What exactly is reverse dieting?
Reverse dieting is a method of slowly increasing your calories after being in a deficit until you are eating at or above maintenance levels. This is necessary for building muscle and making significant changes to your body. This might have someone shift from eating 1500 cals to 2500 or 3000 cals daily.
This can also be known as “off season” vs. “on season” for fitness competitors. If you are training for a completion, you will be training “on season” by following a restricted diet and high intensity exercise. Your goal here will be fat loss and getting as lean as possible. After your competition is over, you switch to the “off season” and follow a more relaxed diet. In this case, you will focus on building muscle and making changes to your physique.
The truth is it is extremely unhealthy to be in a negative energy balance for a prolonged period of time. Eating at maintenance levels will allow your metabolism to reignite and kick-start before you start cutting again. This allows you to get physically stronger, improve your endurance, boost your metabolism and increase your muscle mass.
How can reverse dieting help you?
Nobody can stay on a diet forever; this is why it is important to give your body and your mind a break from time to time. Whether you are a competitive fitness model or someone who wants to lose weight, taking a break from your diet might be the secret to help you get extremely lean. This does not mean going overboard and eating everything in sight, but rather clean, sensible eating to maintain your current weight before dieting again.
Another way of looking at this is taking one step back in order to take two steps forward. After taking a break from your diet, you will emerge stronger and have that extra drive to push even harder. Don’t throw in the towel if your fat loss has come to a halt. Give yourself a pat on the back, take a break and get started again.
I’m about to transition from “off season” to “on season”. I’ve worked hard to progress with my training and focus on building muscle. Now it’s time to start cutting and getting lean again. I’m going to try even harder than I did last year.