T Nation

Extreme Dieting


#1

What are your thoughts on extreme diets? If taking this approach should there be a time limit say 8 weeks short enough that hormones will not be negatively effected.

Not as extreme as the RFL but, 8-10x bodyweight in calories? How much muscle loss will one truly have? I read that muscle is a lot harder to lose than people make it out to be.


#2

My thought is why you would want to in the first place. If you need to lose scale weight fast a week is plenty of time - and you only ever really need that for a weigh in. For other purposes, you’d most probably be better off spending more time losing fat more slowly.


#3

That is the conversation I wanted to start. Why not use a blitz method? I do not think an obese person should do this but, if you are 10-15 lbs away from a goal weight I think it could be a good way. As I said I have read and believe that muscle loss is not the huge issue people make it out to be. Not only that but, any muscle lost would be quickly regained due to muscle memory. A competitor would not do this at the end of the diet but, I know that certain competitors have started or will throw in a few weeks of a “blitz” in the middle of a prep.


#4

Got you. I’m really not experienced with this aspect of training so I probably don’t have much to offer the conversation I’m afraid. Probably the best I could offer would be that theoretically one or more strategic blitzes during a comp prep could be used to reduce overall time in a deficit - but that’s just me speculating. I’m not big on theoretical speculation. I definitely wouldn’t want to play with something like that, and my instinct would be to temporarily add cardio or manipulate macros rather than reduce calories to kick fat loss into higher gear - assuming I’d reached my safe threshold of calorie deficit already.


#5

Fully agreed that ‘extreme diets’ aren’t at all for beginners, and for at least two reasons:

  1. As you alluded to, they simply wouldn’t “need” to employ such strategies and are far better served making basic changes permanent.

  2. The post-diet phase/transition back to normal, sustainable eating patterns is almost certainly more important than the ‘extreme diet’ itself and requires some amount of nutritional awareness (that’s ideally personalized to that individual).

All that said, I’d still say that some personal experience with ‘extreme dieting’ is necessary to get one to the intermediate/advanced level in this context. For whatever that’s worth.

(And certainly be aware that ‘extreme’ methods in this context are how eating disorders/unhealthy relationships with food can/do develop)


#6

Unless you need to make weight for competition, I advise against extreme dieting. It tricks your body into thinking there is a famine and it starts trying to save energy and even the fat you want to lose. So your metabolism might go down and when you start eating again, you might regain all the weight and more. Hence the phrase “yo-yo” dieting.

At least, that seems to be what happened to me. Healthy, steady diet is better.


#7

I cut on BW x 10 calories. I really don’t think it’s that big of a deal.