In Nutrition, Videos

June 01, 2011

Video Article

“The whole point is that you CrossFit your diet, so it needs to be constantly varied, it needs to be functional fuel, and it needs to be prepared to the utmost of efficiency so that we’re willing to do it later,” says Josh Bunch, the owner of Practice CrossFit.

In this first installment, Bunch takes us “speed shopping” in a chain supermarket to see what meals we can come up with. Today’s meal is breakfast, consisting of eggs, onion and avocado. Bunch’s strategy is to cook in big batches to prepare for the week.

“If I can cook for like an hour today and then put it off for about three more days, that’d be cool.”

Bunch roughly bases his intake on the Zone Diet developed by Dr. Barry Sears, which advocates a 40:30:30 ratio between carbohydrate, protein and fat. Bunch’s tweaked Zone is closer to 12:57:27.

His advice: “If you’re gonna weigh and measure your WOD, if you’re gonna weigh and measure every lift, if you’re gonna pay attention there, then you probably need to be weighing and measuring your food.”

Find out how Bunch has dialed in his diet and learn how to prepare a simple, satisfying breakfast.

5min 07sec

Additional video: Practice CrossFit Workout by Again Faster, published May 14, 2009.



26 Comments on “Nutrition With Josh Bunch: Part 1”


wrote …

Jan 2010 started at 290# never Crossfitted and not much activity for many years. Weighed and measured everything for 5 months. 2000 calories a day. 75-100 grams of carbs, 200 grams protein, and 90 grams of fat. Carbs were fiberous vegatables and a small amount of fruit. I have maintained a weight of 210 to 215 for over 12 months. My calorie intake is now in the 3500 kcal range per day at approximately the same percentages. The human body is an amazing machine. At 50 years old in 2 months, I continue to improve my performance at Crossfit The Den. Premium fuel for a high performance body.


wrote …

I LOVE to talk food and fuel. Thanks for this; looking forward to the next installment. (p.s. Nice job, Michael! [above])


wrote …

If you completely mangle the zone to your own ratio it's not really zone anymore right?

Additionally, things that are worth 1 block of X nutrient also contain Y nutrient. For example, avocado counts as fat blocks, but also has carbs in it, throwing out the nutrition ratio and therefore Zone-ness?


wrote …

Dave...ur right bro. But the system is more set up as a base not a religion. The thing that makes it work is the maticulous logging and knowledge of exaxtly what we do. That way we can adjust any variable and see where it takes us. Thanks for pointing it out.

Michael....great story man....congrats


wrote …

Don't worry about what diet your following. Go get a Biochemistry For Dummies book and know exactly what your body is doing when you put different foods in your body at different times. Know what is good and bad and the right ratio and timing for you individually. Knowledge is power!


wrote …

Why does HQ insist on calling it Zone when it's so far from the Zone "prescription"? Why don't they just say "Josh uses the Zone blocks to monitor his personal intake"? I understand it's a base, but I dont know how much Barry Sears endorses modifying it that far out of his proportion. Remember the video of Barry Sears talking about how a weighed and measured chicken breast and ding dongs was better than a huge steak with a sweet potato on an unmeasured Paleo diet? Well 12:57:27 sounds a lot more like a huge steak and sweet potato than it does a chicken breast and ding dongs that is 40:30:30.


wrote …

I have been Crossfitting for 2 years now. My Fran time has gone from Over 10 minutes to under 5 minutes. My Filthy 50 time has gone from 52 minutes to 29 minutes.

My body weight has gone from 194 to 203. IS it possible that A) My body only needs 1300 calories per day to function? or B)Extreme Carb restriction is the answer.

My performances in WODs has never plateaued by my physique looks virtually the same as 2 years ago.

Any advice?


replied to comment from Scott Sutton


Are you saying your currently consuming 1300 calories/day? If so that is about 7 calories per pound of body-weight, which I would say is far from what would show both positive physique, and performance increases. In fact, just as a comparison, I would have a female of 3/4 that body-weight eating at least double that in calories, and that depends on the activity level and so forth. And you of course would be much over that.

If you mean that your eating in excess of 3000 calories per day and wishing to see changes, I would have to know where your calories came from, times and such to get a better assessment, and weather your wanting to change in the mirror, or in the WOD.


wrote …

thx josh good vid.


Keith Wittenstein wrote …

So you get 12% of your daily calories from carbs; 57% from protein; and 27% from fat? Let me ask you this: what happened to the other 4% of your daily calories? Is it those magic firebreather pills?

Please explain how you live on only 96% of a daily intake of calories.



wrote …

Josh, that was awesome and I can't wait to see more.

I have been Paleo and Crossfitting for 18 months. I have lost 8 inches and 25 pounds. I have been trying to increase intensity to gain more strength and lose more weight, but have been plateaued. I reduced my training for the month of January and went Strict Paleo and lost 10 more pounds and have leveled off again expecially since I am hitting the gym hard. I have also in the last 18 months experienced high fasting blood sugar numbers so I decided to go back and log my food again, started just two weeks ago. I use My Fitness Pal. it has me at 1200 calories and I have my ratios set for 10, 30, 60. I have been eating about 1500-1600 calories a day and work out 4 times a week.

Your article and replies have me thinking......I am way too low on calories and it is probably causing my body to stress out and release Cortisol which can raise fasting blood sugars. Am I headed in the right direction here? How many calories would you suggest I take in? I am 47 yo female, 175 pounds.



wrote …

Great vid, thanks & looking forward to more.

"Bunch roughly bases his intake on the Zone Diet..."

@Dave, note words like "roughly", and "bases". No one called it the Zone. Using that label is a one-word slingshot whereby we as readers are sent in the direction of specific types and ratios of foods. If you have time to do a little digging, Sears deals with the concern you have about macronutrient crossover.


replied to comment from Betsey Ford-Allen


Happy for your success. As far as the FBG rise while on a low carb Paleo Diet, this is not uncommon. This is where measuring your hemoglobin A1c comes in handy. Carbohydrate restriction drops insulin levels. Low insulin levels activate hormone sensitive lipase. Fatty tissue breaks down and releases non esterified fatty acids. Since you become used to your body running on fat as opposed to sugar, any release promotes a higher than normal FBG, but I would attribute this to just being a little better at burning fat, and look for my A1c numbers to be at a 5 or so.

If your WODIng 4x week and keeping nasty food to a very very minimal does I would say you could at least add in another 500+ calories. But that in itself doesn't really matter, it really only matter that you have been tracking what you were doing which is great, then we can select a relatively arbitrary number like 500, see what it does, and if it works awesome, if not we just adjust again.....hope that helps....


wrote …

I often wonder when HQ is going to complete the divorce from The Zone. No one follows the Zone macronutrient ratio. Everyone doubles or triples the fat or does something else that trivializes the concept. I'm not saying the Zone is useless and there is definitely value to keeping a food log. Still, by and large in the crossfit community (outside of CFJ videos, it seems) mentioning the Zone just promotes eye-rolling. Unweighed, unmeasured Paleo is easier, far more sustainable, has abundant clinical trial support for its effectiveness, and focuses on food quality instead of macronutrient ratios. The Zone is an inferior tool and continuing to emphasize it in these videos just confuses people.

For the people looking to jump-start some weight loss, try consuming the vast majority of your daily carbohydrate intake (80+%) within 2 hours after you work out. Drasticly limit carbs (25g or less) on rest days. Eat as many carbs as feel you need in that two-hour PWO window on the days you work out. That should keep your body fueled for training and control your insulin levels enough to encourage fat mobilization and loss. The PWO carbs should prevent ketosis for anyone worried about that. Try it for 3 three weeks. May help you break through a plateau.


Dude, since when is doubling your fat intake not part of the Zone? I've heard Barry Sears reference it more than once


wrote …

Josh, where did you get that awesome t shirt? Can't find it anywhere.


wrote …

FWIW, here's my 2 cents on the Zone. I've been Zoning for over 2 years, and it has worked extremely well for me. I see the Zone not as a diet, but as an overall eating strategy that teaches us to be aware of portion sizes and the primary nutritional composition of everything we eat. The Zone's flexibility with respect to what we choose to eat is why I've been able to stick with it -- I've tried strict Paleo, for instance, and I just did not feel good eating that way because honestly I missed the variety of tastes and textures I get from having a little dairy and the occasional small (Zoned) portion of pasta or other admittedly HGI carb source. But that's just me; YMMV.

As far as getting away from the 40/30/30 Zone ratio, Dr. Sears has said many times, including in his books, that this ratio is a starting point and that people should experiment to see if they feel and/or perform better with something different. And if you refer back to the classic CF Journal 21 regarding the Zone, the penultimate paragraph on page 10 says the following: "The majority of our best athletes end up at...4X or 5X blocks of fat. Learn to modulate fat intake to a level of leanness that optimizes performance." I understand all this, taken together, to mean not only that you should customize the Zone for your own needs, but that you will not achieve your best results unless you do.

Anyway, not disagreeing with anyone else here, because certainly diet and performance is a highly individualized matter, but just wanted to add to the discussion.


replied to comment from Jim Smith

Shirt was man, maybe its discontinued.


Nice vid, what I took away is that you start with ZONE to get a rough baseline and then tweak. Looks like you are doing a paleo-zone cross, which I think a lot of CF-ers are doing by default of the RX for Fitness.

What I really like about this vid is the notion, and maybe it's just me that got this message, that you need to dial in what works for you. For example, if I eat (raw) dairy and keep fruit in my diet - messy. It's just plain messy. My stomach is a mess. My performance is shite. If I eliminate dairy and incorporate some fruit, voila, I'm fine. If I eliminate fruit and re-incorporate raw dairy, fine and dandy. It's taken me better part of a year to dial this in for myself. Do I tell my athletes this will work for them. of course not. I tell them to start eating healthy, paleo(ish). As they approach a good weight then we begin to talk about dialing amounts, I don't prescribe or even suggest weighing and measuring for two reasons 1) none of my athletes are games/elite athletes, they are just trying to get fitter and 2) because they are not elite competitors the counting and measuring I think risks a bit of mental issues. I know for me weighing and measuring messes me up mentally and after trying it hardcore for about 4 months and nearly getting a divorce thrown my way, I decided to just eat clean.

all in all, good. I am looking forward to this series. i do things a bit diff: I do not shop and cook for the whole week in one day. I love to cook and enjoy making what might seem like paleo-gourmet for my wife, friends, family and I. but to each their own!


wrote …

Dude why so many meals per day?


wrote …

Far too many people seem to be hating on this video. I think its great to see what some top athletes do to feul themselves and how theyre willing to share with the rest of us what theyve done to acheive their success! Cheers Josh, always great to see what others are doing and how we can learn from your experience.


wrote …

I have a really newbie question to ask about this video...BTW - I think it's great to actually see what people eat rather than drinking it from a powder. Anyway, we see Josh make a plate of eggs, onions and avocado. This is breakfast. We see that the eggs have been cooked. Does he just eat it all as is, or is there further prep?


wrote …

On a side note slightly away from the vid topic is there any way of equating calories to blcok allowances? E.g. 16 blocks a day on 40/30/30 is x calories


wrote …

Josh, your protein levels are a little alarming and I am curious to hear your input.

This is the reply I got when I asked a friend of mine who has a masters in health nutrition and is currently working on his PHD. His PHD is based on Gastro-intestinal research and when you read a study it comes from someone like him.

"at 57% of your daily intake you get a 75 kg individual eating 4,000 calories/day is eating protein at a rate of: 7.6 g / kg of body weight / day (trust my calculation).

That's high... that's absurdly high.

The debate has always been that excessively high protein consumption may impair kidney function; which has shown to be true for people with kidney disease (those already with impaired kidney function). Protein enthusiasts however, draw on evidence from other studies showing no strain on kidney function in healthy athletes consuming protein at a rate as high as 2.9 g / kg of body weight / day.

All number aside, here's the meat and potatoes. The problem now, is that studies haven't really tested protein intakes above and beyond 3.0 grams / kg body weight / day, but recommendations are being made for almost 2.5 times as much (that being 7.6 g / kg of body weight / day)!"

He goes on to say that such levels of protein will induce the most severe constipation imaginable and that such things can be experienced acutely at even a third of that number.

I sit at around 2-2.4g/kg and other athletes I know are as high as 2.6g/kg but no one is over that.

For me to get 7.5g/kg of protein I would need to have my normal daily diet PLUS 13 chicken breasts. OR 15 protein shakes.

I hope readers will use this article to look in to what works best for them, much like Josh has done. Don't just start slamming 5 protein shakes a day to get to 57% protein intake. Find your best fit for yourself! That is the point of HQ posting this video and that is the point of the video itself!


wrote …

Hey Josh, yo know YOU DA MAN!!! Doing what you do has helped me and Kurt so much, can't thank you enough!!

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