Kim and Tyler’s Reverse Dieting Success Journey

Kim and Tyler’s Reverse Dieting Success Journey

How’s it going Train Loco Nation! Today we have a great guest post by our friends and past clients Kim Fairbrother and Tyler Kirby. Kim and Tyler are 30 weeks post show and are still reverse dieting. We asked them to share their experience with their reverse diet and their thoughts on their contest prep. There’s a lot of great information that’s going to be shared right now so take out those note pads or pull up the word doc in another window. Enjoy 🙂

-Eric and Chris


“So you want to do a show!?” For me, being a figure competitor was something I had always wanted to do, but never had the nerve to try because I thought it would be too hard. For my boyfriend, it was something he never imagined he would ever do! About this time last year, we decided with a group of friends that we would all compete in our first physique show together. We both have strong nutrition and exercise backgrounds, but really had no idea about getting show ready. So, being the researchers that we are, we started reading and absorbing every bit of information on training for a show that we could find. Through our research we discovered flexible dieting and eventually stumbled upon the DDT website and Chris and Eric’s coaching. We decided to give them a shot, and from the very first phone call I could tell that Chris and Eric had the knowledge and experience we were looking for, and would be a huge benefit to our contest preparation.


My Concerns About Contest Training

One of my biggest concerns about entering a contest was the loss of muscle mass and strength through the prep, but from day one Chris kept me lifting heavy! Throughout the prep, I not only maintained my strength, but I actually got stronger which blew me away! I started weighing 150lbs with a 150lb bench-press, and ended with a 155lb bench while weighing just 130lbs!

Through our colleagues at the University of Kentucky we were able to get monthly DEXA scans done throughout prep to measure our progress. A DEXA scan is currently the gold standard for body composition measurements and provides feedback on body fat percentage along with lean mass. With the program that Chris had me on, my lean mass never dropped throughout the entire diet.

A second concern of mine was the amount of cardio training that would be involved. To tell the truth, I really don’t know if I hate anything more than doing cardio! Let’s put it this way; when Chris first asked how much cardio I was doing, I responded “none”, to which he said “Wait. None? At all?” Thankfully, as our friends were hitting the gym for hours to get all of their cardio in, we only spent about 30 minutes 2x per week on cardio training.

My final concern as I alluded to above was the diet. While we both enjoyed and already maintained a healthy diet the strict restrictions and very low carbs was kind of scary to me. I wasn’t sure if I would like it, or be able to stick to it at all! However, by using the flexible dieting approach and taking the diet very slowly I thoroughly enjoyed the process. It was hard, don’t get me wrong! But when I witnessed our friends who were training for the show eating the exact same thing day-in and day-out, not being able to eat any sort of variety, I was very thankful for the approach we took. When the day of the show finally came, we both knew we had taken the smartest and safest approach to prep. The day flew by and looking back I felt healthy, happy, and hydrated (unlike many of the other competitors)!

The Training Didn’t Stop With The Show

Dieting up to the show was a challenge, but with the goal of competing on stage, we were so focused it eventually became second nature to us. After the show was the real challenge. Like most competitors, we took the night of the show off from any sort of diet to celebrate all of the hard work we put in with some nice greasy, fatty food. We decided that since we had dieted for over 16 weeks and because we had family in town that we would eat whatever we wanted the night of, and day after the show, but that was it! We realized the importance of having a set plan after the show to avoid an unwanted rebound. So come Monday morning after our show, Chris had sent us our Reverse Diet plan and new macro numbers. We were both shocked when we saw the switch in our carb and protein numbers.  I think the first thing we said to each other was “I can’t believe how many carbs we get!” Now remember this is all relative to our pre-show macros. Because in retrospect our numbers still fell into the “poverty macros” level.

The first two months of the reverse diet was, if I’m being polite…brutal.  The whole purpose of the reverse diet was to properly restore our metabolisms to the normal levels with minimal fat gain in the process. Chris had us take it very slowly. Each week we added in some carbs and/or fats depending on how our bodies responded to the diet that week. What made it hard was that for the first several weeks we were still in a caloric deficit. This meant we were hungry all the time, but since there was no goal of stepping on stage in a bikini or trunks looming in the near future it was really tough to stay motivated! Plus, our friends from the show and family thought that we had gone off the deep end for still “dieting” after our competition was over. I don’t know how many times we heard things like “Aren’t you thin enough?”, “I thought the show was over, why are you still watching what you eat?!”, “You can eat what you want now!”

We both had our fair share of near breaking points. But relying on each other, and having Chris encouraging us each week, we kept sticking to the macros and pushing through. Two months after the show, our group (Us, and our friends who had trained separately) had the opportunity to get another DEXA scan done. By this point we had cut out almost all of our cardio, and had slowly been adding in more and more calories to our diet. But the scan revealed that we were the only ones to not gain any fat mass, in fact we each dropped a significant amount of body fat and were leaner than the day of the show. Everyone was shocked at our ability to get even leaner even while adding in food, and they suddenly became very interested in what we were doing!


So Where Are We Now?

We are now seven and a half months removed from our show and our latest DEXA revealed that we are both still leaner than we were the day of the show, but our lean mass has substantially increased. We are far removed from the “poverty macros” and are both taking in more calories now than before we even started dieting last June. In other words, thanks to Chris and his guidance through the reverse diet, we have seen a huge positive metabolic adaptation where our bodies are capable of taking in more calories at a much lower body weight and fat level. We are continuing our reverse diet to further build our metabolisms, muscle, and limit fat gain, all in the hopes of hitting the stage again next year.


Coach Chris’s Notes and Summary:

First and foremost it was an honor to coach these two individuals and I’m happy to call them friends as well. I also want to make it clear that Kim and Tyler took over their own reverse diets at week 12, so I’d like to give them a great deal of credit for their fantastic progress. I took some really interesting notes and data off Kim and Tyler’s 30 week reverse diet progress:



Start of reverse diet:

– 129 lbs

-Waist 24.5 inches

-Macros: 140P/90C/35F


30 weeks into reverse diet:

– 130 lbs

-Waist 24.5 inches

-Macros: 145P/215C/48F


30 week stats:

– 1 lb increase

– No changes in waist

– Metabolic capacity increase of 637 calories


Start of reverse diet (left)/30 weeks later (right)



Start of reverse diet:

– 161.2 lbs

-Waist 30.25 inches

-Macros: 190P/200C/60F


30 weeks into reverse diet:

– 164 lbs

-Waist 30 inches

-Macros: 205P/385C/85F


30 week stats:

– 2.8 lb increase

– .25 decrease in waist

– Metabolic capacity increase of 1,025 calories


Start of reverse diet (left)/30 weeks later (right)


As you can see they have both kept their weight down, have stayed lean, increased lean body mass, and have increased their metabolic capacity’s. This is exactly how a reverse diet should go, so when they decide to compete again they will be within 10-15 lbs of stage weight, won’t have to risk losing lean body mass, and will have a ton of caloric cushion to work with so they don’t have to thrash their bodies with severe low calorie dieting and excessive amounts of cardio. Well done Kim and Tyler! I’m very proud of you guys, keep kicking ass 🙂



About The Author: Kim received her MS in exercise physiology and research from Appalachian State University. She is an ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist, figure competitor, and mother to two very large, energetic dogs. She shares her passion for training, nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle on her website