How to switch to a Mass phase after a Diet

If you have been dieting or competed in a bodybuilding show and are now ready to focus on gaining muscle mass its important to transition properly so you don’t gain too much unwanted body fat. After a diet or contest your body is primed to gain muscle if done correctly, but it is also very easy to gain unwanted fat. Following a hypo-caloric diet necessary to lose body fat for an extended period of time will result in a slowed metabolism through various mechanisms. If you switch gears and go straight into a large hyper-caloric diet you will almost certainly gain unwanted body fat. A good strategy is to go into a maintenance or just slightly above maintenance  phase for a couple weeks by increasing carbohydrates first and healthy fats secondly if you where dieting on a low fat diet (note if you just competed your weight might still go up due to water retention). Protein should have remained high throughout the diet and possibly even increased so protein should stay the same or even go down some initially if consuming much more then 1g/lb body weight. After a couple of weeks while your metabolism wont be back to what it was yet before the diet, it will be in a better place to start adding muscle mass without the unwanted fat gain. From here I generally recommend adding 250-500 calories (women the lower end men closer to the upper) initially again mostly from carbohydrates and healthy fats at least until you reach about 20% of your diet from fats or around 0.35g/lb. From there access how your doing every couple weeks and continue to add calories as needed. I generally add  my additional calories from carbs once I reach 0.35g/lb body weight from fat and 1-1.5g/lb body weight in protein.

During a mass phase its important to monitor body fat levels so they don’t get too high. You can’t stay contest shape lean while optimizing your muscle building potential. However if you allow body fat to get too high this isn’t good either. Men should generally not allow their body fat levels get above 8-12% as any higher then that makes it much more difficult to get back into contest shape. For women it more around 16-20%. Not only is it harder to get back into contest shape when body fat levels get too high but adding muscle mass becomes more difficult as insulin sensitivity drops and estrogen levels tend to go up causing a shift in partitioning that favors fat gain over muscle gain. If you notice your starting to put on body fat cut back  to where your still adding mass but at a slower rate without the fat gain.

If for what ever reason while bulking you allowed your body fat to get above acceptable levels I suggest  doing a mini diet for 4-8 weeks followed by a 2 weeks maintenance diet before resuming your mass phase.

How to switch to a Mass phase after a Diet

How to Structure a Weight Loss Diet to Get Started

If you have decided that you want to lose weight and go on a diet, but are really not sure how to get started you are not alone. With the countless diets out there and conflicting information it is easy to get confused. I am going to try and simplify it for you so you have a better idea of where to start.

The most important rule to remember is that you must create a caloric deficit in order to lose weight. No diet will work if you are not in a caloric deficit. Many of the popular diets try to do this by creating a list of approved and banned foods or food groups so that we will automatically eat fewer calories without having to track or count calories/macros. This is unnecessary for almost everyone unless that person has a food allergy or medical condition that is triggered by certain foods. Many people will have some success with this style of diet as when you cut out most processed food, liquid calories, sugar etc a lot of people will automatically consume fewer calories. Let me stress again though that for the people that get results from these diets, it is because of eating fewer calories and they would still get results if they kept some of those other foods in and calories and protein where equated. The problem with diets like these is threefold. First depending on the particular diet and the foods it allows/bans it can be overly restrictive thus hard to adhere to long term. Secondly some people even with the restrictions will overeat and wonder why they are not seeing results as they are technically following the diets guidelines. Lastly most people that do see results from diets like this will only lose a certain amount of weight before they plateau and will not know what to do to continue to see results since they are not actually counting or tracking calories.

This brings us to what we should do to ensure results. First, we need to figure out what our maintenance caloric intake is. We can estimate this a couple different ways. I prefer the Harris-Benedict equation, but a more simple way is to multiply your body weight in lbs by 13-15 to get an estimated  caloric intake for maintenance. From here subtract roughly 500 calories to create a decent daily caloric deficit. Once you have your starting calories the next step is to figure out macros. Protein should be roughly 1 gram per lb body weight. Protein is essential  for many roles, is muscle sparing, and has the highest thermic effect of food, thus doing the most to raise our metabolic rate. From there I like to figure out fat next. The ratio of carbs and fat in the diet is more individualized both in preference and how each individual responds to both of them. As a whole, studies have shown that high fat/low carb, and low carb/high fat diets are equal for weight loss, but some people will get better results with one over the other. I generally set fat at 15-25% of the daily calories. Then the remaining calories come from carbs. I prefer higher carbs over fat as I weight train hard and notice my training suffers with a low carb approach. Fat has 9 calories per gram while protein and carbs both have 4 calories per gram.

Example 200lb male

200x 15= 3000 calories for maintenance

3000-500= 2500 calories for weight loss

200lb x 1g = 200 grams protein x 4= 800 calories from protein

20% of 2500 = 500 calories from fat  divide by 9= 56 grams fat

2500 calories – 800 calories from protein – 500 calories from fat = 1200 calories from carbs

1200 calories divide by 4= 300grams carbs

Starting plan 2500 calories 200 grams protein/300 grams carbs/56 grams fat

After you have your calories and macros the next step is to use an app like myfitnesspal to track your calories and macros or if you prefer sit down and write up a meal plan based off these numbers using nutritional information from an accurate data source. You should try and stick to mostly nutrient-dense foods and focus on eating in a way that allows for better adherence. For example I avoid most liquid calories and sugar when dieting as I prefer foods that are more filling and satisfying. Try to eat at the very minimum every 5 hours for better protein synthesis and time carbohydrates around your workout to allow for better workouts and enhanced recovery. Remember that this is just your starting point and even it was based off estimations so adjustments will need to be made based of biofeedback and results. Hopefully this gives you a better idea of how to get started.

How to Structure a Weight Loss Diet to Get Started

Eating for satiety while dieting

One of the most important factors with a diet is adherence. If your diet leaves you constantly feeling hungry adherence can become a problem. Eating foods with low satiety (feeling of being full) is a recipe for disaster while maintaining a caloric deficit needed for weight loss.  Many popular diets work to a certain degree because they focus on getting you to eat fewer calories automatically by restricting certain foods and focusing on foods high in satiety and volume. These food restriction generally are not needed if you take the time to track your macros and calories but can still be beneficial if you understand the purpose behind it. This will allow you more flexibility with food choices when hunger isn’t a problem but also help you to choose foods conducive to adherence by focusing on volume and foods high in satiety to combat hunger when it is. Here are some things to focus on to increase the satiety of your diet.

  • Avoid simple carbohydrates- these are easy to overeat and do little to appease hunger.
  • Avoid drinking your calories-whole food is much more filling.
  • Eat more fiber- Fiber adds bulk to your diet and increases satiety. Foods high in fiber include vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans and legumes, and nuts. Non starchy vegetables are especially beneficial as they really add to the volume of the diet with very few calories making them hard to overconsume.
  • Eat more protein-protein has a high effect on satiety and has the added benefit of having the highest thermic effect of food (calorie cost of processing food).
  • Drink more water




Eating for satiety while dieting

Build Better Glutes

In the quest to build better glutes many people automatically assume that squats will get the job done. With pictures of girls with great backsides and captions of “she squats” its easy to see how squats have became the main component of glute training for many. While I am a big proponent of squatting and think it should be programmed into almost everyone’s routine, many people are quad dominate when squatting  and get little glute activation from squatting. This can be addressed over time and technique can be changed to increase glute activity. Making sure your getting proper depth (parallel or below), using a wider stance, and sitting back into the squat while forcing knees out by spreading the floor with your feet, will all help increase glute activity. However squatting is still only part of the picture and various hip hinge movements, lunges, step ups, and isolation exercises like kickbacks should all be a part of your glute training. Below is a list of some of my favorite exercises for glutes and some sample routines.

  • Hip Thrusts
  • Barbell Bridges
  • Romanian Deadlifts
  • Sumo Deadlifts
  • Deadlifts
  • Cable Pull Through
  • Glute Ham Raise
  • Good Mornings
  • Kettle Bell Swings
  • Reverse Hyperextension
  • Back Squats
  • Box Squats
  • Sumo Squats
  • Lunges
  • Step Ups
  • Kickbacks

Sample workouts

w/o 1
Squats 3x8-15
Sumo Deadlifts 3x8-10
Hip Thrusts 3x8-12
Walking Lunges 3x15
cable kickbacks 3x15

Box Squats 3x8-12
Good Mornings 3x8-12
Step Ups 3x12-15
Glute Ham Raise 3x failure with bodyweight
Cable Pull Through 3x10-12
Kettle Bell Swings 3x10-12
w/o 3
Deadlifts 3x8-10
Romanian Deadlifts 3x12-15
Barbell Bridge 3x10-12
Reverse Hyperextension 3x15-20
Walking Lunges 3x15-20




Build Better Glutes