Every time I cycle through a diet phase whether it be for fat loss, maintenance, or muscle gain I try to improve upon the previous run and make it more efficient. I’ve been doing this for a long while and I can still find ways to make it all better.
In the past, a few examples have been to completely eliminate eating out from fat loss diets to prevent the obvious weight gain and eliminate random water weight fluctuations as much as possible. Water weight fluctuations are inevitable but if you eat “clean”, don’t have huge sodium spikes, and keep your food selections pretty consistent then it will minimize the variability as much as possible. This makes calorie adjustment decisions easier because bodyweight is moving a little more predictably. Eventually I eliminated eating out from gaining phases as well and reserve restaurant food to vacation/maintenance phases where tracking bodyweight isn’t a top priority.
Another example would be that I eliminated red meat from my diet. While on vacation I’ll get a steak or if I have a cheat meal on maintenance then I’ll have a beef or something but when I’m intentionally gaining or losing weight I dropped beef altogether, along with pork. My primary sources of protein are chicken, egg whites, and protein powder. I initially did this in a fat loss phase so I could eat more food. Calorically you can eat more chicken then lean ground beef due to the fat content, it’s all about eating more volume on a fat loss phase. This eventually leaked into my gaining periods as well. It keeps the amount of food in my digestive tract pretty consistent so I’m once again trying to limit the amount of weight fluctuations for my weigh-ins. This is not because beef is bad by any means, it’s simply trying to control the variables as much as possible so my decision making throughout the diet is easier.
This time around I’m doing two things. First, I’m adjusting my workout times to create a consistent sleep schedule. I have an odd schedule but MWF I go back to bed at noon and wake up at 415pm, on Tu/Th I train in the morning after clients and go to bed at around 6pm. All days I end up with about 8 hours of sleep but I’ll be switching my Tu/Th workout times to the evening so I’m on more or less the same schedule Mon thru Fri. I feel like this will keep me more fresh and I’ll be waking up and then going directly into a workout opposed to working at the gym and then working out afterwards. Since I’ll be fresher I think it’ll allow me to train harder and prevent getting beat up as much towards the end of a training cycle.
The second addition I’ll be making, which I’ve never done and honestly didn’t see much value in, is that I’ll be tracking my steps. I have been doing this for about 4 weeks now and not actively trying to reach any number just tracking my “norm”. As the diet goes my initial thoughts are that I’ll track my steps to ensure my activity level doesn’t drop off as my calories drop off. This may allow me to eat more food deeper into a fat loss phase. I may also opt to increase my steps later on opposed to dropping calories. This will be an area that I’ll be able to learn more about myself and then apply more efficiently to my next fat loss phase after this one.
So you should always be learning from each diet or training cycle and then taking that knowledge or experience and improving the process the next time around. I’m probably going to start my next cut February 28th and will follow it up with a lengthy gain phase.