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RP Diet App Algorithms

by Dr. Mike Israetel | Jul 11, 2019

The RP Diet App is here, thousands are using it every day to get leaner and add muscle, and it’s getting improved upon by our dedicated team of engineers all the time! Like with all new products, there’s always a bit of mystery as to how they work, especially when compared to older products. The app works a bit differently than the templates did, so here is a list of a few common intricacies about the app’s operation. Knowing these might help reduce a bit of potential confusion and let you confidently stick to your plan and get the results you want!

1.) How does the app count macros from each food category?

The app counts all macros for protein sources, fat and carbs for fat sources, and for carb sources, it only counts carbs.  This causes a loss of precision in macro counting. However, this way of counting nutrients was chosen so that it would be easy to fit in the exact macros you need in each meal, and so that you could do this in a quick manner, just scrolling and picking foods without having to go back and make all kinds of adjustments. Thus, the huge upside is ease of use. 

But, that’s not the whole story. Knowing in advance about these imprecisions, we intentionally adjusted every single daily macro total to undercut proteins and carbs by a slight margin so that when you choose foods, you get much closer to their desired values than otherwise. There is still a chance of over-eating proteins and carbs by a slight margin if you’re choosing very specific foods (fats with high quantities of carbs and proteins, especially), but we further offset that chance by intentionally biasing the total caloric allotment for any given goal down, so that your chances of actually overeating are no longer elevated. And while there is still some imprecision to the estimates, this imprecision gets completely accounted for by weekly calorie adjustments. Thus, if for some reason you are in the fraction of a percent of people who overeats on the diet even by following it to the t, your next adjustment in calories will wipe away any and all error and you’ll be 100% on track. This is critical to the function of the app even if all macros were perfectly calculated, because serving sizes are not reported on nutrition labels with 100% accuracy (not even close, unfortunately), and things like the ripeness, cooking method, and even current temperature of food affect macronutrient amounts by small margins.

Taken together, all of the imperfections of macro counting are completely accounted for in the app’s operation, which means that you won’t be shorthanded by the app and your results will come exactly as expected. Does this mean you don’t have to worry about how the app calculates your food and can just type in your foods and go? It absolutely does.

If you have a food you want to eat that’s not on the app list, just read the macros for the meal verbatim and try to get as close to them as you can (within 5-10g of proteins, carbs, and fats is totally fine), and you don’t need to do any kind of adjusted calculating at all! Keep it simple, keep it consistent, and the app will get you to the bodyweight you selected.

2.) Why are the workout shakes smaller in size?

Research published since the release of our first templates indicated that workout shakes are best off being quite small for the vast majority of exercisers and athletes. Our latest template generation (the last one released before the app) already reflected this reality by reducing shake sizes from the first generation. In between the release of the latest templates and the app, still more research indicated that shakes should be even smaller, so this is how they appear in the app! Because RP is and always will be a science-based company, our dietary approaches will change as research is conducted and our understanding evolves. These usually won’t be big changes, but smaller ones like altering shake amounts can be expected to occur in the future.
The good news about having less carbs and protein in your shakes is that you can have more of them in whole foods in other meals, making them more filling and reducing your hunger levels, which is a very good thing!

3.) Why is the last meal of the day larger than most of the other meals?

Research on hunger management shows that most people struggle with hunger and cravings in the evenings more than they do in the morning or midday. By programming a bit more food in the last meal of the day, the app reduces your chances of falling off the wagon with unplanned evening eating. In addition, larger amounts of food, specifically carbs, have been shown to enhance the ability to relax and fall asleep after a meal. Since sleep is critical to the results of a diet, eating a slightly larger meal at night is a very good idea!

4.) How do maintenance nutrients get calculated?

Currently, maintenance nutrients after a diet are calculated just on general theory, without accounting for the degree of difficulty of your last diet. This is going to change soon, as we’re going to be introducing a learning algorithm into the app so that it can adjust the first week of your maintenance plan exactly to your personal adaptations to your last fat loss phase. Until that update is released, the maintenance plan automatically starts your diet with fewer calories than you would need if you didn’t just do a fat loss diet, so it won’t overfeed you and make you gain needless fat. In addition, the weekly update to your diet means that the maintenance plan is adaptable and flexible in a way that the one in the templates could never be. Lastly, getting a bit more food in the first week or two of the post-diet maintenance can have highly beneficial psychological and physiological effects, so that as long as you stick to the maintenance plan for weeks after, an immediately-adjusting plan might not actually be optimal in all cases.

Taken together, the current maintenance option post-diet will set you up for a very effective post-diet environment and will lead to metabolic and psychological recovery; not rapid fat gain.

5.) Why are the calorie cuts so big?

If you’re over your target average weight in any week of the fat loss diet, the AI coach recommends you cut your food intake. The calorie cut it recommends is usually quite large. Why is the cut so large? We definitely had a choice and could have made the cut smaller. Smaller cuts would have been easier to execute, but they come with their own downsides. Specifically, if we make a smaller cut but it’s not enough to get you on track again, you lose another week of fat loss dieting to not actually making losses. This means that another cut has to be executed, which changes your diet again and throws you a bit more off of your routine. By having larger, less frequent calorie reductions, you not only stay ahead of the weight loss curve, but you don’t have to deal with the diet changing as often, so you can focus on building the habits needed to shop for, cook, and eat your meals with fewer distraction and adjustments required. Larger calorie cuts are tougher, but they are simpler and more directly effective. In the future, it's likely we’ll alter the app to take a more nuanced approach, but for the time being, we’re going to keep it simpler and more effective so that you can get the results you’re after with minimal delays and frustration.

6.) Why does the app drop me to low carbs so soon?

Bigger calorie cuts have to come from somewhere, and when minimal fats are approached, carbs have to be cut, and often a lot. The quintessential determining factor of when and how much your carbs get cut is how aggressive your weight loss goal is. Please make no mistake about it; we treat our clients’ goals and desires very seriously. When you tell the app you want to cut aggressively, it believes you wholeheartedly and will cut your carbs as low as needed to make that happen. This can get super tough, which is why we don’t recommend aggressive cuts in most situations! If you choose to do an aggressive fat loss phase, be ready for things to get… well…. aggressive!

Lastly, the cuts can get pretty extreme if you go off plan and don’t lose the weight you’re on track to lose each week. If you’re going off plan, we highly recommend you choose to delay any diet changes by a week when your next diet update screen pops up. If you choose to just keep plowing forward, the app assumes you’re being diligent and will cut your carbs and cut them a lot. Do your best, be honest, and use the update screen each week to go at the pace you feel is best for you. There’s no shame in delaying cuts and there’s not shame in just moving along with them. Do what’s best for you, and put in the work. The results will come because of that work, and nothing less!



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