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How to Finally Improve Your Metabolism- The 5 Things You Need to Know About Reverse Dieting

Avatar Nutrition Staff

September 22, 2017


Have you struggled to lose weight even while eating very little calories?

Do you feel like you have a “slow” metabolism? Do you just want to be able to eat more food without gaining weight?

Reverse dieting is your solution. And we’ll share the top tips you need to succeed.

But what is a Reverse Diet?

In short, it’s exactly what it sounds like, the opposite of dieting. you will be eating more, not less. But, you won’t be gaining a ton of weight. Instead, you will train your metabolism to adapt to higher calories so that you’re able to eat more and maintain your weight! Then, when you are ready to diet, you will have more success and greater rates of fat loss on higher calories!

Anyways, as promised, here are top 5 things you should know about reverse dieting.

1. Be prepared to gain some body fat while increasing metabolism

The goal of reverse dieting isn’t to lose fat out or get shredded—it’s to increase your metabolic rate. Because you will be in a caloric surplus, slowly increasing your food intake over time, there will always be a risk of gaining body fat. This risk is dependent on the responsiveness of your metabolism, as well as on how quickly you increase calories. The more aggressive the reverse diet you choose, the greater your risk of putting on excess fat during the reverse dieting process. Using the Avatar Nutrition System, you can choose between 3 settings ranging from conservative to fast.

With that in mind, if putting on a lot of fat will compromise your health or mental state, you may want to choose the slowest reverse diet setting (lowest risk for gaining fat). However, if you’re in a hurry to eat more food and don’t mind gaining a little extra body fat– preheat the oven, select a rapid setting, and get ready for some bigger macro targets! Whatever setting you choose, always remember that reverse dieting is an investment in your metabolism and your future!

2. A reverse diet isn’t just for people coming off extreme calorie restriction

Some people think that reverse dieting is only for those needing to reboot metabolism following extreme calorie restriction. But the truth is that nearly anyone can benefit from improving their metabolic rate! This includes those experiencing difficulty managing weight while eating a normal amount of food, those who know weight loss is in their future and want to set themselves up to diet on more calories, those who’ve just finished a diet and want to return to normal eating while maintaining results, and those who simply love to eat.

“Nearly anyone can benefit from improving their metabolic rate!”

3. Along with reverse dieting, lifting heavy weights can help you increase your calorie burning capacity

Lifting heavy weights is by far the most powerful stimulus for building muscle, a benefit that can improve metabolism over the long run. Muscle is metabolically active, meaning that it is a calorie hog. It uses calories just to exist (for example in turnover and repair), as well as during activity. To most effectively turn your body into a calorie burning furnace, you MUST add regular resistance training to your routine!

4. You should gradually cut down on cardio each week as you reverse diet.

woman doing cardio

Cut back on the cardio – it’s a signal for your body to ditch muscle and slow your metabolism

To increase metabolism, you need to create a calorie surplus by providing your body with extra food. This serves as the trigger for activating pathways that boost your metabolic rate. Doing long or frequent bouts of cardio is actually counterproductive to the process, as you will burn off much of the extra calories you eat, erasing the surplus that works to increase metabolism.

Slow sustained cardio is especially counterproductive because it increases your metabolic efficiency (similar to dieting), reducing the number of calories that your body needs to perform work. Alternatively, through reverse dieting you want your body to become a calorie burning machine—meaning as metabolically inefficient as possible—blasting through a lot of calories for only a little work. Doing a great deal of slow sustained cardio (think long distance running), can also interfere with your body’s ability to maintain and build muscle, sabotaging your metabolism and ability to burn calories over the long run.

Unless your hobby is running or cycling, you’re training for an event that requires stamina, or you’re interested in reaping the heart-health benefits of cardio, you should reduce cardio by a half session each week as you reverse diet.

5. There is a limit to how much you can increase metabolism while still feeling comfortable

As with anything else, reverse dieting is subject to the law of diminishing returns. As you increase calories, you will eventually reach a point where you feel healthy, energized, and satisfied with the amount of food you’re eating.

“Be aware of how you’re feeling and stop reverse dieting when you’re satisfied with your food intake.”

If you continue to increase your macros beyond this point, you may find it challenging or even physically uncomfortable to fit all of the food in. This is especially true as you approach 3 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight. Be aware of how you’re feeling and stop reverse dieting when you’re satisfied with your food intake.