T Nation

Refeeding during cutting phase?

I’m trying to cut down to 9% or so bodyfat (now 13%), eating 500 cals less than mainatenance and working out (of course). Thanks to fitday, I have very good control of my calories, and always come within 100 cals of my daily target. Now I’m worried that that’s too good.

Should I incorporate a “refeed” or cheat day every 5 days or so? Not 'cause I need a break from my diet mentally, but to keep my metabolism up?

Also, Elzi Volk recommends it and sounds pretty reasonable.


I like the idea of a re-feeding or cheat day about once a week. I always have done better with this option when trying to drop my body fat. I think it makes sense from both a psychological and a physiological standpoint, but I think its about 80% psychological and 20% physiological. Sorry, I don’t have an concrete scientific evidence to support this other than the experience of myself and several of my friends.

A few issues of T-Mag back, Berardi said there’s no evidence that cheat days are of any physiological value.

OK, I’ve only now gone back and read some of the old posts on this topic, and found the Berardi reference (here: www.testosterone.net/articles/188dc2.html). I don’t think he mentions the whole leptin response business, but I didn’t didnt check his cites.

Thanks for these answers.

There is a big difference between a cheat and a planned refead. Refeerding is designed to upregulate leptin (the leaner you are the more frequent the refeed). Refeeds should be primarily carbohydrates, secondarily protein and the rest of your calories should be essential fats (though from what I have read fats should be kept minimal during the refeed). The frequency of a refeed will depend on the duration. Par Deus has recently said that he refeeds every other day for 12 hours at 50% above maintanance. A good quote of his which would agree with cheat days being negative is ““Cheat days” are for gluttons. Purposeful overfeeding is another matter entirely”.

at 500cals below i wouldn’t worry about your metabolism taking a dive. if you were 1000 below or engaged in a shitload of cardio work, reloading on the weekends might be required to refill your glycogen supply. a one-day refeed really isn’t long enough to re-establish your metabolism anyway, it takes more time than that to reset your switches.

i do two day refeeds on the weekends for the very reason i mentioned above: to refill my glycogen depots for cardio. every friday i run out out fuel just in time to reload. it doesn’t seem to slow down the fat loss and it keeps me more social on the weekends. this seems to work well for me. kevo


I think I may try a refeed day or two on the weekend when I start Meltdown training (next week), if I feel too run down from all that volume.

I, too, read that post by Par Deus, I would love to incorporate it, but I am going to wait until he finishes up his leptin series in his online mag because I don’t understand how you can consider dieting when every other day you are exceeding your calorie needs by 50%, thoughts?

I don’t know about the Par Deus (?) article, but the stuff I saw (T-mag won’t seem to let me put in the cite) suggested more like 10 or 20% above maintainance on refeed days, with the frequency of refeeding going up as body fat percentage goes down, so by the time you’re refeeding every three or four days youre already under 10 % bodyfat, if I remember.

If you look for Elzi Volk, you’ll see some articles on this, I think.

I dont think he meant 50% above your daily total I took it to mean 50% above what you would have taken in for those 12 hours - so really like 25% over total (I could be wrong though. Do you know how low he likes to be going btwn refeeds (10bw, 12bw)??