Well, we are officially iN Season!
Armed with last week’s knowledge, you are officially ready to choose your goal, and move forward accordingly.
As you will recall, we will want to know the following:
- Stress profile
- Metabolic history
- Desired training frequency/intensity in a week
- Current dietary intake
- Estimated deadline for dietary goals (if applicable)
This weeks’ article will explain the importance of each of these factors in building the initial dietary set up!
But before we get going, which route are you choosing?
Are your goals performance oriented – PR’ing a lift, improving your Murph time this year, or simply RX’ing the majority of your workouts?
Is it Shredding Season again? Or maybe it’s GAINZ season? The pursuit of aesthetics is definitely a route that can be taken iN Season.
Or maybe this year your goals are longevity/life related? Finding balance in life is a goal in and of itself, and is absolutely something to commit to over 16 weeks.
Regardless of your choice – COMMIT – GO ALL iN – and let’s crush this!
This was discussed in last week’s blog, but understanding your current stress profile is ESSENTIAL when maximizing the results of a program.
Do we really think that a fortune 500 CEO has the same stress profile as a stay at home mom/dad?
Subsequently, do we really think that the way they respond to diet/training is going to be the same – even if they have the same physical measurements (age/height/weight/etc.)
Of course not – so be sure this is where you are starting!
Let’s be honest – a lot of diets have circulated society over the last 10-15 years. I’ve seen keto come and go twice, carb cycling has gotten popular a few times, and of course Paleo and zone have certainly had their impact as well. I suppose we could add fasting, carnivore, vegan, and who knows what else – but the list would just get exhausting.
While this article is not meant to debate the efficacy of any them, I do want to call awareness to the long term effects of having yo-yo dieted, diet hopped, or in most cases – flat out starved yourself within the given protocol.
Factually stated, over 60% (very conservative figure) of people that come to me typically need to eat MORE to be achieving their goals.
A few years ago this was a surprising statistic, but today our society seems to be catching on.
Unfortunately, eating more to lose weight is a scary proposition.
And depending on the duration to which a calorie deficit was sustained, it can also be a very difficult process.
Here’s the reality – long term calorie deprivation, especially when combined with excessive stress (training and lifestyle) is absolutely a recipe for metabolic adaptation.
(if you are unfamiliar with metabolic adaptation, check out our blog HERE)
Taking an inventory of all diets tried, duration of diets tried, and what activity level was during said diets is an ESSENTIAL part of the process.
Combine this with current and previous biofeedback, and we truly can create an understanding of metabolic history.
- Do you need a reverse diet?
- Are you insulin sensitive enough to diet?
- Do you need a “matador” protocol?
All of these questions (and more) can be answered by this step – DO NOT OVERLOOK IT!
Desired Training Frequency/Intensity In A Week
While what you want and what you need might be two different things, it is very important to understand HOW you want to train during the process.
- Are you a CrossFitter? Recreational or competitor?
- Are you a powerlifter? Perhaps an oly lifter?
- Do you bodybuild?
- Perhaps you want to run marathons…
None of these is better than the others, but they all come with a specific set of expectations that need to be understood before embarking on this journey.
For example – if your goal is to compete in CrossFit, you certainly should NOT be prioritizing aesthetics – especially if you are in competition season.
Or if you are a marathoner, do not anticipate being ready to get on a physique stage.
Additionally, this is the time to be real with yourself. Do your training goals match up with the aforementioned stress profile and metabolic history?
Ultimately you are free to train as you desire.
However, if you want to maximize your success in this journey, choosing an appropriate training protocol that matches up with your goals is highly advisable.
Current Dietary Intake
Every client that comes to iN3 starts with a very complete intake form.
While the formulas for BMR and TDEE are not in any way related to current dietary intake, they are also just that – formulas. They are not always accurate, nor should they be substituted for real life data.
Instead, let’s examine what is currently happening with your dietary intake.
Are you eating 2000 calories above your TDEE and not gaining weight? Hmmmm – sounds like a clue to me that the “formula” isn’t so accurate, huh?
As you start this process – track your current calorie AND macro intake.
The overall caloric intake will help you establish your target calorie intake for your new diet.
From there, your current macro composition will help guide the macro composition as your diet progresses.
For example, are you currently keto? If so, immediately switching to a high carb, low fat may not be ideal.
Clearly, a standardized approach of low carb all day except around training windows is not a one size fits all approach.
Instead, account for your current intake, and proceed accordingly.
Estimated Deadline for Your Goals
Assuming all things normal, choosing a deadline for your goal is reasonable.
PLEASE NOTE – I did not say a deadline to end the LIFESTYLE you should be creating (even physique shows are just a check point in the bigger process – they should be followed with a carefully constructed reverse).
By knowing your deadline, and how much weight needs to be lost/gained, you can estimate a reasonable rate for which to lose or gain the weight.
A physique competitor should know approximately how much weight they need to lose to step on stage. By knowing how long you have, you can determine the exact number of pounds that should be lost each week leading into the show.
A lifter that has to make weight for a competition should know how long they have, as well as how much weight they want to cut in the final 48 hours (if they desire so). Logically, they can work backwards, and structure their diet to match the rate of weight loss needed to achieve their goals.
It is important to note here that I chose my first 4 words very carefully – ASSUMING ALL THINGS NORMAL…
This section is coming last for a reason – you MUST understand your other variables to ensure that your deadline is even appropriate.
- If you are over-stressed and on a tight deadline – don’t expect success.
- If your metabolic history has led to adaptation – don’t expect a quick transformation.
- If your training desires don’t match up with the work necessary to achieve your goals – don’t expect a ton of success quickly.
(the list can go on and on…)
However, if you have treated your body well, accounted for all variables, and are implementing a well-constructed plan – understanding your timeline can be very advantageous.
Putting it all together
It should be obvious at this point that dietary setup is not a standardized process.
Instead, all of the details about YOU the individual need to be understood and addressed.
However, when done correctly, a successful diet is simple….no, I did not say easy 😉
So the real question this week is – Are you ALL iN on a proper set up? Ask the right questions and DO THE WORK 🙂