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Dietary Intake Phases: Reverse into Maintenance

Meeting a client where they are is one thing we truly pride ourselves in as Audacious Athletes coaches. That being said, the majority of those who inquire and begin their coaching relationship with us often find that this is the first dietary intake phase "transition" they experience.

This post will walk you through what both a reverse and maintenance phase entail as well as a real-life example of a client from our roster and what the transition from a reverse intake phase into a maintenance intake phase looked like.

Before you can best understand the details of this post, it may be helpful to first read the introduction post to learn more about each dietary intake phase and the purpose(s) of each.

Now that you're caught up, let's dive in...


Understanding What a Reverse and Maintenance Phase Actually Are

A reverse dietary intake intake phase is the time spent increasing calories after a time period spent in a deficit phase (more on that in a later post). The time an individual spends in a deficit could be both intentional and unintentional and that's one of the first things we determine as a coach.

This reverse dietary intake phase is not just spent increasing calories, but also increasing caloric availability -- meaning possible manipulation of strength training and/or cardio protocol too. Acting too quickly and transitioning from a deficit phase straight into a maintenance phase could various unwanted results, such as some avoidable fat regain, suboptimal metabolic adaptations and even digestion disruptions. Within a planned reverse dietary intake phase, the slow and gradual increase in caloric availability (both through increased caloric intake AND training/cardio adjustments) promote a less-stressed environment for the body so that hormone regulation and metabolic adaptations happen in a controlled and moderated manner.

When the body is in a less-stressed state and more calories are available, this also allows the individual to see improvements in recovery, sleep, and even some flexibility within food choices that may have otherwise not been possible during the deficit phase. Not only that, body composition changes are still able to occur during this dietary intake phase! We have PROOF that implementing a structured, planned reverse dietary intake phase back up to a maintenance level of calories can work well. The images below show a real-life client situation where this reverse began to happen.


This process that is outline above in just 3 week's worth of data will continue for however long it takes the individual to reach their maintenance phase/threshold. While it's not the case for every individual, a general rule of thumb is that a reverse-to-maintenance phase transition typically will last as long as the deficit phase lasted (if it was intentional). Again, that is something as coaches we help YOU determine and outline a timeline for.

Stay tuned for the next dietary intake phase transition - maintenance to surplus - a transition phase that not many want to experience, but those who do often see pretty incredible muscular growth and body composition change occur.

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