Is Reverse Dieting Still Recommended?

Im finishing up my cut this week and will be ending my calories at 2100, 180p/187c/70f. I plan to increase my cals by 100 per week until i hit maintenance which is estimated to be around 2900 cals. I would add about 25g of carbs per week while decreasing cardio. I currently do 30min post workout and 1hr of LISS on rest days. I plan to decrease by 5min post workout and 10min on rest days each week. After i stop taking rauwolscine, extra water retention should vanish too which is great.

According to my daily weigh in and tracking, im in a deficit of 880. Thats how i got the 2900 estimate. Im curious, is 100 a week too slow? I do ezpect to get leaner during thst time since i will still be losing fat. That a bonus in my opinion. What i am fearing is the hunger. Im ravenous at my current stage and im sure i will be even more hungry when i eat more. My refeeds dont really do much for me. I refeed 3000 cals 170p/510c/18f every Friday.

What are your opinions?

TL;DR My plan is to increase cals by 100 each week for about 8 weeks and decrease cardio by 5min post workout and 10min on rest days for 6 weeks simultaneously.

No, reverse dieting was just a scheme for coaches to keep their clients even longer. There is no such thing as metabolic damage. The first person to really push it Layne Norton has even moved off from it.


What level are you at and how long have you been cutting for? Sounds like overthinking and a massive waste of time.

The way I see it, you can spend 8 weeks micromanaging your calorie intake and amount of cardio (and live in fear of hunger by your admission), or you can spend a week or two finding your new maintenance and get back to chasing your long-term goals.


I’ll split the difference here. I think the super-slow methodical reverse dieting is kind of nonsense (as @OM.Bodi pointed out). I think getting back to your maintenance quickly, as @cdep89 said, is advised.

Where I think folks go wrong, and there is some merit in at least the concept, is they don’t know what their new maintenance is. It’s not going to be what it used to be, and it’s probably not even going to be what you want it to be. What I’d probably do is go ahead and add 400 calories back in immediately and reduce your cardio to what is sustainable for you (maybe 3x 30 minutes a week). Give it two weeks before you assess (because water and glycogen will do some weird things). From there you’ll titrate your calories up or down (probably leave cardio to baseline, so it’s not a variable any more) based on rate of muscle/ fat gain to where you’re happy. After that first couple weeks, I wouldn’t shoot for more than .25 - .5 lbs a weeks or it’s pretty likely too much fat.


Im an intermediate lifter and have cut for about 8 months now. Going straight to maintenence sounds a lot better. Im just worried about turning into a balloon going from 187c to 362c. It makes sense how any weight i gain isnt going to be fat UNLESS i eat over maintenance.

Sounds like a plan. Thanks a lot.

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If you had not been doing this, it might make sense.

Probably not necessary for you.

I didnt plan on doing refeeds while increasing cals back, if thats what you were talking about.

Be logical about this.

Yes, the scale weight will go up when you reintroduce more carbs, but this is primarily in your muscles - IT IS NOT FAT. Carbohydrates are stored in the muscle as glycogen. Glycogen molecules attract and hold onto water molecules. This is a good thing and can lead to better training performance. This is what we call water retention which can fluctuate the scale quite a bit but isn’t replicant of fat gain. You should not be afraid of this.

Even if what you think is your new maintenance is off by a few 100 calories you aren’t just gonna magically put a ton of fat back on, the body doesn’t work like that. All the rules you learned about calories and losing/gaining weight still apply. A week or two of figuring out your new maintenance isn’t going to undo all of the work you’ve put in.

Congratulations on the weight loss by the way.

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I’m not saying this to be a wiseass. I just don’t think it has to be so methodical. I got shredded to the bone only once. And that obviously involved weighing foods and following macros strictly for five and a half months. Anymore of that and I think I would have become crazy! I simply did portion control with my usual lifestyle foods afterwards and continued training. I have never gotten fat in all the seven years since. You likely will not have rapid fat gain if you got shredded and just don’t pig out.


Reverse dieting certainly works, it’s what I did after losing a considerable amount of fat. I just didn’t know what it was called at the time. By slowly increasing my calories I continued to lose fat, actually an additional 20 lbs beyond my goal. It’s not magic, as I added calories my energy increased even more, leading to more calories burned. So just because you’re in an 800 calorie deficit doesn’t mean you just add 800 and you will be at maintenance. The concept is valid, but if you’re concerned about hunger and continued adherence maybe go with a bigger weekly increase.

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I totally agree with you, but I think some of us are so likely to pig out it’s actually less stressful to have a “plan” while we regain normal control of our habits. I know I’ve definitely gone from strict diet to “tomorrow we die” multiple times, and that’s without trying to get stage lean.

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