The Zone Diet was developed to treat heart disease and diabetes, but Dr. Barry Sears first tested his program on elite athletes and discovered it had profound effects on performance.
Traditional thinking suggests a simple relationship between calories in and calories out. Dr. Sears suggests a different way to look at things in this presentation held Aug. 8, 2009, in Orange County: in athletic performance, calories aren’t as important as their ability to produce chemical energy—ATP, or adenosine triphosphate.
“The more efficient you are in making ATP, the more of a competitive advantage you will have,” Dr. Sears says.
Furthermore, your hormones are directly linked to food intake, and you can regulate them by monitoring the type of food you eat and when you eat it. With carefully planned caloric intake during the pre-demand, demand, recovery and regeneration phases of exercise, you will give your body the fuel it needs to perform and recover. By controlling your hormones in this way, you can reduce inflammation, decrease body fat and recovery time, and produce a host of favorable physiological changes that will result in improved and even elite performance.
“You’re working real hard in the gym. Don’t let your diet work against you,” Dr. Sears says.
Additional audio: CrossFit Radio Weekend Edition 15, first aired June 2, 2009.