Nobody wants to maintain.

Everyone has a goal, and it’s always to “get somewhere”—be leaner, get bigger, drop a dress size, hit a new PR.

Maintenance is seen as downtime, even negative time—the dead zone between periods of progress.

And for many, without the pressure of a looming goal, there’s an undercurrent of fear and complacency. A worry of sliding back toward the person they are trying not to be anymore.

But to thrive in this game, you must accept that maintenance phases are an ESSENTIAL part of the fat loss and muscle-building process—a truly critical part of your training calendar.

It’s during maintenance that you learn:

* How to make fitness, dieting, and training part of your life—not the focus of it.

* How to navigate the real world by following simple nutrition guidelines.

* How much stimulus is needed (the minimum effective dose) to keep your size and (most of your) strength.

* How to “nudge” your body in a direction without going all in.

Sure, the simple nutrition guidelines aren’t as effective at moving the needle as hard macro counting. But done correctly, they keep you in the ballgame with WAY less mental effort.

And just because you cruise for an extended period in relative maintenance, it doesn’t mean you lose all focus.

Go away for a week and return home feeling a little bloated?

Bust out the measuring tools or scale for a few days to recalibrate and sharpen up—both physically and mentally.

Not seeing strength gains even though sleep and training are in check?

Add a couple hundred daily calories to the mix and see what happens.

Sure, these nudges aren’t as effective as a deliberate diet or bulk, but they’re also far more FORGIVING.

* Go on a calorie-restricted diet, and you basically stop building muscle.

* Hop on a mega-bulk and most of your gains will be body fat.

But a careful nudge in either direction offers a slower yet significantly more balanced outcome.

Think of it like this:

If you can learn how to keep things on track with minimal effort and use the extra time and mental capacity to do MORE WITH YOUR LIFE, what you stand to “gain” will be the most important progress you’ll ever make.

– Coach Bryan