Reply To: Periodizing Diets

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Ryan Faehnle

Great question! I think it's very wise to periodize nutrition strategy (while keeping in mind that it's not absolutely necessary to make progress ---- some people do much better with keeping things consistent and would do better with a more linear dietary progression). The metabolism will adapt rapidly (7-14 days) to whatever intervention you plan, so cycling things accordingly will often provide a good "shake up" to prevent stagnation. You can cycle macronutrients while keeping calories the same, you can cycle calories while keeping macronutrient ratios the same, or you can cycle both macronutrients and calories! There is no one size fits all. I tend to push higher calories and carbs during periods of high volume training, and then keep carbs lower during lower volume phases. Also, I will often do 3-6+1 rotations to maintain sensitivity to whatever you are trying to do. In other words, if you push a hard deficit for 3-6 weeks, then shift to maintenance for 1 week to prevent adaptation. If pushing for size, hit a good surplus with lots of carbs for 3-6 weeks and then one week at maintenance or a slight deficit with lower carb levels to maintain insulin sensitivity. Lots of options and lots of ways to structure this, but I find that in the client who is capable of sticking to a plan, making frequent changes speeds up progress and prevents a lot of speed bumps.