Posted 2 months ago

Can you take a step back when dieting?

Did you know that you don’t have to be going 100mph your whole dieting phase? Do you think you needed to always be pushing more cardio or eating less food?

With a prolonged dieting phase such as a 16-20 week prep, it’s usually a must. As stress on the body increases week to week there may come a point where everything in the body slows down. Fat loss, recovery and metabolic process will slow, and one of the only ways to off-set this and get things moving again is to take a step back with training and/or increasing food intake.

You may wonder why increasing food might help? Well as we diet down, cortisol, known as a glucocorticoid, levels increase dramatically. This can be seen as the enemy of fat loss and will also promote muscle breakdown.

One proven way to mitigate the effects of this is to increase calorie intake for a short while, say 1-2 days. Cortisol levels decrease, you feel better and fat loss can then continue to move forward on a weekly basis. The leaner you get, the more frequent you will need to add more food. But this will only be the case in individuals that are extremely lean.

During this period when you increase food you could also strip back training intensity, as well as overall output such as cardio and steps. The combination of more food and less output can give the body the time is requires to recover, before you go right back into your dieting phase.

This short time period often sees a positive effect in the look of the physique, a massive reduction in inflammation, an increase in intramuscular glycogen stores (fuller) and a huge psychological boost. 

With a calorie deficit being accumulated over days and weeks this will do nothing in regards to fat mass. I often describe it as you’ve been digging a very deep hole, and with the increase in food, you just throw some sand back in, but the hole is still deep and the sand simply allows you to dig faster and deeper.

After this dietary break the individual will feel ten times better and train harder. Accompany this will less inflammation, usually a few days later we see a leaner and fuller physique.

Vaughan Wilson Bsc Hons