T Nation

Your Refeed HQ

Well, kids, there exists a tradition here at T-Mag to generate so-called Support Groups for those trends in diet, training, etc, that are in vogue or in question. For example, subjects and issues such as T-Dawg, Charles Poliquin, Fat Fast and Massive Eating have all had their own Groups. And we’ll (well, I’ll) never forget the Skinny Bastard SG.

That said, this thread will be dedicated to all your questions, intrigue, experience and insight into the phenomenon that is the refeed. Call it what you will, but it’s not a cheat day or cheat meal. It’s a strategically planned day/meal that will boost performance and fat loss. Any caloric restrictive diet–particularly low-carb (i.e. T-Dawg, Keto, etc.)–and any low-carb diet in general, will likely be augmented by such a practice.

We have two very well-established refeed gurus in Tampa-Terry and Joel Marion, as well as many others who have some good experience and can share valuable insight. I, personally, have very little experience, but I feel that I possess a valuable and insightful scientific foundation for such a practice. That said, this should be a very valuable resource and tool for all.

I strongly suggest that you conduct a search here on the forum, as well as the online magazine, for threads and articles pertaining to carb-ups, refeeds, cheat days, etc. These will establish some answers to some questions and some solid foundations. That said, this is the to come for personalized answers.

That said, let’s get this party started. I will be posting my plans in the thread in the near future. I will mention now, that my plan is rather strict and definitely goes against the grain. Briefly, it is very similar to what Tampa-Terry herself prescribes to, although the refeeds will likely be more intensive, due to obvious physiological reasons. Let’s have some fun and let’s drop some knowledge bombs!

I’m in Timbo!!,
I wrote to Tampa-Terry about my goals and current diet and asked for some suggestions. The thread is titled “Diet and Routine Question for Tampa Terry and All”…I would greatly appreciate if I could get some feedback from you. The more then better…;o) Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you…Tony G

OK, Timbo, I’ve started doing some more research on this, and I’m gonna post what my plan is here. Anyone can feel free to comment.

I’m 5’11" and 155 lbs., and probably about 5-7% body fat. I’m trying to get the last bit of fat gone, and get my modeling agent, so no one needs to comment about how I need to get bigger.

Anyways, I’m taking in 2000 calories on T-Th-Sat-Sun, with 105 g of carbs and 232 g of protein.

On M-W-F, I am having a three meal carb refeed that comes after my training. I have the hydro/dextrose combo right away, then 1.5 hours later, I have 2 cups of oatmeal and 6 egg whites. 2 hours later I have 2 cups of oatmeal and 6 egg whites again. Then, 2 hours later, I have a 5 oz. chicken breast with 5 slices of organic multi-grain bread. My “carb-up day” totals come to 3075 calories with 370 g o f carbs and 260 g of protein.

I’ve started taking my temp. in the morning to help test my leptin levels, and as I start to get leaner, I think I’m going to up the carbs on the carb-up days and see what happens.

Hey Brent,
What time of the day do you normally workout…I am assuming AM? Also, on your carb restricted days…what do you eat in terms of carb intake? And are those carb restricted days your days OFF from training? Talk to ya later…Tony G

First off, big ups for this idea. I am 100% behind it. Second, this is getting a lot of discussion over at the dragondoor boards, too. People are arguing over the ketogenic/near ketogenic diets vs. Metabolic/Anabolic, UDS, and even more tightly controlled carb refeeds.

I, for one, am convinced that controlling insulin is one of the biggest points that diet can accomplish, and refeeds are one way to do that.

Tony, you’re right, I do do AM workouts. On Sun-M-W-F I do 20 minutes on elliptical on an empty stomach, then have half a serving of hydro/dextrose, then strength train, then do another 30 minutes on the elliptical, and then have another half serving of hydro/dextrose. Then, on the M-W-F, I go into my carb-up philosophy.

On T-Th-Sat, I still workout in the AM on an almost empty stomach (I take glutamine and BCAA before the workout), but I do sets of 400 m sprints, adding one every week (I’m at 7 now), with 90 sec, of jogging between sprints. Then, I finish off with about 20 minutes on the elliptical machine at a high level. Then I do abs (T-Th saxon side bends, Sat I do Christian’s routine).

Then I have my hydro/dextrose, which has 56 g of carbs. 2 hours later I have 1 cup of oatmeal and 6 egg whites, which has 46 net carbs. The only other carbs I get throughout the day are 3g from half a serving of almonds, and 1g from a whole egg. I also have a handful of spinach with everymeal, but I don’t count that in my food log, as it’s not a full serving, and spinach has so much fiber anyway. That’s how I get my carbs on Sun-T-Th-Sat.

I’m happy to answer any other questions anyone has, and I think I hit what you wanted Tony, plus some you probably didn’t want.

I have written some stuff on keto dieting and carb loads (leptin refeeds)…its pretty detailed but I’d be more than glad to share my experience…also, do a search under keto support group for prevous information I have posted.
Great Thread

Hey, Vain68! Where ya been?

Agree, great thread, Timbo!

Well, you know where I stand w/refeeds. Granted, the ones I have performed in years past were not based on anytype of scientific findings/practice. It was just a look into a mirror seein’ I was already pretty lean (at 3-weeks out), beginning to look and feel flat. Therefore it was time to eat.
I am in the firm belief that the leaner you are at the beginning of a 12-week precontest cycle, the need of refeeds is definitely there. Hell, I always like to be in the 10% range beginning of a precontest, so refeed for me is a must!
I’ll be keeping my eye on this thread…

Good post Timbo. I’m going to post my thoughts when this evening. But for starters I’m of the belief that to do a ‘refeed’ justice requires a BIG carb/calorie intake. Basically it’s similar to day 1 of my carb up recommedations for the last week of contest prep. As I’ve said earlier, even a whole day of eating would come no where near close to fully topping glycogen stores – no matter what you ate. There is are rate limiting factors to glycogen synthesis that prevent it. Anyways, more on this later.

Hey Brent,

Thanks for the info!!! I definetely look forward to hearing more from you. I am just about to leave work, and I have no computer at home…so I have to wait till Monday to re-post anything. Talk to everyone later!

For my latest article on periodic overfeeding and moderate diets not requiring the usage of an androgen and a bunch of info on leptin, see my latest article on newstands now in the March issue of Muscle Media. Also, feel free to email me or PM me about the article.

For my lastest thoughts on periodic overfeeding and severe diets requiring the usage of androgens, here they are:

  1. One or two meals isn’t going to do it. The overfeed should be at least 8 hours in length. Adhere to your scheduled diet prior to the overfeeding period.

  2. Frequency should be twice weekly for most people (ie Wed and Sunday); possibly less frequent for fatter individuals and more frequent for leaner individuals.

  3. The caloric value should be 1-1.25 times your maintenance intake. So, if your maintenance caloric intake is 3000, you would then need to consume 3000-3750 calories over the 8 hour time frame.

  4. The macronutrient breakdown should be 65-70% carbs, 25-30% protein, and minimal fat.

  5. The best carb sources to use are those that have a high glycemic index as these work best to restore fallen leptin levels. Foods such as pretzels, bread, pasta, potatoes, low-fat cookies, etc should be staple foods during a carb overfeeding session. Any form of fructose, particularly high-fructose corn syrup should be avoided; small amounts are okay.

  6. You should not precede an overfeeding session with a high volume weight training session. If you do, the overfeeding period needs to be substantially longer than 8 hours.

Lastly, some do better with all out, eat-whatever-they-want cheats; it’s an option to consider.

As always, I’m available for questions.


been reading the board, but buzy at work! Glad to be back in the saddle.
How ya been?


Glad that we’re getting some hella hot feedback already.

I’m crunched like abs for time right now, so I can’t elaborate on anything at the moment. Just wanted to make sure you all knew I didn’t abandon you like the plague.

Trish…What’s all this beer talk! We all know you’re one of the Miller Lite Girls, but can’t you separate business from the forum? Actually, I take that back, that kind of business is always welcome…but photo ID is required (grin).

I’m in the same camp of thought as Thunder here. Most people should gorge on the carbs until they’re ready to explode. For freaks like myself, whose stomach has no end, I think you’ve got to play with the numbers. However, I am still in harmony with the suggestion that the calories and carbs need to be cranked up a great deal. There will be no fat storage from the carbs, but fat intake must be kept minimal.

Doggy Dogg Child…What are the differences between a ketogenic diet and the Metabolic/Anabolic diet? Frequency of refeeds? Carb control? Sorry, this is new territory for me.

I will also expand on my current diet plans later this evening.

Joel-Mama…That is some high-quality texture, bro. Beautiful, man. This is really developing nicely.

Joel -

Thanks for sending me your article the other day. I must have read it at least a dozen times!

Based on the readings from the T-Twins (that’s Terry and Timbo) here on the forum and from your article, I have put this refeed plan together.

My maintenance level is 2500 calories. Choosing to go with the 2 day a week 8 hour carb refeed, this number is multiplied by 1.25, giving me a grand total of 3125 calories. Here’s the tricky part:

Given a six meal per day eating habit, and again based on what I’ve read from the T-Twins, I will have 2 carb refeed meals. For simplicity sake, each of my six meals will have 521 calories. This means that my two refeeds will consist of 1042 calories. Following your protocol, 69% or 719 calories (179.75 grams) will come from carb sources, 27% or 281 calories (70.25 grams) will come from protein sources, and the remaining 52 calories, give or take, will come from fat. This complies with Terry’s strict rule of consuming AT LEAST 80 grams of carbs per meal.

Does this sound about right, or did I screw up somewhere in my math? That’s one of those areas I excelled in while in High-School, but just never bothered with since then! Damn computers.

Anyway, I think I’m close, but not quite there yet. Any help is welcome!

Cheers -


Hollywood, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you’re prescribing to my man Joel’s recommendations, you’re not doing it up right.

Alright, buddy, let’s clear this up (grin). The calorie intake that Joel suggests is for the refeed specifically, not for the entire day! That means, for the 8-hour refeed, you’d need to bring in at least 0.625 times your maitenance, which you determined to be 2500. So your refeed should be composed of about 1500+ calories. Take your refeed percentages from this caloric intake. Consume your normal hypocaloric diet up to this point.

Hogan, let me know if you’re still confused. Only 80g of carbs per meal is not nearly enough. C’mon, even Tampa-T takes in more than that per meal! Personally, I’ll be shooting for 250g or so for each of the two meals. I’ll post a finalized plan upon completion, which will either be tomorrow or Sunday evening.

On a sidenote, as glycogen replenishment is one of the factors we’re looking at, I’ve come across some literature that shows that total quantity of carbs is the factor most crucial to restoring muscle glycogen. Specifically, it doesn’t matter if you eat the carb in one meal or five, in two meals or seven, as long as carbohydrate is constant, replenishment will be identical.

Let me clear one thing up, based on the information I have reviewed, I do not believe that 2 meals will yield major psysiological benefits, only psychological. The overfeed needs to be of greater length to yield substantial physiological benefits.

Having said that, Hogan, are you severe dieting on androgens or are you going with a more moderate approach?


Timbo, I too am aware of that literature you mentioned. However, empirically, it doesnt seem to work out that way. I’m only saying this from my personal experience working with competitors. Doing it over a short term has never resulted in the same physiological response, not even once. There are rate limiting factors involved in this. I know it may go against the research, but as I’m sure with your background you already know, theory doesnt also hold true in practice.

I am definitely with Joel on the fact that the refeed/carb up needs to be long.

Joel, I’m curious as to why you say it has to be over 8 hours to have physiological benefits? So it would be that much more beneficial to have the same amount of carbs over 8 hours than over 4 hours?

What I’m asking is, is there evidence that suggests that taking that much more time is very benefical?

Also, you mentioned that if this comes after a strength training session, it should be longer. Does that mean you should also jack up the carbs some more? Also, could it be the same length, but you just raise the carbs to a greater extent?

haha - you know, Timbo, I was questioning Joel’s 3rd point in that we use our caloric maintenance level times .625 for the 8 hours alone. I was under the impression that during those 8 hours we strictly have carb refeeds and use the total number of calories for the whole day.

Ok ok, back to the drawing board. I don’t know why this is such a hard concept for me to grasp!

You guys are awesome, thanks for the help!

Dammit, I just typed out a response and pressed sent, and I got an error, so I now have to try and retype this. This is the 4th time this has happened.

Anyway, Brent, the reason that it is recommended to not do the refeed after a high volume session is for one that a high volume workout will obviously deplete muscle glycogen to a greater extent. As a result, a greater carbohydrate intake is required to supercompensate and achive the physiological benefits of the refeed.

Allow me to make another recommendation as it relates to the workout and refeed timing. Ideally, you would also not do the refeed on a day when you are sore. Now, this might be hard to accomplish throughout one’s diet, but you should keep it in mind. Damaged muscles never supercompensate and reglycogenate as their ability to take up carbohydrate is impaired. This is a particularly important during the final week of contest prep as the depletion workout can make or break the carb up. However, this should be extended to mid-diet refeeds where possible. Now, your other muscles will reglycogenate properly, but the damaged muscles will not.

Just something else to keep in mind.