Dr Barry Sears created the Zone Diet, sometimes referred to as the 40-30-30 eating plan (40 percent carbohydrate, 30 percent each fat and protein).
With the Zone Diet you have to carefully balance the nutritional content of each meal. Dr Sears created the Zone Diet based on his experience gained through research into the effects of foods on hormone production and metabolic activity.
CrossFit’s best performers as well as a lot of olympic athletes are Zone eaters. When second-tier athletes commit to “strict” adherence to the Zone parameters, they generally become top-tier performers quickly. It seems that the Zone diet accelerates and amplifies the effects of the athletic performance.
The Zone Ground Rules
- All foods allowed.
- All meals must be weighed and measured out.
- Limited amount of food blocks per day.
What is a food block?
A food block is a unit of measure used to simplify the process of making balanced meals.
- 7 grams of protein = 1 block of protein
- 9 grams of carbohydrate = 1 block of carbohydrate
- 1.5 grams of fat = 1 block of fat.
Note: There is an assumption that there is about 1.5 grams of fat in each block of protein, so the total amount of fat is actually 3 grams per block.
So a 1 block meal/snack consists of 1 block of protein, 1 block of carbohydrate and 1 block of fat.
How many blocks can I have per day?
For food measured in grams use this link below to get the chart.
Points to note
The Zone is really quite easy, it’s certainly only as difficult as you make it. Below I’ve outlined some ways you can learn, but before you start please keep a few things in mind:
- You only have to do it most of the time to be successful – if you can do it 80% of the time you’ll reap 90% of the benefits.
- You don’t have to measure exact quantities at all if you don’t want to. And if you do, after only a few times you’ll know forever and never have to again.
- One bad meal doesn’t mean you’ve failed – just get back in the Zone next meal!
How to Calculate Required Blocks
Online calculator available at
- Mainly water
- Other drinks allowed but must be calculated using the block
100% compliance is neurotic, 90% is realistic and 80% is definitely achievable. Plan 1-3 cheat meals or a cheat day into your week, this gives you the freedom to eat an unexpected non-zone meal. Just don’t allow this to turn into a cheat week/month.