In Nutrition, Videos

December 25, 2009

Video Article

Before they do your Level 2 evaluation, HQ trainers Pat Sherwood, Adrian (Boz) Bozman and Chuck Carswell have to get in a good meal. On the road, that isn’t always easy unless your hotel room has a kitchenette—and even then it can be sketchy.

In Baltimore, Md., for a Level 2 at CrossFit Fort Meade, Sherwood hits the kitchen for a four-block Zone meal involving eggs, avocados and blueberries. Tailoring his meal to his own body, Sherwood cuts out a few blocks of carbs in favor of a little more fat, also allowing himself a Diet Coke.

Boz opts for a six-egg omelet with a bunch of peppers, as well as some instant oatmeal. The usually chipper Carswell is cooking on about four hours of sleep and hasn’t had his daily dose of AC/DC to wake up, but he manages to put the other trainers to shame with an eight-egg omelet supplemented by a mound of avocados and blueberries.

Both Boz and Sherwood finish off with a handful of fish-oil pills, while Carswell again ups the ante with “chihuahua oil.”

10min 44sec

Additional video: Pat Sherwood at the Charlotte Airport BBQ, which is being shown as a preview to this Journal video ... [wmv] [mov]

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35 Comments on “The Hotel-Room Chef: The Zone Chronicles, Part 8”


wrote …

I love these videos. I want to see another cheat night video!


freddy camacho wrote …

Three guys I look up to as trainers and athletes. Each and every plate of food looked damn delicious (even though I am not a huge blueberry fan). I’ve shared many a meal with Adrian and I know that this vid is a legit depiction of his mindset about how he eats.

I know there has been a ton of controversy lately about quantity over quality. These videos always throw the argument for a loop. You got three amazing athletes simply eating good food (except for the oatmeal, haha). Not a single meal is in the “Zone” proportion of 30/30/40. One guy is eating four eggs, one is eating six and one is eating eight.

I am not trying to pick sides. I am not trying to “stir the pot.” I am just questioning the mixed message of the video series. Even Pat’s video of how he eats at home shows him eating extra fat. Why refer to how many blocks a portion of your meal is if you are not following a true Zone block prescription? If the Zone prescription for eating is 30/30/40 at every meal, how are the examples of eating in the video series a depiction of the “Zone”?

I admit, I have not read a Zone book (all the way through...ha!). I thought that maybe I should not jump to conclusions, so I went to Dr. Sears’ Zone site and watched the vids on the “Elite Athletes” portion of the website. I was hoping to find a video with Dr. Sears saying something about tweaking your proportions since you are an athlete. I may have missed it, but I don’t think he mentions it anywhere.

I love CrossFit methodology. One of the first things I ever read once I started surfing the CrossFit website was “World Class Fitness in 100 Words”. It was a great depiction of how the guys in the video were eating. It is a great depiction of how I am eating, and I am very happy with my performance. It is what I preach to all folks who step into One World.

I am open minded. I want to learn new things and use the best of what I learn to make me a better trainer and athlete. I know Dr. Sears was the presenter at a few of the past CrossFit Nutrition Certifications. I am totally willing to shell out the bucks to go to another one if he is presenting again. When you click on the link to register, his name is not mentioned. I’d like to hear what the man has to say. Any word on whether or not he is going to be presenting in the future?


wrote …

great video, I've always been a fan of the zone chronicles!

miss you guys!



wrote …

Well said Freddy. I think that the Sears Zone and the CrossFit Zone are two different things. The Sears version is only how Dr. Sears sees the Zone percentages and ratios that are very exact. He sees it as only one way to operate "in the Zone". Dr. Sears' notion that King Dongs in Zone proportions will be adaquate for elite performance are close minded.

The CrossFit Zone is based on a way for an athlete to measure and adjust their food consumption in a scientific manner (if so desired). I believe most CrossFitters would agree that food quality plays a more important role in elite performance than 30-30-40 ratios of poor quality food choices.


EC S wrote …


its IN there! iirc, dr sears does say in his book that the 7g PRO:9g CHO:1.5g FAT ratio may not be perfect for everyone (genetic variation). dr. sears said the same thing a couple months ago in a meeting with some of the trainers; i specifically asked the question regarding the precision of 7:9:1.5. what the zone gives us is the system to track inputs (and compare to performance outputs), regardless of whether youre at the base prescription or whether you have tweaked it. (correct me if im wrong, sherwood, but...) pat's a great example of this. he has changed his diet from the original prescription - but is staying true to a specific pro/cho/fat intake across days.


wrote …


Yes, I would highly recommend you read the entire book. Many things will be cleared up in it for you. I won't type the whole thing out, simply because I hate typing and I'm slow. The "Zone" refers to a therapeutic zone where blood sugar levels are maintained in a nice, healthy balance. It may be 40/30/30 for some, and it will be slightly different ratios for many, many other people. However, they all will be in the "zone" of balanced blood sugar levels. Every persons body, metabolism, genes, etc are slightly different, so the diet is not a cookie-cutter one-size-fits-all deal. What we love about the Zone is the accuracy and precision it brings to the food choices we make, hence making our nutrition measurable, observable, and repeatable. If we don't know our inputs, then we are at a loss to make meaningful assertions and establish best practices.

I Hope that helped!

Merry Christmas Everyone!



wrote …

Your an entertaining guy Pat, I'll give you that.........And you must have a strong constitution, 'cause that food (carswell aside) would wreak havoc on a lot of bodies; me included.

how is factory farmed eggs and diet coke for breakfast anything close to the zone....or healthy?

Come on least try


Bryce Greenstein wrote …

Oh boy, here we go again. Paleo versus Zone, quantity versus quality, mainsite WODs versus strength bias WODs, high versus low bar back squat, and on and on it goes.

Pat drinks Diet Coke and had farmed eggs in his breakfast. Jason Khalipa eats Zone Bars and at Subway. Josh Everett eats oatmeal and takes supplements. And most egregious of all, Spealler ate his wife's cookies one time! It seems none of these Crossfit Games competitors can do right in these videos according to some. Oh yeah, and Mikko eats pasta every now and then. WOW!

Honestly, who cares that much? Eat and train with what works best for you. Let the "Proving Grounds" be the sectionals, regionals, the Games, and your PRs. Enough parochial talk about this one being better than that one. Prove it with results.

Love the videos, Pat.


wrote …

Love the videos Pat, keep em' coming!

It's probably just me, but when I hear about blocks and replacing missing carbs with x-blocks of fat, etc...I just start to zone out. No pun intended. I know I'm a simpleton, but just eating clean (paleo), taking your fish oil and eating to satiety makes more sense to me. Obviously, you've got to do what works for you.

Chuck's breakfast looks almost exactly like what I eat every morning by the way.

Keep up the good work guys :-)


replied to comment from Pat Sherwood

Pat, I've read the book and followed the zone for some time now. How does one know if they are eating at the correct levels to balance blood sugar and enter the 'zone'? Not at all trying to be argumentative, just simply trying to see if I could be eating better. Thanks, and the vids are fun to watch.


wrote …

The ratio of a 2 block carb, 4 block protein, 10 block fat meal is pretty close to 15/25/60. Do you recommend something more along these lines than 40/30/30?


freddy camacho wrote …

Pat and EC! You guys know I love you and I will take to heart everything you say.

Bryce, I was in no way trying to stir up the "this vs. that" controversy. I simply questioned the message of the video series as compared to the title. I think Pat and EC offered pretty good answers to my question.

I just recently posted on the One World site about always trying to educate yourself to become a better trainer. In reality, I don't always have the time to research all the facts about any given topic. I would guess to say that like lots of people, I spend more time educating myself via information found on the internet than I do reading books. It is simply a time issue. I am one of the owners of One World. I am a cop three days a week who also has extra responsibilities in the department: SWAT, defensive tactics, traffic court, etc. When I am not being a cop, I am doing the best I can at coaching athletes at the box. I upkeep two blogs, and I am trying to make a serious run at qualifying for the CrossFit Games (highly unlikely to happen, but the effort is worth it). For me, spare time is priceless and scarce. Information found on the internet is a quick fix for a hectic life. I would also guess that I am like a lot of other folks in CrossFit land. We take to heart what is presented at the certifications, the journal, the main site, etc. The stuff ends up being gospel to a lot of us. It's what we preach to our new athletes when they enter the doors of our boxes. We learn about the "zone" prescription at the Level I certification. I would think that CrossFit would expect us to go back to our boxes and preach the same formula to our athletes. Then a video like this comes out and just makes the whole nutrition thing very confusing. I should also mention that when you visit the Zone website and click on the "Elite Athletes" tab, all the athletes (except for two) are long distance athletes. Doesn't this also kinda send a mixed message?

I've lived my whole life (pretty successfully I might add) by following the "Keep It Simple, Stupid" (KISS) formula. Maybe there should be more emphasis on KISS when dealing with CrossFit's overall nutrition presentation.

Once again, I am not trying to stir up the "this vs that" controversy. I am just outright questioning the message presented in this series as compared to what I perceive as CrossFit's stand on nutrition. Just my humble opinion.


wrote …

Pat - please keep up the zone chronicles. Not only are they entertaining, they are also very informative. Being in the military, traveling and deploying often, your videos are a great example of how one can eat on the go without the scales and cups. Thanks for sharing a quick, honest glimpse in your life.


wrote …

I've read a couple of Dr. Sears books, not all of them but a couple of them. And he does talk about how everyone is different. He even addresses cultures, to some extend, that are extremely high in protein and fat (like Greenland) and other cultures, less of extend, that are high carbs. These cultures, the genetic make up works for those extreme diets. I wouldn't look at any of these trainers and say I should copy their diet. But they have found what works for them. I just started the zone a couple months ago. I'm still learning what's right for me but I do know it's a whole lot better than where I was. I was off from my "new normal" at Christmas but even that was a whole lot better than previous years when I was going through carb hell. I do think the Diet Coke shouldn't be touched. lol I've learned to hate Pop.


replied to comment from Chris Stansbury


Good question. The quick answer is that you need to experiment. I have personally been on everything from 15 to 20 blocks and played a lot with the FAT. There are some general guidelines that should help you out. First, the balanced meal you eat should keep you feeling satisfied for 4 to 6 hours. Second, you want to try and not eat more than 5 blocks of PRO or CHO at one meal. (again, please bear in mind that these are general guidelines and not set in stone for every human being walking the planet) If you are feeling hungry before 4 to 6 hours, then you want to play with your blocks a bit. The bottom line is that it takes experimentation to find where you feel and perform the best. That is what we like about the zone, it gives us the ability to measure and repeat our intake so we can make observations and then changes as needed until we find our sweet spot.

I hope that helps!


replied to comment from Brian Newman


The ratios that I eat work well for me. They may be terrible for you. The 40/30/30 is a great baseline from which people can experiment from if they feel the need. But you need a baseline, or a starting point so that you can tell if the changes you are making are working or not. Some people will thrive on the standard 40/30/30, others will thrive on a modification. I personally perform and feel well on lower CHO and a bit more FAT. I have friends that tried the exact same thing and felt like garbage. For whatever reason, their bodies did not react well to reducing the CHO intake. Each person is a bit different. I highly recommend you experiment and see where you fall in line. Good luck!



wrote …

Sherwood, Great Video as always. I liked the preview version where you are reading Out of Captivity. Is it a good read? I was thinking about picking it up. The non-Spanish version unfortunately.

These videos are great. I know that I should be shoveling down veggies and eating grass fed beef at every turn around. But, that isn't always a possibility as college going, poor, athlete. I think they show that everything in moderation and experimentation are key. Great stuff man, keep it up.


wrote …

Great video Pat. One of the things I would be very interested in is finding out how to adjust carbs, pros, and fat ratio to suit individual needs. I know when I've eaten too many carbs because my hungry comes back in a couple hours with headaches and dizziness. I have more trouble figuring out protein and fat. I know it will take some time and it's a journey.


wrote …

One of the reasons I like the Chronicles is that they make it OK to be a regular person, one who just wants the Diet Coke with breakfast, but attempts to fuel his body well. Keep the Chronicles coming, they make my cheat days seem like nothing!


wrote …

Thanks Guys- what I appreciate most about these is the inside info about what people with stellar abilities are doing for their nutrition-while these chronicles may give some good ideas and inspire-I don't kid myself and think that if I eat what Chuck eats I will somehow tripple my strength and power, If I eat like Boz I will be leaping 5 feet in the air out of a pistol, or that I will perform like Sherwood. These are a really well rounded look at CrossFit athletes eating as individuals. Thanks for putting it out there for the community- I really enjoy these!


wrote …

Can anyone explain the excessive use of egg whites? I cried a little for each wasted yolk.


wrote …

It all good. Nothing wrong with having a discussion on nutrition.

Freddy brings up some good points, and Pat provided some decent answers. I learn a little from everyone. The Zone has really helped me keep my weight where I like to see it and my performance where I like to go. Like Freddy, I also work a beat, and teach people about nutrition and fitness. My fitness goals are to survive and go home at the end of my shift. I have no desire to compete in the CF games, but I do enjoy volunteering my time there, as I have done for the past two years. I refer a lot of them here, and have read Dr. Barry Sears book, "Mastering the Zone." This was the one book that really helped me.

I no longer measure what I eat, as I have it down now for the majority of the meals I eat. The book has many examples of Zone meals, and even offers advise on how to tweak your diet to get the results your after. In Sears’s book, pg. 47, there is a flow chart based on how you feel 4 hours after a meal, and suggestions for increasing or decreasing carbs, to get to a hormonally balanced meal. I agree that we should eat quality food when ever we can, but when that is not always possible, I appreciate Pat’s recommendations on how to eat well when he travels.

Merry Christmas, and see ya all at the games.


P.S. Freddy, nice snuggy bro, made laugh man. -Be safe out there!


wrote …

Pat Sherwood & Chuck Carswell,

I was wondering why you took out the yolks and replaced them with egg whites? If I'm not mistaken, it looks like Pat's meal is rich in protein (egg) and fat (avocado) and virtually absent of carbs (except for the carbs in avocado). Chuck's meal is rich is protein (egg) and fat (avocado) and has some carbs (blueberries). If you are both eating predominantly protein and fat, why not include the whole egg with the yolk? It could be a personal preference that you enjoy the taste of egg whites more than egg yolks or it could be to try to control caloric intake, but then again 1 whole avocado probably equals 2-3 whole eggs. I've read that the white just has protein, while the yolk has tons of vitamins and minerals.

I am interested in hearing your response.

And I appreciate you guys sharing your travel meals with us to help us make better choices on the road and at home!



replied to comment from Pat Sherwood

Thanks Pat! Love the Zone Chronicles...keep up the good work.


replied to comment from David Hagerty


The book is a great read! I highly recommend you pick it up. The poor guys in that book that were captured by the FARC and held hostage for like 6 years would get quite a kick out of the nutrition discussions/wars we get into on the internet. To say the least, what they were fed during their captivity was not a nice 40/30/30 spilt of the macro nutrients! The book is going slow for me. It is my first non-kids book I'm attempting to read in Spanish. Sometimes is just makes my head hurt! haha



replied to comment from Trevor Frayne


You can find several very simple formulas to establish how many blocks of PRO you should be eating. This may not be precisely where you should be, but it will put you in the right ballpark. From there, the experimenting begins. You want to make sure you take in the PRO you need to support and build muscle mass, but you don't want a lot of extra PRO either. Even large amounts of PRO can cause an insulin spike. So we just wan to intake what our body actually needs. Once you have your PRO and CHO figured out you can use the FAT to stabilize your weight and add extra energy if you need it. (perhaps you knew you were eating enough PRO/CHO but you were still leaning out and did not need to or want to)

Hope this helps. Good luck!



replied to comment from Matt Solomon

Matt, (& #23, Benjamin)

You guys were curious about the egg whites and why I chose not to eat the whole eggs. I don't have a particular problem with with the entire egg at all. I am simply doing what I recommend all of you guys to do, experiment. After we met with Dr. Barry Sears he really emphasized the importance of trying to remove Arachidonic Acid from our diets. He informed us how AA is one of the principal causes of silent inflammation in the body. This is largely found in saturated fat. I ate whole eggs every day of my life. So, to practice what I preach I started removing a lot of the saturated fats from my diet for the last couple months to see if I noticed any changes at all. Over the past couple of months I have leaned out a bit more (even on the same block prescription) and I generally feel better. I PR'd on Mary, the dead lift, and the snatch. Things are generally going well. So, for now, the experiment continues. I'm going to be pretty strict about reducing the saturated fat for at least another few months to give it enough time for me to make a judgement on it's effects.

(And I did have 2 blocks of CHO in the meal, maybe a hair more actually. I had blueberries.)

Hope this helps!


wrote …

YA! You did i remember lol! i frikin love the zone chronicles, cheat night was the first CFJ video I ever watched, BTW i cheated horribly that night lol ur a bad in fluence on a kid jk! I found all the videos verry informative, encouraging, and hilarious. They turned me to the Zone, for a while untill I started GOMAD and starting strength I have gained over 20lbs and tons of strength. I can't wait untill I've met my body composition goal and I can go back to the Zone, I was on a similar regimen of 4-5 blocks PRO, I as well oporated a bit better on less CHO and i was taking in about 8-10 blocks of FAT, I was and still am taking in about 7-10g of fish oil. Thanks for all the inspiration Pat and keep up the Zone Chronicles...or else.



wrote …

Fair enough. I'm not really interested in that kind of precision. Furthermore, regularly crossfitting plus following a mostly paleo diet (I like milk, peanut butter and ice cream) keeps me healthy enough. The laziest period of my life was recovering from an ACL repair, and even that didn't last long. My standard bloodwork is normal. (Sears is a bigger fan of the ratio of AA to EPA levels, but I didn't get those done. It's not standard and I don't care enough to pay.) Maybe I'm not the healthiest "I could be", I feel in comparison to most, I'm WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY healthier. I feel the risk reduction in a small change like that is negligible for me. Other people, who have more risk factors (eg older than me, or overweight) might benefit more from that. And others might find it important enough to be worth it. I don't. I seem to be PR'ing all the time. I'm not new to CF, but the progress hasn't stoppeds. Maybe when it does, I'll look into better precision in diet, similar to how you have.

If it's working for you, keep it up.

I'm a big of fan of whole eggs and the zone chronicles ....where's the Indiana Jones intro?!


wrote …

One thing that is worth remembering is that we are all human. I like Freddy's point about KISS for this reason. I think few would disagree that if you have the willpower, you should eat a strict paleo-zone diet, tweaked a bit to meet your needs. But the thing is that for every percentage point you move toward that 100% perfect nutrition, you lose utility--It becomes harder and harder to gain each additional percentage point. Eating out will be nearly impossible, all meals will have to be measured, either incredibly simple/boring food or lots of cooking time will be required. This strictness in your diet is very hard for almost any modern person. However, if you can stick to a rough zone and do not cheat too often, or a rough paleo and do not cheat too often, you are about 80% of the way there. I think Sear's book is good at showing you what is ideal, and Pat's videos are good for showing you how to live with under the shadow of that ideal. Both are important, we want to know how to be perfect, even though we might not want to actually be perfect all the time.


wrote …

"Her majesty, the diet coke" HEHE


Conan Bruce wrote …'s "balmer" not Bal ti more...

Love the videos guys. Pat, please keep it up. You provide many of us a real sense of how to make good nutrition work.

You were a trainer at my first level 1 cert, and your professionalism is measurable (high on the scale) and hopefully repeatable.



wrote …


I am inquiring about the comments in your” Normalcy at home” video, comment #57 regarding Kaleb. I know you probably have been asked this question a million times, so I aplogize. In the comment you say that 1 block of fat is 1.5g that is where the confusion comes in. Are you saying that 1 block of fat is 1.5 based on the protein source of that particular meal? It is my understanding that this is true because of the hidden fat in protein, which would total to 3 grams of fat for that one block meal. By the way, I am just using 1 block meals for the sake of keeping it simple. I just want to be clear that a 1 block meal consists of 3 grams of fat, as per the books state.

My next question pertains to the 2x, 3x, etc. fat concept. I have read “42 ways to skin the Zone”, by the way makes perfect sense; well the parts that I understood made sense. From what I have gathered, the 2x fat concept, for example, means that I will cut out 1 block of carbs and add 2 blocks of fat for the lost block of carbs, and the same for the 3x fat for cut out blocks of carbs. Do I have this backwards? I am not sure, but I think there maybe two different principles here. One princlple, the 3x fat, is just adding 3x fat blocks to an 40/30/30 porportioned meal, which would of course change the porportions. As the amount of fat changes the amount of CHO and PRO still stay the same regardless. The other principle is not adding fat to the the equal blocked 40/30/30 macronutrient meal, per se, but it is just replacing the CHO blocks with fat blocks at a 3x or 5x multipler, which will then cause a disparity in the macronutrient blocks and won’t be partioned equally.
With all that being said, when you make these 2x,3x,and 5x calculations are you multiplying them by 1.5 grams of fat or 3 grams of fat?

I hope this is not to confusing and drawn out. I really appreciate all the time and dedication you put into the journal and crossfit. Thank you.


Jesse Hickey wrote …

Pat, Ive noticed that you have mentioned Coffee in a few of your videos. How much coffee do you typically drink, and do you try to stay with decaf? zone diet says that caffine produces insulin. thanks


wrote …

Question - how do these meals comply with Dr. Sears' 500-600/meal calorie guideline?

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