If you follow anyone in the fitness industry, you have probably heard or seen the phrase “reverse diet” thrown around. But what exactly is a reverse diet and how can it benefit you?
A reverse diet is the gradual increase of your caloric intake and most often times also strategically lowering your expenditure with the purpose of allowing your metabolism to recover. This typically takes place after a calorically restricted eating protocol.
When most people start a diet, they immediately lower calorie intake and increase energy expenditure (output – more working out, cardio, etc). Although this process leads to more favorable results, you must not forget about the negative impact it can have on metabolism.
When we restrict calories our body purposely slows down metabolism in order to preserve body fat. This may seem like a negative thing but keep in mind without this adaptation you could literally starve to death. It’s our bodies natural way of protecting itself! So our body does what it can to maintain homeostasis through a slower metabolism.
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Let’s not forget about the effect on the rest of our hormones. Everything in your system goes through an adaptation phase. This can cause your body to burn fewer calories daily or even when at rest. Some of the hormones that are affected include Leptin, Gheiln, thyroid, and testosterone.
Now that your calories are lower, cardio is increased and your metabolism isn’t as efficient as it once was what do you do? A reverse diet is a great approach and should be implemented.
In order to prevent hormonal imbalances and a slowed metabolism, you should not sustain an aggressive deficit for a long period of time. A reverse diet will allow you to live a normal, more balanced lifestyle along with preserve your long term health.
When weekly adjustments are made (adding food, lowering cardio) and the individual adheres to the reverse diet plan it allows their metabolism to recover without unnecessary weight gain.
Keep in mind the body and metabolism is sensitive post dieting and eating whatever you want after reaching a goal will most likely lead to a regain of the weight you lost.
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