Nutrition Tips for Athletic Performance and Weight Loss

I have the extreme pleasure of working with the good folks at Simply for Life. They do a nutrition presentation monthly for my boot camp. Zach gave an awesome presentation  recently and was good enough to summarize the details for you here. Take it away Zach!

A short while ago, I had the pleasure of having a chat for Shawna and 15 members of her bootcamp. I thought it would be great to provide a bit of a summary of what we talked about. In my effort to improve your performance by nutrition I discussed the major nutrients, their roles as well as food timing and its affect on metabolism.

  • Water
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fat
  • Protein


Often neglected as being a nutrient it is actually the most essential to life. The average person is made up of anywhere between 50 and 70% water. For myself (I weight 180) its about 130 lbs.  You can go up to 30 days without food, but only survive for about 4 without water. Why is water so important? Well, water is used for many functions such as:

–          Breathing (think of your breath on a cold day outside that’s water vapour)

–          Sweating (this allows your body to cool down)

–          Digestion (pushed food so that enzymes can interact and breakdown the food)

–          Urination (removal of waste from our body)

This begs to question how much do I really need. Recommendations are for 2.7L/day for women and 3.7 for men to be adequate. If you sweat a large amount during exercise or would like to figure out how much you sure drink after to avoid dehydration.


Frequently when it comes to weight loss, carbohydrates have become the favored target. After all Dr. Atkins did prove you could lose weight by removing carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are essential to exercise performance as their main role is to provide energy. When choosing your carbohydrates you want to aim for slower digesting more fibrous foods like whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta and pitas, brown rice, quinoa, pearl barley, whole oats, sweet potato/yams, fruits and vegetables. Consuming foods like these will leave feelings of satiety (prevents snacking), increase your energy, and reduce inflammation.


The next nutrient that has seemed to acquire a bad rap is fats.  These nutrients are what give us the flavor for our foods and help us feel full. Fats are crucial to our bodies performance because they allow your body to transport key fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K. The other large funtion that fats take on is hormone development, regulation and cell structure. Before I get to crazy here, our major hormones like testosterone and estrogen control the development and growth of muscles, so without proper balance our body cannot repair muscle efficiently.  Choosing nuts that are unroasted and unsalted will help you see benefits (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, just about any nut source). A study at Harvard found a 35% reduction in cancer in females and 47% reductions in males by consuming 5 ounces each week. Go nuts!


I can’t help but laugh about this nutrient. Absolutely it is crucial, and we can’t live without it, but with all the body building gurus out there and every diet which way from Sunday a great deal of confusion has been created. North Americans typically consume far to much protein. As with any nutrient to much of it can cause weight gain. Protein contributes to tissue growth and repair and aids in metabolism through creating enzymes (speed up digestion).

*I would like to add that one advantage of including protein with every meal and snack is that it will slow down digestion and prevent blood sugar spikes. This is why I highly recommend adding more protein to the diet. Also, no one ever really over eats on proteins like they do on carbs!*


The key to keeping your body efficient buckles down to taking away the guesswork. When you body is avoiding extended periods without food, cravings decrease and satiety increases. What does this mean you eat less and you want less. How do I do this. Very simply eat little, eat often.

Breakfast: Within 30 minutes of waking

Snacks and Meals: Should break up the gap between meals. Eating a meal or Snack every 2.5-3.5 hours

Of course the last point I like to talk about is What I call the Oprah myth. Now I am not sure if Oprah said this or not but its how it has been asked to me a number of times. “No Food after 7pm it all turns to fat”. This my friends is a myth. Yes you are more likely to store extra energy, but no more so at night than during the day.