Archive for January, 2009


Posted: January 29, 2009 in Articles - Nutrition

If you’re interested in losing or gaining weight, then carbs play a key role.

The problem is that there’s a lot of conflicting information out there as to how many carbs you should be eating.

Here’s a link to a great post from Mark’s Daily Apple:

This is a great site and contains a wealth of well thought-out posts.  One to bookmark…


Today’s Highlights

Posted: January 22, 2009 in Uncategorized

Here’s a short clip of some of the things we got up to today.

Things are pretty relaxed here and we’re always up for a bit of experimentation.

Here’s a clip of Chris messing about on the pull up bars and the rings.

Gymnasts have wicked core strength.  All you need to do to appreciate this is to try out some of the stuff in the tutorial video below.

Basic gymnastics yields some really great results even before you reach any level of real skill, so don’t be afraid to try this stuff – it’ll make you a better athlete even if you suck at it!

The guy in the video is using parallettes to raise himself off the floor – these have some great advantages when learning the moves as they give you some room for less than perfect leg height.

Plans for building your own parallettes can be found on and various websites, but placing your hands on a couple of bricks or similar strudy raised surfaces works just as well.

We’re big fans of gymnastics here and parallette work is something that we’re going to be making some more time for in our future classes. Class details are on the right-hand side or see 



So, yesterday we look at what to eat.

Today we are looking at how much you should be eating.

It’s worth noting that by eating Paleo-style, you’re likely going to be not too far off, but for some of you, you won’t be happy until you know for sure that you eating the right amounts of things.

Enter the ZONE

Now then, the Zone is simply an accounting system designed to help you keep track of what you eat in a day.

Its a helpful tool, not a religion that requires strict adherence or your life will fall apart and you’ll get fat and weak because you’ve eat the wrong ratio of protein and fat by 3%.

The great contributions of the Zone to nutrition are the Block System and the 40:30:30 ratio of carbs:protein:fat that is the starting point.

The Block System

The Zone is based upon a 40:30:30 ratio i.e. in any given 24hour period you should be eating 40% of your calories from carbs, 30% from Protein and 30% from fat.

Great – how the f**k do I do that?

Well, based upon your lean body mass (LBM) and activity level, the Zone tells you how many grams of each macronutrient (carb, protein, fat) you need.

It then turns these grams into a number of “blocks”. Where:
9 grams of carbs = 1 Carb Block
7 grams of protein = 1 Protein Block
1.5 grams of fat = 1 Fat Block

Then depending on how many grams of each you need, all you need to do is eat an equal number of each Block-type in a day.

You can find a handy calculator here for working ou your block requirement, but here are my figures to help explain things:

The starting point is working out your protein requirement.

I weight 140lbs and have 6% body fat.  Therefore my LBM is 132lbs.

Depending on your activity level you then mulitply this LBM figure by a figure between 0.7 and 1.0

A CrossFitter following the WODs would get a 0.7 multiplier

As a CrossFitter who also does a separate daily weightlifiting workout, my activity level is slightly higher at 0.85 

Therefore my protein requirement is 132 x 0.85 = 112.2

To get my block requirement I then divide this number by 7 (the number of protein grams in 1 Protein Block).

112.2 divided by 7 = 16 Blocks (rounding to nearest whole number).

Now I know that I need to eat 16 Protein Blocks in one day, then I also know that I need to eat 16 Carb Blocks and 16 Fat Blocks in a day.

Here’s the formula for working out your block requirement:

(LBM x Activity Multiplier) divided by 7

Meals and Snacks

Once you know your block requirement, then just split that number into a mixture of meals and snacks.

I like to eat 4x per day as that’s what fits my schedule.  This works out nicely for me as it means that my 16blocks splits into 4x 4-block meals.  So for each meal I would eat 4 Carb Blocks, 4 Protein Blocks and 4 Fat Blocks.

I could just as easily eat 3x 4-block meals and 2x 2-block snacks.  Whatever suits you – even 8x 2-block meals would work.

How Do I Know How Much of Something = 1 Block?

The easiest thing to do is just use a Block List which you can find below:

CrossFit Journal Issue 21

Get Zone Block List 

In Closing

The basic Zone outlined above is your starting point.  Just take your Block Lists and only choose foods that fit the Paleo criteria.

Its actually pretty simple once you get into it, but its really important that you don’t get all Obsessive Compulsive about things a Block out of place here and there won’t matter in the long run and in the future we’ll talk about using the Block Sysem to keep track of things, but skew the ratios completely depending on certain goals.

vitamins minerals

The media seem to make life so freaking complicated and at this time of year “diets” are pretty popular and every magazine has some new, revolutionary diet that is radically different to everything that has come before it.

Lets drop the silly BS and look at things sensibly.

The word “diet” has a lot of negative connotations and is associated with short-term thinking.

What we are looking for is a lifestyle shift that is sustainable in the long-term and supports high-level athletic effort.

When it comes to nutrition there are only two key things to consider:

  1. What should you eat?
  2. How much should you eat?

From personal experience (yes this is how I eat) and experiences across the whole of the CrossFit community, the answers to the questions can be found in the words PALEO and ZONE.


When trying to work out what you should be eating i.e.what food types, the most benefit and biggest initial payoff can be found by eating the foods that were available to our paleolithic (stone age) ancestors.  This means:

“Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar.”  Gregg Glassman.

That’s your basic criteria when you ask yourself “should I eat this?”.

Noticeably absent from the list are dairy products and grains such as wheat, rice, barley etc.  The main reason for this is that we’re not well adapted to consuming these products and as such there are risks associated with their consumption such a allergies, inflammation and auto-immune reactions.

You’re also consuming the majority of your foods from groups that have only a small effect on insulin release meaning that you’re less likely to store body-fat and will be protecting yourself from the horrors of insulin-resistance which is caused by constantly eating foods that elicit a high insulin response.  Insulin resistance is resonsible for type2 diabetes and obesity to highlight just a couple issues.

Eating paleo foods minimises the above risk factors, meaning that you are reducing the amount of stress on your digestive system and body as a whole.

So, you’re eating paleo foods and you’ve dropped grain and dairy products from your menu, but now you’re confused and to how much meat you need to eat, how many vegetables and what about fat???

Tomorrow we’ll delve deeper into these important questions.

Paleo Resources 

Here’s a video explanation of the basics of the Paleo approach.  The rest of the lecture series is also pretty interesting: – Loren Cordain who is a Paleo god’s website.  Be sure to sign up for the emails. – Robb is a genius with this stuff and features a number of Paleo releated posts on his blog.  He has worked with Professor Cordain and knows his stuff. – Paleo living and recipe blog – Paleo recipes for inspiration and a demonstration that you don’t need flour and dairy to survive and have a varied diet.

Nice Squat Form Example

Posted: January 9, 2009 in Articles - Fitness

The most important thing you’ll learn when you come to us is how to squat properly.

In develping solid squat form, the Overhead Squat is a great tool as it demands strict form and as such is invaluable in improving basic squat mechanics.

Here’s a video of Nicole from CrossFit HQ doing full range of motion Overhead Squats.

Note how the torso remains upright, her weight stays on her heels, and once the thigh approaches parallel, the knees pass over the toes to allow Nicole to maintain her balance and keep the torso vertical as her thigh drops below the parallel plane and she reaches full depth.  These are the same qualities you should be trying to emulate in your bodyweight squats, front squats and high-bar back squats.