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.

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Rose says:

    I always struggle to get enough protein, hopefully this will help ! Also I’m loveing the sound of a weekly treat! Thank you.

  • Jesse says:

    I’m at around 34% body fat and trying to build muscle and burn fat at the same time. My eating has been great, but I’m a little stuck on the training aspect due to the huge amount of conflicting advice all over the place. I know I’m not the only one in this predicament, and I know you guys have lots of videos already, but if you could do a video on this subject or message me with some insight I would greatly appreciate it.

    Ive just started a new workout that hits the arms and upper body with intense cardio between sets (20-25 min, 3-4 times per week). Please let me know if you think this sounds like a good plan for someone in my position.


    • admin says:

      Hey Jesse,

      Thanks for your question buddy, the 1st thing I would say is that for most people building muscle and losing fat at the same time is not viable due to one relying on a caloric surplus and one a deficit. Basically eating more to grow and less to lose weight.

      However if you are new to resistance exercise this will be possible for a short time, it may also be possible if you are largely overweight as there could be potential of tapping into your energy reserves (fat) to create enough energy to build muscle while losing fat.

      Are you working out at home or in a gym buddy? There is no set way to workout, it really depends on the individual, I personally would advise you to lift weights when possible as these give you the greatest potential to build muscle, especially exercises like deadlifts, squats and bench press. A good diet along with this can create an environment for you to lose fat and possibly build muscle.

      If I was you I would train in the above manner if possible but know that my main goal is to lose fat, because that will make me feel awesome. When I am down to a body fat % that I feel comfortable at I can then really concentrate on building more muscle, but since I have already lost the fat I will feel more comfortable and confident while doing it. Chances are I will gain some muscle and certainly strength while working on slowly losing body fat anyway.

      What you are currently doing will be great for fat loss in conjuction with a good diet but may not give you the best results when trying to build or preserve muscle.

      I hope this helps buddy!



  • Jackie gowing says:

    Hi is you book for woman too? J watched your video which was really helpful but didn’t see many ladies…

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