How To Use Nutrition Periodization For Fat Loss

Are you always training & dieting... but never look like some who’s always training & dieting?

Nutrition periodization is what you're missing. 

Nutrition periodization is a methodology that we use with all of our online clients

We've found it to be much more effective than the traditional diet strategy of just following "cutting" or "bulking" phases until you get as lean or as muscular as you want. 

Following the "traditional" approaches usually results in one of two outcomes:

1. WHEN DIETING: You spend 6-8 months dieting, but never achieve the lean, strong physique you want. At the end of the diet, you're exhausted, your body looks more "skinny-fat" than lean and strong, and you're confused as to why (once again) dieting "doesn't seem to work for you".

2. WHEN BULKING: You spend months eating lots of food, and watching the scale go up. At the end of your bulk, you realize most of your added "bulk" is fat, not muscle. You wasted months getting a lot fluffier... with very little to show for it. 

Hard working clients like you deserve better for all of your efforts. You shouldn't have to feel like you're always working harder than everyone else, but never seeing the results.

This is exactly why we created this unique nutrition periodization approach.

When applied properly, it will help you build more muscle, get leaner, and stay healthier than any other nutrition protocol you've followed. Best of all, your results will be much easier to sustain permanently. 

WHAT IS NUTRITION PERIODIZATION? 🥦

DEFINITION: Nutrition periodization - Using different phases of nutrition (instead of just "always dieting") to get or stay leaner, build more muscle, and maintain healthier hormones along the way. 

Again, by using a phased approach to your physique goals (whether they're losing fat or building muscle), you can offset many of the negative adaptations that come from the traditional "cutting or bulking" approach.

Over the course of months (or as long as you're coaching with us), we'll cycle you in & out of these different phases of nutrition: 

→ Primer Phases  

→ Fat Loss Phases 

→ Diet Breaks    

→ Reverse Diets

→ Maintenance Phases  

→ Building Phases 

→Mini-Cuts ⠀ 

All of the phases support each other, & synergistically push you closer to your goal physique.

So you're probably thinking...

"Ok... so how do I actually apply this method to myself?"

Let's dig into an example of how we'd apply our method to an online client chasing fat loss, while also keeping (or ideally building) muscle along the way.

PHASE 1: THE PRIMER PHASE 📈

If you're new to tracking macros (something we require all of our online clients to do) or the lifestyle required for physique development, trying to jump right into a fat loss phase will set you up for almost immediate failure.

Instead, many of our online clients (but not all, depending on how experienced you are & your dieting history) will start the fat loss process in The Primer Phase.

It's not something you hear a lot of coaches or dieters talk about, but it's vital to your fat loss success once you start the diet.

THE PRIMER PHASE - OVERVIEW:

The goal here isn't to lose fat. 

We want to get you consistently hitting your macro and fiber targets, improve food quality, make sure you're hitting your movement goals, feeling well fueled in your training, and fully recovered from your previous diet. 

All of this will make your upcoming fat loss phase much easier and more successful. You can essentially think of this as the "driver's education" course you had to take before earning your drivers license. 

THE PRIMER PHASE - DEEP DIVE:

In this phase, we’re doing a lot of psychological and physiological work to prime your body and mind to create the best fat loss results possible when you enter the Fat Loss Phase.

This starts with...

1. CREATING YOUR TAILORED DIET STRUCTURE

One of the biggest keys to fat loss success is individualization - the diet needs to fit your unique goals, current body composition, hormones, and more.

After our initial discovery call with clients + a very in-depth questionnaire and assessment of your food logs & diet/nutrition history, your coach will use this information to create your customized nutrition protocol. 

The key things we take into account when building an online client's nutrition protocol:

  • Lifestyle 
  • Dieting history 
  • Food preferences 
  • Personality type 
  • Desired rate of progress 
  • Stress levels 
  • Career 
  • Current biofeedback 
  • Time investment 
  • Activity levels 
  • Preferred style of training

This ensures that out of the gate, your diet is not only one you can actually stick to for the duration of the fat loss phase, but also one that will yield the best possible physical result.

2. TEACHING YOU THE RIGHT WAY TO TRACK MACROS WITH EASE & ACCURACY

Ever spent months tracking your food, and eating what seems to be a very low amount of calories based on every online calculator you've seen... but still not losing?

This happens very frequently, because you haven't been taught the right way to track your macros accurately. Which leads to...

“I’ve only been eating 1,000 calories per day for MONTHS, and I STILL can’t lose weight.”

Macros are a great tool for improving your physique. But only if you know how to track them correctly.

We also don't want your tracking to feel life-consuming. So we use the Primer Phase to teach you how to make social events work, apply the principles of flexible dieting, and learn the macro tracking hacks you need to make this process easier and more sustainable. 

3. FINDING YOUR MAINTENANCE CALORIE INTAKE

Before we can prescribe fat loss macros, we need to know what amount of food you can eat to maintain your current body composition. This is what we're determining in the Primer Phase, so you can enter the Fat Loss Phase eating as much food as possible while losing at the desired rate. 

Your maintenance calories are also often increasing through the Primer Phase, as you're eating more protein (which burns more calories during digestions vs. the other macros), eating more whole foods (which burn more calories during digestion than processed foods), and are better matching your macros to your training (so that more food is being used for fueling & recovering from training vs. being partitioned to fat storage).

Time focused on maintenance in the Primer Phase is advantageous because it often allows you to start the Fat Loss Phase eating more food than you would've been able to if you'd just jumped right into the fat loss phase. This means better training, more muscle, and better hormones in the Fat Loss Phase. 

4. TEACHING YOU BETTER FOOD SELECTION FOR YOUR GOALS

First, you need to understand that a healthier body is a more responsive body.

So we'll be spending a good amount of time working through your food logs to ensure that you're getting the right dose of important nutrients to health like fiber, fatty acids, vitamins, and more.

This allows you to feel, perform, and recover better from your training vs. what you were capable of before - as a whole, it makes losing fat and building muscle easier. (This is an important part of building a great physique that's often overlooked by "macro coaches".)

We also want to teach you how to make dieting easier by keeping hunger lower with smart food selection.

Depending on your food choices, 1,000 calories can feel like a lot of food... or very little.

(Image: @thefitnesschef_)

Basically, we’re teaching you how to choose foods that make you full for relatively low calories. Overeating (even after you’re done with your diet and just want to maintain) will become much harder. 

This makes your new and improved physique at the end of the Fat Loss Phase much easier to keep long-term

5. IMPROVING CONSISTENCY WITH DAILY MOVEMENT TARGETS

The biggest difference between the metabolisms of lean and obese individuals? 

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (N.E.A.T.).  

N.E.A.T. is all your movement outside of the gym that burns calories - pacing, blinking, doing laundry, etc. Studies have shown there is a HUGE amount of variability in calories burned through N.E.A.T from person-to-person. (Up to 2,000 calories per day.)

SCIENCE TRANSLATOR 🤓

RMR stands for resting metabolic rate - this is the amount of calories your body burns at rest. Even if you stayed in bed all day, your RMR would stay the same.

As you can see, calories burned from RMR (which is something you don't have a lot of control over) were in a very similar range from person to person... but the amount of calories people burned through NEAT caused massive differences in total daily calorie burn. 

When you start a fat loss phase, to counteract this decrease in calories, your body subconsciously reduces N.E.A.T. - this means you’re eating less... but also burning less.

This is another common reason people can eat very low calories and still not lose fat.

So before we put you into a fat loss phase, we must first ensure you’re consistently hitting a daily movement target (a daily step goal we have online clients track daily in their accountability tracker). This means nothing is left unaccounted for when it comes to your fat loss success.

6. RECOVERING FROM YOUR LAST DIET

Depending on how long ago you dieted and how lean you got, the Primer Phase is a must to set you up for another successful fat loss phase. 

The recovery of many hormones such as testosterone, cortisol, and thyroid hormone, along with your metabolism and regaining lean mass (a big part of your metabolism) doesn’t happen overnight.  

The harsher and more recent your previous diet was, the longer you need to spend in the Primer Phase. In some cases, you shouldn't be dieting for the foreseeable, and we'll push you to undergo a Building Phase instead.

In most cases, the Primer Phase can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks, depending on where you're coming from, and not all clients will need it (but like all things physique development, it's highly individual). 

If you don't have the foundation the Primer Phase provides, success in the Fat Loss Phase will be unlikely. 

PHASE 2: THE FAT LOSS PHASE 🔥

This is only phase of nutrition periodization most are already well versed with.

The fat loss phase (when approached and planned correctly) yields the quickest visual changes. 

But you need to understand that it also creates a huge amount of stress, both physically and psychologically - which is why periodization instead of just "always dieting" is so important.

THE FAT LOSS PHASE - OVERVIEW:

Look at fat loss like a roadtrip... 

Fat loss phases are when you're actually losing body fat. They're like the actual time spent driving down the highway. 

Primer phases, maintenance phases, diet breaks and refeeds as the tools we use that help you maintain the results you achieved in the fat loss phase(s) long-term. They're like breaks at the gas stations, mechanic, and rest stops.

THE FAT LOSS PHASE - DEEP DIVE:

1. RATE OF LOSS IN THE FAT LOSS PHASE

Really, there are tons of variables here... but generally, most will do best aiming to lose .5-1% of body weight per week.  

Dropping below this rate of loss makes sense for those looking to build muscle simultaneously.  

Going above this rate makes sense for those with a lot of weight to lose.

For more on setting up macros during a fat loss phase, desired rate of loss, making adjustments, and more, check out The Complete Guide To Setting Your Macros For Any Goal.

2. CALORIE CYCLING IN THE FAT LOSS PHASE

Calorie cycling simply means that you have higher and lower calorie days throughout the week. 

There's nothing magic about calorie cycling for fat loss - if total calories consumed at the end of the week are the same, it won't make much difference whether you cycled calories our not... you'll have lost the same amount of fat.

But since most of our online clients are chasing not just fat loss, but body composition improvements (meaning that building or maintaining muscle is just as much a priority as losing fat), calorie cycling can help clients train harder, recover better, and end the diet with a better body composition.

A few different strategies we use:

→ SINGLE DAY REFEEDS (The 6/1 Macro Split)

Here you’re spending 6 days in a deficit (I.e. 700 calories below your maintenance intake) followed by 1 day at your maintenance calories.

This increase in calories will come primarily from carbs, as this will help refill your muscle gylcogen stores (think: carbs that are stored in your muscle that help fuel your training). 

It's smart to put this the day before or on your hardest training day of the week, as you'll be able to push harder & recover better with the increase in muscle glycogen.

If you're more concerned with lifestyle flexibility vs. optimizing your training, you'll likely want to use this over the weekend for a bit more food flexibility.

→ HIGH/LOW DAYS

To completely optimize your training and body composition changes, this can be a very effective approach.

Basically, we're increasing calories (again via carbs) on training days, and keeping them lower on rest days.

We're simply matching the times when your body needs the most food/carbs with the times that we're feeding you more (which of course allows for better performance and recovery), and feeding you a bit less on days that your body needs less food to push along your fat loss at a quicker rate. 

All that said, none of this is one-size-fits-all. Many of our clients find it easiest to be consistent just eating the same amount of seven days per week. 

3. MONITORING BIOFEEDBACK IN THE FAT LOSS PHASE

When you’re in a Fat Loss Phase, we need to keep a close eye on your biofeedback. 

This is one of the main metrics we use to measure how close to a "fat loss wall" you are/how soon we need to transition you to the next phase of nutrition periodization.  

Some sure signs that it’s almost time to transition out of a Fat Loss Phase include multiple weeks of…

→ High hunger levels: Some hunger is normal for dieting, and a good sign that you’re eating fewer calories than you’re burning. That said, we usually want this to be somewhere on a 2.5-3.5 (scale of 1-5). Once clients get into the 4-5 range consistently, we know it’s probably time to change phases, as constantly high hunger makes the diet hard to adhere to for most. That said, context is super important here. If you're already pretty lean and trying to get leaner... it's likely that you'll just have to deal with a good amount of hunger. That's part of pushing your body below a "comfortable" level of body fat. 

→ High cravings: Again, some cravings are normal in a Fat Loss Phase. But when these are consistently high, adherence and results starts to suffer.

→ Low motivation: When clients start ranking their motivation level 1-3, I know that they’re starting to accumulate a lot of diet fatigue. 

→ Poor mood: Similar to motivation, when a client consistently starts to rank their mood poorly in their biofeedback tracker, we know that the diet is starting to take it’s psychological toll, and it’s near time to transition out.

A good rule of thumb we use for most online clients: 1-2 weeks of maintenance for every 6-12 weeks of dieting.

PHASE 3: THE DIET BREAK PHASE 🧬

Diet breaks reduce hunger and have lots of psychological benefits that make it easier for you to be extremely consistent with your diet once you get back to it. 

THE DIET BREAK PHASE - OVERVIEW:

A diet break is a 3-14 day period of eating more calories.   

The goal here isn't to gain or lose fat, simply to eat at your maintenance calorie intake. Usually this increase in calories is coming primarily form eating more carbohydrates.

THE DIET BREAK PHASE - A DEEP DIVE:

So the question you're asking is...

1. WHY TAKE A DIET BREAK IF MY GOAL IS TO LOSE FAT?

→ Diet Breaks Refill Muscle Glycogen Stores

As discussed before, muscle glycogen is essentially carbohydrate stored in your muscle and liver.  

Having larger stores of this is beneficial to your ability to train hard.  

But of course, as carbs get more limited on a diet, muscle glycogen stores decrease, which in turn can hurt your ability to train hard.  

Taking a diet break allows you to refill muscle glycogen stores, and improve training quality dramatically.

→ Diet Breaks Decrease Hunger

A recent study on one week diet breaks by Jackson Peos and colleagues (1) seemed to show they're an effective tool to decrease hunger and desire to eat:

A decrease in hunger of course means that it will be easier to stick to your diet again once you get back to the Fat Loss Phase. 

It may seem like taking a step back to take a diet break... but really, they'll usually allow you to be done dieting sooner, because you're able to stick to the plan more consistently after taking a pit stop, rather than trying to grind it out.

The people you know who have been dieting for years, and still haven't achieved the results they want are also the ones that refuse to take a diet break. 

Now the reality is, there hasn't been a ton of research on diet breaks in the sense we’re talking about here. 

But along with the aforementioned ICECAP trail, we have a few others that are pretty promising.

#1: This study from 2003 set out to prove that longer diet breaks would be detrimental to weight loss. 

However, they found out there wasn’t a statistically significant difference in weight loss between groups that continuously dieted and those that took diet breaks, for the same period of time. (So the diet break group spent less total time dieting, but lost the same amount of weight as those who dieted non-stop.)

#2: The Matador Study. This study had two groups on a diet. 

Group 1: Followed the diet for 16 weeks straight, in a 33% calorie deficit. 

Group 2: Dieted in a 33% calorie deficit, followed by two weeks at maintenance calories. They alternated between the two until they had completed 16 total weeks of dieting. (So it took them twice as long.) 

At the end of the study, the diet break group lost more fat, more weight, and seemed to see less adaptation in their metabolisms.

SCIENCE TRANSLATOR 🤓

As you can see from the graph above (taken from the study), resting energy expenditure (REE) remained higher in the intermittent dieting/diet break group (INT) than the continuous diet group (CON).

#3: The Diet Breaks/Diet Refeeds Study. This study took two groups through a 7 week diet. 

→ Group 1: Ate in a 25% calorie deficit, for 7 weeks straight. 

→ Group 2: Ate in a 35% calorie deficit 5 days per week, but every weekend increased calories to maintenance levels via carbohydrates (so the weekly deficit for both groups was equated). They followed this pattern for 7 weeks.

Both groups lost about 5.5 pounds of fat. But Group 2 was seemingly able to maintain more lean muscle mass during the seven diet - they lost less than a pound of muscle, while Group 2 lost nearly 3 pounds. 

Maintaining more lean muscle means that your BMR, TEF, and calories burned via NEAT are higher. 

So, these studies seem to show that taking diet breaks can lead to higher basal metabolic rate and maintaining more lean muscle - both of which equal a faster metabolism.

2. OTHER DIET BREAK CONSIDERATIONS

→ Food Choices: The biggest diet break mistake people make is thinking a diet break is a time to just constantly eat lots of calorie-dense foods.  This pretty quickly puts you over your calorie goal, and isn't a realistic picture of how you need to eat long-term to sustain your results.  Stick mostly to the foods you normally eat, just in greater quantities. When you try to work in too many calorically-dense foods, you can easily eat more calories but be less satiated than when you're on your diet.  

→ Weight Gain: You’ll likely feel a bit fluffier and weigh a bit more. Your body is holding more water, and your gut content has increased. This doesn't mean you’ve gained fat back.  If calories in are equal to calories out (which is the goal in a diet break), you won't gain fat. 

→ Mindset: This isn't just a time where you eat whatever and don't track. Think of this time as practicing maintaining, refuel your body, and prepare mentally for the next fat loss phase.

Most individuals with <10-15% of their total body weight to lose will be able to achieve their fat loss goals by alternating between 1-2 Fat Loss Phases and Diet Break Phases, before moving on to the next phase.

PHASE 4: THE REVERSE DIET 📊

The worst thing you can do is go into the post-diet period without a plan. This is a sure recipe for rebounding weight. 

This is exactly where the reverse diet comes into play.

THE REVERSE DIET PHASE - OVERVIEW:

We're bringing clients back to their new maintenance calories A.S.A.P, and then seeing how high we can get maintenance calories (within what's needed for the client) without fat gain.

THE REVERSE DIET PHASE - DEEP DIVE:

The mistake a lot of people make is trying to reverse way too slowly, and often trying to stay at an unhealthy level of leanness.  

What ends up happening is, you spend months extra in a deficit (which usually correlates to feeling & training terrible). This leads to months of wasted time that could have been productive training and making progress in the gym. 

The reality is, we all have a certain body fat percentage we need to be at to feel good, train hard, and actually allow our body to prioritize building muscle.  

No amount of reverse dieting can make up for the fact that if you're sitting below this point, you won't build muscle, feel good, or have healthy hormones.  

Basically, being a bit more aggressive coming out of a diet (to a degree) makes sense. 

When reverse dieting we need to consider the desired outcome - which is to get your hormones & training back to a good place, right?  

Problem is, if you're just reversing you out of a diet extremely slowly, you're still in a deficit for another 10-20 weeks.  

That means another 10-20 weeks where hormones & training suck, until we eventually reach maintenance, and then your body can start to recover. 

Unless your goal is simply to maintain, the sooner you can get back to productive training, the sooner we can get back to building the physique you want long-term.  

Spending actual time eating more food and building muscle is the best way to increase your metabolism, and make getting lean easier in the future.  

Next time you get lean, you'll have more muscle mass (even if you don't lose fat, INCREASE muscle mass decreases your body fat - which will make looking lean easier)

WHAT IS A REVERSE DIET?

Reverse dieting is simply our way of finding how high we can push a clients calories post diet without them gaining excess fat. 

This is helpful for two reasons:

1. Makes it easier for clients who are content with their current bodies to keep their results - they know the most calories they can eat and maintain on.  

2. It tells us where we need to set calories to hit a target rate of gain for clients entering a building phase. 

So when we start feeding you more and your body senses more energy coming in post-diet, your metabolism will start to speed back up again, because...  

1. You're eating more, so the thermic effect of food will be increased.   

2. Since you're eating more, you'll have more energy. So N.E.A.T. will increase. 

3. Due to increased energy, you'll also like train harder (and thus burn more calories).  

4. Many will add back some weight via muscle mass, muscle glycogen, and gut content. A heavier, more muscular body is one that'll burn more calories, both when moving and at rest.  

So, what we're doing in the reverse dieting process is trying to match these gradual increases in metabolism with your calorie intake.  

Let's dive in to a general outline of the reverse dieting process we use with most clients: 

1. HOW TO START A REVERSE DIET

When you've achieved your fat loss goal, we'll start by bumping your calories to 80-90% of your new estimated maintenance intake.  

Let's say you started the diet 30 pounds heavier than you are now. 30 lbs ago, you maintained your weight on 3000 calories... but again, your metabolism slows across the diet.  

This means your new maintenance intake will be lower than your starting maintenance intake was... so don't jump back to where your maintenance calories at the start of the diet were.   

To make calculating your new maintenance easy, let's say you've been losing one pound per week for the last four weeks. 

- We know that to lose a pound of fat, you need to be eating in about a 3,500 calorie deficit. And let's say you've been eating 2000 calories per day. 

- Since you're losing 1 lb per week, we know you're about 3,500 calories below maintenance per week, or 500 calories below maintenance per day.   

- We can assume to maintain your weight, you could eat 2,500 calories per day/3,500 calories per week. 

So to start the reverse diet, we're going to bump you up to 80-90% of this estimated maintenance, just to make sure you don't overshoot that and actually gain fat.   

We prefer this large initial jump with clients, because being in a calorie deficit is very taxing both physically and psychologically. It's very stressful, and not something you want to spend unnecessary time doing.  

So we're going to bump you up close to your new estimate and maintenance as quickly as possible.  

2. HOW TO TELL IF A REVERSE DIET IS WORKING

Here's what we're looking at with clients to gauge if the reverse diet is working:

→ Body weight: The first week of the reverse diet, most women will gain about 1-3 lbs of weight. Most men will gain about2-4 lbs.  

You're taking in more carbs, and eating more total food.   

Glycogen stores are being refilled - basically, your muscles are going to take in more carbohydrates, which are also going to soak up more water. This will help training performance & recovery. 

Plus, you literally just have more food weight (gut content) in your belly.    

The thing to realize is, this isn't fat gain. It's glycogen, water, and gut content.  

→ Measurements: As always with our online clients, we're assessing how measurements are changing - not just looking at weight.   

Here's how we have our online clients take measurements:

We're looking for these to more or less stay the same, except for the 2" below the navel - this is the measurement that's most reactive to gut content, so it's was normal for this to be up a bit.  

It's also normal week to week to see +/- .25"-.5" measurement increase or decreases, but they'll bring themselves back to baseline over the next 1-2 weeks if you're truly at maintenance - so avoid overcorrecting here. 

→ Biofeedback: We want to see hunger and cravings decreasing, motivation, energy levels, training performance, and recovery (all things we have our online clients track) improving. 

→ Mindset: It's super important to stay just as focused, and pay just as much attention to detail during the reverse diet as during the fat loss phase (this is a big part of why being coached through this process yields such good results).  

This is how we get you to the point where you can maintain you current body composition at a higher calorie intake in the future, but you have to absolutely attack this process. 

3. WHEN TO INCREASE CALORIES IN A REVERSE DIET

After week one of the reverse diet, we'll gauge how your body reacted to the jump in calories, and adjust accordingly.  

Typically, the first two weeks of the reverse, macros will stay the same. After the first week of initial increases, we're looking for measurements and weight to essentially stay stable during week two.

4. HOW TO INCREASE CALORIES IN A REVERSE DIET

Given weight and measurements stayed stable OR biofeedback is still poor,  we're going to add another 50-150 calories (depending on the size of the individual), and see how your body does with this.  

Through this entire process, we're constantly assessing your weight, body measurements, and biofeedback...

How's your training performance? is hunger decreasing? How's your mood? How's your motivation? 

...All things that should be improving as we're feeding you more and more.   

For some online clients, this process can continue for quite some time. but most typically, it'll last 4-8 weeks. 

→ Macros: No matter the nutrition phase, clients are going to be somewhere from 0.8 - 1.2g protein per lb body weight  

.8g/lb is the consensus "threshold" we want to hit for protein, but we prefer to have most clients closer to 1-1.2g/lb.  

Looking at protein quality (especially in a building phase), most will start to implement more grains, and other plant-based sources that contain trace protein.  

Problem is, the amino acid profile for plant-based sources of protein isn't as good for building/maintaining muscle,  so it makes sense to set protein slightly higher than the 0.8g/lb target.  

For fat intake, are you below .3g/lb? 

We know that below this intake, hormone production is going to be less than optimal, and you're more likely to develop fatty acid deficiencies. Think of .3g/lb as the "fat threshold".  

So if you're below this mark, bumping fat up to .3g/lb+ will be the first priority when increasing macros.   

If you're already consuming .3 - .4 grams of fat/lb, we're going to start the reverse dieting process primarily by increasing carbs. 

As long as you can check these "threshold" boxes for protein and fat, increasing carb will produce the quickest improvements in how you feel as a client.  

  • Training performance will improve.   
  • Recovery is going to be better.   
  • You're going to have more energy. 
  • Libido will increase.   
  • Carbs decrease cortisol and aid hormone production as well. So stress is going to be lower all, and you'll feel better all around. 

Typically, we'll increase carbs to 1.2 - 1.5g/lb as the first priority (assuming you're at the protein and fat thresholds).   

What we do from there is very much where the individualization aspect of online coaching comes in:

  • If you're more focused on continuing to improve your body composition, we'll continue to drive carbs up.
  • If you're more focused on maintenance/lifestyle flexibility, do you prefer more carbs or more fat? Whichever you tend to prefer, is what we're going to increase more... ~75% of what they prefer, 25% of the other macro.

5. WHEN TO STOP A REVERSE DIET:

Two things to look for here:

→ Trunk measurements and weight are staying relatively stable: Again, fluctuations of +/- .25"-.5" are normal, but larger increases for multiple weeks here indicate you've likely passed maintenance. 

Most online clients will have a “trouble spot” they really wanted to focus on losing fat from during the diet.  This seems to be the last place that said client loses fat from their body.  

It’s likely that the end of this clients diet phase was finally  shedding the fat from their “trouble spot”... after that, said client is content with their current level of leanness, and ready to focus on maintenance.

Conveniently, the last place we seem to lose fat from also seems to be the first place we regain it. 

This means that in a case where your client is gaining a bit of weight, but you think it could be lean muscle not fat, it makes sense to look at measurement increases at the client's “trouble spot” as a sign that they’re potentially gaining fat (for 90% of clients it will be navel measurements, but occasionally hips).  

If we start to see consecutive weeks of measurement increases at the trouble spot, it’s a good sign that body fat is being gained.  

→ Biofeedback is normal: We all have a certain body fat percentage “floor”... below this body fat percentage, you'll struggle with hunger, being food focused, low energy, poor hormones, & building muscle is very unlikely.  

As we've discussed, many of your hormones are a product of the amount of body fat you’re carrying, so no matter how much food you’re eating, you’ll still feel shitty below your “body fat floor”.  

While you can dip below this “floor” for short periods of time (e.g. for a photoshoot), living below it is not healthy or sustainable. So the reality is, occasionally clients will have to add back a bit of body fat in order to return biofeedback to healthy levels and quit feeling like a zombie. 

If a clients' biofeedback (weekly measures our clients submit for things like sleep, stress, motivation, mood, training performance, etc.) is still poor, they likely need to continue the reverse diet.  

And that is how you can use our nutrition periodization methods for more effective, healthier, and more sustainable fat loss.

Following this protocol, you'll have not only lost all of the body fat you initially set out to drop, but also maintained (or even built) lean muscle tissue and healthier hormones in the process.

This is very similar to the path that many of our online clients follow, and we've seen it work time and again for some jaw-dropping physique transformations.

WHAT'S NEXT? 🤔

You're probably wondering...

"The diet AND the diet after the diet (the reverse diet) is over... now what?"

I would first encourage you to not diet again for a long period of time. 

Because your physique actually improves in the time between diets, when you’re actually focusing on eating plenty of food and fueling performance (we call this "The Building Phase")

This is a much more optimal position for your body to build muscle from, and your body only looks different from one diet to the next if you’ve built muscle in the time between. Most people who struggle to get their bodies to change from one year to the next are simply spending too much time dieting, and thus not able to build muscle. 

If you’re at a reasonable, comfortable body fat, spending 75% of your year (or more) not dieting is a good rule of thumb for improving body composition year to year.

If you're ready to take the guesswork out of achieving your best physique ever, click here now to apply for Online Coaching with our team. You'll get the structure, accountability, and expert guidance you need through every step of the process.


WRITTEN FOR YOU BY JEREMIAH BAIR

I love simplifying the mysterious art and science of training and looking like it. I’ve been on my own journey, and I share what I’ve learned so you can get there faster, on my Podcast and on Instagram

Leave a comment