Whether you set a body composition goal as your New Year’s resolution, or you simply can’t miss out on an opportunity to better yourself with the support of your peers, the Orangetheory 2023 Transformation Challenge kicks off on January 16.
To participate, members only have to commit to three workouts a week for six of the challenge’s eight weeks — that’s a total of just 18 hours under the orange lights. But to truly see a transformation by mid-March, you’re going to have to put in some work outside of the studio too.
Here’s what you need to know about using daily nutrition to maximize your time spent in the Orange Zone during this year’s Transformation Challenge—and beyond.
How to Navigate Your Daily Nutrition
Setting yourself up for success in the studio starts with eating the most optimal pre- and post-workout foods. But first, you have to know what to look out for on a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nutrition fact label.
The FDA requires manufacturers place this information on every product’s packaging so consumers have insight into the ingredients, proper serving sizes, and the nutritional value of their food. When referencing these labels, Orangetheory Nutrition Program Manager Jay Patruno, RDN, LDN, CPT, CNC, wants Orangetheory members to make the following food decisions throughout their day.
- Increase Your Fruits and Vegetables Intake
The importance of incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet probably doesn’t come as a surprise. “Fruits and vegetables are considered nutrient dense, which means they contain higher amounts of fiber, water, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats relative to their serving size,” Patruno says. That means you’ll be feeling fuller for longer — without needing to consume a lot of calories.
Your daily goal: According to MyPlate, men should have 3 to 4 cups of vegetables and 2 to 2.5 cups of fruit each day. Meanwhile, women should have 2 to 3 cups of vegetables and 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit each day.
- Get Enough Protein
Especially when you’re trying to lose weight by eating in a caloric deficit, getting enough protein is essential to not losing muscle tissue. “The goal is to opt more often for a variety of lean protein sources that contain all essential amino acids in the appropriate amounts the body needs to build and maintain lean body mass,” Patruno says.
A few examples include lean meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, low-fat or nonfat dairy, and tofu; or a combination of nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains. Or, Patruno even suggests sipping a shake blended with an Orangetheory-approved whey or plant-based protein from Ascent.
Your daily goal: The International Society for Sports Nutrition and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommend 20 to 40 grams or more of protein (depending on your body composition, body size, and goals) every three to four hours throughout your day.
- Swap In Healthy Fats
Fats have gotten a bad rap over the years, but the right ones are important for increasing heart health and decreasing your risk of chronic disease. Unsaturated fats — think nuts, seeds, non-tropical plant oils, and legumes — are deemed healthy while saturated and trans fats are not, and can even be linked to cardiovascular diseases.
Your daily goal: Minimize saturated fat intake to less than 10% of your total daily calories and remove trans fats from your diet altogether. This recommendation comes from both the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 and the American Heart Association’s Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations.
- Choose Wholesome Carbs
Also commonly mislabeled as being “bad,” carbohydrates are essential for fueling your performance during an Orangetheory class. “Being able to use the nutrition fact panel to choose wholesome carbohydrates and time consumption with your exercise routine is important,” Patruno says.
Before a workout, he suggests having a meal high in natural, simple sugars — think fruit, white bread, or pasta — that’s easy to digest. Whole grains, such as oatmeal and brown rice, are more complex carbs, and are a perfect post-workout choice because they’re higher in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, which can take a little longer to digest.
Your daily goal: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 recommends making added sugar less than 10% of your total daily caloric intake, and getting at least half of your grains from whole grains.
When you put these nutrition tips into action and pair them with your Orangetheory workouts, you’ll be on your way to seeing and feeling a shift. You can hold yourself accountable to making a change by signing up for this year’s Transformation Challenge at your local studio.