Orangetheory Fitness is one of the leading fitness franchises that uses high-intensity interval training, which is an effective method to lose weight. However, for optimal results, adding a nutrition plan to your Orangetheory workouts can make a huge difference for the long haul.
As a whole, Orangetheory Fitness doesn’t offer a personalized diet plan or nutrition coaching. However, they have a handful of articles that advise on what to eat before and after the OTF workout, as well as how much protein should you consume during the day.
No problem. In this article, I pull up the curtain and show you everything there is to know about the right nutrition during your Orangetheory workouts and how to maximize weight loss.
What Is The Orangetheory Diet?
Overall, the orange theory recommends that properly nourishing your body is essential and your diet should consist of eating whole foods, ideally without a label. For the best results, you need optimal nutrition that is moderately low in carbs and emphasizes eating lean proteins and healthy fats.
Workouts at Orangetheory Fitness are strenuous and include weight lifting, running, and rowing.
This means that your diet has to meet the requirements for high energy demands, but also create a negative energy balance for optimal body mass and body fat levels.
In other words, your Orange theory diet plan has to meet more than just one requirement:
- It has to have the right macros to maintain the energy supply to the muscles and delay the onset of muscle fatigue.
- It has to promote positive training adaptations (e.g. enhance muscle protein synthesis and minimize muscle protein breakdown).
- It has to provide enough nutrients to positively influence hormonal response and facilitate hypertrophy.
- It has to create a calorie deficit to burn fat.
Can Orangetheory help you lose weight? As a whole, orange theory fitness can help you lose weight because each workout consists of high-intensity interval training, which is been proven to burn fat and build muscle. It also helps to improve athletic performance, get stronger, run faster, and have more energy.
Not only that.
People who train at OTF have more than just a weight loss in their minds. They also want to change their eating habits, improve sleep, or even lower cholesterol.
Plus, a good OTF nutrition plan should also be in line with your own goals and limitations, physical activity level, eating experiences, taste preferences, budget, work schedule, and cultural habits.
The problem is that there is no one most effective diet to promote weight loss.
Orangetheory Eating Plan For Weight Loss
I’m not a fan of ready meal plans because they only seem to work short-term. And just because someone is good at sticking to the meal plan, it doesn’t mean that others will do the same.
For example, eating chicken and broccoli may be the best option to achieve fast body composition changes, but not many people are willing to do it for a long time.
Does Orangetheory have a diet plan? As a whole, Orangetheory fitness does not have a diet plan. They’re in the exercise business, not in the nutrition business.
However, they recommend that your lifestyle and personal preferences are the most important factors when choosing a nutrition plan.
On the Orangethery website, you can find general information about healthy eating:
- Orangetheory recommends listening to your body’s inner cues like hunger and satiety.
- Orangetheory recommends eating when you’re hungry and stopping eating when you’re satisfied.
Those cues help you to decide whenever you start eating, continue eating, or stop eating. This approach is relatively easy because it doesn’t require counting calories.
Learn more: Click here to learn more about how to do “orange theory once a week” and still lose weight.
What To Eat While Doing Orangetheory?
The best foods to eat on Orangetheory should be minimally processed, fiber-rich, protein-rich, and highly satisfying foods. Keeping a variety of foods will help you stay full for longer, maintain energy, and prevent nutrient deficiency.
Proteins have several benefits, especially if you are looking to improve your body composition. Remember that your body cannot manufacture proteins, so you have to get them from your diet.
- Proteins increase your satiety (they keep you fuller for longer)
- Proteins provide you with essential amino acids
Amino acids are the building blocks of all the tissues in your body. As you know, your body rebuilds itself on the regular basis. Your hair, nails, skin, the lining of your stomach, red blood cells, etc. They all need amino acids from proteins.
Plus, you need that amino acid also to support your lean muscle mass for strenuous OTF classes. The more lean mass you have, the higher your basal metabolic rate (which means you will burn more calories).
That’s why if your goal is to lose and maintain a healthy weight, you need to make sure you have plenty of proteins every day.
Below you can find the daily protein recommendations for physically active people who participate in OTF classes, based on their fitness goals.
|Fitness goals||Amount of proteins|
|Cardio and endurance||1.2g – 1.4g per kg of body weight per day.|
|Strength and power||1.6g – 1.7g per kg of body weight per day.|
For example, a 200-pounds physically active male who want to build strength and muscle should consume between 145 to 160 grams of protein per day.
On the other hand, a 160-pound physically active female who wants to lose weight should consume between 80 to 100 grams of protein.
Can I have a protein shake after the Orangetheory workout? As a whole, you can have a protein shake after an Orangetheory workout because exercise increases the daily requirements for proteins. Therefore, having a protein shake after a workout will ensure you deliver enough amino acids to your body and help with recovery.
Fats are essential macronutrients that have multiple functions. But most importantly for weight loss, they give us satiety. This means they will keep you fuller for longer and they minimize cravings.
- Fats provide us with energy (they are together with carbohydrates the main fuel for the body.
- Fats provide us with building blocks.
Fats are the main building block of hormones, cell membranes, the brain, and the nervous system. They are responsible to transport and absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K which are all essential.
Can you do Orangetheory and keto? As a whole, you can co Orangetheory and keto because the ketogenic diet includes protein-rich foods with healthy fats that enhance protein synthesis and satisfy your cravings. A ketogenic diet will ensure you have a variety of foods that are all high in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
Veggies and Fruits
Ideally, you want to have a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet. However, thanks to the western world economy, most people got accustomed to the salt, sugar, and fat in highly processed foods, so vegetables aren’t appealing or satisfying.
Dr. Stephanie Howard Wilsher and her colleagues from Norwich Medical School did a fascinating study to understand what motivates people in their food choices when it comes to fruits and vegetables.
“People who consume fruits and veggies in high amounts were motivated by perceived risk, perceived behavioral control, and health-conscious self-identity. Low consumers were driven by social influences to consume cheap, easily available convenience foods” (Howard Wilsher, Stephanie et al. 2019).
Now watch this.
In one famous experiment, Columbia University professor Stanley Schachter showed that people are willing to eat more almonds that are already unshelled, compared to those that are been shelled (source).
This shows that people are willing to do more things that require less hassle. And of course, fewer things that require more work. It’s hard to spend time prepping meals, shopping for whole foods, cooking from the scratch, and cleaning after cooking.
TIPS: To make it easier you can organize your day, your schedule, and your kitchen to support your goals and make inconvenient food more convenient.
Orangetheory Diets Based On Macros
As a whole, you can reduce calorie intake while doing Orangetheory Fitness by adhering to a diet that manipulates macronutrient content (e.g. low-carbs, Ketogenic, low-fat). Changes in macronutrient composition can positively affect hormones, as well as the function of the gut microbiome, which both play a role in fat storage.
Here are some of the best diets for OTF based on macronutrient manipulation.
|OTF Diets||How does it work?|
|Atkins||Eat fewer carbs and more foods rich in protein and fats|
|Ketogenic||Eat almost no fats, some protein, and mostly fats.|
|Zone||Blocks based system to help with portion control|
|Ornish||Avoid foods high in fat and eat mostly carbs and protein|
As you can imagine, there is no “one best” diet to create a calorie deficit. As long as you eat less food, you will create a negative energy balance and lose weight.
Studies have shown that “independently of the method for weight loss, the negative energy balance alone is responsible for weight reduction” (Strasser, B et al. 2007).
However, when it comes to weight loss and performance, the most common (and most effective) way to manipulate macros is by increasing protein intake and decreasing carbohydrates.
I like this combination because high protein intake increases satiety, lowers hunger, and increases energy expenditure. On the other hand, reducing carbs can lower insulin levels. When insulin levels spike, fat cells respond by storing calories.
What is the best macro ratio for Orangetherapy? Overall, the best macro ratio for orange therapy is high protein (40-50%), low carbs (15-25%), and moderate fats (30-35%). To lose weight, find a ratio you can stick with, focus on healthy foods and eat fewer calories than you burn.
Orangetheory Diets Based On Food Groups
Another way to reduce calorie intake and lose weight while doing OTF fitness challenges is by removing specific foods or food groups from the menu. For example, the vegetarian diet excludes all animal products, whereas the Paleo diet restricts grains, dairy, and legumes.
Here are some of the best Orangetheory diets based on food group restrictions.
|OTF Diets||How does it work?|
|Vegetarian||Eat only plants and restrict from any animal products|
|Paleo||Eat only minimally processed “paleolithic” foods|
|Gluten-free||Avoid foods with gluten, a protein complex found in cereals such as wheat, rye,|
barley, and oats
|Mediterranean||Consume only whole foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole-grain cereals, seafood, and olive oil|
All of these diets are associated with robust health, low rates of obesity, and metabolic disorders, despite being very different.
However, if you take a step back and look at them from the perspective, all of these diets have a few things in common:
- They all include minimally processed, high-quality foods that are rich in nutrients and fiber (recent epidemiological studies suggest that higher consumption of ultra-processed foods is associated with an increased risk of CVD) (Juul, Filippa et al. 2021).
- They all eliminate nutrient deficiencies. Consuming a high amount of vegetables, fruits, whole grain, legumes, and nuts, as well as meat, eggs, and dairy products help to provide all of the essential nutrients and minerals.
- They all help to control appetite and food intake. Studies have shown that “eating whole foods helps to increase satiety and diminish hunger, even without modifying energy intake” (Cioffi, Iolanda et al. 2016).
The last part on satiety is really important. Choosing the whole foods that have a low glycemic index and high satiety score not only helps you stay fuller for longer but also reduces your overall energy intake, without counting calories.
How many calories should I eat if I do Orangetheory? On average, you should consume between 1,500 to 2,500 kcal per day if you do Orangetheory workouts. The number of calories you consume will depend on your age, gender, and activity level. The average male should eat 2,500 kcal per day to lose one pound per week, whereas the average woman should eat 1,500 kcal or less in order to lose one pound per week.
Orangetheory And Intermittent Fasting
Orangetheory and intermittent fasting go hand in hand because they both aim to improve your body composition, improve your self-awareness, and increase hunger tolerance.
Mixing both approaches is one of the best ways not only to reach your desired body weight but also to develop life-long skills that help to maintain those results.
I think that Intermittent fasting is one of the easiest ways to reduce calorie intake without counting calories or sticking to riding meal plans.
I like this approach because everyone can do it, regardless of how much experience you have.
Can you do orange theory and intermittent fasting? In general, you can do OTF and intermittent fasting because they both increase body awareness and interoception sensitivity. Orangetheory fitness helps to increase your metabolic rate and activity levels, whereas intermittent fasting helps to understand your hunger better.
Listening to the hunger cues is the foundation of intermittent fasting. However, this novel approach requires not only practice but also the ability to sense when exactly you feel hungry and when you feel satisfied.
Which is very subjective and hard to define if you’re getting started.
Because let’s face it, being hungry can mean anything for many people and there is no clear guidance apart from “you need to listen to your body cues”. And for people who have poor interoception, this advice can mean nothing.
What is interoception? Interoception is the ability to sense your inner signals from the body. It involves knowing and differentiating things like muscle pain, thirst, heart rate, hunger, fullness, or satisfaction. It is an important indicator of self-awareness and well-being.
In other words, it’s when you know the difference between physical hunger, psychological hunger, appetite, craving, or boredom.
On the other side, people who have weak interoception sensitivity may have a hard time telling when exactly they feel hungry, thirsty, or just anxious. As you can imagine, without those skills to sense these cues, intermittent fasting can cause weight gain and overeating.
I won’t be covering here the mechanisms behind interoception sensitivity and how intermittent fasting can cause weight gain. I’ve already done that in “intermittent fasting and weight gain“, which I recommend you read.
What Should I Eat Before Orangetheory?
What you eat before an Orangetheory workout also plays a key role in how you feel and perform. The closer you eat before a workout, the more you’ll want your foods to be in higher carbohydrates and lower in fats.
- 30-60 minutes before training: It is recommended that you eat a high carbohydrate, moderate protein, and low-fat snack before exercising.
- 2-3 hours before training: It is recommended that you eat a high carbohydrate, high protein, the moderate-fat meal before exercising.
Examples of snacks right before an Orangetheory workout:
- Banana with 1 tbsp peanut butter
- Yogurt-based smoothies (of fat-free milk)
- Nonfat Greek yogurt with fruit
- Whole grain toast and a hard-boiled egg
- A handful of nuts and raisins (2 palms of raisins to 1 palm of nuts)
What do Orangetheory instructors eat? Overall, orange theory instructors need to eat a balanced diet to stay in killer shape. Thie diet usually includes hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, chicken, rice, and broccoli. They also eat avocados, bananas, and nuts.
What Should I Eat After The Orangetheory Workout?
As a whole, you should meal that is rich in lean protein and starchy carbs 15 to 30 minutes after the Orangetheory workout. High protein foods help to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and reduce muscle protein breakdown, whereas carbs help to restore muscle glycogen.
Please remember that OTF wokrouts are complex and intense. In each class, you will work in all 5 heart rate zones, which means you need to restore both carbs and protein. A turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread or a banana and plain yogurt are good, easy options.
Orangetheory Diet For Weight Loss Tips
Here you can find a list of tips that help to enhance your Orangetheory nutrition strategies:
- Get Active – Physical activity should be part of your daily routine. Apart from Orangetheory workouts, you should designate some part of your day to consciously do some type of exercise (it doesn’t have to be anything extreme or big).
- Stay Busy – Boredom is one of the reasons why people experience emotional eating episodes. When we are bored, we tend to eat. So if you know that is your case, stay busy and do something that will keep your mind occupied. Hobby, reading, manual work, exercise, creative work, etc.
- Get Your Macronutrients – You want to make sure you include all of the macronutrients with each meal.
- Clean the Clutter – If you live in a big house, and all you see are the walls of resistance from your family members, and not everyone is supporting your new way of eating, try to organize your kitchen in a way that is helping to support your goals.
- Stay Hydrated – Water is essential for life. Remember that your body needs water, even more than food. And it’s just so easy to stay dehydrated these days. All you need is a busy schedule, one meeting after another, one client after another, and boom. You’re dehydrated without even trying.
- Use Food Journal – Instead of relying on apps where you only write down how many calories you eat, start using food journals differently. A food journal is like a swiss army knife. You can measure what is really important for you.
TIPS: One of the best ways to improve your self-awareness is to identify how your body responds to the lack of food. Tracking emotions, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors around your mealtime and during the day can show you some important information about your reactions to food (or to lack of it).
Orangetheory Without Diet
As a whole, you can do Orangetheory without dieting, however, the dietary restriction can potentially lead to much faster weight loss results. Alternatively, instead of following a specific diet protocol, you can focus on implementing intuitive eating strategies that help to reduce food intake, without restricting macros or food groups.
Here you can find two of the most effective methods used in intuitive eating programs.
Eating slowly means you take time to consciously slow down the pace and increase the duration of your meals. It takes around 20-minutes for satiety to kick in.
For example, if you eat whole 12-inch pizza in ten minutes you may not feel you’re full. On the other hand, if you slow down, and you stretch out your mealtime to 20 minutes, you will notice that you can feel full with just half of that same pizza.
Eat when physically hungry
Sometimes we feel like we could eat something but we are not really hungry. We may be bored, lonely, or slightly stressed out. So we eat to feel better.
To simply put, eating when physically hungry means you start eating when you’re physically hungry. You don’t eat when you’re bored, stressed out, or happy.
Learn more: Click here to learn more about “orange theory heart rate zones“.
As you can see, choosing the right orange theory diet that supports your goals is not simple. There are many dietary approaches available and they all claim to get you a saucy-looking physique.
However, the most important component of any diet is adherence, which means you should choose your diet not only on the information but also based on your personal preferences.