Christmas is here again! I love Christmas, and it is the perfect time to kick…
This is definitely something that should be talked about more in the fitness industry.
It contributes massively to motivation & adherence, which underpins your ability to get shredded and stay there. As previously discussed, we broke down the determinants of a great physique, and their respective importance. However, I failed to mention that more important than any of that, is your ability to actually carry out all of those factors in the pyramid. Diet adherence.
Diet adherence is the overall theme throughout the entire pyramid. That is why sustainability is so important, and I am a big believer that it’s up to you to find a system that works, and is sustainable for you.
Diet breaks can be anywhere from 1 day to 4 weeks. I prefer to call them diet breaks instead of cheat days or cheat weeks. This implies simply relaxing, instead of binging.
It’s important to note that these diet breaks are simply eating at maintenance calories, and can be adjusted to suit your needs, however they aren’t an excuse to binge.
For example, in the summer my cutting calories were at ~2000 once I was getting lean. I took a 2 week diet break due to work stresses, and the fact that I was already ahead of schedule in regards to time-frames (the goal was to be very lean by 15th July). Consequently, I increased my calories to 2400 (maintenance) for the first week, and then 2500 for the second week.
The result was that when I returned to 2000 calories, I was very, very motivated to continue getting leaner.
Another CRUCIAL point, is that the reason for these diet breaks being so successful for most, is 90% due to increased motivation. The other 10% will be an increased metabolism (temporarily). However, certain YouTubers tend to exaggerate these metabolic effects.
So, using my example above, if at the end of the diet break I was NOT to return to 2000 calories, but instead was to lower my calories to 2200, expecting the fat to melt off due to a higher metabolic rate, I would be highly disappointed. This is assuming cardio and daily activity remained the same.
Diet breaks are very useful when timed properly. Life gets in the way sometimes, and if you plan these in advance when you know you have important deadlines with work, college, uni, sports games/tournaments, you will reduce the extra stressor in your life (dieting), and perform better in other areas in a timely manner.
The human brain tends to be rather shit at managing multiple goals at the same time. You are far more efficient sticking to 1-3 goals (stressors) during a given timeframe. This means that during certain times, some goals will be more important than others, so with the less important goals you can simply aim to maintain them. Once the prioritised goals/events have passed, you can pick up the intensity of the goals that previously took a back seat.
Another reason as to why diet breaks are so good for motivation, is that they rebuild your strength and confidence in the gym. You are lifting heavier weights and generally look fuller and more pumped. Of course, this doesn’t apply if you literally don’t care about strength, but I’m willing to bet serious money that 90% of you do to some degree!! 😉
So diet breaks essentially, are very important for long run success and sustainability. The main reasons being:
- You can enjoy more food & feel less deprived
- They allow you to pursue other life goals successfully
- Your strength & energy levels increase
Hope that was helpful, and happy dieting! 🙂