Contest season has come and gone. The months of grueling dieting and torture are over. There is a void. What now?
After dieting for a contest, or just dieting in general, you are more than likely going to want to put on some size again. It seems that when you are lean you want to be big, and when you are big you want to be lean. So, now that you are lean you want to get huge, but how? Stuff a bunch of burgers, fries, and pizza down the gullet? That’s a pretty good way to get big in the literal sense of the word, but more than likely you will put on a lot of unwanted body fat. How many times have you seen guys 40 pounds above stage weight in a matter of weeks?
The mistake that a lot of people make is too much too fast. You have been in a caloric deficit for months on end, with the tail end of the diet seeing the least amount of calories. Just as dieting is a gradual process, so is coming out of a diet. You know that progressive overload is paramount to a training program, so it makes sense then that progression is just as crucial when it comes to diet.
Reverse dieting is the concept of gradually increasing calories to maximize lean tissue gain, while minimizing body fat gain. The body is in a very sensitive state after dieting so hard for so long. It’s also in a very vulnerable state, positively and negatively. You can use this post diet window as an opportunity to set up the rest of your off season or bulk.
Metabolic down regulation occurs when your body becomes accustomed to a certain amount of energy input consistently. Maintenance before dieting might have been 3000 calories, but by being in a caloric deficit for a period of your time you created a new set point. That new set point might be significantly lower than what it was before your diet. So say this new set point is 1300 calories; you cannot just jump back to a diet with 3000 calories. That is a surefire way to get fat.
Leptin plays a key role in all of this. Leptin is the hormone that regulates your metabolism and determines how quickly you are burning through calories and your metabolic speed. Leptin levels dip very low in extreme dieting stages. A decrease in leptin means a decrease in metabolic rate, making your body less apt to burn calories and body fat. Your body is constantly trying to reach homeostasis, entering survival mode and holding on to as much body fat as possible.
With all this being said, it’s not as easy; nor is it as black and white, as it may seem. Dieting is hard, but dieting after being on a diet might even be harder. The last thing your mind or body is going to want is to jump back on a low calorie diet. It’s understandable to binge for a night or even a day after the competition or event. At the end of the day we are all human, and it’s good for the mind and soul to eat like a normal human for a bit. One night of gluttonous deed is not going to undo months’ worth of fat loss. Continue this trend and it will however.It’s important to understand where your calories are following a diet. This is your new set point and your new maintenance calories. You want to gradually increase your caloric intake to gain new muscle and speed up metabolism. It’s difficult to give a general guideline when it comes to reverse dieting as this is person dependent, but a good rule of thumb is to start with a 5 to 10 percent increase initially. These calories will come in the form of carbs or fats, or a combination of the two. Begin by adding these extra calories around the workout window, before, after, or during.A great tool to use to begin adding calories and carbs peri-workout would be Redcon1 Cluster Bomb. 25 grams of highly branched cyclic dextrin is a tremendous way to incorporate an extra 200 calories into your diet. Highly branched cyclic dextrin is easily digestible and fast acting, allowing your digestive tract an opportunity to recover following a diet with very little carbohydrates. Cluster Bomb will also give your body the glycogen it needs during training to grow. You will never feel a pump quite like one with added carbs during training after being depleted for such a long period of time.
It’s important from there to gradually increase calories until you have a new set point that is higher than your previous maintenance calories. If this happens you should be bigger than you were before you started dieting, and also leaner.
Following dieting your insulin sensitivity will be at an all-time high. Insulin sensitivity refers to your body’s ability to process carbohydrates and glucose in a manner that is efficiently using the least amount of indigenous insulin. Having greater insulin sensitivity is great for gaining muscle, putting your body into the greatest anabolic environment. Being hyper insulin sensitive means that your body will use lesser amounts of insulin in a more efficient manner. Insulin also has the greatest potential to store glucose as adipose body fat tissue.
How do we harness the power of insulin without getting the negatives associated with it? Redcon1 RPG is a glucose disposal agent that ensures insulin does not over saturate the body too quickly after carbohydrate consumption. Excess glucose not used for energy is either stored as muscle glycogen, or as fat stores. The ingredients in RPG act as an insulin mimetic, ensuring glucose is not stored as body fat. This type of product is crucial when backing out of a diet, as carbohydrates are reintroduced.
It’s extremely important following a caloric deficit to be as diligent with your diet as you were when you were truly dieting. Maximize the effects of a successful reverse diet and put on more quality muscle tissue than you ever have in your life.