Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Can you zone outside of The Zone

The primary Crossfit prescription for diet has been to follow the zone. It's all over the main site and the majority of affiliates. The zone provides a macronutrient intake that is supposedly the ideal ratio that was garnered from a 1985 New England Journal of Medicine that compared HG groups and came up with the ratio of 3:4 (PRO:CARB), or 0.75. Maintaining this balance of Insulin and Glucagon in every meal, plus maintaining a good N-6 to N-3 ratio, is the key to the zone. The protein:carb ratio bell curve shows that to much carbs will stimulate excess insulin and promote fat accumulation, and not enough carbs/high protein will promote excess glucagon and increased cortisol release. In the middle is the "Zone".

The first issue there straight away is the seemingly standard thought that a low carb diet is high in protein. Protein intake averages around 20-30% of hunter-gatherer diets and should not exceed 35% or risk of 'protein poisoning' occurs. The majority of calories on a low carb diet are therefore from fat. HG tribes have been known to discard lean meat or even whole kills if the meat is to lean and there is nothing else to make up calories with, such as tubers, berries or another source of fat. So 'excess glucagon' should not occur on a balanced low carb diet. The release of cortisol in response to glucagon is also limited, and simply serves to stimulate many of the same responses as glucagon, especially gluconeogenisis. It is not at muscle wasting proportions, especially when you have plenty of fat flowing around being used for energy.

Controlling insulin levels is done well on the zone, but can be even better on even lower carbs, especially those with a 'broken' metabolism and the majority of the population showing some signs of insulin resistance. Drastically reducing fructose is also important in achieving this.
The macro-nutrient intakes of HG diets vary greatly depending on geographical location, from almost zero carb of Eskimos living of frozen fish, caribou, and other large game, to the high carb Kitvian and some Indian tribes. Okinawans in Japan live on sea vegetables, seafood, rice (easily digested) pork, lard and some soy. During certain times of the year the Masai live on fresh milk, blood and meat, and their warriors can take down a lion with a spear. In fact the average carb intake of HG's is around 20-40%, the very top range of which is the zone.

The one thing all these cultures have in common is the fact that their diets are made up of purely whole foods, minimal/no grains (or at least gluten free), low fructose, adequate protein and fats from animal sources and always a good N-6:N-3 ratio. So is there a certain ratio that the body prefers to optimise hormonal control? Possibly, but unlikely considering the wide range of niches humans have occupied and thrived on such different ratios while displaying little to no signs of modern diseases and inflammation regardless of ratio followed, until they start eating modern foods and following a modern lifestyle.

As far as health and longevity is concerned humans have evolved to eat nutrient dense diets i.e. meat and fat/low carb. A keto adapted individual can physically perform extremely well, especially in endurance. When talking metcons though, a bit of glycogen replenishing beforehand may give you that extra perk, especially if performing multiple workouts in one day. If you don’t want to be the next CF games champ though and long term health is as much a priority as immediate performance, then maybe slightly lower carb is preferable. I personally am still making PB's in all metcons after following a very low carb diet for around 6 months now. Referring to a diets ability to produce ATP and mitochondrial function, this is not specific to a certain macro-nutrient ratio; this is simply from eating the right foods, reducing inflammation and a good EFA balance. In fact a low carb - high fat diet increases the amount of mitochondria in the cells to increase beta-oxidation of fats for energy.

So to summarise:

1. Insulin control can be achieved and maintained easier on a low carb diet, ensuring all other hormonal processes stay in check.
2. Humans can thrive on a variety of different ratios as long as the foods are in line with our genome.
3. Performance can be improved when keto adapted and extra carbs can be used for recovery (depending on goals) or before a major event.
4. Weighing and measuring meals is not necessary for good performance if hormones are already under control through diet, but can help the perfectionist or for absolute accuracy for a top performer.
5. This is certainly not to say that the zone doesn’t work, just that it can be done as well or better through a personalised application of Paleo.

I'll get into inflammation, EFA's and Eicosanoids, which is the heart of the zone, soon.
Any thoughts??

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Feeling good

Last week I was a bit down but managed a few little WODs of note:
Friday 30 24kg KBsnatch each arm without putting it down(alternated 5 each side)
Saturday FGB PB 296
Sunday Worlds most evil situp 50-40-30-20-10 coupled with 60kg cleans 10-8-6-4-2
20:55 to Steves 18:30.

Check out this You tube of the sit ups we did with 12kg KBs in each hand:


Sunday, September 20, 2009


MY motivation has been low this week as I went to the Chiropracter and found out my left Sacro Illiac Joint is bullshit tight and that all my heavy lifting may be exacerbating the problem.

So this week I have rested up and stretched heaps, been doing HSPU challenge and I am up to day 14 today without missing a day. Swam on thursday and did Fran on Saturday and Helen with 32 today - a little stupid but I am stretching it out and start vigourous 4 weeks of manual therapy on my SIJ tomorrow arvo.
Fingers crossed he can fix it up for me.

It is almost another argument for the variety main page programming encourages - maybe if I wasn't focusing on upping my deadlift I wouldn't have gotten a flare up - interesting.

Massive shout out the the Berry who absolutely smoked "Daniel" (take that out of context if you will) yesterday and then backed up with an awesome sub 9 Helen this morning.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lazy post

Thought I would link to a great Ross Enamit article that continues some of the discussion topics we have had going on the blog.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sunday sesh thanks to CFX

3 PM

Run 200m
3 Snatch 60kg
6 Muscle Up

Glen, Dan,Steve hope to see you here Chris I would pass given your neck at the moment, rest up.

Friday, September 11, 2009


So you get your cooked chook from the shops, take it home and happily tear it apart with your fingers to suck out all the best bits of meat and fat from the carcas. Then what? Left with the empty shell (becuase you threw out the dirty, wheat-filled stuffing didn't you) the usuall option is to throw it out. Well when conventioanl wisdom rants on about getting 27 servings of dairy per day for calcium and "bone health", what do you think is an even better source of calcium?

Thats right: Bone

With all the evidence against dairy, milk in-particular (lactose, caesin, inflammation, insulin stimulation etc.), and the rather simple conclusion that paleo man wasnt milking wild animals, where do you think a lot of their calcium came from.

Well here is a great way to get all that tasty bone into your day. Bone broths, slow cooking meat on bone and such are probably more 'normal' ways to to plate up your bones with greater calcium return due to using much larger amounts of bone (especialy for stock/broths) but here goes...

Once you have removed most of the flesh from the carcas, pul it apart into the biggest sections and lay it out flat on a cutting board. Use a meat tenderizer to smash the all the larger bones open, and at least crack the smaller ones, though they will just become soft and edible whole anyway. Place this in an oven proof dish lined with foil. Drizzle olive oil all over and a drizzle of water as well. I then sprinkle some chilli powder, paprika and cumin over the top.

Then place another sheet of foil over the top of the dish to seal it. Place in oven for around 50-60 min. From there take the top foil off, cover with cheese, then replace in oven with the grill on. Grill for 5 min or so untill cheese is melted. Perfect.

Add some avocado and sour cream and enjoy. Most of the bones should still have a bit of crunch, but easily chewed.

Now, quick calculation of say 150 grams of bone, with calcium making up 40% of bone, gives us 60gm of calcium + ~200gm from cheese = 260gm of calcium

True, most of this is from the cheese, so whats the point you say, well the bone calcium is highly absorbable in the form of calcium hydroxyapitate plus comes with other minerals such as phospherous, potasium and sodium.

Requirements for calcium levels have also been worked out on a grain rich diet, full of anti-nutrients such as gluten, fibre and phytates. Every test conducted to determine RDI's would have used a test population with exactly the same problems (anti-nutrient filled diet) and even encouraged to follow a "healthy whole grain diet" by the testers so as they could test mineral requirements when following a "balanced diet".

As these leach minerals from your GI tract, grains also cause gut inflammation and weaken cell bridges, causing 'leaky gut' and further adding to mal-absorption. Celiacs and those with auto-immune disease (and commonly irritable bowel symptoms) have a much higher incindence of osteoporosis, interesting! So, those on a grain free diet are going to need lower levels of most minerals. Besides calcium and magnesium content looks like it was over-estimated back in the day anyway. Check here and here. Just like cholesterol, calcium has quite a good self regulating system depending on dietary intake, and we all know what a crock the cholesterol theory turned out to be. Good amounts of protein are also improtant for calcium absorption, so dont listen to the old story that protein causes calcium difficiency. This has been proven plenty, but check here for an example.

So, enjoy your crunchy nachos, get plenty of dark green vegetables, some nuts, fish with bones, butter, cream,, for healthy bones

Monday, September 7, 2009

Even more deads

152.5 singles - seven times, first one is last warm Up at 140 then first 152.5 is the worst one of the lot.

I was(and still am) tempted to buy some chains to help me through my deadlift rut but realised I haven't really exhausted linear progression yet and buying something cool is unlikely to miraculously increase my deadlift.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Awesome WOD:

50 Pull Ups
400m Run
21 Thrusters
800m Run
21 Thrusters
400m Run
50 Pull Ups

Dan and Glen nailed it in 20mins plus a tiny bit, Me in 24:16 and reek in 32:16.

The thrusters shut me down and Walrus running was in play :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Did that evil complex again!

This morning at CFNQ (North Queensland not Never Quit) we did the Thruster, Hang Power Clean and SDLHP WOD.

I did it at 45kg and was within 3 reps of the score I got a few weeks ago with 42.5kg - pretty happy with that but I still maintain that the WOD is one of my least favourites, it is too easy to leave the bar on the ground in the SDLHPs.

Tomorrow Pull Ups Thrusters and Run - Daniel!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Elizabeth and Deads

Back from being an intern at my first level one cert which was quite an experience.
I have been busy/injured(stupid calf) and last night was the first good session since the weekend.

I did some deads while waiting as I did last week again at 150, I did a set of 3, 2,1,1

The form in the multiples slips a bit but I am happy with the first reps - next week I will start getting to know 152.5 intimately. I got greedy after my set of three and went to pull 160 off the ground but she put me in my place:(.

Then did Elizabeth Rxd in 16:44 and felt like death but I think it is comparable to other times I have done for that WOD.