# How Many Zone Blocks I Need To Eat

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A few weeks back I wrote about much I need to eat. However, the numbers really didn’t really make sense using the Zone ratio calculations of 30% protein, 40% carbs and 30% fat for calories. They seemed extremely high as I couldn’t imagine attempting to consume 240g of protein a day.

So I redid the calculations based on the actual formula in Enter The Zone. The numbers worked out to be about half of what I previously calculated. whew. The original Zone formula works like this.

1. Determine the amount of lean body mass you have
2. Determine your activity level in Appendix E of Enter The Zone
3. Multiply your lean body mass by your activity level, this gives you your protein requirements. Divide by 7 to get the number of blocks you need to eat per day.

Using the method above and the information I from the Bodycomp scan:

1. Lean body mass: 138lbs
2. Activity Level: 0.8 (Crossfit 3 to 4 times a week)
3. Appendix E says I need 112g of protein a day.

Okay, 112g of protein works out to exactly 16 protein zone blocks. Here are the relationships between the proteins, carbs and fats to zone blocks.

• 7 grams of protein = 1 zone block
• 9 grams of carbohydrates = 1 zone block
• 1.5 grams of fat = 1 zone block

The Zone recommends a ratio of 1:1:1 for protein, carbs and fat. I will need to spread 112g of protein, 114 grams of carbs and 24 grams of fat throughout the day into 3 meals and 2 snacks. One alarming thing is that if you add up the calories it seems very low:

(112 * 4) + (114 * 4) + (24 * 9) = 1120 calories a day.

I got the calorie calculations from: http://www.nutristrategy.com/nutrition/calories.htm. For the sake of accuracy there are a few other sites that confirm that 4 calories = 1g of protein, 4 calories = 1g of carbs and 9 calories = 1g of fat.

I’ll run this by my trainers at Crossfit to see what their opinions are.

{ 3 trackbacks }

*Revised* How Many Zone Blocks I need To Eat : MostlyGeek
July 22, 2008 at 2:59 pm
How Many Zone Blocks I Need To Eat (part 3) : MostlyGeek
September 28, 2008 at 2:18 pm
alexberry.me » Zone Diet Block Calculator
April 13, 2010 at 5:42 pm

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paul Richardson July 21, 2008 at 5:24 am

Hmmm the protein seems a bit low, I beleive it’s normally/traditionally/non-zone diets about 1 gram per lb of lbm, but some people say 0.8/0.9 grams as well….but I think that’s just the ‘zone way’

I think you’re missing the ‘hidden’ fat in the protein blocks. There’s an implicit 1.5grams of fat per block of protein. So I think you actually end up having a good few hundred kcals more due to more fat intake than you think you do.

(112 * 4) + (114 * 4) + (24 * 9) + (24 * 9)= 1336 calories a day I think.

But yeah that’s still pretty low, my BMR is 1800, 2lb a week weight loss is generally regarded as a 500kcal daily deficite…

Depends what the point of this is, you want to loose weight? maintain? bulk up?

You’re definitely right about the kcals per gram for p/c/f though.

Paul

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2 Ben Wong July 21, 2008 at 9:58 am

I’m trying to gain actually. 1336 calories a day still seems pretty low. At that rate I’ll be dropping weight like crazy.

I think I’m going to recalculate with an activity multiplier of 1.0 see how those numbers turn out.

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3 Kelly Frankson July 21, 2008 at 10:45 am

Hey Benson. Your calculations are right according to the zone, but I agree with Paul that for what you want to do you want to up the protein and the calories by the way of increasing the fat blocks. Typically elite crossfiters who follow the zone will zone protein and carbs at the regular ratios and then use a 3xs fat multiple. Fat contains a substanital amount of calories, so by increasing your fat blocks you will be upping the calories as well.

As far as the protein goes, since you want to bulk up, I would go at least 1gram per lb of lean body mass. (Yes this may mean additional “blocks” of protein beyond what was prescribed (however I would not boost carb blocks).

To give you an idea, my lean muscle mass is 110lbs and I typically eat about 115g of protein a day and even when I’m cutting weight my calories range from 1600-2200/day(about 50% from fat).

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4 Paul Richardson July 21, 2008 at 7:21 pm

If you want to bulk up then you probably want to aim for 500kcals over your daily usage (basically the reverse of cutting). You’ll want to increase the cals slowly if it’s going to be a leap from your current intake.

If you find it hard to get the neccesery numbar of kcals in then you could resort to a ‘dirty’ bulk instead of ‘clean’ bulk (basically get your cals from crappy non-clean sources) or just go for the Starting Strength Route and drink however much full fat milk you need to hit your required intake.

Just be aware that you will put on fat as well as muscle, but that’s just the way things go, if you do it right then the fat incease should be easily sheddable after your bulk is over.

Remember the Zone is a calorie deficit diet…so might not be at all suitable for bulking (not saying it isn’t…just that it might not be). I wouldn’t be afraid from moving away from the zone, I find it easier to deal with just weighing out my own stuff to whatever macro %’s I want rather than do half a cup of this etc etc.

I’d be interested to see how you go, I’m generally scared of bulking as I find it hard enough to drop weight as it is so not sure if I could shed the associated fat gains that come with a bulk, I might do it in a few months though (considering doing purely Starting Strength for a bit, or a SS + CF hybrid)

Anyway you probably already know all this stuff but thought I’d mention it anyway.

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5 chrissy March 21, 2010 at 10:47 am

If you want to gain while on Zone, calculate your protein blocks based on what you’d LIKE your lean body mass to be, not what it currently is. You might also want to try multiplying your fat blocks, ie. 5 blocks protein, 5 blocks carbs, 15 blocks fat per meal.

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6 amber December 27, 2010 at 1:49 pm

You actually have an error in mathematics here. You need 144g of protein, not 114.

9g *16 blocks= 144

(112 * 4) + (144 * 4) + (24 * 9) + (24 * 9)= 1456 calories a day

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7 Dave January 24, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Dude,

way too many spelling mistakes. and the person above got it incorrect i believe as well. not to say my spelling is awesome.

but protein = 7 x 16 = 112
carbs = 9 x 16 = 144 (not protein)
and then fats i thought was 3 grams is one block. i could be wrong there. either way. the total calories is out.

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8 Red March 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm

112 grams protein, 144 grams carbohydrate, and 48 grams fat. Looking at it another way:

If your goal is 112 grams of protein per day, divide this by 7 grams per block. You now know that you need 16 blocks per day.

Each block contains 7 grams of protein, 9 grams of carbohydrate, and 3 (yes THREE grams of fat because they assume that your protein choice will have 1.5 grams of fat and you will consume an additional 1.5 grams of fat intentionally). (7 grams*4 cal/g)+(9 grams*4 cal/g)+(3 grams*9 cal/g)=28 cal+36 cal+27 cal=91 calories per block. 16 blocks * 91 calories = 1456 calories. To gain weight, eat a little more than needed each day.

As to the protein requirements, for someone wanting to maintain or gain muscle while engaging in sports type training, the recommendation is 1.0 to 1.8 grams of protein per KILOGRAM of lean body weight. If someone is trying to gain weight and bumps it all the way up to 1 gram per POUND of lean bodyweight (the equivalent of 2.2 grams per KILOGRAM of LBW) it’s probably okay but unnecessary for non-elite (and/or non-steroid using) individuals. Most people are not nearly as elite as they believe, and would probably be better off staying under 1.8 grams per KG LBW.

Since you’re trying to gain weight, I’d do like Chrissy recommended, and use your goal LBM and look that up in the Appendix E and then base your blocks off of that and then monitor your weight and bodyfat and adjust upwards or downwards as needed.

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