People always ask me how many calories they should be eating. I try to avoid replying with a number because it’s not only the quantity but also the quality that counts. However, since some people are adamant about numbers, then here is my take on calorie intake for weight gain or weight loss.
Keep in mind, this is based on a theory of energy balance, which in itself is a theoretical construct. It’s all a little bit wonky when it comes down to it, but the theory of energy balance makes the best predictions for changes in body composition that we have at our disposal.
What Is Reverse Dieting
Reverse dieting means returning to a previous caloric intake after a period of fat loss, in order to attenuate the rate at which bodyfat is lost and to maximize the amount of lean mass (muscle) that is gained.
Now let’s begin with properly defining reverse dieting: Reverse dieting is returning to a previous caloric intake after a period of fat.
Reverse Dieting Tip #1
Detail your progress with both numbers and pictures. This will create a more effective record of your progress, but it will also provide you with an incentive to keep going.
Reverse Dieting Tip #2
Don’t work out without having eaten properly beforehand. You risk injuring yourself if you don’t eat before working out and you’ll burn less fat because you won’t be able to work as hard during your workouts.
Eat at least .5 gram of protein per pound of body weight (before workout) and make sure there is some carbohydrate included in the meal too (no more than 1/3 of the total calories), post-workout recovery is just as important as pre-workout nutrition for muscle building so always take care of your muscles.
Reverse Dieting Tip #3
Don’t overtrain. If you are experiencing symptoms of overtraining, you need to take a step back and consider if what you are doing is productive or not, don’t be afraid to take rest days because these rest days will also help point out any weaknesses in your overall plan that you should address.
Reverse Dieting Tip #4
Do resistance workouts with weights 2-3 times per week for 40-60 minutes (duration can vary based on personal condition). Cardio workouts should last no more than 15 minutes the first time and then gradually increase by 5 minute increments every other week until desired levels are reached (for fat loss).
Do not do more than 3 resistance workouts / 1 cardio workout per day – even then, this is more than most people are willing to do.
Reverse Dieting Tip #5
Do not eat meals containing less than 20 grams of protein within 6 hours of going to sleep because it will go straight to your muscles for repair and growth while you are sleeping instead of being used as an energy source or being stored as fat.
Reverse Dieting Tip #6
Plan ahead so you have no excuse for ordering pizza when friends come overwrite a meal plan on paper at least one week in advance that includes all meals, snacks, and calorie totals (based on personal requirement). This will help keep you accountable.
Reverse Dieting Tip #7
Be consistent with your workouts for 30 days before making significant changes to your workout regimen (whether adding new exercises or increasing weights).
You can change your workout any time you desire, but make sure to give yourself at least one month before making changes.
Reverse Dieting Tip #8
A great way to see how much progress you are making is by taking weekly photos of yourself – front, back, left profile, right profile – with clothes on that are tight enough to show off definition.
This will allow you to not only see the work you are doing but will also motivate you because looking at photos of where you were last week compared to your body now will provide instant gratification even if nothing shows on the scale yet.
Reverse Dieting Tip #9
You should create a daily calorie “budget” using an app to calculate out how many calories per day you should be eating, but make sure you are not staying under 14 cal/lb (30 cal/kg).
Reverse Dieting Tip #10
You have to sleep 7-8 hours per night minimum for your body to function properly, so if you are not getting this amount of sleep do what is necessary to fix it. If you can’t go to bed earlier at least wear an eye mask so the light doesn’t affect your circadian rhythm.
Reverse Dieting Tip #11
The most effective way to increase fat loss is by performing HIIT cardio workouts because these workouts require a longer duration of time for your body’s energy utilization system to kick in which means you burn more calories during and after the workout session.
A good rule of thumb for how long these types of cardio workouts should be is to perform them at least 30 minutes in length.
Reverse Dieting Tip #12
For a weight training routine to be regarded as “high intensity,” it needs to last 45 minutes or less and have a rest-pause between sets of no more than 90 seconds.
Otherwise, your workout isn’t going to be very intense because you will be resting too long between sets which reduces the amount of lactate production within the muscles, making it harder for your muscles to grow while exposed to that stress.
Also, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts are better at stimulating fat loss than steady-state cardio workouts.
Reverse Dieting Tip #13
If you are trying to decrease body fat, avoid eating foods with high amounts of omega 6 fatty acids (most people get enough of these fatty acids since they are found in most grains and seed oils) but if you do eat foods containing omega 6, make sure to balance it out with plenty of foods containing omega 3 as well.
Reverse Dieting Tip #14
For exercise/food to be effective at losing body fat it must target the Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors (PPARs), PPAR gamma specifically because this receptor is responsible for hormone-sensitive lipase which causes a release of stored body fat from adipocytes so it can be used as energy.
Reverse Dieting Tip #15
If you have a slow metabolism or have a hard time gaining muscle, eating 45 grams of protein within minutes after training will prove beneficial.
This is because it takes about 45 minutes for the body to start breaking down your hard-earned muscle tissue, so eating a protein shake during this time will save your muscles from being broken down and provide you with a nice lean gain.
Reverse Dieting Tip #16
When trying to lose weight avoid using low volume/intensity routines, instead try high volume/intensity routines as these types of workouts burn more calories and can stimulate more fat loss than their lower intensity counterparts.
Also if you want to avoid losing as much muscle when losing fat, drop those isolation exercises and focus on basic compound lifts such as squats, deadlifts, rows, bench press, etc…
The same holds true for nutrition: eat enough protein but concentrate mainly on whole foods that came from the ground (fruits, veggies, legumes).
Reverse Dieting Tip #17
You should always perform enough training volume to produce an excess post-workout oxygen consumption (EPOC) for between 12-24 hours after your workouts.
This is because EPOC will increase your metabolism by 5% for about 24 hours which means you’ll burn more calories at rest than normal, but this also means that you can consume more food without gaining weight.
Reverse Dieting Tip #18
The best way to improve muscle recovery time is via proper supplementation; specifically “Branched Chain Amino Acids” or BCAAs.
These are very important amino acids to take within 30 mins before and/or after a workout because they prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue during intense training and increase fat loss by increasing insulin sensitivity which means you can consume more carbs without adding body fat.
Reverse Dieting Tip #19
The best way to control ghrelin, the hormone responsible for stimulating hunger, is by controlling blood sugar levels (if they are high/low then ghrelin will be increased as it tries to restore balance).
The main thing that elevates blood sugar levels is eating carbohydrates so if you want to control ghrelin, don’t eat a lot of carbs at one time; only eat them spread out throughout the day and minimize consumption of simple sugars.
Ghrelin can also be controlled by consuming 5-10 grams of BCAAs before heavy meals containing starches and simple sugars because this will reduce ghrelin levels.
Reverse Dieting Tip #20
Adding medium-intensity cardio to your workouts will boost their effectiveness by increasing the number of calories burned during and after your workouts, but make sure you don’t do them too often or else glycogen will get depleted thus making it harder to maintain/gain muscle mass.
The best times for this type of cardio are either early in the morning on an empty stomach, or right after weight training because that’s when muscles are more receptive to glucose uptake which helps replenish glycogen stores. For fat loss purposes three 20-30 minute sessions per week is enough at a moderate intensity (60-70% of max heart rate).
Reverse Dieting Tip 21
When trying to lose body fat, utilizing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can help you to lose more fat than traditional steady-state cardio. This is because short bursts of high intensity exercise burn a lot of calories and this type of training boosts your metabolism for upwards of 24 hours after the workout.
The best way to do HIIT is by doing 20 seconds work with 40 seconds rest for between 5-20 sets; switch back and forth between exercising at the maximal intensity and resting as needed (this helps keep up mental awareness).
Reverse Dieting Tip #22
A very important tip that will help boost muscle growth through nutrient partitioning is consuming 1g/lb body weight or 2g/kg bodyweight protein per day, but also making sure to eat just enough carbs so glycogen stores are full without overboard thus triggering excess insulin release, but not too little because that will cause muscle loss.
To control your blood sugar levels it’s best to eat 5-6 small meals per day with the same amount of carbs eaten at each meal.
Reverse Dieting Tip #23
A great way to train your legs is by utilizing unilateral movements because they will allow you to lift more weight without putting as much stress on your spine.
Some types of leg training worthy of consideration are single leg RDLs, split squats, lunges and reverse lunges; all these lifts put less pressure on the spine than regular barbell squats or deadlifts for example.
A good rule of thumb when it comes to strength training is that if something doesn’t look like a “functional” movement, then it probably isn’t.
Reverse Dieting Tip #24
To have a well-functioning metabolism your body needs to be in an “anabolic state” most of the time, otherwise, you’ll end up gaining more fat than muscle.
One way to keep your body fat percentage low is by utilizing frequent feeding which means eating six small meals per day every 2-3 hours before bedtime or after workouts (to provide nutrients for recovery).
This eating pattern will boost your metabolic rate and insulin sensitivity thus preventing fat gain.
Reverse Dieting Tip #25
If you want to break out of a rut with regards to training it’s best not to only change the exercises you’re doing but also try changing the order in which you do them because sometimes that can make a huge difference when it comes to how your body reacts.
For example, you could place exercises that are easier to perform when tired (such as squats and deadlifts) towards the beginning of your workout instead of at the end because this way you’ll be able to last longer during more intense movements such as bench press and shoulder presses.
I Increased My Metabolism By 500 Calories
These are great reverse diet results! She used the last three months to speed up her metabolism naturally by 500 calories, which has set her up very nicely to lose weight for summer! From here, she will be starting her dieting plans for summer so make sure you subscribe to follow her journey!
Reverse Dieting Results ▼
Reverse Dieting Results