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How To Move From a Fat Loss Diet To a Maintenance Diet

How To Move From A Fat Loss Diet To A Maintenance Diet

Once you’ve obtained your goal from your fat loss diet, it’s going to be time to make some quick adjustments and move to a maintenance calorie intake so you don’t continue to lose weight. Even if you want to jump into muscle building now that you’re leaner, taking your transformation in another direction, it’s important that you spend at least two weeks at maintenance since this helps to ‘reset’ the metabolism and give your body a break from the stress placed upon it during fat loss.

If you immediately dive into a muscle building diet and workout program, there is a much higher chance that you’ll start to gain body fat as your metabolism is likely suppressed by about 10-20 percent from being on the lowered calorie intake. Maintenance will bring that back up to where it needs to be before shifting gears.

Here’s how to move to maintenance successfully:

Increase Calories By 10 percent Every 4-5 Days
In order to put fat loss to a stop, the most important thing is to consume more calories on a daily basis. Most people will choose to up their daily calorie intake while a few others may want to increase it more on days they are training heavier while leaving non-training days at a lower intake, closer to that they were dieting on.

In some cases this can help you stay leaner over time, but you can’t expect to build muscle (if that’s your goal) at any significant pace if those lower calorie days are in there without very high calorie days when you train.

You must hit a certain weekly calorie surplus to add muscle mass (somewhere between 2500-3500 calories per week works well), so if you’re only adding this surplus on three or four days, it’ll have to be higher than if you were dividing it out between seven.

Whichever method you prefer, start increasing your calorie intake up by about 10 percent every 4-5 days. It’s better to do it this way rather than jumping right into a maintenance intake to prevent any fat regain while you do so. After the first five days, increase it by 10 percent more until you’ve reached a point where you’re at your maintenance intake (which is somewhere around 15 calories per pound of body weight a day for most people).

Do Not Overcompensate By Adding More Cardio
While you’re adding these calories, don’t increase your cardio to compensate. Some people figure they’ll be smart and boost their activity so there is a decreased chance they will gain back body fat. By doing so you’re just cancelling out the effects of increasing your calorie intake.

You may regain one or two pounds of body fat while moving to maintenance, but much of this will likely be lost quickly once your metabolic rate stabilizes. Consider scaling back on your cardio training slightly to allow your body a better chance to recover. If cutting back on cardio scares you, then leave your calories where they are for a week while cutting down on the cardio. Then once you see that you haven’t gained fat in doing so, you can begin to start bringing the calorie intake up again.

Bring Carbohydrates Up Slowly
With regards to the carbohydrate content you’re taking in with your diet, you should also bring this up slowly, potentially even slower than the total calories. If anything is going to cause you to gain weight when moving to maintenance, it will be the higher carbohydrate intake. This weight will not be fat – it will be water and stored muscle glycogen, but it still may cause you some psychological distress. If you’ve been using a low-carb fat loss diet this will be even more noticeable, so just prepare yourself for it.

Maintain A Carbohydrate Intake Of At Least 150 Grams A Day For One Week
While you do want to bring your carbohydrates up slowly, you eventually need to bring them up to a point where you’re at least taking in 150 grams a day (more if you exercise very intensely) since this is the intake that will restore the thyroid hormones. When you diet for extended periods of time these hormones will be down regulated, so in order to see a boost in your metabolic rate, this is a requirement. Eat this level for at least one week, preferably longer, before you start boosting your calorie intake and taking in a surplus if muscle building is your next goal.

Most people will relish the idea of moving to maintenance after a long period of dieting since it means more food, less hunger, decreased cravings, and typically a great deal more energy. If you do it right, you should find that you can easily get back to your normal food intake without seeing any negative impacts on your body, allowing you to maintain the look you achieved from your diet.

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