My Approach To Reverse Dieting

14206226_10210183804331473_4034940874299023269_oCutting carbs and dieting down for a contest is one thing, but there is also an art to reversing the process and getting back into maintenance and then gaining mode. The last thing you want to do after getting extremely cut is gain a bunch of unwanted fat right away. I am sure many of you have heard of the term “reverse dieting”. I am going to breakdown the concept and how I do it. Let me explain I am not a daily macro counter. I’ve ran the numbers enough in the past to know what I need to be eating for a particular goal.

Reverse Dieting: This is the process of slowing introducing calories, typically carbs and a little fat, back into the diet. I slowly add in each of these carbs (which also means calories) over a period of 3 weeks or so.

A. Carb Up Breakfast: The first thing I add back into my diet right after a contest, or low carb cycle, is a solid carbohydrate source for breakfast. For me this might include 1/2-3/4 cup oats, 2-3 slices of 100% whole wheat bread, or 100% whole wheat pancakes or Belgium waffles. Each of these with a little fruit such as a banana or berries. Looking to bring in 30-50gs of carbs that had been missing.

B. Post-workout Dextrose: There is debate rather glycogen stores are low enough after workouts to warrant spiking glucose levels, but after personal experimentation I do supplement with 30 grams of dextrose immediately after every workout with exception to a few days before a contest. I mix in 3 tablespoons of non-flavored dextrose into my post-workout Re-Kaged whey shake. **Get 15% off Re-Kaged on Kagedmuscle.com with code Wittig15.

C. Light Carbs for Lunch: My typical low carb lunch is 8oz of lean protein, 2 cups veggies, and 16-20 oz of water with Kaged Muscle Hydrachrage. I will roll with this set up for many weeks. I start adding carbs for lunch very slowly. The first thing might be just an apple. I’ll wait 2-3 weeks before adding in potato or rice in addition to the fruit.

D. Dinner Carbs: The weeks leading up to a contest or near the end of any cutting cycle my dinner will be similar to lunch- 8oz of lean protein and 2 cups veggies. I typically add in two 100% whole wheat tortillas and make wraps.

So my reverse dieting might breakdown as follows:
Week 1: Introduce A and B.
Week 2: Introduce C (apple only) and D.
Week 3: Increase amount of A (1/2 to 3/4 oats) and add to C.

cv8ogxfvyaalj-xI shoot to get to a healthy maintenance level in around 3-4 weeks, then if I plan to start building muscle I slowly continue to increase carbs over another 3-4 weeks. My protein is always high and remains around the same until I am really pushing to increase calories in a gaining cycle.

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me: Michael@WittigWorks.com

-Wittig, ISSA CPT
Kaged Muscle Athlete

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Time Off or De-Load?

img_0694After a intense program or a big event like my recent physique contest it is important to find a way to let your body rest and reset. Intense programs stress our nervous system, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and mental state. But does that mean we should skip the gym for a week or do what some call a “de-load” week. I am in favor of de-load weeks and feel they can help kickstart progress. They not only provide a time for our bodies to make a full recovery, but more importantly our minds. I feel its a good idea to do de-loads every 6 weeks or so especially if you lift very intensely like I do.

I am not a big fan of taking a extended break out of the gym. I tried that once a few years ago when my family and I were on vacation and it was a mess for several reasons. Not only did I get my ass handed to me in the gym when I got back, but it also had me feeling slightly depressed. I lost weight, strength, and my motivation was lacking. It took me a while to really get back in the swing of things. Whereas with de-load weeks you are just toning down intensity and volume. Just holding back versus skipping had me revving to tear up the gym the following week. But that is just me. Find what works best for you.

Here is how I de-load:

*Lower volume: Instead of 20 sets for a particular muscle group I might only do 15. If I typically hit 15 sets I might only do 10-12. I am a higher volume type of guy in general.

*Stop before failure: I still lift fairly heavy, but I stop several reps before failure. I don’t try to hit any PR’s during this time.

*Form over weight: I tend to lift slower and go through the entire range of motion during de-load weeks. This is a time to reset and evaluate lifting form.

*No advanced techniques: Along with stopping before failure I don’t include any drop sets, strip sets, forced reps, negative repetitions, etc.

*Strategy building: I use this “down” time to re-focus and formulate a plan on how to make improvements in my physique, program, and nutrition. Don’t continue doing things that are not working.

*Nutrition: I keep my nutrition consistent during de-load weeks. Unless I am close to a competition I also have ~2 cheat meals a week.

*Cardio: I continue to do cardio during de-load weeks, but I shorten the time and intensity.

-Wittig, ISSA CPT
Kaged Muscle Athlete

Post-Competition Mindset

snapchat-764597934This last Saturday I competed at the NANBF USA Super Pro all-natural and tested competition in the Men’s Physique Open and Masters 40+ classes. I placed 1st in Masters and 2nd in Open against some great physiques. I got to hang out with some good friends and made some new ones along the way. I did miss my family being able to join me in Oklahoma City for the event. Their presence was missed. While I am very pleased with how I did what matters to me most is the concept of making up ones mind to do something, working hard to make it happen, and following through until the very end. I am proud of every competitor that showed up regardless how they placed. These guys had a vision and saw it through to completion and did something many only talk about. Use this as encouragement to go do that one thing you’ve been wanting to do and stop talking about it.

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Afterwards the eating began! My friends Sam, Eric (Open 1st place) and family, and I went to BJ’s where I enjoyed 1/2 rack of ribs, wedge fries, cheesy mashed potatoes, and the best warm cookie cake with ice cream on top. Oh, and that is not it. After my 2 hour drive home I got cleaned up and took the family out for Hideaway Pizza. Yesterday (Sunday) wasn’t nearly as bad, but did include some donuts and brownies. Friday morning I weighted 182 and today (Monday) I weight 189. A lot of that is water weight because those carbs made me thirsty, but still.

15025179_10210831785130588_5058276789901330220_oToday I am back at it. You can’t keep me away from the gym. Most people take a few days off to rest after competing. But no rest for the wicked. I just love it too much. Not working out and getting off eating schedule even for a few days was messing with me mentally. I felt a tinge of depression even. I like the discipline and structure. I think it keeps me sane if that makes any sense. It helps put my life in balance. I went to the gym today without a plan and just enjoyed it. I didn’t lift extremely hard because our bodies do need some respite from the beat downs. While I will enjoy more of my favorite foods in general I will eat clean and on schedule. What’s next? I am going to keep enjoying this journey and focus on my family during this holiday season. Then I will crush 2017 in many ways. Watch and see.

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Love and thanks to my wife Stacie and children Kaden, Kyler, Kinley, and Kennedie for putting up with all this. Special thanks to my friends and ALL of you. Radical thanks to my sponsors and friends at Kaged Muscle Supplements (Kris Gethin, Nick, Nate, and the rest of the crew), RyderWear (Sally and crew), SwoleO’Clock, 6 Pack Bags, P28 Foods, and Shields of Strength.

Go do that ONE thing!

-Wittig, ISSA CPT

The Eve of Competition

The day is almost upon me. Tomorrow I compete in Oklahoma City, OK at the NANBF USA Super Pro in Men’s Physique Open and Master classes for my natural pro card. The mental preparation for this begin as I walked off stage in August. I was very pleased placing 2nd in Open class then against much younger guys. I’ve worked extremely hard on my weak areas and made slight adjustments to my preparation to grow upon what I’ve learned last time. I do this to push myself physically and mentally. I enjoy the self discipline involved. I also want to be an example that you can be your best at any age naturally.

Yesterday I met with my friend Jason Story to run through posing one final time. He seemed pleased with the work I put in and we made a few minor adjustments. Afterwards I did a final workout to deplete all remaining glycogen in my body. I just went through a fairly simple circuit 5 times almost continuous.

The Circuit:

Do each exercises back to back with no rest for 1 round. Do 5 rounds. I alternated exercises for some muscle groups from set to set. Almost no rest between rounds. 15-20 reps each exercises stopping several reps before failure.

A. Chest press machine or Pec Deck
B. Back row machine or pulldown
C. Side Lateral Raises, Front Raises, Bent Over Laterals
D. Seated DB Curls or Incline Curls
E. Overhead DB Extensions, Kickbacks, Pushdowns

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After the workout I hit my final tan and put my account on pause. Had to make a trip to Walmart to pick up self tanning gloves. Picked up some P28 White Chocolate peanut butter spread. That is a must have for my chocolate rice cakes. The combo is crazy good. Once I got home I did some light packing and the fun job of shaving my legs. The good news is I finally started eating some carbs. Up until this point I’ve been pretty low carbs and was really dragging by this point. After that circuit I could hardly function ha. Some potatoes and then chocolate rice cakes with pb made my life much better.

Today will start pretty normal, but with glorious carbs included. I will help get the kids ready for school and go train a few lucky clients. After a carb infused lunch I head to the city to check into my hotel, register for tomorrow’s event, and then relax until tomorrow’s 8am mandatory meeting.

Follow my next 36 hours on Snapchat (WittigWorks). I am going to put some serious effort into documenting everything well 😉

Thank you for all your amazing support. Special thanks to my family, Jason Story, Colton Powell, Matt Gillespie, Whitney Finch, and my home gym Elite Training Tulsa.

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(NPC Oklahoma Men’s Physique Masters Champion Jason Story and myself working on posing)

Special thanks to my sponsors and friends at Kaged Muscle Supplements and Kris Gethin, Ryderwear, SwoleO’Clock, 6 Pack Bags, P28 Foods, and Shields of Strength.

-Wittig, ISSA CPT
Kaged Muscle Athlete
NANBF Competitor

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Weak Point Cardio

We all have weak points in our physique. For some it might be the long head of the triceps, the inner tear drop in the thigh, or upper pecs. The weak point I’ve been working hard on the last few months is back width. I have my next men’s physique contest coming up shortly and there are two things I need to stay on top of 1. Cardio and 2. Back width. So I’ve come up with a simple system to hit them both at the same time. Applying this method recently has also helped get me in super condition. Give it a try with one of your weak points.

A. Recumbent Biking: 2 mins moderate: 1 min hard: 1 min moderate
B. Wide Grip Chins or Pulldowns: ~15 reps

*I repeat this pattern 6 times through for about 30 minutes of non-stop cardio.

Feel free to switch out the cardio method. Concentrate on your weak point hitting a targeting exercise for 15-20 reps.

-Wittig, ISSA CPT
Kaged Muscle Athlete

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Plank Circuit

Planks are a great way to tighten and strengthen the core. They can be done anywhere, anytime and require no equipment or special space. No excuses. Here is a 10 min plank circuit I did the other day as my ab work.

Do each of these positions back to back without rest. I did this pattern for 10 minutes straight ending on a regular plank. Adjust as necessary. Reduce or increase times. Add in short breaks if necessary. But ultimately work to do 10 minutes straight.

A. Regular Plank: 60 secs
B. Side Plank Right: 60 secs
C. Side Plank Left: 60 secs

-Wittig, ISSA CPT

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Calorie Deficit Eating Made Easy

Eating in a low carb, calorie deficit can be very difficult for many. As I prepare for my next upcoming physique contest I’ve found a way to make it much easier. Currently my low carb day might look something like this:

cttn8ncvuaefke8Breakfast: 1 scoop whey, 3 eggs and 3 egg whites
Lunch: 1/2 pound lean meat and 2 cups veggies
Dinner: 1/2 pound lean meat and 2 cups veggies
Snacks: whey, non-fat greek yogurt

Needless to say that is pretty darn basic. Here are 3 ways to make eating like this much easier:

1. Season lean meat with Flavor God low-sodium, natural seasonings (www.flavorgod.com) and Six Pack Fitness #FlavorAmp sauces (www.sixpackbags.com). Makes food taste amazing with none of the bad stuff.

2. Mix Kaged Muscle’s Hydracharge with 18-22oz of water and drink in the AM, with lunch, and PM. It tastes amazing with no artificial flavors or sweeteners. It helps fill you up while satisfying the need for sweet. For extra workout recovery add in 1 scoop of BCAA’s and 1 scoop of Glutamine. If you find eating low carb leaves you with no energy add Kaged Muscle’s Pur-caf Caffeine to your Hydrachrage for that extra boost.

*Get 15% off Kagedmuscle.com with code “Wittig15”.

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3. Kaged Muscle’s new Kasein protein is making this contest prep and eating low carb easy! Kasein is a slow digesting protein ideal for long periods without food such as sleep. I typically eat non-fat Greek yogurt in the evening as my snack because its high in protein and also slow digesting. But the problem is the plain yogurt doesn’t taste so great on its own. The flavored Greek yogurt has too much sugar. So to eat plain Greek yogurt I typically add crushed walnuts for texture and honey. Extra calories, fat, and carbs/sugar. Not ideal when trying to cut weight for a contest. Kasein makes a smooth, great tasting shake that I can have on its own which is high in protein and low in calories, fat, and carbs.

But the real power of Kaged Muscle Kasein is the delicious pudding it makes! I personally add 2 cups of non-fat Greek yogurt (50g protein), 1 scoop of Kasein (25g protein), and 1/3 water. Stir it up for some really food vanilla pudding. Much less calories and carbs than the walnuts and honey I typically add and MUCH more protein. When I do need a carb boost this pudding tastes great with mixed fruit and especially on top of 100% whole wheat pancakes.

*Get 15% off Kagedmuscle.com with code “Wittig15”.

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Try incorporating these 3 tips into your clean eating to see how much easier and tastier to makes life.

-Wittig, ISSA CPT
Kaged Muscle Athlete