Periodizing Diets

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  • #536
    Tyson Staples
    Participant

    Any thoughts/experiences on the concept of periodizing diets to match training phases? Eg caloric surplus in growth/acc phases. Maintenance/ slight deficit in strength/intensification? Dr. Mike speaks pretty openly about the topic and wondered what others feel about this approach. Thanks.

    #542
    Ryan Faehnle
    Participant

    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.

    #556
    Jance Footit
    Keymaster

    Hey Tyson! I think the distinction of what type of athlete you are talking about needs to be made. If a bodybuilder, then using something like phase shifting (Dr DiPasquale) or macro shifting (Dr Serrano) will cause a flucuation in calories as a result of messing with macros, but the goal there is changing body comp. In contrast, a performance driven athlete should almost always be looking to push the limits of their training (macro scope, not micro scope). Calories = performance. No 2 ways about it as far as I know. Having phases where you eat less will also have you performing less. If there is a logical and well thought out reason why, like dropping BF% to increase overall efficiency, then sure. However that phase of training will also be dictated (or should be at least) by the fact that you cannot push that athlete the same while in a calorie deficit. Ultimately, if you have an educated and well thought out reason why you would restrict someones calories while still maintaining a long term trend in increasing performance, then give it a shot! If you're just doing it by shooting from the hip, tisk tisk (which I know YOU'RE not, just saying).

    #564
    Tyson Staples
    Participant

    Great stuff guys. Thanks for your insight.

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