Generation Iron Reverse Dieting Phil Heath

Your competition is over. Now what? Presented below is the argument of reverse dieting….

All fitness competitors, when they are within weeks of getting on stage, are zoned in. They have their headphones on, hat pulled low, and hoodie on. You can clearly see that they are focused on the job at hand, and that they have a mission to accomplish.  If you do hear them speak, the conversation lingers around getting on stage, and hopefully winning. Showtime arrives, each competitor gets his or her moment to shine, and then just as quickly, the lights dim and the show is over.

Too often, I see that the competitor focuses solely on making it to stage, but never plans for what happens when show-time is over. The competitor focuses on every calorie consumed while ensuring that they do enough cardio to reach their peak conditioning. Each competitor looks amazing when the day of the show finally arrives!

Fast forward to a week later:  You see that same competitor in the gym, on the street, in a shopping mall and it almost appears as if they have never trained a day in their life. That may be a slight exaggeration, but you probably understand my point. There is an excess of body fat gained in what seems to be overnight. Sometimes the competitor puts on ten pounds, or more, of body fat due to “Victory Meals” or “Cheat Weeks”.  The questions that I pose are, “What was the point of all that hard work to become de-conditioned overnight?” “How is any this better than a person who loses a few pounds to look his or her best for a special occasion, only to gain all that weight back? In most cases, unfortunately, the person may exceed his or her weight prior to “dieting” or competing.

As a competitor, you must come to realize that your metabolism has adapted to a lower caloric intake, and that you are indeed in a state of deprivation, which your body has been fighting against. Therefore, when the show is over, why not plan to gain the weight back the same way in which you lost it? This would be slowly, and over time. There is a benefit to what they call “Reverse Dieting.”  Reverse dieting after your shows is when the competitor slowly increases his or her caloric intake over time. The benefit to this is that since the body is in such a state of deprivation, the body will store any swift increase in calories as fat, therefore, protecting itself from starvation. The same occurs for those who fall into the hype of believing in the “fad diets. Most often these people will “yo-yo” with their weight loss, suddenly appearing to have lost a lot of weight, only to gain the majority, or more, back in a short amount of time.

In order to reduce this rapid weight gain post competition, the competitor should slowly bring his or her calories back up. This will reduce the amount of fat gained until the competitor would eventually progress to his or her caloric maintenance, while allowing an increase in lean muscle mass. The body will have time to adjust to more calories being brought in, and therefore, not immediately store those calories as fat.

The duration that reverse dieting is necessary is debatable in the bodybuilding community.  There should be, at least, the acknowledgement that there is a span of time where the metabolism does need time to recover from the caloric deficit it’s been in. By utilizing reverse dieting properly, it will allow the competitor to reduce body fat gain post show, as well as possibly even increase the  metabolic capacity in the off season. This will ensure that dieting back down for the next competition is not as difficult.


You can check out more of Greg’s exciting and informative videos and pics by visiting his Youtube and Instagram pages.

Greg Robinson
Greg Robinson is 33 years old and a natural pro bodybuilder. This year he has placed first in his Men’s Open Bodybuilding Class at the OCB Battle for the Belt in Burlington, NJ and took 2nd in his pro debut on Sept 27th, 2014 at the ANBF Jersey Shore Natural VIII. He currently is the bodybuilding representative for the American Natural Bodybuilding Federation and maintains a full time job as an Index Manager You can find Greg Robinson on his Facebook and Twitter below.