Don’t make these mistakes when dieting
Dieting alone can be tough enough, especially when dieting for longer periods, so we want to make sure that we are getting the results we deserve from our hard work.
Here are some crucial things to consider when dieting to maintain adherence, muscle mass, strength and thus results!
Keep protein elevated
When in a caloric deficit it’s advisable to increase protein intake to reduce the breakdown of your hard earned muscle. As building muscle is largely calorie dependant when in a calorie deficit (diet) building muscle is not likely, especially in individuals who have a few years of lifting behind them.
How much you elevate your protein will depend on your current protein intake before the diet, research suggests that ideally you are looking for around 2g to 2.5g per kg when on a diet opposed 1.4 – 2g when not in a calorie restricted state.
If protein is too low while in a calorie restricted state you stand the chance of losing muscle.
Remember muscle is metabolically active so having more muscle will actually allow you to eat more calories and or burn more calories as your total daily energy expenditure will be higher
Lift heavy to retain strength
It can be all to easy to just go crazy with circuits, super sets, drops sets and hiit when you start dieting in aid of seeing fast results. I’d recommend holding fire on too much cardio to start with as you will find out shortly, in fact having some strength training in your plan will pay dividends.
You work hard to gain strength and muscle and the longer you diet the more strength & muscle you tend to lose so it’s crucial to keep lifting heavy it in order to retain as much strength and muscle as possible.
Keep some exercises below 6 reps at least 1 x week, this works best for your big moves like squats and deadlifts. This will help keep strength, muscle and maintain good movement patterns, it will actually help you lose fat too as these exercises use many muscles and as we discussed muscles are metabolically active.
Use cardio wisely
Cardio is a great tool to help you burn more calories and thus fat but save it for when you really need it. If you’re doing 1 x cardio a week wether that’s HIIT or lower intensity steady state LISS such as a steady jog and losing weight then I advise you don’t add more. This is simply because as you diet you will hit sticking points, these are points where the calorie deficit you have created via diet and exercise is not enough to lose weight anymore. Your metabolism has adapted to your current state and thus you need to create more of a calorie deficit, sometime less food is not a viable or comfortable option. This is where more cardio can play a role, so save it.
So which cardio should I use
HIIT is great and burns many calories due to the after burn affect known as EPOC exercise post oxygen consumption which may equate to around 300 calories burnt in the period after training but you have to work extremely hard for this. HIIT is very taxing and you really do have to work at your absolute maximum in your short work periods to get the best results. As a result of this I don’t believe most people can truly do many more than 2 REAL HIIT sessions a week along with a resistance training programme. Recovery becomes an issue especially in the legs.
LISS may be easier later into the diet as it requires less mental fortitude as you don’t have to work at 100%
Re-feed days or diet breaks
As we talked about earlier your metabolism will adjust due to a prolonged diet, as a result it may make sense to have a re-feed day or diet break. This can be in many different forms, a re-feed day can be as simple as increasing calories and carbs to help combat the slow in metabolism. Often this is done on a day where you train hard such as leg day, the legs are a big part of the body and thus will use much glycogen. By having a re-feed day on the same day this will help you’re recovery and potentially prevent too much negative weight gain due to burning lot’s of calories on this taxing workout day.
Work treats into your diet 1 x a week
One of the hardest things when dieting is feeling like you can’t have things, suddenly you crave things that you wouldn’t normally crave when not dieting. So for many people it’s advisable to have these treats every now and then but work them into your allowed calories, either by tracking your food or having a smaller meal prior. You could even do some extra exercise to cancel out the calories from you treat.
I hope this helps you on your diet, feel free to sign up to our mailing list and leave a comment with any questions you have.