So, after 25 years of on and off Japanese jujitsu, aikido and judo training with the same instructor, I decided it was time for a change. I recently started studying Brazillian juijitsu and muay thai at a new school that opened in my area. I am really liking the workouts so far... they are so different from my previous training. They are easier and harder at the same time. Easier on the body because there are not as many throws and falls and harder because the pace requires much more endurance. The schedule has me working two hours on M&Th and one hour on T-W.
The problem is that with the heat and exercise (and if I am being honest, the extra weight I carry around), I get gassed before the end of the workout. I know some of it is because I am new to this and the heat really saps my strength, but I also think that part of it is needing a better pre-workout meal.
Any suggestions on a good snack that I can eat prior to the workout that will stay down and give me a bit more energy to complete the classes (or anything else that might help)? For reference, I try to eat zone-type meals.
Can you give us 2-3 days of normal eating? Also what is your height/weight and what have you traditionally done for S&C? Any CrossFit or similar conditioning.
BJJ and Thai boxing training is VERY demanding and you may just need time to adapt. You may need to coast on some elements a little and slowly build intensity.
Mike Ryan's Response
I am pretty good about the quality of the food I eat, but I am beginning to believe, as Mike suggested, that the quantity may be off. I am about 285 lbs and ~25% BF (by scale and girth measurements) and 5'11" tall. I also weigh and measure most of what I eat. A typical day would look like this:
3 eggs + 2 whites or 8 oz LF cottage cheese
64 g Quaker old fashioned oatmeal with a pinch of salt and one packet of equal
5 oz chicken or steak
large salad or mixed veggies (~3 blocks worth)
~2 blocks of fruit (from the favorable list)
Olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dressing on the salad
Sometimes a 2 block snack about an hour before bed. (I know that this should be more consistent)
Lots of water and a couple of coffees throughout the day
I am very consistent M-F while I am working. On the weekends, I am busy running the kids all over and often eat less although I still try to keep meals near zone quality (not counting the occasional pizza or beer. Ya still gotta live!).
If anything, I think I am not eating enough but I am afraid to add and gain weight, even if it is muscle mass. 285 lbs is too much to carry around. I have fought this war most of my adult life.
As for other activity, I have a pretty sedentary job but I coach little league so I often throw batting practice or am otherwise active during that time, usually 2-3x per week for a couple of hours. I have done CF workouts (scaled) off and on for years and have always been athletic. Despite my size, I move very well and have always been able to do things that people found surprising. For example...I used to coach gymnastics and could do several back handsprings in a row followed by a back tuck (at about 250 lbs).
I will admit that I have not worked out as hard or long as I do in BJJ and Thai boxing in as long as I can remember and I have started losing some weight. I am down about 8 lbs in the past three weeks. I think I just need to dial in the diet and exercise a the same time, which has always been the problem.
Response by Robb Wolf
Food looks solid, like you said perhaps even a little under eating but I think the main issue is jumping in with both feet on some VERY intense activity. Ease into it, give it some time...start a log if you like so we can chime in and provide help if possible. I suspect a few months down the road things will be much better and you will be no one i would want to tangle with!
Keep us posted.
Posted 8-8-2007 by Russell Greene
just started the zone three days ago on a 17 block plan. It is definitely much less food than I am used to, but I would like to lose several percentages of BF% so I guess that makes sense. Do most people feel hungry all the time when they first start the zone? I sure do.
I am 5'10 and around 177 lbs. I workout three days on, one day off. Every workout day I run a mile, do three rounds of 15 ohs at 75 lbs, 18 pull ups, 15 sit ups, 5 hspu's, and a superman hold, plus Crossfit workouts and/or heavy lifting around 5 days a week. Is 17 blocks a normal prescription for someone my size and activity level who is trying to lose just a bit of fat?
My body fat percentage is not at the level of the top Crossfitters, but I can do 8 dead hang muscle ups and have a 3:58 Fran, so it can't be too high either. I can see my top four abs if I flex. I got fed up last night with starving, so I read the nutrition archives on the Crossfit board. Lauren and Robb both mentioned that the fat and protein levels are minimums, but the carb level is a maximum. So last night I had about 20 almonds, salmon, and chicken. I guess I will add almonds and protein from time to time when I am too hungry to continue.
I want to lose body fat because I am trying to maximize my CF performance and the top crossfitters have lower BF than I do. I know that as far as health goes, my body fat percentage is low already, but to maximize Crossfit performance, especially on the body weight exercises, seems to favor, if not require, very low body fat percentages.
I have noticed so far on the zone that I fall asleep much more easily. I was having problems with falling asleep around 3 AM and now it is hard for me to stay up past 11:30 PM. This is good because I am getting more and better sleep.
I ran the slightly-over-a-mile loop that I usually run in around 6:00-6:10 in 5:48 yesterday, and it was not at all a max effort. I felt very light on my feet and strong.
Nutrition is definitely my weak point, both in terms of knowledge and application.
Response by Robb Wolf
Russ- have you read the "how to tweak the Zone" piece I did a month or so ago? One way to minimize hunger is to partition a significant portion of carbs tot he post WO period. I'd stick with 4 meals, tinker with a little IF later.
You will lean out very quickly...you will be fairly hungry during the whole process. Once you ramp up the fat it will be tough to eat your meals.
For most I see the Zone as an intervention...the folks who do well on the Zone are VERY disciplined...make their beds with no creases type of folks. i was a chemist and i find the weighing and measuring unlivable for the long term...in part due to relatively no change in performance. Body comp? yep, I'm leaner on the Zone...can;t say performance is improved however but I am pretty tight IF/paleo due to good allergies and schedule.
Now if only I could sleep more...
Make a journal on this, it would be super helpful for folks.
Posted 9-5-2007 by Eric Jones
It really helps my thinking if I can quantify how many Zone blocks it takes to put on fairly lean mass. Up until now i have followed a fairly paleo diet with no real portioning controls, I have just been trying to eat as much as I can between 4pm and 10pm. It feels like I am stuffing myself (several pounds of vegetables, 4 whole fruits, whole bag of cashews, lots of lean meat and protein powder and amino's post workout) but can't tell if it is enough. I seem to be putting on some lean mass, but would like to get more precise to make sure I am getting enough clean calories.
I am about 165lbs, 21yo, male. I am a trainer at Rogue Fitness, so I am very active all day long and workout 5-6 days per week. I figure 21 blocks at 3x fat seems right. That's about 150g PRO and about 3,050 calories. As I put on mass, that will have to go up. Is this enough?
Response by Robb Wolf
Cut back on the veggies a bit and up the nut butters. use some dense carbs post WO. It will be tough to eat enough otherwise!
Posted 7-21-2008 by John Schneider
I'm currently working on my M.S. in Exercise Science and I'm enrolled in an "Advanced" Nutrition class this 5 weeks. Last week's assignment was focused on Carbs. Everyone concluded from the research that active individuals should be taking between 60-75% of their caloric requirements from CHO.
The thing was that the research I came across did not support a CHO restrictive diet like the Zone, but my athlete who has been following it religiously for 9 months now (keeping highly detailed logs) and dialing it in a little with increased fat and starting to save his CHO blocks for post workout as recommended here at the PM. He doesn't show any signs of having trouble recovering muscle glycogen and his performance only continues to improve.
The question is, how do you resolve when research doesn't match up with what you are observing in real life? Right now I'm just assuming that the studies are executing things in a poor manner. Below is the questions and my responses for the assignment:
1) Based on the recommendations in the literature how many grams/kg AND total grams of CHO’s should your active individual ingest each day? Make sure you include the weight of the individual as well as the typical amount of exercise (intensity, duration and mode) that the individual is engaged in each day.
2) Again based on the literature how would you suggest that the above individual obtain the CHO’s- liquid vs solid, simple CHO vs complex CHO (or both) and meals/snacks/ingestion during exercise. Be as specific as possible. The idea at the end of the course is to be able to look at your answers and have a good idea what the active athlete should be ingesting in the way of macro nutrients.
3) An active individual (average of 10 hours of exercise each week- combo of aerobic and resistance training) asks you to explain to them why a low CHO diet is probably not the best way for them to eat- how do you respond?
John Schneider 20 Jul 08 9:02 PM MST
1. My athlete, Chad, is preparing for basic training in the Marine Corps. He weighs 70kg and trains six days a week. 4days/ wk he does some type of metcon with a perceived exertion of about 80% normally and twice a week he is lifting heavy either with power lifting movements or the Olympic Lifts and their variations at an intensity between 75 and 95% 1RM. Each training session lasts for approximately an hour. According to the reading, he should be taking 5-7g of CHO for every kg of body weight which would put him between 350-490 grams of carbohydrates/ day.
2. During exercise, the source of the CHO as solid or liquid makes little difference in the short term(1). I prefer liquid because there is no chewing involved. If he were doing longer bouts, I’d recommend solid CHO sources because solid CHO feedings For post workout, I recommend high glycemic index foods over low glycemic index foods because they aid in the recovery of muscle glycogen faster.(3)
3. I’d explain that low CHO diets don’t provide enough CHO to replenish muscle glycogen for an active individual and that their performance would diminish (4) Low CHO diets might be good for sedentary individuals only concerned with fat loss, but for an active individual interested in performance, they need an adequate amount of CHO.
(1) MASON, W. LEE; McCONELL, GLENN; HARGREAVES, MARK; Carbohydrate ingestion during exercise: liquid vs solid feedings; Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 25(8) 966-969; August 1993
(2) HARGREAVES, M., D.L. COSTILL, A. COGGAN, W.J. FINK, and I. NISHIBATA. Effect of carbohydrate feedings on muscle glycogen utilization and exercise performance. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 219-222, 1984
(3) L. M. Burke, G. R. Collier and M. Hargreaves; Muscle glycogen storage after prolonged exercise: effect of the glycemic index of carbohydrate feedings; Journal of Applied Physiology, Vol 75, Issue 2 1019-1023, 1993
(4) Langfort, J., Zarzeczny R., Pilis, W., Nazar K., Kaciuba-Uscitko H.; The effect of a low-carbohydrate diet on performance, hormonal and metabolic responses to a 30-s bout of supramaximal exercise; Journal European Journal of Applied Physiology, Volume 76, Number 2 128-133; July, 1997
Sub-note: What do you do when the research you find doesn't match with what you are observing in real life? Chad is actually following the Zone diet strictly with some tweaks like taking in more fat and saving some of his CHO servings for post workout(I've gone through his nutrition logs)and has been for 9 months now. His performance has only improved and he feels great. Many other CrossFit affiliates observe the same results. I did the assignment as it was called for because I understand that personal testimony has no place in academia, but what I've read here doesn't match with what I'm seeing?
Response by Robb Wolf
Folks never allow for adaptation:
this is a fantastic article...one will NEVER do glycolytic work without glycogen but everything else runs fine on ketones and lipids.
Need a health related answer? Look to evolutionary biology.
Posted 6-6-2007 by Jordan Glasser
For those who stay paleo, what type of protein powder do you use? If you use whey, do you consider it cheating the paleo plan?
Response by Robb Wolf
I would not attack this from a paleo/not paleo perspective but rather is it A-healthy or B-helpful to performance?
Depending upon the circumstances it may be yes and no in both those situations. I REALLY recommend folks stick with solid food unless they simply can not get in enough food otherwise.
It is very easy to overdo liquid foods, both in carbs and total amount of calories.
Posted 6-24-2007 by Brandon Enos
Ive asked this on the Dragondoor forums but didn't fit what I was looking for. Not that I didn't get answers I liked, but I don't think that they understood what I was saying.
If you ignore things like food quality etc (I'm doing Paleo for food choices so that part doesn't matter to me), what is the real difference in what they recommend. What I mean is, is there any evidence or research showing that one is better than the other? That eating "light" during the day; a salad, an apple, etc during the day is "better" or "worse" than eating nothing. Or is it completely a personal thing?
Response by Robb Wolf
I think both approaches have merit. There are a load of human studies showing simple caloric restriction one day mixed with ad libitum eating another day improves insulin sensitivity and some other bio-markers...just not as well as the full fast.
Many people report the full tilt fast being easier, both in implementation and not really getting hungry until they eat...but like others have said, make it work for you.
I think you will see a revamping of the "grazing" recommendation in Ori's re-release due out in Dec...
Posted 7-3-2007 by Jeremy Shepard
Robb, you seem to have done a significant amount of reading on ketosis. What is your current opinion regarding increased levels of methylglyoxal during ketosis? While we're at it, what is your feeling toward AGEs in general with regard to aging?
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005 Jun;1043:201-10.
Ketosis leads to increased methylglyoxal production on the Atkins diet.
Beisswenger BG, Delucia EM, Lapoint N, Sanford RJ, Beisswenger PJ.
Dartmouth Medical School, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, 1 Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03756, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
In the popular and widely used Atkins diet, the body burns fat as its main fuel. This process produces ketosis and hence increased levels of beta-hydroxybutyrate (BOB) acetoacetate (AcAc) and its by-products acetone and acetol. These products are potential precursors of the glycotoxin methylglyoxal. Since methylglyoxal and its byproducts are recognized as a significant cause of blood vessel and tissue damage, we measured methylglyoxal, acetone, and acetol in subjects on the Atkins diet. We found that by 14-28 days, methylghyoxal levels rose 1.67-fold (P = 0.039) and acetol and acetone levels increased 2.7- and 6.12-fold, respectively (P = 0.012 and 0.028). Samples from subjects with ketosis showed even greater increases in methylglyoxal (2.12-fold), as well as acetol and acetone, which increased 4.19- and 7.9-fold, respectively; while no changes were seen in samples from noncompliant, nonketotic subjects. The increase in methylglyoxal implies that potential tissue and vascular damage can occur on the Atkins diet and should be considered when choosing a weight-loss program.
PMID: 16037240 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Response by Robb Wolf
I've wondered about that. In general ketones are more reactive then aldehydes and alcohols. This explains some of the increased AGE production from fructose, a ketone sugar, vs glucose, an aldehyde sugar.
I'm curious if there are repair mechanisms that ameliorate the effects...
Now here is a nice piece form wikipedia. It appears the main source of methylglyoxal formation, according to that article at least, is GLYCOLYSIS gone wrong.
then this article:
http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org...tract/48/1/198 that describes decreased rates of methylglyoxal formation in diabetics who are placed on metformin. Metformin increases insulin sensitivity and tends to mitigate some of the metabolic derailing common in glycolysis, especially in the diabetic.
Then we look here and find that fasting is recommended as a means of decreasing methylglyoxal production, mainly due to its action on glycolysis...but fasting is a a state of ketosis!
So it looks to me that glycolysis is the main culprit in MG formation. Regarding the paper you cited it would be interesting to know the insulin sensitivity of the folks on the Atkins protocol...and it would be super interesting to know EXACTLY how they implemented the protocol. Did the researchers introduce any non-glycemic load items that inhibit normal insulin sensitivity (artificial sweeteners, whey protein).
If ketosis was REALLY the issue we should see sky-high MG levels in fasting, starvation and to some degree in caloric restriction...but instead we see the opposite. This might be a good topic to email the lead author of that study and ask that question.
Posted 7-4-2007 by Jeremy Shepard
To quote the authors:
"The highly significant relationship that was observed between acetol
and MG suggests that MG is produced directly from acetol by oxidative mechanisms. Although ketone bodies are likely to be an important source of MG, it is also possible that some MG is derived from increased triose phosphates resulting from increased production of glycerol (from accelerated triglyceride breakdown) or from lipoxidation products (from the high fat intake) undergoing degradation to MG."
The study participants were limited to >25 BMI and a fasting blood glucose of <100 mg/dL. None had been previously diagnosed as diabetic. As far as whey or artificial sweeteners, the participants were just instructed to follow the advice in Dr. Atkin's New Diet Revolution. It has been too long since I've read it to remember any mention he makes regarding that type of thing. So, typical self-reporting crap, but at least they were tested to exclude the ones not following close enough to remain in ketosis.
If you can hook me up with the full deal that would be peachy. I've been digging around on this and it does appear ketosis up regulates enzymes that deal with this problem...not so MG from glycolysis...
Posted 9-6-2007 by Jordan Glasser
I've been thinking about trying to eat seasonally this winter. I am after some opinions/guidelines. First thing to note is I live in Whistler, BC, Canada.
I do know, that seasonal our not, I do have to replace my CHO after workouts. But, I am curious on whether it is possible or advisable to maintain an active lifestyle while sticking to eating foods only available to me in the winter.
Part of me is saying that I don't sleep 14 hours a day in the winter, so why should I eat that way? But, having said that, I would love to eat foods that are available locally, and eat according to season.
Response by Robb Wolf
You folks are still pretty warm in the winter, yes? If you have nay farmers markets still going that would be perfect. yams, squash and citrus seem perfect for dense carb sources.
Posted 9-12-2007 by Matthew Ricker
1. Are there any paleo-friendly, or even just semi-friendly (as in not pure paleo, but not a blatant violation, either), substitutes for flour when frying chicken? And perhaps more importantly, are any substitutes tasty?
2. What would the best frying oil, taste-wise, be? Coconut? Olive? Macadamia? Butter? More than one suggestion is okay/appreciated, as well.
Response by Robb Wolf
scramble 1-3 eggs. Roll the chicken in the eggs prior to the almond flour. You can make your own almond flour using a coffee grinder anytime.
would Yerba matte be considered paleo friendly? if so...does anyone know much about it? ive read allot about it though people on this forum tend to have the skinny on stuff. Any thoughts?
Response by Garrett Smith
Nothing wrong in particular, unless you are trying to control your caffeine intake.
Most yerba mate is smoked (you may or may not want the added potential carcinogens that smoking provides), I have recently seen yerba mate that is "raw", or not smoked at all.
I've tried yerba mate several times, I don't know if it's the smoking or not, it just doesn't sit well with me, nor do I particularly like the flavor.
Response by Robb Wolf
I have a similar experience as Dr. G. Green tea and mate actually mess with me whereas coffee does not (precious...)
There are several stimulant alkaloids in these products..theophyline(sp?) being one that actually makes it hard for me to think. weird stuff.
Posted 1-28-2007 by David Mathews
I have been paleoish for over 6 months (apprx. 60-100g carbs/day) and pretty much fat adapted,if that is the right phrase,the fat seems to be melting off.My question is; What mix of carbs/glycogen and/or fat and/or muscle(hopefully none) do you think you would be burning in these two scenarios and what amount of carbs would you say is needed PWO with each?These were both done in the A.M. around 7:00 fasting since supper the night before(8-9pm);
1.WOD-Murph;run 1 mile,100 pullups,200 pushups,300 squats,run 1 mile(45 minutes)
2.ME(one exercise only;squats,deads,or presses 5x5,5x3 or 5x1) plus a short 8-10 minute wod/finisher.
Can you burn fat through a whole workout if you are fat adapted enough?Or is it always a combination?
When I did Murph I took in apprx. 50g carbs PWO with 60-70g of protein and it seemed to suffice.I usually only take in apprx. 20g carbs after an ME workout.Is this enough? From a blackbox standpoint it seems to be working but I don't want to be slowly digging a whole and end up crashing and burning. Any thoughts and/or suggestions would be appreciated.
I know,I know if it ain't broke don't fix it!
Response by Robb Wolf
Looks good. There are exertion levels that absolutely will outstrip your fat metabolism and you will need to use glycogen. Your PWO meals sound adequate AND conservative. Larger WO's can/will accommodate larger carb meals. Tinkering is the only way to know how to manage that.
Posted 4-5-2008 by Greg Battaglia
Despite the fact that I've been an avid proponent of evolutionary medicine and the paleo diet approach I've always made it a point to keep an open mind. Although I'm certainly not opposed to paleo eating (I currently eat paleo myself) my recent interest in centenarian lifestyles has roused my curiosity. After doing a lot of reading about centenarians I've come to realize that although there are certainly similarities with the paleo approach there are also some distinct differences.
Although centenarians do indeed seem to consume lots of fruits and vegetables the most unique components of their diets appear to be raw dairy products, and soaked/sprouted grains and beans. This seems to coincide with what the WAP foundation has been saying for years. For example, I just read an article at my girlfriends house that was in an issue of AARP titled "Living to 100" that looked into the diet and lifestyle of a Costa Rican village called Nicoya that has an unusually high percentage of centenarians. The author describes his experience with one centenarian women that he met. Before getting into the details of the diet, the author noted that despite her age and failing eyesight Panchita remained incredibly physically active and capable at age 101. Apparently she chops wood and chops down small trees with a machete, moving fast and rigorously all the while. She also walks everywhere. The following is an excerpt from the article:
A bowl of bananas and papayas sat on the counter for easy access, and everything else-beans, onions, garlic, greens, corn, which all required preparation-remained out of sight.
She moved slowly and deliberately, heating up beans and seasoning them with garlic and onions. From an earthen pot she scooped out grayish corn that had been soaking in lime hydrate overnight, rinsed the kernals, and ground them into dough. She patted out tortillas and roasted them over the open fire. She melted a dollop of lard on an iron griddle and fried eggs. Finally she cut paper thin slices of cheese....
In about 30 minutes she presented us with lunch-small portions of beans, corn tortillas, and one egg on a small plate. The serving looked huge, but it amounted to about half of what you'd get if you ordered the breakfast at your local diner.