Bulking? Cutting? Or Maybe You Actually Need a Maintenance Phase?
When we get new clients at KJO Coaching, we always ask when was the last time they weren’t dieting or attempting to diet.
Maintenance is the hardest part for most people, yet we don’t give it nearly the amount of attention that “bulking” and “cutting” receive.
People lose weight all the time, but only a small fraction of people keep the weight off.
Maintenance is an essential aspect of being healthy, and it doesn’t have to be a scary or stressful experience.
The Beauty of a Maintenance Phase
So glorious that I truly could keep doing what I was doing forever.
I maintained my weight within 5 pounds of my previous diet while still feeling strong, building a little more muscle, and allowing more leniency in my diet (compared to more strict tracking on a diet/build phase).
It’s a bummer that so many people don’t ever get to experience this.
The freedom you can experience by being in a maintenance phase is unmatched, but you have to go into it knowing what you’re doing and what to expect.
Entering a Maintenance Phase
Unfortunately, maintenance isn’t always a stress-free experience. Because I know this, I want to share a few things that made this possible for me.
Education and Experience
I’ve been through numerous dieting and building phases myself and with others (as a coach), so I know how to manage my nutrition to not go too overboard (or under) even if I’m not tracking a single macro and am traveling or eating out.
I was the same weight when I came back from a five-day trip to Iceland as I was when I left because of this experience.
You, too, can achieve this, but it’s going to take time to learn how to approach your food intake so you aren’t over or undereating.
You can educate yourself through programs like our 4 Week Fit Foundations, where the KJO coaches teach you the basics of nutrition and strength training.
Muscle Mass and Metabolic Health
After over a decade of building a physique with a good amount of muscle and prioritizing my health, I can “get away” with eating a decent amount of food without worrying about gaining weight.
That’s not to say I can go crazy, though. My maintenance is about 2000 calories per day, so I still need to stay around that.
This is more challenging for someone who is constantly yo-yo dieting, but it’s possible for you to improve your metabolic health so that you can eat more food without gaining weight.
This is another reason why we recommend lifting heavy.
Your body will use more energy (burn more calories) as you build muscle, and once you’ve built muscle, your body will burn more calories even while you’re at rest, meaning there’s more leeway with how much food you can eat.
Daily Activity and Exercise
When I say exercise, I’m mainly referring to strength training.
But, one of the best ways to maintain a healthy body weight? MOVE.
It’s rare that I don’t hit 10-12k steps in a day (note: this is not from cardio), and I’m in the gym five days a week.
Regular activity is hugely helpful from a nutrient partitioning perspective (e.g., food goes to muscle rather than fat) and general calorie management.
Is it Time for You to Enter a Maintenance Phase?
All of this can be possible for you, too.
Keep in mind that maintenance SHOULD be your long-term goal, and it SHOULD be a valued part of your fitness journey.
Not to mention, maintenance must be part of your dieting plans if you want to diet/lose fat.
If you want help entering a proper maintenance phase, the coaches at KJO Coaching would love to help you out!
Or, if you just want to learn about how to reverse diet, you can watch our coaches’ chat here.
See my original Instagram post here.
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