Have you ever heard the terms “eating at maintenance” or “reverse dieting”?
Perhaps you’ve been to a website where you put in your nutrition needs and they give you what you think are some really big numbers to hit (~2500 calories in a day!)
First, know that even if you were to consume what a website like Precision Nutrition (PN) recommends in a day or even a week you would not in fact gain much, if any, weight. If you’ve been dieting/undereating, when you start to consume at maintenance (done slowly and with GOOD nutrition) your body uses that food to make muscles, hormones, and help you push hard in the gym.
Here is how we have our athletes work up to consuming the appropriate amount of calories for their needs:
Step 1: Start at ½ to ¾ of the intake of what is being recommended for maintenance. For example if PN recommends consuming 2500 calories in a day, you could start at 1750.
Step 2: Get comfortable with it. See that it only fuels your training, helps you sleep, and gives you tons of energy. Take progress pics to track body composition changes and to help you gain confidence that your body is actually using the extra nutrition how you want it- to build muscle, etc.
Step 3: Add in some more, keep seeing/feeling that your body is CONTINUING to use (and appreciate!) the calories you are giving it.
Next thing you know you’ll be eating ALL the foods, super proud and excited about it, getting PRs all over the place, sleeping like a teenager, recovering like a boss, and feeling amazeballs!
If you choose to weigh yourself, do it at most once every two weeks (or even just once a month). This is enough time to see change but not so frequent that you can hit a “high salt high stress day” where your weight could be up.
And remember, nothing changes so fast that you can’t course correct!
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