How many pounds of meat should I eat per week?

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An athlete asked me this question in the gym last week,  and I figured that many of you would want to know the answer! So, here’s a whole blog post 🙂

The question: Based on my goals and my lean body mass, l need XX blocks/grams of protein per day. How many pounds of meat do I buy each week?

The answer:

There are two ways to calculate this: Zone Blocks or Grams of Protein. Both are great.

Zone Blocks

In this formula, you will count protein with blocks as the unit.

Use the Zone calculator to see what your Zone prescription is. 1 block equals somewhere between 1 and 1.5 ounces of meat, depending on which sources you choose. We’ll assume that you eat a lot of beef & chicken breast (the basics), and for those, 1 ounce = one block.  If you eat a lot of ground turkey or ground beef, you may want to use 1.5 ounces here. Remember that this is one ounce of of cooked meat, so multiply by 1.17 to find out how much raw meat you would need to buy at the store.

The formula:

your block prescription multiplied by 1 ounce = total ounces of cooked meat needed per day.

Multiply this number by 1.17 to found out how many ounces of raw meat you’ll need per day.

Divide this number by 16 to find out how many pounds you’ll need per day. Multiply this number by 7 to find out how many pounds of meat you need to buy at the grocery store every week.

Grams of Protein 

In this formula, you will count protein with grams as the unit

If you don’t want to do Zone, but you do see the value in getting adequate protein (everyone should!) this option may be easier and possibly more precise. Use this link for the calculator. It’s from the site, ‘If It Fits Your Macros” and it will allow you to tweak your macro nutrient ratios around a bit, based on your goals. “Macronutrient ratio” is just a fancy way of saying what percentage of your daily calories are coming from carbs, proteins, and fats. In The Zone, you eat 40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat. A lower carb ratio would be 35% fat, 25% carb, 40% protein. The Zone is a great place for anyone to start, but other ratios have their place.

The formula:

Number of grams of protein you need per day divided by 96. This tells you how many pounds (or what % of a pound) of meat you need each day. Multiply this by 7 to find out how many pounds you need per week.

Remember that this is all to help you get a rough number. One pound of lean steak has more protein than a pound of 75% lean ground beef…not all meat is created equal! You also have non-meat options, including eggs, protein powder, and some dairy options. Check out this site for more information on that. When possible, choose the leanest cuts of meat that you can find, and get a variety of sources in each week. And by all means, get enough! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Lose Weight Fast?

So, you’ve done the underwater weigh and you’ve set your goals. Now, you’re ready to win the competition! You want to lose weight fast, right? Have I got a secret for you!

It is, in fact, possible to lose weight fast. It’s not very complicated. Basically, you’re going to do several hours of cardio every day and eat as few calories as possible. If you do this, you will likely lose weight fast.

However, you will also (just as quickly) gain fat fast as soon as you return to your normal lifestyle. So, beyond the fact that cutting too many calories makes you hangry (not hungry, hangry), you also lose precious muscle mass, and muscle mass is the key to keeping your metabolism up and running long term.

Weight Loss does not equal Fat Loss.

Weight loss is based on deprivation, countless diets (that don’t work), endless cardio followed by food binges, and an obsession with the scale.

Fat Loss is based on achievement and abundance, limitless food & exercise variations, resistance exercise + high intensity exercise, and consistent progress toward realistic goals.

Ready to make a lifestyle change? Ready to chase fat loss, and not just weight loss?

1) Chose whole, nutrient dense foods. Kale salad, steamed salmon, roasted sweet potato wedges, a few almonds. These foods will keep you feeling full and satisfied, without packing on the pounds.

2) Exercise! Choose short, high intensity intervals, paired with heavy weight training. See: Crossfit. This type of exercise builds muscle while blasting fat.

3) Manage stress, get plenty of sleep, drink enough water, and remember that this game is one part nutrition, one part exercise, and one part mindset.

You may have seen this image before. It shows one girl at three different weights. As she gains muscle and loses fat, she weighs a little more overall, but she is leaner, tighter, and more fit. It wasn’t fast, but it was effective. Chase fitness performance, not weight loss.  You may gain a little muscle, lose a little fat, and stop caring about the scale in the process!

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One Week of Meal Prep

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In the previous post, we discussed a few lessons about paleo zone that I learned the hard way. We also explained the easiest, lowest time commitment, cheapest way to eat Paleo Zone. (Hint: cook in bulk & make your own freezer meals). Now that you know all of that, you might be ready to embark on this adventure. Want me to plan your first week of bulk cooking for you? Check out this potential week in your paleo life.

Saturday: Make a Grocery List.

Sunday: Shop & Cook in bulk. Portion out your meals for the week, and then freeze the rest. It’s best to freeze in individual portions. An option would be putting each portion in a sandwich size bag, labeling, and laying it flat in the freezer. Then, you can pull it out in a few weeks when you’re ready for it. Avoid freezing in bulk–it’s much easier (and faster) to defrost in single servings.

A note on freezing: Meat is very easy to freeze, defrost, and often tastes just as great when re-heated. Since the veggies eating experience relies a lot on texture, I’d avoid freezing these dishes (with the exception of perhaps a veggie soup) and simply make these every week.

Monday-Friday: Enjoy the fruits of your labor by simply reheating your preservative-free fridge and freezer meals throughout the week.

Remember how we discussed the merits of choosing your meals based on 1) the ingredients and 2) the preparation method? You want a variety of protein/fat/carb sources, and you want to choose a bunch of meals that can all be cooked at once. Here are a few options:

Proteins:

Beef + One Pot: Robb Wolf Paleo Chili

Multi Protein + One Pot: Primal Jambalya

Eggs + One Pot: Nom Nom Frittata

Pork + Crockpot: Pulled Pork Chili

Chicken + One Tray: Smoky Chicken Thighs

Chicken + One Tray: Siracha Lime Chicken

Even Easier: Hot Plates! Cook all of your proteins and add some spices! Vary the proteins, vary the spices. Very Easy!

Carbs:

Low Density Carbs:

Broccoli: Add some oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and coconut aminos into a bowl with the broccoli. Massage gently, then spread it on a cookie sheet and place it in the oven at 400 for 30 minutes.

Brussels Sprouts: Add oil, salt, pepper, and chopped uncooked bacon in a bowl. Mix well, then spread it on a cookie sheet and place it in the oven at 400 for 40 minutes.

Kale: Rough chop it, toss with peppers & tomatoes,some dressing, and make a salad. Make this salad a few days in advance…the dressing helps to soften the kale.

Spinach: Toss with a few strawberries and walnuts, and make a salad!

High Density Carbs:

Sweet Potato: Cut into wedges, add oil and seasonings (I like paprika or rosemary), cook at 350 for 20 minutes, and then at 400 for 20 minutes.

Carrots: Coat in oil and dill weed. Roast at 400 for 20 minutes.

Fruit: apples, blueberries, etc. These are so yummy and are pre-prepped for you!

Fats:

You’ll want protein, carbs and fat at each meal. Fat often comes included in the rest of your foods (most non-ultra lean protein has fat, and most carb/veggie sources are cooked in fat) but you may need to add fat if you don’t have enough. Almonds and avocados are great choices here.

Want more? Check out these four posts!

EDCF Nutrition Part1 : Let’s Define “Clean Eating”

EDCF Nutrition Part 2:  Paleo Zone is the Way to Go! 

EDCF Nutrition Part 3: The Easiest Path to Paleo Zone

EDCF Nutrition Part 4: One Week of Meal Prep 

The Easiest Path to Paleo Zone

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Paleo Nick’s Paleo Bank Account. 

In the previous posts, we discussed “What is Clean Eating?” and we decided that Paleo Zone is among the best diet prescriptions currently on the market, especially for a Crossfitter. Paleo tells us what to eat, and Zone tells us how much to eat. Now, we’ll talk practicalities.

There are a lot of routes to clean eating, but I’m going to share with you what I believe to be the easiest, simplest, cheapest, and least time consuming method. Here are seven lessons that I have learned the hard way. They center around choosing quality ingredients, being organized, cooking in bulk, and the use of freezer meals.

1) A failure to plan is a plan to fail! Eating clean will not happen on accident. Just embrace that this requires a little bit of leg work in the beginning, but it will pay off in the end. You’ll plan & cook your meals in advance.

2) There’s a fair bit of investment on the front end. However, it is not very expensive in the long run. If you decide to start eating paleo, you’ll spend about $60 in that first grocery trip on staples (coconut oil, key spices, etc.) After that, you can easily feed yourself for $3/meal or less! Much cheaper than eating out! You can also keep paleo from becoming too expensive by following these guidelines.

3) Cooking in bulk does not mean eating the same thing ad nauseum. We’re big supporters of making a ton of food at once, and then eating it throughout the week. I love the Paleo Nick concept of the “paleo bank account”. The PBA is the stash of paleo meals you keep in your freezer. Cook 6 pounds of meat at once, and you have twelve portions. Eat two portions this week, and put the other ten portions in the paleo bank account. Sometimes you make big deposits into the paleo bank account/freezer, and some weeks are busy and you make a lot of withdrawals. Read more about it here.

4) Cook simple meals. These won’t be fancy or rely on your fine culinary skills. They will, however, give you adequate protein & veggie intake, and they’ll still be delicious. There is a time and place to make more complicated meals, but your average work week is likely not one of them.

5) When cooking in bulk, choose meals based on the ingredients and/or preparation method.

Ingredients: You want each meal to be balanced. So, for each meal you’ll pick your protein source, your carb source, and your fat source. Try to get a variety of protein sources (beef, chicken, seafood, etc), a lot of quality veggies (brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, broccoli, etc.) and some dense carbs if it’s a heavy training day (sweet potato, acorn squash, apples, etc). For fat, it’s often easiest to eat a few almonds, some guacamole, or some extra olive oil on your veggies. If you want to really dial this in, calculate and use your Zone blocks. If you’d prefer the easier, albiet less precise method, you can use your hands to measure.

Preparation Method: The lowest time commitment method is to pick recipes that can be cooked all at once. For many people, that looks like one crockpot meal, two or three one-pot meals (stews, chilis, etc), and two in-the-oven meals. These are all low maintenance meals, so you can easily prep for one meal while the others are cooking. Unless you have a double oven (lucky you!) you may want to save your veggies for last and let them cook while you clean up and put your proteins in their storage containers. Rubbing some oil and seasonings on those veggies and letting them roast in the oven is a simple & tasty method.

6) Get into a routine & choose an organization method for recipes. Picking recipes can be a drag if you’re not organized. Here’s how I do it: I store all of my recipes in a Google Drive folder (copy and paste each recipe into it’s own document from food blogs or re-type from recipe books) divided into folders by protein source. I love this method because I can easily search for what I want. Tonight, I typed in “chicken” and “crockpot” and nine potential recipes pop up. I give a “star” to recipes that I really love and want to repeat. I’ve found this to be infinitely easier than keeping a bunch of cook books around or a mess of links in my favorites tab online. In order to really experience the fruits of this system, you’ll need to know of a few recipes first! Thankfully, paleo has become very popular and there are many great food blogs to choose from. When you come across a good one, simply paste it into a Google Drive document. This method can be used with Dropbox, Evernote, etc. I find this method easy because I can access Drive on all of my devices, it’s easy to edit recipes, and it’s easy to search. Regardless of the method you choose, it’s somewhat essential that you systematize this and make it part of your weekly routine.

7) Find a way to enjoy cooking. Personally, I load up a bunch of podcasts and then go to work. I also try to cook with friends as often as possible. And sometimes, just sometimes, I’ll have a glass of not-so-paleo wine while I cook. Make your food prep time enjoyable, and you’ll want to continue the habit.

Want to start using this system, but you want a little boost? Check out the next post, which includes a potential week of meals.

Want links to all posts so far in this series?

EDCF Nutrition Part1 : Let’s Define “Clean Eating”

EDCF Nutrition Part 2:  Paleo Zone is the Way to Go! 

EDCF Nutrition Part 3: The Easiest Path to Paleo Zone

EDCF Nutrition Part 4: One Week of Meal Prep 

Spring Body Composition Challenge

With the temperature warming up, we thought it would be fun to do a little in house competition before summer rolls around. Introducing the EDCF Spring Body Composition Challenge. Unlike the past diet and exercise competitions we have put on with their endless points and spreadsheets, we have decided to make this one a little easier on everyone.

The competition starts on Monday, March 17th and will run for 8-9 weeks. There are just two main parts to the competition with prizes for each! There will be a pre and post-test for body composition via a mobile hydrostatic body fat testing clinic located at the gym. So what will the test exactly tell you?

  •  Your fat and fat-free body mass, as percentages and in actual weight
  •  How much fat, if any, you need to lose to achieve your desired body composition
  •  How many calories per day you burn without exercising—unique to you
  •  How many calories you burn from different exercises—again, specifically for your body
  •  Where you are on a scale of ideal body fat for your age and gender

The competition starts Monday, March 17th. The body fat testing clinic will be at the gym from 4-7pm. Each test takes approximately 10 minutes and you have to reserve your time beforehand. We cut a deal with the company – The first test is $49.00 and the re-test is $39.00

Sign up through the following link

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/east-dallas-crossfit-body-composition-testing-tickets-10742811037?aff=eac2

Here’s a short video of what to expect:

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There are two prizes, one for best attendance during the challenge (challenge starts the day of test, challenge ends the day of retest) according to front desk and only according to front desk., (no emailing after class to say you were there but didn’t sign in etc). So make sure you sign-up beforehand AND sign-in when you get arrive at the gym for class!

The other prize is for best improvement in body fat percentage. For instance if you have % body fat of 10% to start, the 9% at the retest you lost 10% of your total body fat. If you start at 5% and retest at 4% you lost 20% of you body fat.

Again the pre-test is Monday, March 17th. Put it on your calendars!

Paleo Zone

ZoneIn the last post, we discussed the mass confusion around the term “clean eating”. This week, we’re discussing how to make clean eating a reality. Paleo & Zone are, more or less, the official Crossfit diet programs. You can do all the research that you want about super foods & macro ratios, and you’ll find way too many options. The truth is that everyone is unique. Something slightly different will work for everyone. However, Paleo Zone is pretty darn good, and it works for a lot of people.So, save yourself a lot of research go with a template that works. After you’ve adopted this approach, you may want to tweak it slightly to meet your own needs. Some people might be able to integrate full fat dairy, some people might need fewer carbs, and so on. Still, this is a great place to start, and (for many people) this can easily be a lifetime nutrition program that consistently works.  Paleo tells you what to eat, and Zone tells you how much to eat. So, let’s say you want to give this whole Paleo Zone thing a whirl. Here’s how you can do it!

1) Find out your Zone prescription. Use this link. The final page will tell you that you should be eating XX blocks. Blocks are basically a way of creating balanced meals. Every meal will contain equal “blocks” of carb, protein, and fat. For example, you might have a 4 block lunch, followed by a 2 block snack in the afternoon.  If you’re interested in learning more, check out Enter the Zone by Barry Sears.

2) Now, choose your favorite paleo foods from this list of foods. Brussels Sprouts, Turkey, Avocado ….yum! If you’re eating a 4 block dinner, you simply pick 4 items from each list. If you’re eating a 2 block snack, you simply pick 2 items from the list. Don’t know what Paleo is? Check out this link.

3) Next, decide how much you need to buy for the week, based on your Zone prescription. For example, a 14 blocker would need about 14 oz meat/day, so about 6 pounds in a week. Veggies vary, but you’re likely looking at a few pounds of veggies per week.

4) Buy and cook that food! Paleo Zone doesn’t happen on accident! Check out Part 3 of this series for a few meal planning tips. (coming soon!)

5) Store the food in the fridge, and eat that yummy goodness all week!

Here’s a few mindset tips before you get started:

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. It’s better to eat a salad with a little bit of cheese and ranch, than to not eat the salad at all. It’s better to have some peanut butter (not technically paleo) on a banana as a snack than to find yourself hungry and gorging on cookies later. 80% of the time, eat well. 20% of the time, allow yourself some flexibility.

No one is responsible for your health but you. Yes, we know that Susie brings cake to the office meetings. We know that you work long hours. We know that you don’t like to cook. It doesn’t matter. Tough love time, guys! 🙂 If you want to be in your best shape ever, you’re going to have to give up all excuses and just do it. It’s worth it! Promise.

You don’t have to be uber-precise if you don’t want to be. Following the Zone perfectly isn’t easy. If you are willing to do it perfectly every day, then I applaud you. What a man/woman you are! For everyone else, just implement the key takeaways: eat enough protein for your body. Eat lots of healthy veggies. Make your meals balanced. It’s simple stuff: eat whole foods in the form of balanced meals. Not too much, not too little. Most people will benefit from measuring their food diligently the first week or two, and then can eyeball it after that.

Remember that the body composition challenge will be starting next month! Now is a great time to dial in your nutrition…and win a prize or two!

Want more? Check out these four posts!

EDCF Nutrition Part1 : Let’s Define “Clean Eating”

EDCF Nutrition Part 2:  Paleo Zone is the Way to Go! 

EDCF Nutrition Part 3: The Easiest Path to Paleo Zone

EDCF Nutrition Part 4: One Week of Meal Prep 

Let’s Define Clean Eating.

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What is “Clean Eating”?

This post begins a series on performance & fat loss nutrition, which is commonly called “clean eating”. There’s a lot of debate regarding “clean eating”. Really, what does that mean? Are organic, grain-free pancakes “clean”? Is a broccoli head cooked with canola oil “not clean”? The phrase “clean eating” is ubiquitous, and I think most of us would consider it sort of confusing.

This humorous Jezebel post  lists 89 actual scientific studies with completely different “results” about how to lose weight. I think it illustrates the total confusion most people experience around nutrition, exercise, and fat loss.

Here’s a clip:

“1. First of all, don’t work out.

2. Or, wait: Exercise. But not too much. If you’re doing intense exercise, then it’s time to exercise less.

3. But this thing called cardio is good.

4. And you should definitely do Zumba!

5. No, actually, you should do interval training.”

….and there are 84 more studies for you to peruse. You know, if you have the spare time.

How does one know how to eat or how to exercise? We have too many things going on to wade through all of the conflicting data. It’s overwhelming.

Here is the simple truth:

1) You should exercise. Specifically, you should do exercise that you you enjoy. This is because people adhere to exercise programs that they enjoy. You should also pick something that is effective. That’s another post for another day, but suffice it to say that Crossfit fits the bill. Crossfit methodology, specifically the way Crossfit is programmed at EDCF, engages all major muscle groups in a functional way, and also targets all energy pathways to produce a powerful physical response.

2) You should eat real foods; not processed junk. Choose foods with a lot of nutrients, and not a lot of calories. Eat to promote 1) optimal health and athletic performance and 2) to maximize lean muscle and minimize excess body fat. Broccoli is still better than paleo pancakes, even though they are both “paleo”.

Two of the most famous short summaries are as follows:

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” (Michael Pollan)

“Base your diet on garden vegetables, especially greens, lean meats, nuts and seeds, little starch, and no sugar.” (Greg Glassman)

A great way to define “clean eating” is this: eating in a way that favors athletic performance, health, and optimal body composition.

3) Quantity matters, both in exercise and food consumption. If you want to gain mass, you will need to be in a caloric surplus (eat more than you burn). If you want to lose weight, you’ll need to be in a caloric deficit (burn more than you eat.)

So, there you have it.

Exercise & Eat Whole Foods. Do both in the appropriate quantities.

Easier said than done, though.

Look for upcoming posts  to answer  questions like “How do I eat clean?”  and “How much do I need to be eating?” We’ll go through all of the nitty gritty how-tos of making your clean eating dreams a reality. Hint: It’s easier than you think.

Want a few new recipes for your clean eating arsenal? Check out this paleo recipe: Paleo Orange Chicken! Yum! Bonus: Broccoli Straccinati (it sounds fancy, but it’s ultra simple!)

Want some additional motivation in your quest to become healthier? East Dallas Crossfit will be hosting a body composition challenge in March. You can win by coming to class consistently and eating well! Lose some fat, improve performance, and win a prize!

Want more? Check out these three posts!

EDCF Nutrition Part 2:  Paleo Zone is the Way to Go! 

EDCF Nutrition Part 3: The Easiest Path to Paleo Zone

EDCF Nutrition Part 4: One Week of Meal Prep 

 

 

Ten Paleo Recipes You Haven’t Tried Yet

Kale & Chicken Stew

Nutrition is the foundation of great health and great athletic performance, but it’s often an area that people struggle with. It’s hard to know what to eat and how much to eat. It’s hard to meal plan, and it’s hard to find the time to cook. There are just all sorts of barriers to overcome. But, just like the physical challenges we overcome in Crossfit, the challenges associated with eating clean can easily be conquered.

A killer blog post is in the works to give you the ins and outs of making this eating clean process as painless as possible. But, to tide you over, we’d like to share some really excellent fresh paleo recipes that you may not have tried yet! Pick one out to try next week…you won’t regret it!

Grown Up Chicken Soup

I always present this kale, sweet potato, and chicken stew from Hunter Beless as “Grown Up Chicken Soup”. 100% of the time, it is a crowd pleaser. It feels filling and hearty, but also light and clean at the same time!

“Chick-Fil-A” Nuggets

This is a great appetizer, snack, or meal. The pickle juice makes the chicken uber-moist, and the seasoning mixture makes this dish exceptionally tasty.

Sriracha Lime Chicken Skillet

This recipe is so quick and so flavorful. Maybe ten minutes of total work…marinate the chicken, put it in the oven, and eat!

Chocolate Chili

Cocoa powder in a warm and comforting chili? Yes. Please. Enjoy this easy one pot recipe!

Spinach & Pork Meatloaf

Who knew eating paleo could be so decadent?! This spinach packed meatloaf is divine with some tomato basil sauce on top!

Avocado Tuna Wraps

These wraps can be whipped up in a matter of minutes. The tasty filling can easily be kept in the fridge and eaten with a spoon!

Spinach Bacon Salad

Like salads? This Spinach Salad from the Pioneer Woman is so savory and paleo!

Ratatouille

This French dish is extremely hearty. I will warn you that it takes a lot of time to prep those veggies…but it is so worth it!

Ethiopian Cabbage

This easy-to-saute dish is so delicious, and it has quickly become part of my weekly veggie prep. It does require quite a few spices, but it’s worth buying them for this rich veggie dish!

Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Fries

Bacon and sweet potato are two of the tastiest items permitted on the paleo diet. Why not combine them both for a decadent appetizer?