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The Maintenance Tool


So now (during the holiday season) is a really good time to start thinking about shifting your goals to a new focus that are going to set you up for a little better long-term success.  If you’re at a low enough body fat percentage and you’re going to get more time in the gym why not take advantage being able to eat in a slight caloric surplus and more time for increased volume and shoot for hypertrophy. For others why not maintain rather than sending yourself on a guilt trip every time you’re invited to another holiday party.  Now I’m not saying your need to go overboard with the food. You still must maintain some sense of control with either type of goal BUT you do get a little more leeway and hopefully, if you have developed good sound habits throughout the course of the year the holidays won’t get the best of you.

For many people I work with and talk to maintenance seems to be the best choice in terms of the route you could take so that’s what I’ll focus on here.

Now I know…the idea of maintenance is often overlooked as what most would call a “goal.” But in my mind, it is actually a very important goal and tool that many people don’t take advantage of nearly enough.  Maintenance is important for various reasons:

1. It is a great tool to re-establish energy levels

2. Can help reduce metabolic adaptations that occur overtime

- According to the recent MATADOR study diet, breaks may lead to more fat loss over time as opposed to continuous dieting

3. Gives you a mental break

- Convincing yourself to maintain fat loss phase for 90 days is more daunting than trying for 14 days caloric deficit followed by 14 days caloric maintenance (such as what was used in the MATADOR study)

4. Allows you participate in events like holidays with less worry and angst.

When we talk about SMART Goals one of the points is goals short and long must be attainable. When thinking about attainability you have to think about the bigger picture and how your life for the next few months to a year are going to be structured, so you can ultimately set yourself up for success. People tell me all the time when it comes to the holidays…..well I’m going to wait to get started until AFTER the holidays to start in on my fat loss goals when in reality their life may be even busier after that leaving them at that endless cycle of always pushing the start line further and further.

You need to have a reality check with yourself and take a look at what your life is like and when is the best time for YOU to implement certain phases of training whether it is fat loss, muscle gain, strength gain, or maintenance.  Also, remember life should be about balance and obtaining goals should be enjoyable (for the most part). Maintenance not only helps with our long-term goals, it can teach us to have a better relationship with foods and will teach us how to better maintain our weight once we have actually reached whatever long term goals we were shooting for in the first place rather than letting that weight creep back up.

Times to implement maintenance:

1. You have a crazy busy schedule and less time to workout.

- You can only control what you can control. Now I don’t suggest ditching the workouts completely. I simply suggest lowering the volume to maintenance volume and spreading that volume over the course of the week in a way that is going to allow you to hit those targets.

2. Feeling fatigued

- This is another good indicator your body simply physically use a break. Yes we all have a bad workout days from time to time, but if you are finding this is happening more often than not, you’re not recovering adequately from workouts or performance is suffering, it may be time to take a break and bring that volume down.

3. You are mentally finding it more difficult to stick to the meal plan and calories and macros, or having cravings

- One of the things I love about maintenance is it gives me a psychological break.

- You still need to calculate out your target maintenance calories. This isn’t about eating everything in sight BUT you do get to eat a little more.

Don't forget to checkout out our Movement Minute video on this topic by going to subscribing to our YouTube Page!

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