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Understanding Dietary Intake Phases: Introduction

There are many people out there confused, frustrated, and flat out FAILING at achieving their health, nutrition, and fitness goals because their diet doesn't align with or support their current goals. That level of frustration and lack of understanding leads to a vicious cycle of starting something new, not seeing results, throwing in "the towel", not caring, and then back to trying something new. We get it. We've been coaches in this industry for 10+ years. What we ALSO know is how to help you...if you're willing to sit back, LEARN, and trust the process. The number ONE question we get as coaches is this, "So when can we start a fat loss/diet/deficit phase?"

Our response looks different for every single client who asks us that question, and here's why. First, we have to determine which dietary intake phase you're in (whether YOU know it or not) and then, we can begin to answer that question.

If you're in the market for hiring an online nutrition coach, this post could be a great first step for you. You'll be able to go into that coaching relationship KNOWING what dietary intake phase your current eating habits have you in as well as some understanding of what it takes to transition to the one you are most excited about.



Reverse to Maintenance

The main purpose of this dietary intake phase and transition is to slowly increase calories and find new metabolic adaptation while still seeing body recomposition happen. When this transition happens, the primary goal is no longer fat loss, but rather regulating hormones and creating improved metabolic adaptations. This dietary intake phase allows an individual to have more flexibility when it comes to food and the ability to assess eating habits while finding stability in weight and training.

Maintenance to Surplus

The main purpose for transitioning from a maintenance intake phase to a surplus intake phase is to support muscle tissue growth and strength improvements. This dietary intake shift to higher calories will continue to promote hormone and metabolic adaptations while allowing the individual to tackle more endurance-based and/or higher intensity based training and performance goals.

Surplus to Deficit

The main purpose for an individual to transition from the surplus intake phase to the deficit intake phase is to pursue a fat loss goal. The shift from surplus to deficit is done by manipulating the individual's daily caloric intake and energy expenditure in order to encourage the body to burn more calories on a daily basis that it ingests.

Deficit to Reverse

The main purpose for transitioning out of a deficit phase and into a reverse intake phase is to help improve systemic feedback in regards to energy availability, sleep, training, performance, and overall quality of life outside of strict calorie deprivation and macro adherence that happens within a deficit phase. This shift includes slowly increasing calorie intake more towards a maintenance level of calories and manipulating calorie expenditure so that available energy slowly increases.


Now that we've got your attention, stay tuned for future posts that discuss each of these dietary intake phases more with more specific dietary, training and even mindset shifts that need to happen to make each phase successful.

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