One of the methods we have used to help people get started with their nutrition, whether it’s for muscle gain or fat loss, is to make changes by titrating.
Any changes that are made are done in small doses until we eventually get to the target change. This allows you to figure out the subtle signs that lead to change and also prevents it from being an overwhelming experience.
One thing we have noticed is that many people tell us they go straight into huge deficits overnight, and this usually leads to a lot of discomfort, which leads to noncompliance and the eventual yo-yo dieting loop.
If you are going into a deficit and trying to lose fat, try the following:
If your target is to get to a 20% deficit, then reduce 5% of your calories (ideally from carbs or fats) every 4 days until you get to 20%. This will give you 16 days to get into the deficit and will usually not have any adverse negative effects. You can spread the time horizon even further if you like.
If you are in a calorie surplus and trying to gain muscle, try the following:
If your target is to get to a 20% surplus, then increase your calories by 5% every 7–15 days until you reach a total of 20%. This will take between 28-60 days to reach that target number. You want to use a longer time horizon when gaining muscle so that you can minimize the amount of fat that you accumulate with the muscle gain.
You could always reduce or increase the time frame based on how aggressive you want to be with the diet.
What we have seen is that people who take the longer route usually have the best long-term results.
This is the exact way we do it in the CFCY Nutrition Program.
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