I never actually heard the term “reverse dieting” before but I checked it out, and it is definitely not a new concept. As competitive bodybuilders, we were all pretty much doing it in the ’80’s before it had a name. The basic premise is a very gradual increase in daily calorie intake to promote the increase of lean muscle mass. The key is to take in an adequate amount protein (2 grams/kilo of bodyweight worked well for me) and don’t go overboard with your total calorie intake – 100 – 200/day above you total energy expenditure. I never worried about carb & fat grams – getting my protein in & watching my total calorie intake kept those in check. You can go nuts tracking every gram of nutrients that goes in your mouth – it’s not necessary. If you go overboard with calories, you’ll start adding body fat – that’s what you want to avoid. Keep the protein up and the calories just a little above the break even point & train hard – good recipe for building muscle.
The phrase “Reverse Dieting” is being popularized by a number of FitPros, most notably Layne Norton. I wouldn’t necessarily say that the way it is currently being used in this trend is a technique to build muscle, it is more a technique to elevate your metabolic rate so that you can use calories more effectively and avoid gaining fat when increasing calories after a period of reduced caloric intake. As you know, there are hormonal changes that your body induces during a period of extended caloric deficit, which allow it to conserve energy and operate at a lower metabolic rate. When going back to eating what was previously maintenance calories, a person who has lowered their metabolic rate may find that what was once maintenance now actually causes them to gain body fat. If calories are added back in a controlled way and exercise is utilized effectively during this period, the person can avoid this post-cutting fat gain. The specific phrase “Reverse Dieting” is gaining some attention for bringing this idea into attention currently.
Thank you Paul and Shawn for responding back. During researching the topic I did find what you both have replied, which is great information to know and nice to have the input of others. While researching I think I was just getting myself confused on the actual reason for the “diet”, when it looks like it could be used both ways.