How to Transition from a Diet Phase to Maintenance Phase?

Hi christian

How would I transition from a diet phase to a maintenance phase ?

Can I go from a deficit straight to maintenance level ?

Thankyou in advance Aaron

It depends on the length of the diet, the type (e.g. low carbs vs. moderate carbs) and the severity of the deficit.

A longer and/or more restrictive diet will lead to metabolic adaptations that will reduce energy expenditure and going straight into your previous maintenance level might actually represent a surplus. In that case it is best to use a step-like approach to caloric increase.

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Hi Christian

Would you mind answering my questions please.

say I have been dieting for 3 months max without previous dieting how would I go onto a maintenance phase? Would I go from say 2640 calories(aprox 20% deficit) to 3300 calories in one go for about a month or would I build upto it ?

Then when I have completed the maintenance phase go straight back to 2640 cals or decrease cals ?

Would i also increase activity through resistance training i am training 4x a week with fullbody style training ?


It was a hypothetical example

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Just to clarify, from another thread, the OP is:

“37years old 6ft '1 259lbs”

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Hi Christian

I have been dieting for nearly 12 weeks im in a 20% deficit do i need a maintenance phase?

how long do i need to be in a maintenance phase for?

do i just go straight into eating at maintenance or build upto it over time?

Sh9uld i count calories or just eat intuitively?

Absolutely. I believe that 10-12 weeks is the limit of time in which you can spend in a significant deficit.

However I want to ask something.

You mention being in a 20% deficit.

Is it 20% deficit over what your maintenance was at the beginning of your fat loss phase or have you recalculated it? Also, are you still lose fat and if so at what rate?

Thanks for the reply

its the same as when i started my fat loss it has not changed.

Yes i still have alot of fat to lose . Im stil losing inches at the moment

You’re going to have to help him a little more for him to help you:

  • What has your rate of fat loss (in weight per week) been?
  • How has that changed throughout the time period?
  • What was your starting weight and calories and what are they now?
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Exactly. As you lose weight your energy expenditure tends to drop down, both because you have less mass to carry around and because of metabolic adaptations. So what as a 20% deficit 12 weeks ago might now be a 10 or 15% deficit.

So increasing caloric intake by 20% is likely going to put you in a surplus and have you gain fat.

I would recommend increasing calories to the point where you are maintaining your weight, but not gaining any. And stay there for 2-3 weeks.

YES count calories because if you are someone who had lots of fat to lose, eating instinctively and in an unstructured manner will likely lead to over-eating.

You might gain a few pounds just from filling up muscle glycogen but that should be 2-3 pounds. If you gain more than that you are eating too much.


Thankyou for your help i will start doing that .

Hi Christian

Im into my second week of my maintenance phase
Iv gained 2lbs and my tape measurements are pretty much the same.

When i return to my deficit calories do i go back to the amount i was previously consuming?
Or eat slightly less?

Should i add a set amount of cardio(walking)?

I was still losing weight (.5-2lbs)and inches at a reasonable pace aprox half inch a week of my naval .

Any help is appreciated

Thankyou Aaron :blush:

I would probably start very slightly higher than you were at before going to maintenance and assess weekly if you need to further decrease intake.

I personally prefer to add some cardio and keep more calories in then using a bigger restriction and no cardio.

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Thankyou understood