Nutrition for Performance vs. Weight Loss

Proper nutrition guidelines are the foundation for optimal fitness and physique.  Specifically, looking at macro-nutrients in your diet can be the make or break in achieving your goals vs just looking at calories alone.  Macro ratio’s are the different %’s of fat/protein/carbs in your diet.  

If you’re just starting from scratch and looking for weight loss, it’s important to track your macro’s so that you’re losing an optimal amount of fat while preserving muscle mass.  Similarly, for performance (if you’re someone who already exercises regularly, have an ideal body fat range and high level of fitness) macros are important to track if your goal is to increase muscle mass and/or improve fitness. 


Eating for Weight Loss

When it comes to general weight loss, a simple and common approach is to decrease your daily caloric intake by 500-1000 calories/day based on your prescribed basal metabolic rate(BMR) or how many calories you burn per day.  By doing this and adding a HIIT workout in 3-5x/week you’re likely to lose about 2lbs/week. Let’s look below for an example…

Caloric need varies from 1,000-4,000 calories/day

Depends on age, sex, weight, activity and more…

An example for our members…

Male 40 yrs:  BMR = 1,800 cal - Revive Class(650 cal)

Female 40 yrs:  BMR = 1,400 - Revive Class (450 cal)


In the above example, if you’re a 40 year old male who eats 1800 calories/day and do a HIIT workout, you’ll create a caloric deficit of about 650 calories.  However, not all calories are created the same and so we need to focus on our macros: protein, carbs and fats.  Without getting too far into what each macro is, you can look at the chart below for recommendations on Macro ranges for weight loss. Optimal protein levels are very important during a weight loss plan so that you focus on losing body fat vs muscle. An important reason why tracking your macro’s may be more useful than simply calories alone.


Eating to Perform

If you already have the above under control, it’s time to dig into the difference between fueling your activities, versus eating to lose weight.

Your ideal volume of various nutrients per day will be determined by your daily activities. As long as you’re eating high-quality, whole foods, you can easily adjust the amount you’re eating to suit your needs.

Making a point of eating 1-2 hours before your training session and within an hour of your training session ending will do a whole host of good things for your body. It will:

  • Replenish the muscle glycogen that you lose during activity

  • Reduce muscle loss

  • Increase muscle protein synthesis

  • Reduce post-training soreness and fatigue, enhance recovery

  • Reduce cortisol levels

When eating for performance, both the pre and post training meal should definitely contain both carbs and protein to give you the maximum benefit.


So, what’s the difference between eating to perform and eating to lose weight?

Muscle Gain can be used synonymous with performance


If you look at the chart above, Muscle Gain is synonymous with performance so generally speaking you need a higher percentage of carbohydrates and most likely a higher caloric intake as well.  If muscle gain is part of your goals, you need carbs pre- and post- training, but you’ll also need more of them more of the time. If you’d like to lose some body fat/weight while preventing muscle loss, it is typically done at a slower rate than someone just wanting to lose weight and can be done by adjusting your caloric intake.

As an athlete you need to give yourself the proper amount and type (macro’s) of fuel.


How Do You Know The Difference?

If you see more than two pounds disappear in a week, you’re dealing with more than just fat loss. When people start upping their workouts and cutting calories, they’ll see fat loss pretty quickly—but it shouldn’t be at a rapid rate for a performance goal.. This two-pounds-a-week is most everybody’s threshold for fat burn. If you drop 5+ pounds in a week, the vast majority of that will be water weight and a little bit of muscle loss as well and these results are more suitable for someone wanting more dramatic weight loss.

For more help on nutrition, you can email us at to schedule a meeting!

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