When trying to lose fat, many people start lowering their calorie intake in order to reach their goals.
At first, you might see your weight going down on the scale, but on the long run, staying on a low-calorie diet will only slow down your metabolism and signal your body to switch itself into starvation mode. Not only will you end up holding on to that stubborn fat, but you will also enter a catabolic state where you start using your muscle tissue as fuel. Now I’m pretty sure that that’s not what you are trying to achieve!
Calorie shifting or cycling, will allow you to combat the natural process that occurs in your metabolism whenever you are restricting your calories. Your body is a smart machine which is designed to preserve its fat stores, whenever these fat stores are threatened, your metabolism slows down to compensate and this is why so many people hit a plateau at a certain point along the way.
To avoid this process, you can trick your metabolism by alternating you daily caloric intake, which in turn, will keep your metabolism constantly guessing. This will prevent your body from quickly adapting to a certain number of calories it expects to receive; therefore, your metabolism becomes more efficient.
About 2 years ago, I’ve experiences the side effects of a “lower” calorie diet. I dropped about 15 pounds, and although I lost the fat I wanted, I was unable to build muscles and achieve my desired physique. You need energy to sculpt the body of your dreams, and you also need to provide your body with proper nutrients to function optimally. I’ve learned my lesson, and now my main focus is on making sure that I am getting enough nutrients and calories in.
Although I do not believe in constant calorie counting, I think that it’s good to have a basic understanding of how our body works with the foods we consume. Once you become aware of this, you can start listening to your own body and adapting along the way.
Shifting calories is ideal in situations where you feel like you have hit a plateau or when you are not seeing the results you are looking for and need a little extra push.
Basic guidelines for Calorie Shifting
First of all, you need to establish a baseline, and estimate your approximate caloric needs depending on your specific goal. You can check out THIS LINK to give you an idea. Remember, we are all different and there is no certain way of predicting how each one of us will respond to any given diet or number of calories suggested. With trial and error, you will find what best works for you. Once you have determined that target number, say, 2,000 calories a day, instead of breaking the calories evenly throughout the week, you up-shift and down-shift your daily intake while still reaching your weekly calorie target.
Here is an example: 2,000 calories/week
- Monday: 2000 cal.
- Tuesday: 1500 cal.
- Wednesday: 2300 cal.
- Thursday: 1600 cal.
- Friday: 2300 cal.
- Saturday: 1700 cal.
- Sunday: 2600 cal.
After shifting your calories for about two weeks, you can go back to your regular diet for a certain time before you start the process over again.
Basically, you will be burning fat when you are down-shifting your intake, and before your body signals the brain to slow down, you will provide it with sufficient calories to keep it going. Not only will this technique help you lose fat faster, it will also give you a mental break and won’t leave you feeling deprived. As long as you have a good diet basis and you workout regularly, this simple trick can work wonders… And you can aim your workout and diet to target belly fat with aimed exercises following the same calorie shifting trick – Works for everyone!
Mix it up folks!