What is Reverse Dieting?

Over the past couple years there has been a boom in the fitness industry about “reverse dieting”. Many female competitors who were risking it all to be stage lean were suddenly thrust with metabolic issues and completely lost as to how to recover their hormonal health.

Enter Reverse Dieting that was popularized by Layne Norton.

Reverse dieting is the process of increasing your calories over time, mostly coming from carbs. However this doesn’t just apply to competitors. If you have a history of:

  • Yo-yo dieting

  • Restricting calories for a long period of time

  • exhausted and can’t lose weight no matter what you try

then you could be a prime candidate for a reverse diet.

So how do you start?

First things first is getting your average intake of calories. I would reccommend logging your food (without changing portions or anything) for 3 days then taking the average of your protein, carbs and fat. These should most likely be your maintenance calories will be your starting point.

The most important thing about a reverse diet is the consistency in which you stick to your numbers. Take weekly measurements and markers of progress and increase your calories based on them. An important note is that most of your increases will come in the form of carbs. Fats should increase by 1-2g and carbs should increase by 5-10

For example, say in the first week you lost 3lbs and 5 inches, then its very apparent that those numbers are a deficit for you and way under your maintenance calories. You would then increase your fats by a 1-2 grams (because fat is 9 calories per gram) and carbs by 5-10 (4 calories per gram). If you gained weight then I would not change anything and hold steady while your body adapts to the new set of calories.

They key is to be patient. If you look at the big picture – by increasing your carbs by 5 grams (which doesn’t sound like much right now) every week for 8 weeks you’ll be up 40 grams!


So when do I stop?? Unless you are have a date to start your cut you can continue for however long you want. You’ll eventually come to a point where you hit a plateau OR you are simply so full you don’t want to eat more. Thats when you know when to stop.


If you’re a competitor I strongly encourage you to take time building your metabolism in your off season. By doing so you set yourself up for success when it comes time to cutting.