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  1. #1
    Registered User chamelious's Avatar
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    Whats the current thinking on reverse dieting?

    I've read various different opinions over the years, people seem to go back and forth on if theres any benefit to it.

    Context: Will be coming out of a short cut in 3 or 4 weeks time. Might add a month on. Calories will end up quite low. (currently 1950, may drop another hundred/two hundred for final month). Wondering whether to taper cals back up to bulking range of 25-2700 ish.

    I know calories seem low, but my job and life is very sedentary other than the 3-5 hours a week I'm in the gym.

    Thanks.
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    It isn't necessary, but can be beneficial for some.

    In your case if your cut was only 3-4 weeks don't bother. You can go right back to lean gaining.
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    Registered User chamelious's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BabyOilBrah View Post
    It isn't necessary, but can be beneficial for some.

    In your case if your cut was only 3-4 weeks don't bother. You can go right back to lean gaining.
    The cut will be 2-3 months total. Many thanks.
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  6. #6
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    Originally Posted by muruku View Post
    Yeah, I agree with Lyle, reverse dieting is pointless and probably suboptimal. If you want to diet, just diet and get it over with.

    Originally Posted by Lyle McDonald
    Nor is he doing anything interesting in the first place except suggesting a really stupid way of 'fixing' damage that doesn't really exist in the first place.

    The ONLY reason to bring up calories this slowly is because most women are neurotic and freak out when their SCALE weight jumps from the increase in carbs.

    So panderers like Layne and Leigh Peele make them take 6 weeks to accomplish what should be done in a few days by not just explaining to them "Your weight will spike, it's all water, chill out." They make any 'repair' take longer by doing it this way. The sooner you get to maintenance, the sooner hormones stabilize.

    You can do it in 6 weeks or you can do it in a few days. Becuase keeping someone in a functional deficit for 6 weeks not only does NOT fix the problem, it probably makes it worse because they are still technically dieting.

    The entire concept is stupid from the get go and no amount of justification or apologism will change that.
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    So far I don't think there is much science on this so we're mostly working with anecdotal accounts and theory.

    Well, if you're talking about going from a long cut to a bulk then I think there is some advantage in either stabilizing or reverse dieting in between the two. I think the time spent between the two would depend on the length of the cut and I agree with Lyle that some people take that to ridiculous extremes. For normal transitions after reasonable length cutting cycles I'm not sure there is much advantage.
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    True nihilist EmperorRyker's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by blue9steel View Post
    So far I don't think there is much science on this so we're mostly working with anecdotal accounts and theory.

    Well, if you're talking about going from a long cut to a bulk then I think there is some advantage in either stabilizing or reverse dieting in between the two. I think the time spent between the two would depend on the length of the cut and I agree with Lyle that some people take that to ridiculous extremes. For normal transitions after reasonable length cutting cycles I'm not sure there is much advantage.
    A long cut is exactly when you don't want to reverse diet. You've already been messing up your hormonal state and have done so for a long time as it is. You want to get back to normal as soon as possible then.
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    Originally Posted by EmperorRyker View Post
    A long cut is exactly when you don't want to reverse diet. You've already been messing up your hormonal state and have done so for a long time as it is. You want to get back to normal as soon as possible then.
    I agree with the objective, getting back to normal as soon as possible.
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    Just listened to Layne Norton and Sohee Lee's podcast on this topic. Great listen.

    There's obviously nothing wrong with adding calories back slowly. It's nice not to see a spike on the scale. It's not completely necessary either if you know your maintenance range and have not been yo-yo dieting, over-restricting/causing metabolic adaptation.
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    True nihilist EmperorRyker's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by StevieMaria View Post
    Just listened to Layne Norton and Sohee Lee's podcast on this topic. Great listen.

    There's obviously nothing wrong with adding calories back slowly. It's nice not to see a spike on the scale. It's not completely necessary either if you know your maintenance range and have not been yo-yo dieting, over-restricting/causing metabolic adaptation.
    Uhm, if you did so, then it is especially important not to reverse diet.
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  12. #12
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    What's considered a "long" cut?
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    Originally Posted by JGatzby View Post
    What's considered a "long" cut?
    It's a somewhat arbitrary term. Months. Although if you're lean and cutting at a 40% deficit, then two to three weeks might be (too) long, as well.
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    Eric Helms: How To Make The Transition From A Cutting Phase To A Lean Mass Phase
    http://www.simplyshredded.com/nutrit...ass-phase.html

    Originally Posted by EmperorRyker View Post
    A long cut is exactly when you don't want to reverse diet.
    I'd disagree. Quickly raising calories after a long cut is a good way to gain some fat. Not in the last place because you don't know your exact TDEE.
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    Originally Posted by EmperorRyker View Post
    A long cut is exactly when you don't want to reverse diet. You've already been messing up your hormonal state and have done so for a long time as it is. You want to get back to normal as soon as possible then.
    if you're arguing hormonal factors then what you are saying is completely backwards.

    in most cases though, it has less to do with the duration of your cut than the extremity of your cut, and what bf % you are at
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    Originally Posted by chamelious View Post
    I've read various different opinions over the years, people seem to go back and forth on if theres any benefit to it.

    Context: Will be coming out of a short cut in 3 or 4 weeks time. Might add a month on. Calories will end up quite low. (currently 1950, may drop another hundred/two hundred for final month). Wondering whether to taper cals back up to bulking range of 25-2700 ish.

    I know calories seem low, but my job and life is very sedentary other than the 3-5 hours a week I'm in the gym.

    Thanks.
    The way I do it, from cut to bulk: slowly increase calories until I'm gaining 1-2 pounds per month, on my moving average weight. I use the scale as my guide for how fast I raise the calories.

    This takes a bit more time but the benefit is that fat loss seems to continue for a while, while strength comes back quickly.
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    The way I do it, from cut to bulk: slowly increase calories until I'm gaining 1-2 pounds per month, on my moving average weight. I use the scale as my guide for how fast I raise the calories.

    This takes a bit more time but the benefit is that fat loss seems to continue for a while, while strength comes back quickly.
    Out of curiosity, do you work in reverse for a transition from Bulk to Cut? or do you go Bulk, maintanence, Cut?

    Slowly reduce until the scales not moving for a week or two, slowly reduce until scales moving -1lb per week.
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    Originally Posted by jampottt View Post
    Out of curiosity, do you work in reverse for a transition from Bulk to Cut? or do you go Bulk, maintanence, Cut?

    Slowly reduce until the scales not moving for a week or two, slowly reduce until scales moving -1lb per week.
    When I went from cutting to bulk I slowly increased calories step by step until I was gaining 1-2 pounds per month on my moving average.

    Right now I'm only progress focused, I don't care much about the scale. In other words I just eat enough to fuel consistent progress.
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    Many thanks for the discussion. Jury seems to be out somewhat.
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    Originally Posted by chamelious View Post
    Jury seems to be out somewhat.
    That's not really my impression. I'd say most sources agree that slowly increasing calories after a cut is the way to go. Did you read the article by Eric Helms?

    Even Lyle McDonald, who doesn't like the term 'reverse dieting', recommends two weeks at maintenance 'to stabilize at the new body fat level'. Which could be seen as an alternative to reverse dieting.

    I'd be surprised if people say 'oh just jump straight back to what you think your bulking calories are'.
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    That's not really my impression. I'd say most sources agree that slowly increasing calories after a cut is the way to go. Did you read the article by Eric Helms?

    Even Lyle McDonald, who doesn't like the term 'reverse dieting', recommends two weeks at maintenance 'to stabilize at the new body fat level'. Which could be seen as an alternative to reverse dieting.

    I'd be surprised if people say 'oh just jump straight back to what you think your bulking calories are'.
    I'll have a good read of it. I usually hasten to trust articles on websites like simplyshredded who's articles are mostly people posting about their routines of 4x10 everything and eating chicken broccoli and every supp known to man.

    That wasn't my plan, i was going to just spend a week or two back at my normal maintenance before going back up to my "bulk" (which is only about 200 cals over this anyway).
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  22. #22
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    I think people sometimes use jumping back to maintenance and jumping into a surplus as a synonymous term.

    Lyle doesnt recommend taking any longer than two weeks to move from a deficit to maintenance calories (especially since you will likely have a "new" maintenance) and then he clearly suggests staying at those maintenance cals for about two weeks before moving to a mass gaining phase.

    I dont think there's any dispute that jumping straight into a surplus from a deficit will lead to fat gain. I guess the real benefit of taking a slow transition to maintenance and a surplus is not seeing huge spikes in scale weight
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    Well, yeah, who said jump straight into bulking? Jump to maintenance, that's still not reverse dieting.

    Originally Posted by pogioli4 View Post
    if you're arguing hormonal factors then what you are saying is completely backwards.

    in most cases though, it has less to do with the duration of your cut than the extremity of your cut, and what bf % you are at
    How do I have it backwards in terms of hormonal factors?
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    I like Lyle's advice to take a few weeks at maintence. IMO a lot of folks take reverse diet advice geared for folks who just competed and apply it to the end of their generic fat loss phase ending where contest cutting starts. Seems overblown.
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    I'd disagree. Quickly raising calories after a long cut is a good way to gain some fat. Not in the last place because you don't know your exact TDEE.
    Not knowing your TDEE is a valid argument as to why one should raise calories slowly, but if you do know it then I see absolutely no reason why you wouldn't go straight to maintenance and continue cutting. It looks like Eric, too, only recommends raising calories slowly so that you find your current TDEE. Assuming you have been losing consistently for the last week or two of the cut, I don't think it's too hard to figure out what it is, though.

    I also haven't seen a good argument or proof of as to why you'd add more fat than usual if you jumped right into bulking. You'll just gain a lot of water weight that way because of the increased intake, but why would you gain more fat than if you started or were bulking with the same stats and body fat percentage and not coming right off of a cut? One way I could see that happening is lowered testosterone and other hormonal factors that would skew the muscle vs. fat gain ratio, so you probably do want to get that fixed. However, if you're reverse dieting, you're not really fixing it, since you're continuing being in a deficit.
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    When ending a cut, I immediately (meaning over the course of 3-4 days) raise my calories back up to 100-200 calories below a conservative estimate of my TDEE so that I don't overshoot. If you do this...then reverse dieting is completely useless in my opinion. Your energy levels, intensity in the gym, and hence your overall metabolism will come back up pretty quick. If my plan is to start bulking, I'd then increase calories by about 100 calories per week just to let things stabilize and gain back some strength.

    Regardless, sitting around maintenance for a little while after ending a cut is useful to regain strength, and maybe more importantly, it keeps you from overeating because my appetite is usually pretty high after ending a cut and cheating on my diet becomes easy.
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  27. #27
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    Originally Posted by EmperorRyker View Post

    I also haven't seen a good argument or proof of as to why you'd add more fat than usual if you jumped right into bulking. You'll just gain a lot of water weight that way because of the increased intake, but why would you gain more fat than if you started or were bulking with the same stats and body fat percentage and not coming right off of a cut? One way I could see that happening is lowered testosterone and other hormonal factors that would skew the muscle vs. fat gain ratio, so you probably do want to get that fixed. However, if you're reverse dieting, you're not really fixing it, since you're continuing being in a deficit.
    Just off the top of my head, will update the post if I can find the relevant articles. I think you hit the nail on the head with the part in bold.
    IIRC after a long time in a deficit, you body is primed for fat storage. hence the reason why going straight into a bulk might be a bad idea.

    edit; I think lyle covers it in this one; http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/mus...g-part-2.html/
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  28. #28
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    I think Layne Norton has given people the impression that reverse dieting needs to be a slow and tedious process. Idiotic amounts of raising 10 gram carbs per week. This is not the case. Reverse dieting can be done much faster.

    Eating a couple of weeks at maintenance can be slower than a correctly performed 'reverse diet'.

    Originally Posted by Caezar07 View Post
    When ending a cut, I immediately (meaning over the course of 3-4 days) raise my calories back up to 100-200 calories below a conservative estimate of my TDEE so that I don't overshoot.
    That's what I would call a practical way of reverse dieting. It doesn't have to super slow.

    Originally Posted by EmperorRyker View Post
    Not knowing your TDEE is a valid argument as to why one should raise calories slowly, but if you do know it then I see absolutely no reason why you wouldn't go straight to maintenance.
    Cause after 3 months cutting no one knows their maintenance exactly.

    The way I do it there's not even a need to know maintenance: I increased calories step by step until I was gaining 1-2 pounds per month on my moving average. This avoids the whole ordeal.

    Is it smart to raise calories by 500 per week after a 3 month cut? I'd say no, that's probably not a good idea. Making large increments in carbs and fats has a great potential to lead to unnecessary fat gains.
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    Registered User CMStephens93's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    I think Layne Norton has given people the impression that reverse dieting needs to be a slow and tedious process. Idiotic amounts of raising 10 gram carbs per week. This is not the case. Reverse dieting can be done much faster.

    Eating a couple of weeks at maintenance can be slower than a correctly performed 'reverse diet'.



    That's what I would call a practical way of reverse dieting. It doesn't have to super slow.



    Cause after 3 months cutting no one knows their maintenance exactly.

    The way I do it there's not even a need to know maintenance: I increased calories step by step until I was gaining 1-2 pounds per month on my moving average. This avoids the whole ordeal.

    Is it smart to raise calories by 500 per week after a 3 month cut? I'd say no, that's probably not a good idea. Making large increments in carbs and fats has a great potential to lead to unnecessary fat gains.
    What would you suggest vs 500 cals a week? Or how much of a smaller caloric addition? 100 calories? 250 calories?
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    Originally Posted by CMStephens93 View Post
    What would you suggest vs 500 cals a week? Or how much of a smaller caloric addition? 100 calories? 250 calories?
    The way I do it doesn't work with fixed numbers.

    Generally speaking around 200-300 calories per week could work though. I consider 500 a bit aggressive unless someone is very active.
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