“4-block”) male

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner Snack
Protein

 

Carbohydrate

 

Fat

4

 

4

 

4

4

 

4

 

4

2

 

2

 

2

4

 

4

 

4

4

 

4

 

4

Sample Breakfast:

4 whole eggs= 4 blocks of protein

2 cups strawberries= 2 blocks of carbs

2/3 cups oatmeal= 2 blocks of carbs

12 almonds= 4 blocks of fat

 

Sample Lunch:

4 oz chicken= 4 blocks protein

24 asparagus spears= 2 blocks carbs

1/3 tsp olive oil used to cook asparagus= 1 block of fat

9 cashews= 3 blocks fat

1 whole apple= 2 blocks of carbs

 

Sample Snack:

2 oz protein powder in water= 2 blocks of protein

1 cup strawberries mixed in protein shake= 1 block of carbs

2 cups celery= 1 block of carbs

6 cashews= 2 blocks of fat

 

Sample Dinner:

6 oz salmon= 4 blocks of protein

10inch Sweet potato, baked= 2 blocks of carbs

2.5 cups cooked broccoli= 2 blocks of carbs

1/3 tsp olive oil drizzled over broccoli= 1 block of fat

9 almonds= 3 blocks of fat

 

Sample Snack:

Repeat breakfast, lunch or dinner

 

Feb 05 2014

Have WOD, Will Travel – Top 5 Tips for Getting Your Workout on the Road

By: Coach David  Peregrino

Image Courtesy: agymlife.com

It never fails—just when you’ve gotten into a good groove in your WODs at CrossFit 915, something comes up, and you’ve got to travel for work, school or personal reasons.

But don’t let the travel lifestyle get you down—you can still keep up your awesome level of fitness, and even make GAINS while you are on the road. Keep a positive attitude, plan ahead and get ready to crush some WODs at out-of-town boxes, hotel gyms, parks or beaches by following our Top 5 Travel WOD Tips:

1. Research those out-of-town boxes, and email them ahead of time to let them know you’d like to drop in. Back in the day, it was often hard to find a convenient CrossFit gym in the city or town that you were traveling to. But it’s different now—in many places, there’s practically a box on every block. Get recommendations from your fellow CrossFitters—ask your friends in class, or post a message on Facebook to get names of good boxes out of town.

When you’ve picked a gym, send them an email or give them a call and get the details on their drop-in policy. In many cases, if you give them a heads up, they’ll let you WOD one time for free, or give you a good deal on a week’s worth of WODs. If you find a gym that treats you well, give the owner or coach a CF915 T-shirt and spread the love.

2. Plan ahead to avoid being stuck eating crappy road-trip food. You don’t want to be trapped on a plane for hours and have pretzels or salty peanuts as your only food options. There are many useful guides online with suggestions for delicious snacks and meals to pack with you for your plane trip. Here are two:

http://seniortravel.about.com/od/airtravel/a/Take-Your-Own-Food-On-Your-Next-Airplane-Flight.htm

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/24/airplane-food-recipes_n_1698857.html

3. Use Google Maps to explore the neighborhood near your hotel and find some cool places for outdoor workouts. Parks are a great place to find pull-up bars or dip stations. If you’re lucky enough to be near a beach, plan to do some running in the sand (awesome for building your calf muscles). You can also pack an empty sandbag and fill it with sand when you get to the beach. Stuck in the city? Use Google Maps to look for long flights of stairs or hills outdoors where you can challenge yourself with hill or stair repeats. Parking garages and skyscrapers also are good spots for running stairs or inclines.

4. Speaking of what to pack for travel WODs, in addition to that empty sandbag, be sure to pack your jump rope and even a set of gymnastic rings. You may be able to find a pull up bar or sturdy tree branch to attach your rings for WODs that include dips, ring push-ups or muscle-ups.

5. Now that you’ve planned in advance, packed your food and gear, you’re ready to crush some WODs on the road. Here are links to downloadable pdfs of WODs perfect for the road, because all they require is your bodyweight, a jump rope or set of rings. Download, print and pack these WODs for your next trip!

http://cfmoncton.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/comprehensive-bodyweight-workout-list-v15.pdf

http://crossfituncensored.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Travel-WOD-CFU.pdf

Feb 04 2014

Gaining Endurance on Minimal Training

By: Endurance Coach Larry Pinon

Runners, Swimmers, Cyclists have pondered these questions since the beginning of time. How do I get faster and go further without spending hours on the road? Is it possible to spend less time training, yet still PR on my next race? The answer is yes and the solution is simple: start interval training.

Interval training is all about maximum effort for maximum results. These workouts don’t take very long, but they are not for the faint of heart either. This type of training usually consists of short intense bouts of exercise followed by brief periods of rest. Interval training is effective because it has the ability to build the athlete’s aerobic capacity to exercise longer at varying distances. There is no specific formula to interval training, but most use a 2:1 ratio of exercise and rest.

The most popular and feared method we use at the gym is Tabata. It consists of 20 seconds of all out efforts followed by 10 seconds of rest for any given exercise. This method was first used by Izumi Tabata, a Professor with the Japanese speed skating team. He had individuals in one of two groups training 5 days a week for 6 weeks. One group followed a training program involving a 60 minute bike ride at medium intensity for a total of 5 hours a week. This group improved their VO2 max by 9%. The other group training consisted of eight all out intervals of 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off improved their VO2 max by a total of 15%, by only training for 20 minutes a week.

Not only will you increase stamina and endurance, interval training is also great for fat loss and injury prevention. Compared to steady state cardio, high intensity training creates a metabolic boost for as long as 36 hours after you finish your last interval. This means you can train once and turn your body into a fat burning furnace for 1-2 days afterwards. Along with these fat burning benefits, you are putting less stress on your body by not wearing out the same muscle group for hours on end. This will help prevent common injuries like runner’s knee and shin splints.

As with all training programs, intervals are not perfect. It is easy to overdo it at first. Beginners feel that they are not reaping the benefits right away and want to start doing more sessions before their body is ready to handle this new stress. It is very easy to think that more is better, and want to add a second session before they have fully recovered from their first. I suggest waiting 24 hours between sessions so you are not over training one specific body part.

Another problem athletes face when interval training is all this new found time they have. What else are you going to do when you’re not logging 40 miles a week running? Or spending every weekend on your bike for 3 hours? Perhaps learning to crochet, or even a new language? Whatever it is you do, remember to do it with intensity.

Jan 31 2014

The Power of Positive Thinking

By: Coach Melissa Nunn

How many times have you looked at the W.O.D. and thought, “there is NO WAY I am doing that…” I know that I stopped looking at the website, so I couldn’t let the negative self-talk begin before I even entered the gym. The mind is a powerful weapon, for good and bad. Optimism and pessimism can affect many areas of your health and well-being. These attitudes transfer over into the gym and how well you are able to complete the workout.

Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit, has said that the “greatest adaptation to Crossfit is between the ears.” In other words, how you think of yourself and how you approach the workout can positively or negatively affect your outcome. If you were to think back to one of your most challenging workouts, how did you approach the workout? Did you look at it with the glass being half full, or half empty? I realize that the WODS are difficult, that’s why we are drawn to them, but putting that aspect aside, did you look at with the plans to destroy the workout, or were you already defeated before the clock even started? If you had planned to destroy the workout, did you? If you were able to keep the positive thoughts flowing, not matter how difficult the workout, you walked away feeling accomplished and proud of what you overcame. If you let the self-doubt creep in, you probably walked away wanting to do the workout again because you didn’t give it “your all.”

How you view yourself and the workout truly do go hand in hand. It has been said, “Competing against another makes you bitter, competing against yourself makes you better,” but it only works if you believe in yourself. As an athlete, you need to be able to control and optimize your self-talk. The natural extensions of the positive self-talk are an optimistic energy, a mental toughness and an indomitable spirit evident in the physical accomplishments in the CrossFit workouts. In other words, when you control the self-doubt, and bring forth the positive energy then you are able to “crush” your workout.

Here are some tips that you can practice to lessen the self-doubt that can creep up during a workout:
1. Never walk away from the bar/ rig/ equipment
2. Set a goal/ plan of action when attacking the workout: 12 reps unbroken for example
3. Tell your coach your goal, it helps you stay accountable
4. Never forget “The Little Engine That Could” and repeat to yourself, I think I can, I think I can, and as you progress throughout the workout change it to “I know I can, I know I can”
5. Erase the phrase, “I can’t” from your vocabulary- even if you can’t do it today doesn’t mean the same will be true a month from now
6. Reap the benefits

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Jan 30 2014

Benefits of Fish Oil

By: Junior Coach Tomas Frias

Image Courtesy: www.cnn.com

Whether you are a competitive competitive CrossFitter or someone who WODs to stay healthy, we all experience some degree of inflammation or soreness as a result of our training. To complement the hard work we do in the gym, our coaches also emphasize the importance of the recovery and rest period. Its very common for people to turn to the extensive and at times overwhelming world of supplements. While many often turn to BCAA’s, protein, or other options, your first choice in recovery should be a more simplistic option: fish oil.

Fish oil not only aids the body in the recovery period, it also benefits the human body in many other ways too. Although not as flashy or mainstream as other supplements, fish oil does not need any hype in order to prove its efficiency and give great results like miracle protein powders or glitzy pre-work out drinks.

Let’s begin by discussing what encompasses the supplement of fish oil. Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil can be obtained from many different fish species that are rich in these such as salmon, herring, or halibut. The body cannot naturally produce these omega 3 fatty acids, which is why we must either consume them in a high seafood diet (which in my case sounds delicious) or obtain them through adequate supplementation.
Although most of our diets consist of many omega 6 fatty acids, such found in nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils, these do not break down into omega 3’s. What this means is that we must maintain the balance of omega 3 and 6 fatty acid consumption in our daily diets to improve our recovery period.
The benefits of taking a fish oil supplement, include strengthening the heart by reducing plaque buildup in the arteries, improving the management of triglycerides, lowering blood pressure, and ultimately reducing the future risk of heart disease in the human body. Fish oil also helps maintain a healthy brain. Many studies have shown fish oil helps reduce depression and in some cases has been used to treat psychosis amongst other disorders. Along with all these positive outcomes, fish oil is also beneficial for maintaining eye health and reducing age induced degeneration of sight.

Last but not least, in the long list of benefits fish oil provides, management of pain and inflammation is the most appealing to those who CrossFit. It supports healthy joints and has been proven to aid in mobility as we age.  As a matter of fact, many top CrossFit athletes know about the benefits and advantages of implementing the use of fish oil in their daily consumption as it helps to not only heal and maintain the body during the recovery period but also prepare them for the next WOD.

For more information about fish oil, including how much to take, check out Supplementing for CrossFit: The 3 Basics

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