Weight Loss Nutrition: Q&A with Mark Leary (Sports Dietician)

Mark Leary

This week I sat down to chat with Mark Leary, Sports Dietician, about weight loss nutrition. Mark is a good friend of Highlite Fitness and provides nutritional support to our members and collaborates with us on our 8-week weight loss programs.

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Weight Loss Nutrition

Q) Hi Mark, we hear the term macronutrients a lot when researching weight loss nutrition, what are macronutrients and what is the best ratio for general health/wt loss?

A) The term ‘macro-nutrient’ refers to the main nutrients that make up the food/drink we consume which provide energy (kilojoules, kJ). There are 4 macro-nutrients and these include; Fats, Proteins, Carbohydrates and Alcohol.

For the general population, the Nutrient Reference Values (NRV’s) for Australia and New Zealand recommend 15-25% of total energy come from protein, 20-35% come from fat and 45-65% come from carbohydrates. Alcohol is not included.

What is important to mention is the quality of the macro-nutrient. Focus is on lean proteins, unsaturated fats and unprocessed carbs.

There is no real consensus on what is the appropriate ratio of these macro-nutrients when it comes to weight loss – this is mostly due to the fact that weight loss occurs when overall energy deficit is experienced and NOT dependant on anyone macro-nutrient. Research shows that when people lose weight they also lose muscle mass, as such I usually recommend a slight increase in protein and use the NRVs as a good starting point. To promote sustainability, variety and flexibility I usually recommend 35-40% protein, 40-45% carbohydrates, 20-25% fats of total energy intake with an overall energy deficit.

Again, this is very generalised and working with a Sports Dietitian can help individualise a diet plan.

Q) I know how much misinformation there is out there in regards to fitness and I can imagine its probably even worse for nutrition. What nutrition myth infuriates you the most?

Where do I start? there is so much misinformation regarding nutrition on the internet nowadays that it’s hard to pick just one. The main one I think that gets me angry is all the different fad diets that promote their way is only one way to lose weight or be healthy. There are many ways to achieve weight loss and be healthy without adopting a ‘dieting’ mentality. The idea that you HAVE to cut out whole food groups, undergo a detoxifying regime or buy expensive supplements in order to achieve health is not only comical but downright unethical.

Q) With that being said… What are the most sensible points to consider for weight loss nutrition?


  • Adopt a way of eating healthy that suits your lifestyle and will be maintainable long term. This includes eating a variety of foods
  • Keep a food diary (either via app or paper)
  • Write a shopping list – never shop when hungry
  • Plan healthy meals and snacks to take to work
  • Avoid fad dieting
  • Set realistic wt loss goals (eg 0.5-1kg wt loss per week)
  • Plan for failure – you aren’t robots, shit will hit the fan!. How can you minimise the harm this does on your wt loss progress? Learn from it
  • NEVER cut out favourite foods completely – this puts you at risk of binging on them. Instead, look to reduce amount &/or frequency
  • Make friends with water

Q) We get asked constantly by members what they should consume before and after workouts. What are your tips for pre and post-workout nutrition?

A) Avoid pre-workout supplements, instead, go for a piece of fruit + cup tea/coffee (if you need caffeine). Post-workout aim for a high protein + carb snack (eg fruit + yoghurt) OR protein shake within 15-20mins after a workout. If a dedicated meal falls within this time then use it as the post-workout nutrition

Q) Our new 8-week program starts this week. Our members consistently get great results from these challenges. Can you explain why does the 8-week program is so effective?

A) The program’s success lays predominately with the fact that everyone involved is a specialist in their field. This ensures participants are getting the correct support needed. It’s a program that doesn’t promote unsustainable nutrition goals like many others do. Participants can continue with the same principles well after the 8 weeks, reducing the risk of rebounding and regaining the weight lost. It’s a program that proves if you put in the work with training and nutrition you WILL achieve great results.

For more info on our 8-week program click here.

Weight Loss Nutrition


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