Burning Runner: Crossfit Endurance And Trying The Zone Diet

It’s all about small meals and balance.

During my reporting for the stories this in this month’s issue of Competitor Magazine on Brian MacKenzie and Crossfit Endurance, I dug deep into the Crossfit Journal archives and came away with a strong introduction to the Zone Diet, the original 40/30/30 diet created by Dr. Barry Sears some two decades ago.

The central premise of the Zone Diet is that by choosing the right balance of foods and eating small meals spaced throughout the day, we can guide our hormonal responses to food intake into a Zone where energy, mood, mental clarity and physical performance are maintained at a high level.  According to Dr. Sears, weight gain and weight loss is far from being a simple matter of calories in/calories burned. Rather whether we pack on fat or burn it is largely regulated by the all-powerful hormone system.

There’s quite a bit to be said about the Zone Diet. During the month of June I’ll refer to the common terms that you’ll find in the books by Dr. Sears (like “Enter the Zone,” originally published in 1995) that will help detail key points of the approach. Subjects like hyperinsulinemia, hyperglycemia, inflammation, insulin, glucose and the brain, and many others are within the spectrum of Dr. Sears’ discussion on diet.

A quick description of the Zone Diet from www.drsears.com:

“The Zone is not some mystical place or some clever marketing term. It is a real physiological state in your body where the hormones that control silent inflammation are maintained in a zone that is not too high, but not too low. This requires treating food as if it were a drug to be taken at the right dose and at the right time. However, saying food is a drug is actually derogatory to food since your diet affects hormones that are hundreds of times more powerful than any drug. In many respects, food will be the most powerful drug you will ever take because you are using this drug at least three times a day for the rest of your life. Thus your diet can be your greatest ally or worst enemy because the hormonal rules for humans haven’t changed in the past 150,000 years, and they probably won’t change tomorrow.”

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