We have always believed that in order to be the best coaches we can be, we have to be willing to step out of our comfort zone. We have to be willing to learn new methods and techniques in order to test what we currently know. When it comes to nutrition this philosophy couldn’t be more true. The last couple of months we have taken this thought and run with it. We had a couple of athletes starting a new nutrition journey, so we decided to take this journey with them. The goal for this was to hopefully be able to help them along the way and to also learn from some great nutrition coaches.
For those who have attended one of our many nutrition seminars/workshops you know that we promote the Zone/Paleo/Primal diets. These diets are based around improving health and wellness, along with improving athletic performance. Over the years we’ve had a lot of success with these diets, but we’ve also seen some common issues as well. This new journey we decided to take is based around counting your macros. Hence the diet is called Counting Your Macros (CYM) or is also known as “flexible dieting.” Over the last year this diet has become increasingly popular and has gotten a lot of publicity in the CrossFit community. We conducted a lot of research and what we read had us feeling very reluctant to try is method. However, we found coaches whose methods and philosophies were very similar to our own, and their explanation of the science behind the diet made since. It was extremely different from all the other sources of the diet we had read prior to beginning it.
This journey started 3 months ago, and we have learned a lot along the way. For myself I’ve been trying to gain a little more weight and I didn’t realize it but I had developed some bad habits. For the last 6 years I’ve been following the Zone/Primal nutrition protocol. Meaning I blocked everything out according to Zone block counts and I eat predominantly Paleo, however I allowed myself a little whole milk after workouts and oatmeal in the mornings. I’ve been following it long enough to where I could tell you all most the block count of every food. However, knowing block counts are good but it can lead to some holes in knowing what our full nutrition intake is. In my opinion Zone makes counting a lot easier when compared to counting calories. It puts food in categories and has you count those foods as one or two particular food types. For example 1 oz of steak is one block of protein. This ounce of steak only gets counted as 1 block of protein, however the fat or carb content of this meat is not counted. Where a ½ cup of milk equals 1 block of carbs and 1 block of protein. Yet once again the fat content of this milk is not calculated into the total block count. There are fat sources that you are thought to measure but it mainly consists of oils, nuts and seeds. For myself this became a slippery slope, and we feel this is also very common for most of our athletes following more of a Paleo protocol as well. Paleo says to eat meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Little starch and no dairy. This is very simple, and as long as you stick to these principles you can eat as much as you want. An example of a Paleo meal could consist of filling your plate mainly with veggies, a serving of meat about the size of your palm, perhaps add a little fruit and then SPINKLE some nuts or seeds. Once again as long as you follow this protocol you can have as much as you want. The thought behind this is; if your plate mainly consists of veggies and smaller servings of the other foods groups by the time you’re finished eating you will be full and will most likely not over eat do to the amount of volume and fiber. We’ve seen this system work great for many of our athletes. However, as time goes on we’ve seen a commonality occur. The plate that was once filled mainly of veggies, turn into a plate mainly filled with meats and starchy foods. Furthermore with the increase of meats on the plate, we typically see an increase in fat consumption between the fats on the plate and in the fats that the foods are cooked with. Yet again, this can lead to bad habits, holes and some unknowns.
What is different about CYM? Counting your macros focuses primarily on counting your total intake of Carbs, Fats and Proteins. A calculation is used to equate the proper amount of each to eat every day. This calculation is based on a number of different scenarios, such as; goals, activity level, sleep, stress, height, weight, and lean body mass. Once this calculation is made an athlete is given the total amount of carbohydrates, fats and proteins in grams that they will need to consume daily. At first this sounds very similar to Zone, however as discussed earlier Zone puts foods in specific categories and they only get counted towards the category in which they’re in. CYM counts your macros from all foods. For example the 1 oz of steak we used as 1 block of protein, would now be 8.6 grams of protein and 1.8 grams of fat. The ½ cup of milk that was 1 block of protein and 1 block of carbs is now counted as 2.5 grams of fat, 5.9 grams of carbs and 3.9 grams of protein. This method turns out to be much more precise and really leaves no unknowns. Furthermore, the philosophy behind counting your macros is that it doesn’t the types of food you consume so long as you meet your macro count. I know this sounds too good be true. It kind of is. Yes if you want to have a donut or ice cream go ahead and have it, so long as you don’t go over your daily macro count. With that said VOLUME AND QUALITY do matter. You’re not going to get the same nutrients from a lollipop as you do from a bell pepper. But the great thing is if you want one, you can have it you just may need to make concessions in other areas. We feel that this method lifts a huge weight off the shoulders of the participants. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to fit within your macros.
Starting next week we’re going to be introducing a new program called Surge Fuel. We’re going to limit this first initial group to 12 athletes, and we’re going to offer it at a discounted introductory price of $65 per month for members and $100 per month for non-members. There will be a minimum of 3 months commitment to sign up. How is this different from other nutritional workshops that we’ve done? Athletes will have weekly check-ins with your coach and weekly individualized plans based off of progress and goals.
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