Question about Re-Feeds: Which Days Should I Do It On?


I’m on a cut at the moment and currently employ a 48-hour re-feed every couple of weeks. We all know their central benefit regarding leptin, but my question is in relation to the optimal days to do the re-feed on.

My current split is full body three times a week: Mon/on, Tue/off, Wed/on, Thu/off, Fri/on, Sat/off, Sun/off, repeat.

I assume the extra food would both be of benefit for my energy going into a session, as well as my recovery after, so where would you place the two-day re-feed within the week for the best bang-for-buck?

If I do Friday and Saturday, I theoretically get the benefit of a decent amount of food before the Friday evening workout, and then a good amount for the recovery that night and through Saturday.

Or perhaps I could do Saturday and Sunday, which, being two consecutive days off training, might prep me well recovery-wise for the week ahead.

Thoughts? I appreciate this might be going into the weeds a bit, but if there’s a consensus on an optimal couple of days to do it, I thought I might as well go for those.


Why do you feel you need a 48 hour refeed? I’ve never actually heard of that before.

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The basic idea is that once you get quite lean at around 15% and want to go leaner, you do a re-feed every couple of weeks to mitigate the effects of Leptin on slowing fat loss (which are of course more severe the leaner you get).

If your cutting calories are very low, it also provides some much-needed relief. At 1500 cals a day virtually everything I eat has to be protein and vegetables.

Sorry I should’ve been more specific with my question. I’m familiar with the logic behind refeeds as I’ve been implementing weekly cheat days since i can remember. I meant why have you specifically chosen 48hr? And that I’ve never personally heard of anyone following that before. Are you able to tolerate the hunger or are you miserable? It’s pretty extreme imo.

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Ah I see, now worries. well, it was from reading Lyle McDonald’s stuff. He said that so far as Leptin is concerned, a cheat day (or 24hr re-feed) doesn’t really alter Leptin for the better (not that there aren’t other benefits). He explained that the hormonal benefits occur at 48 hours.

When you say it’s extreme, are you referring to the number of calories I’m on daily or not doing weekly cheat days and doing it every two weeks?

I can tolerate the hunger for two weeks relatively well, but if I were to go longer it would be pretty unbearable.

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I meant the low calories for two weeks.

As far as your original question, Fri/Sat or Sat/Sun both seem fine and really comes down to your personal preference. I personally have found that doing a cheat or refeed day on a day I lifted made me feel really sluggish in the gym actually. I much prefer to leave them for recovery days. It can be a nice mental and social break too since it gives you a chance to eat out with friends over the weekend.

How do you usually do it? Go back up to maintenance one day a week?

Cheers, guess I’ll experiment a bit but I think I’ll likely settle on how you do it. I’ve got the Sat and Sun off as well so as you say, gives flexibility for relaxing on the weekend.

Not even close lol. My cheat days are probably 2-3x my maintenance :upside_down_face:

Whether I’m cutting or maintaining I’ve noticed that what I eat on my one cheat day per week has no bearing on the scale. I definitely feel that cheat calories “don’t count” when my other 6 days are dialed in.

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Interesting. Before I started doing this, I was going up to what I thought was maintenance every weekend for a couple of days, and then being in the same deficit I’m in now during the week. I didn’t see the tape move for several weeks, so figured I must just be eating too much during those cheat weekends and undoing the deficit.

That’s great that you can bump up your calories like that. I feel like if I tried it that way I’d definitely end up with net maintenance and not lose anything.

It sounds like maybe you didn’t have a true deficit during the week?

I also should’ve prefaced, I only recommend this approach for people maybe 12% or lower body fat. I maintain around 10% year round.

Then again, I only do one cheat day. I could see doing 2 in a row fucking things up.

Sorry, didn’t seem to get notified of your reply to this.

I think that is what was happening, yeah. Actually, I’m trying to do something similar to yourself; get lean and then oscillate between small gaining phases and cuts so that I can stay pretty lean year round.

I’d estimate myself at just under 15% at the moment and I’d like to get to around 10%, though really I find trying to estimate my bf impossible as there’s no standard point of reference.

I suppose a better way of putting it would be that I’m trying to get to what I think is the 10% ‘look’ of not ridiculously lean but well-defined abdominal area; I’ve never really been as lean as I’d like to be going into a bulk, and then just feel uncomfortable the whole time.

I’ve lost a good inch and a half around my waist and hips at this point, that was within a timespan of a few months. Dropped volume down and just do one or two hard sets per body part per workout: the aim was to maintain my strength as I lost the fat, but to my surprise been consistently gaining strength.