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Dodge The Bull – What Matadors Can Teach Us About Fat Loss

Diet Breaks could be a strategy to help you lose more fat. Read on to find out more…

A recent study on the effects of dieting strategies on fat loss appears to show that taking frequent diet breaks is superior for fat loss.

The study is known as the MATADOR study.


Because MATADOR stands for Minimising Adaptive Thermogenesis And Deactivating Obesity Rebound.

The authors wanted to investigate whether the inclusion of frequent maintenance phases (aka diet breaks) was a viable strategy for fat loss.

Turns out they are!

The paper found that the group which alternated 2 weeks of dieting with 2 weeks of eating at maintenance lost 14kg compared to only 9kg in a group which dieited consistently for the same length of time.

  • The consistent diet group dieted for 16 weeks straight
  • The diet break group did 8 x 2 week diet blocks interspersed with 7 x 2 weeks breaks
  • The energy deficit during the dieting weeks was the same in both groups.
  • This was regulated by the fact that the study organisers provided all meals.
  • The diet break group not only lost more weight, but more fat.

They lost an average of 12kg of fat across the study while the consistent diet group only lost 8kg.

So, if you have some fat to lose it seems to make sense to take your time. Break the process up with diet rests every few weeks and you will lose more weight, more fat and mitigate many of the downsides of long-term diets.

The 2 weeks break outlined in this study has proven successful in my experience. I have also heard many other experts recommending this timeframe.

Pic courtesy of mindpumpmedia.com

While a 2 week diet break seems to work well I’d speculate that most people can do a higher ratio of dieting to breaks than 1:1 as performed in this study. Many people I have worked with respond extremely well to a 3:1 ratio (6 weeks dieting and 2 weeks on a diet break). Twice through this cycle works wonders for many people.

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