Our First Blog Post! Nutrition Seminar Notes


Our very first blog post! I wanted to make the nutrition seminar notes available for everyone and explain the main take home points for the people that missed it.


Research on the nutritional sciences is being updated all the time, sometimes at a very fast pace. Some of the info in this seminar will last the test of time and some will become outdated. Some ways to stay updated involve taking courses, reading books and following the thought leaders in nutrition.

Other reading and reference will be noted at the end of this seminar.


  1. Energy Balance
  • If you want to lose weight you must have a negative energy balance
  • If you want to gain weight you must have a positive energy balance
  • The law of energy balance cannot be broken


Remember energy balance always wins, regardless of food choice energy balance must be either neutral, positive or negative.


Myth debunked: You have to eat 100% ‘clean’ to lose fat


It has been tested in science: If you eat junk, but are in a negative energy balance you will lose weight, the same is true of eating ‘healthy’ foods in a positive energy balance you will gain weight.


  1. Negative Energy Balance the Right and Wrong Way


  • Do not
  • Restrict yourself
  • Fad diet
  • Skipping meals
  • Fast for long periods of time
  • Wire your jaw shut
  • Take medication
  • Medical operations
  • Develop eating disorder


  • Do


  • Eat smaller meals
  • Exercise more
  • Build healthy habits over a long period of time
  • Make fitness and nutrition a lifestyle


Remember: You always want to keep your metabolism running as high as possible, cutting calories is not always the answer to losing fat.


  1. Metabolism



  • Low calorie intake for long periods of time = metabolic damage.
  • Yo-yo diet


Don’t fall into the assumption that less food always equals losing weight; if your metabolism is slow, it’s more complicated than that.


  • Reverse dieting


Reverse dieting would be used for someone that has been on a low calorie diet and needs to speed up his or her metabolism.


Myth debunked: You have to eat every 3 hours to speed up your metabolism


  1. Micro Nutrients


  • Micro – vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals
  • They are needed in trace amounts
  • Do not act as a direct energy source



  • Chocolate craving – Magnesium
  • Lack of sleep – Magnesium
  • Tooth decay, bone fractures – Vitamin D
  • Dry hair and skin, bleeding gums, lethargy, bone fragility – Vitamin C
  • Muscle cramps – Potassium
  • Face acne – Vitamin C deficiency
  • Puffy eyes – over hydrated
  • Tingling hands – Vitamin B6 or B12


Eating nutrient dense foods will signal your body to feel satiated, example: Eating 1000 calories of pizza or ice cream is pretty easy. Have you ever tried eating 1000 calories of raw vegetables?


If you’re feeling hungry at night and craving junk you have not eaten enough nutrient dense food throughout your day or for dinner.





Phytochemicals are found in plants and scientists have only isolated a few of these in the laboratory, it’s estimated that there are more than a thousand phytochemicals appearing in our food. Current research indicated many of these chemicals can help protect humans from disease.


Phytochemicals help ward of disease through acting as antioxidants and antibacterial, they also influence hormonal function and help protect our DNA.


Familiar Phytochemicals:


Resveratrol – Grapes

Isoflavones – Soy

Lycopene – Tomato’s

Lutein – Spinach

Naringenin – Grapefruit



  1. Macro Nutrients


  • Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats
  • Carbohydrates – Sugar (sweets, cookies, ice cream) Starch (potato, pasta, rice) and fiber (vegetables like peppers, kale, broccoli, tomato)
  • Carbs play a major role in the storage and transport of energy
  • Carbs have 4 kcal per gram


  • Fats – Saturated (animal fats, coconut oil) Monounsaturated (olive oil, avocado, nuts) and polyunsaturated (omega 3 & 6 fish, flax)
  • Omega 3 benefits – Help ward off depression, joint stiffness and reduces risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Saturated fats are only unhealthy if out of balance with poly and mono
  • Fat has 9 kcal per gram


Myth debunked: Saturated fats are bad for you



  • Proteins – Build muscle and are involved in nearly every metabolic activity within the body
  • Protein has 4 kcal per gram


Trans fats – To hydrogenate a previously unsaturated fat causing it to be solid at room temperature, have a longer shelf life and taste better, this is good for food companies’ bottom lines but dangerous for humans. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine tracked 80,000 women over 14 years and found that the most important correlate of heart disease was the amount of trans fats in the diet





  1. Calculating Your Target body Weight, Calories and Macronutrients. IIFYM – if it fits your macros


Below is a step-by-step guide on how to calculate your target body weight and calories. These calculations are for a 6 month period, assuming you will gain some muscle mass during this period.



Target Body weight


Step 1: Calculate lean body mass – see body fat % guide


Let’s say you weigh 200 lbs and your estimated body fat is 25%, your fat mass will be 50lb and your lean mass is 150lb


Step 2: Select your LBM target and x 100


Even if you have fat to lose you will want to increase lean mass, reasonable levels for intermediate level lifting would be 1 lb per month, over a six month period would be 6lb, so your target LBM is 156lb x 100 = 15,600


Step 3: Choose a target body fat % and subtract from 100


Realistic rates at which body fat will decrease for intermediate level training per month:


25% + Body fat = 3-4%

20-25% Body fat = 2-3%

13-19% Body fat = 1-2%

13% and below Body fat = 1- less than 1%


At 25% body fat a realistic rate of decline is 2-3% per month, which means you could drop 13% in 6 months leaving you with 12% body fat.


100 – 12 = 88


Step 4: Divide the result of step 2 by the result of step 3 to get your target body weight


15,600 / 88 = 177.3 lbs


This is your target body weight for a 6-month period. The loss is 22.7lbs, but since you will gain 6lb of lean mass, the actual fat loss is 28.7lbs.


How to calculate calories


Step 1: Estimate your total weekly hours of training


Include both strength training and cardio in your calculations (One CrossFit class would be one hour)

Also add in any recreational sports you play like rugby and football and any physical labor. For the example, let’s say you attend 4 CrossFit classes per week and spend 1 hour playing football on the weekend, that’s 5 weekly hours of training.


Step 2: Estimate your average weekly training intensity, and add this number to your average weekly training hours


You can choose 11, 10 or 9.

11 – high intensity

10 – medium intensity

9 – is low intensity or if recovering from an injury


If your weekly training hours are 5 and your intensity factor is 10 then 5 + 10 = 15.


Step 3: Times your activity multiplier by your target body weight


With a Target body weight of 177.3 this is your formula 177.3 x 15 = 2659 daily calories


If you’re a hard gainer and lean, has lots of nervous energy or younger you will need to use higher numbers for you intensity factor 11, 12 or 13.


Example your target body weight is 190lb and you work out for 4 hours per week on average, you give yourself an average intensity rating of 12.


190lb x (12 + 4) = 3040 daily calories


Calculating your macros




1 gram per lb of target body weight


Example 180lb male = 180g of protein per day, which equals 720 kcal (180 x 4 = 720)




This step is trickier since there’s a range of 0.4 – 0.7 gram per lb of target body weight. Some people do better with less carbs, more fat and some better with more carbs and less fat. Either approach can work so lets say you pick 0.5 and your target body weight is 180. Remember a gram of fat has 9 calories, this is your formula: 180 x 0.5 = 90; 90 x 9 = 810 calories from fat.




Whatever is left will be your daily carbohydrate intake. You’ve already used 720 from protein and 810 from fats for a total of 1530 calories. Let’s say you calculated a daily requirement of 2700 calories to hit your target body weight of 180lb: 2700 – 1530 = 1170 calories from carbs. Carbs have 4 calories per gram so: 1170 divided by 4 = 292 grams of carbs.


After working out your calories and macro goals, you will need to weigh and measure your food. This is necessary at least for a period of time.

You can track your intake on myfitnesspal.


10-15% can be from the anything category, the rest from minimally processed whole foods.



  1. Periworkout Nutrition (pre, during and post workout nutrition)


  • Research suggests that periworkout nutrition can help recovery, improve performance, stimulate better recovery, reduce muscle soreness, improve immune function, increase protein synthesis and reduce fat mass.
  • Remember periworkout nutrition will differ depending on the individual’s goals, body type, activity level and tolerance to carbohydrates.


Body types



Pre-workout: P+C Drink, During workout: P+C Drink, Post workout: P+C Drink


Pre-workout: Eat 1-2 hours prior, During workout: P+C Drink, Post workout: P+C Drink or food immediately after


Pre-workout: Eat 1-2 hours prior, During workout: 1 P+C Drink or BCAA, Post workout: Eat food 1-2 hours


Post workout is the best time of the day to eat high carb foods


Questions and answers


Organic or not? Organic, every time! You cannot compare non organic produce and, soil that have been blasted with pesticides and stripped of essential nutrients to carefully rotate crops with no GMO (genetically modified organisms), pesticides, synthetic fertilisers and livestock that grow on free range farms, fed organic fodder not treated with antibiotics and growth hormones.


How much water should I drink per day? 30-40ml per KG of body weight. Generally 3L per day is recommended.


Is a whey protein necessary? If you are not reaching your daily protein requirements, then yes. If you are looking to optimise exercise recovery, yes.


Gluten and dairy? Avoid if celiac or lactose intolerant.


Foods to avoid if you want to be lean? Nothing, eat the proper amount of macronutrients and calories per day.


Is it worth prepping my food beforehand? Yes! Always be prepared with your food. Leaving it to chance is increasing your chances of eating crap. You never know where your next meal will come from.




Precision Nutrition – precisionnutrition.com

Dr Layne Norton – biolayne.com

Alan Aragon – alanaragon.com


The International Society of Sports Nutrition – sportsnutritionsociety.org

European commission on agriculture and organic farming -ec.europa.eu/agriculture/organic




If anyone has any questions regarding the calculations or any of the information within feel free to ask me in the box or email cyrus@crossfitsands.com.