If you have been following my page for a while now I am sure you have noticed I have talked about being on a diet break or coming off of one, and it dawned on me that I have never really explained them.
If you are working on your nutrition and your working with a coach I am sure you have gone through some very different numbers, from reversing to fat loss, maintenance and performance, so where does the break fit it? Well, you see for everyone it can be different. For myself, I CrossFit therefore we have a pretty set season and offseason. I am what I like to call a beer league CrossFitter, meaning I’m not really any good at it but I enjoy competitions, but not too many. I do the Open in March, and usually only two other ones. One this year is at the end of July.
In working towards a better body composition LAST summer I did a cut, and then reversed out and then over Christmas took a small break and then leading up to the open I did performance/cut so chasing the unicorn. I say that because I really wasn’t concerned about the open I knew CanWest was always my goal. Through my diet break over Christmas and January, I would track macros but I would enjoy things I wouldn’t normally. For example, when I went out on date night I would have some bubbles or when I was snowboarding and hot tubbing I would have some drinks and enjoy some foods I wouldn’t normally have. But I was still tracking. This allowed me to go above my cutting numbers towards maintenance but also kept me going towards my goals. Once I was about 4 Weeks out from the open I got it together and went back to decent numbers with BIG refeed. This allowed me to train and work on body comp but also allowed me to compete in the open. As stated the open wasn’t my goal. Coming off the open I took a break from logging just eating good whole foods, and then once the qualifiers happened to tighten up, Qualified and then took a break.
Why do I take so many breaks? Well, that’s a great question. For my sanity. Hands down the number one reason is my mind needs it. I was completely run down from the open, run down from CanWest, new business start-ups and clients and just life. I always know to go at my diet from the viewpoint of still tracking but enjoying a little outside the lines for a couple weeks is much better than trying to be a superhero and go 100% all year round. I also find that when I am loose with my numbers I don’t actually venture far off maintenance which is perfect because I have created a new low body composition set point and my body does much better on holidays or from a date night.
Here are some major benefit I find from using Diet Breaks with my clients!
- Sanity, again being on the same path for a long period of time can be hard so at the end of a reverse, I like to do it for a week.
- Holidays and traveling. This works if you only take a couple vacations through the year. If you travel for work regularly I would not suggest a diet break but work towards finding some better numbers to work with.
- After a competition and you need a little break and reset.
- Feeling like your completely burnt out from it all. These ones can be tricky. Dieting and weight loss can be hard, so sometimes people will use a break as an excuse but you do need to understand diet breaks can push you back a bit in your goals and the periodization of your program.
- Regrouping and moving on. At some point in time, people will throw there hands in the air and be ready to bail completely. I like to use these and say Yep go nuts because it’s quite funny to see in two-three days they are back and ready to get at it because they feel like shit. Their sleep went to the shitter, their recovery sucks and everything hurts. BOOM mission accomplished, you’re ready to go again!
So when should you use them? Like mentioned its different for everyone. I always use them after competitions and MAJOR holidays and that seems to help me stay on the path the rest of the 42 weeks of the year. You can’t let them be your excuse and they definitely won’t help you with progress on the scale but they might help you stick it out for the long haul!