Last week I released three critically important articles: How To Get Shredded…
So far in this Intermittent Fasting series, we have had four articles, all of which you need to read if you haven’t already. This one won’t make much sense without the context of the prior four:
Maintenance Periods – Your Counter-Intuitive Shredding Weapon
Phase 4 is the final phase of the Intermittent Fasting system, as you have either hit your goal physique, or you’ve completely hit a wall at very low calories. Either way, a maintenance period of at least two weeks is required. The length (beyond two weeks) is really up to you and when you feel ready to continue, if you’ve hit a wall that is. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel after two weeks, and how much more motivated you will feel.
Maintenance periods, when performed correctly, are one of the biggest dieting tools you have in your arsenal, and can be incredibly effective for bursting through fat loss plateaus.
You should not jump into phase 4 unless you have already dropped your calories by a total of at least 20% since the start of the diet. Otherwise you just won’t have made enough progress to warrant a maintenance period, and it’s actually just discipline you need to work on.
This is a 20% reduction from your starting calories, determined in phase 2, not your maintenance calories.
For example, my maintenance calories before beginning a diet may be about 2700 calories. But I would begin the diet at about 2500 calories, again, just as an example. I therefore would not be allowed to have a period of maintenance until I’ve dropped my calories to (2500*0.8) = 2000 calories. Obviously, as discussed in the Cruising Phase, this would not be done in one go, rather, it would be spread out over time and only when required.
If I was to hit a wall before getting down to 2000 calories, then I’m doing something wrong, and a maintenance period is not required yet. Likely, it would be an issue with not getting enough of one of the macronutrients, or drinking too much alcohol, or eating too much sugar. Or my sleep is off.
Either way, those issues need to be addressed first, otherwise you will not get to your ideal physique. They will simply continue to rear their ugly heads at a later date.
How To Dominate Your Maintenance Periods For Shredding Success
A maintenance period is exactly as it sounds – a period of neither losing fat, nor gaining fat. The last part being incredibly important. This is the exact reason I don’t like calling them diet breaks, because people think that’s a license to pig out, it’s not. It means do the EXACT SAME DAMN THING but with slightly higher calories.
- You are still Intermittent Fasting and following the EXACT SAME eating schedule
- You are still drinking 1-2 cups of coffee per day (notice I said 1-2, not 3 – you can back off a little)
- You are still performing cardio
- You are still lifting weights
- You are still eating clean 80% of the time, at least
- You are still drinking lots of water
So, what’s different?
They need to be up to maintenance. The key thing to remember here though is that this is not the same as maintenance at the beginning of the diet. You are now significantly lighter, and your maintenance calories have dropped.
During this maintenance period, I start off by raising my total calories by 15%. This will normally equate to a few hundred, give or take. I find that this is the perfect balance between making you fuller, stronger and feeling better, whilst not contributing to fat gain.
After the first two weeks, if you want to keep it going for longer, feel free to add another 100-200 calories, as your metabolism will have adapted by then to slightly higher calories.
You need to keep the cardio up during a maintenance phase, sorry. If you go from doing significant cardio to doing nothing, you’re asking for trouble. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t back off, because you can. But you need to keep the majority in there. If you remove one cardio session for the week, or reduce each session by about 25%, you will find that you recover a little more without regaining the fat lost.
As always, total calories will make the biggest difference, but I’ve found it to be very important that you keep most of your cardio in there during a maintenance period. You will feel a lot better and more motivated after raising your total calories for a week or two don’t worry.
Composition Of Your Diet
The great thing about my Intermittent Fasting system is that you’re already allowed sweet snacks in the evening, so the composition of the diet never really changes. You’re already allowed to have fun. The eating schedule, caffeine, fruit snacks and protein intake allow this to be the case.
Therefore cravings shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Once you feel ready to lose more fat and are motivated and energetic again, you simply go back to phase 2 to reset your fat loss calories and macros. If you’ve hit your ideal physique, congratulations, it’s now time to maintain, and enjoy the abundance and increase in life quality you will gain from your new aesthetic look:
- Clothes now look better on you
- Your physique is very sexually attractive
- Your face is chiselled
- Women respond better to you
- Men respect you more
- You look more masculine
- You feel more confident