For the best results, it's best to focus either on Fat Loss OR Muscle Gain. If you'd like both, then getting a bit leaner first by choosing Fat Loss, and then choosing muscle gain AFTER you're done with the fat loss plan is a wise idea. If you'd like to eat healthier and just get leaner and stronger slowly, Maintenance is the plan for you.
Here is a bit more information about the diet types:
The Fat Loss diet plan sets you up to lose fat slowly and steadily over your chosen diet duration. The plan isn't just optimized for fat loss, as it's also designed in such as way as to try to preserve as much of your muscle as possible, so at at the end of your diet, you are leaner, healthier, and maybe even stronger!
The maintenance plan serves three main purposes:
First, it's a diet guide that keeps you around the same bodyweight while fueling great workouts and improving your health. For this purpose, you can run the maintenance phase any time.
Second, maintenance eating can help your body recover its hormonal and psychological settling points after a strict Fat Loss diet. Maintaining right after a fat loss diet can ensure that you don't just regain the weight, and can help you keep the lost fat off in a healthy, sustainable way.
Lastly, the maintenance phase can be used to give your body a break after a long stretch of Muscle Gain dieting, and let some of the muscle take hold a bit better, so that when you do your next Fat Loss diet, you keep most of your new muscle instead of losing a good deal of it.
The maintenance phase should last a minimum of 2/3 as many weeks as your fat loss diet took, but the longer or harsher your diet, the longer it needs to be (8 – 12 weeks is common). If you attempt to come out of maintenance too soon and transition into another dieting phase, you will ultimately end up having to reduce your calories even further than before just to initiate weight loss, because your metabolism/hormones have yet to normalize to their pre-diet levels. Similarly, if you add non-diet food too quickly, you will quickly start to regain the weight you just lost, because, coming out of a diet, your body is primed for (fat) storage. This is not ideal, and ultimately leads to no good yo-yo dieting.
As such, the maintenance diet is invaluable, and must be taken seriously. In our opinion, it’s just as critical to your success than the diet phase itself.
Check out this podcast episode on the importance of maintenance diets.
Muscle Gain feeds you the specific nutrients your body needs to gain muscle. This means that you'll be gaining a bit of weight during this diet, and perhaps just a bit of that will be fat, too. This is both OK and necessary, as weight gain is by far the most effective process for muscle gain, and the fat you gain will come off very quickly when you do your next Fat Loss phase. If you've never done an intentional Muscle Gain phase and you want to be more muscular and perform better, we HIGHLY recommend it!