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Hey Everyone,
Alright, quick question! I am currently 6-1, 185 lbs, with between 8-9%BF.
My goals are to get up to 195-200 lbs, yet keep my BF in the same range,
or even better…get it down to 6-7%. I have spoken with Terry, and she
recommended this type of diet. I have NEVER dieted before, and I was skeptical
that if I started a diet like this, I would lose lean muscle and hence…strength.
After reading and researching, I realize that this is NOT the case with carb re-feeds.
After doing the calculations, my maintainence caloric intake should be 2553 calories.
However, if I go by John Berardi’s recommendations, I am well over 3750! I’m a
little confused as to which formula I should use (although, JB’s numbers are
for “massive eating”…so maybe I am wrong in thinking I should go by those numbers?)
In any case, if I do go through with this plan…I think I will do the two 8 hour re-feeds.
which would bring my caloric intake up to 3191. I pretty much understand everything else.
I am just wondering if this is the right approach I need to take to achive my
goals?? I just finished Christian Thibadeau’s OVT program (phase I), and
I am taking two weeks in between to do Canadian Cannons…before I start OVT phase II.
I am thinking I when I start Phase II, I will start the diet. Would this be conducive?

I just read something very interesting in another thread concerning the T-Dawg 2.0 diet. Tampa Terry suggest that one should calculate caloric needs based on “target” weight rather than “current” weight. Would that apply to this type of diet also??

Brent: Would you expect optimal absorption and physiological benefits if you consumed 150 grams of protein in one sitting? It’s the same thing here; as Thunder has said, there are rate limiting factors that need to be considered. Spreading things out over time in most instances will yield greater benefits (there are a few exceptions, such as fish oil, etc, which has been dicussed on other threads). Also, research has shown that it takes about 24 hours of refeeding to boost leptin from fasting values back to normal. While we certainly aren’t dealing with fasting values here, the point is that you have to let the body know that everything is okay again, and I don’t think that it “believes” you if you are only refeeding with one or two meals. Yes, you’ll get the psychological benefit, but I don’t know about the physiological benefits.

As for high volume workouts and overfeeding, I collaborated with Charles Staley and we came up with a kick ass program and article on this.

But, yes, the reasoning for the greater length is partly because of lower glycogen stores as a result of the workout, but there is more to it than that.

Also, good point by Thunder with the soreness issue, but unless you have a show in a few days, don’t sweat it.

Tony G: I don’t see the need to periodically overfeed if you are not on a hypocaloric diet; it doesn’t make sense physiologically if your goal is mainly muscle gain. Reason being, leptin will be relativly unaffected when consuming maintenance calories or higher. If your goal is muscle gain, then just go on a hypercaloric diet and couple it with some high volume weight training.

Thunder: I have had the same problems with posting and it has caused me to get quite frustrated. It seems that if you spend a considerable amount of time composing a post, then you almost always get an error message after your done. Until they work out the bugs, I always copy the post to the clipboard first just in case. That way, if I get the error message, I can just open it up in another window and then paste it.


Tony, I’m going to have to re-read over your comments and then get back to you. Once again, time is a limiting factor.

Thunder, baby, thanks for the great feedback. The muscle soreness was one thing that I failed to take into consideration. But you’re exactly right. It’s well known that glycolytic enzymes are impaired following eccentric damage (i.e. muscle soreness), and thus glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity and glycogen resynthesis will likely be relatively poor. And, Thunder, great call on theory vs. practice. This is well understood by myself. Application/practice is often much more valuable.

As far as timing goes, I really do not think that this need to follow a workout, assuming that timing is correct. That is, if you’re in a state of relative glycogen depletion, your glycolytic enzymes will be cranked up anyhow. Yes, you might have heightened insulin sensitivity following a training session, but in the overall scheme of things, I think this matters little. However, there probably is some benefit that should not be overlooked (i.e. nutrient partitioning, etc.).

So let me bring a situation to the table. Say that I am in a daily caloric deficit of 1000 kcals, am about 7-8% fat, and consuming only 30g of carbs per day, and also without any chemical assistance. What would you recommend for refeeding purposes? Every third day for 8-12 hours? I know this is highly individual, and, again, practice will be the only way to tell, but that is the plan that I had in mind. Thanks, T-Fam.

P.S.: Check out the rating on this mutha!

Timbo: That sounds about right. When you are that lean, baseline leptin levels are already very low and the fact that your caloric intake is in the middle of moderate and extreme drops it even lower…you are going to have to overfeed often.

“So how are you supposed to lose fat if you are overfeeding this often?” one might ask.

Well, you really have to take advantage of the leptin spike over the next few days by upping your energy expenditure. I would try this (the below is an outlined cycle going from the end of one overfeed until the next overfeed):

Day 3: overfeed from 12pm-10pm (I’d also consume a serving of classic grow blended w/ a small amount of oatmeal mid sleep cycle, about 4 hours after hitting the sheets. Just mix it before you go to bed and set the alarm).

Day 1: 45 mins of moderate cardio at 70% of HRmax before breakfast. Then in the evening, HIIT cardio.

Day 2: Morning HIIT, evening moderate cardio.

Day 3: Morning HIIT, start refeed at 12pm again.


Always supplement with E/C before cardio but not at other times during the day.

Try that and you should get some nice results; of course, you may have to tweak it (but maybe not!).


Thermogenics on refeed days: Yay or Nay?

drex-o: If you are doing morning cardio on that day, yes, pre-cardio only. Other than that, no.


Joel: That’s some high-quality info you’re droppin’, bro, like bombs! I’ve been lifting on a 2-on, 1-off schedule, and a 2-on, 1-off HIIT cardio schedule, with one overlapping day of the two, separate sessions (is that hella confusing?). That said, do you think there’s any advantage to placing the refeeds on a day before the two weight-training sessions? Okay, here’s a hypothetical scenario:

Day 1: Chest and Biceps; evening HIIT
Day 2: Quads and Calves
Day 3: Fasting HIIT; refeed
Day 4: Back and Triceps; evening HIIT
Day 5: Shoulders and Hamstrings
Day 6: Fasting HIIT; refeed
What ammendments would you suggest making to that, in terms of training and/or refeeds?

My energy expenditure is rather high as is my metabolism. I mentioned a 1000 kcal deficit, and this is at around 2800 kcals.

TonyG: I might say to take 85% of the Massive EAting calculations, as this is what JB recommended for Don’t Diet. And also make sure you’re not counting exercise expenditure in there.

As far as overfeeding/carb-loading during non-hypocaloric eating, I think that if you’re doing a low-carb regimen, then yes, it should still be done every third or fourth day. This is exactly what Tampa-Terry has suggested that she’ll be doing when she is getting her mass on. I think it would work also.

Thunder and Joel: Same issue with the error message here. Guess we all need to quit typing so damn much:-) Just kidding. I do the same thing Joel does. Highlight my typed text, click Ctrl + C, click back to the forums, post reply and submit. Works like a charm.

Just wanted to add my experience as one of Joels’ guinea pigs over the past two weeks with extreme dieting (11-1200 calories on non-refeed days) and >= 8 hour refeeds every Saturday and Wednesday afternoon. I only lifted twice per week, using an ass-kicking EDT program immediately prior to my refeed. I mostly ate fajitas, baked tortilla chips, english muffins, saltines, rice cakes, sugar free jello, and bread on my refeed days. Protein intake was also through the roof on refeed days, as I was using 1.5 doses of Mag-10 per day.
Ending results were 4.2 pounds fat lost and 2.2 pounds LBM gain. I should also note that this is prior to glycogen replenishment; there very well could be more LBM to come once I get some more carbs in me.
I’m still only down to 8.1%, and intend to keep going. I’m at a point where cutting is really the only option, as an annoying case of sciatica has made it impossible to gain size on my legs since late October. As it stands, the injury has taken roughly 2" off my quads:( I guess that I’m doing the Men’s Health look for now, too.

Although I lost a bit of strength while on this lower frequency, less neurally demanding program, I’m confident that I’ll regain it relatively quickly as I get back into lower rep training. For now, though, I’ll be taking 4-5 days off to get rejuvenated and see if I can figure out the opposite sex.:slight_smile: All in all, I give Joel’s program three thumbs up!

Eric, is this Joel’s program from his planned overfeeding article from some time ago?

Timbo: That looks fine how it is; try it and see how it works for you. Also, with such a caloric deficit, are you using 4-ad-ec or something similar to prevent LBM loss?


Thunder-This is the updated version of Joel’s Cheater’s Diet. I was fortunate enough to give it a test drive with some modifications from the original version. I’m sure that Joel would be more than willing to hook you up with it if you email him it.

Its funny that this popped up right after I had a discussion with my girlfriend about leptin levels and the idea of refeeding to lose fat.

Anyways… I just wrapped up the overfeed-ultra experience. Tonight there was a chocolate festival in bloomington and damn if i didn’t partake. Between that, the thai food last night, the half a pizza this afternoon, and a lot of cottage cheese, its safe to say i’m around 25% above maintenance and much higher carbs than normal. Rest of the week I’m going to be eating around 70-75% maintenance and lifting pretty heavy. I think my bodyfat levels are at a point where once a week should be adequate although if nothing changes after a month i’ll be increasing frequency.

We’ll see how things go.

Joel: Nope, buddy. No androgens or helpers. I know it’s probably not the best way to go, but low-carbing it, for me, is difficult to crank up the calories too much. It doesn’t seem to be too deprivational yet. Although, I’ve got a hella appetite going. You’re dead-on, though, I’ll never know if it works, if I don’t try it. I am thinking that a Thursday/Sunday refeed schedule might suit me better, as these are two days where I’m pretty flexible with my schedule.

Eric: That’s like bird food, man! 1100-1200 kcal/day? Wow! But an even bigger Wow! on the awesome progress. Great work to you…and Joel!

Franks: Now, that’s a hella refeed! By the way, man, are our Hoosiers ever going to get rolling on the court?

I would just like to chime in on my mid 2-week experience. After e-mailing Joel a few questions I started a session of cheater’s diet. Using mag 10, 1 serving a day, also 1400 cals a day, refeeds on sat and wed. Saturday I threw in a cheat meal of whatever I wanted. Also using the OVT program over at the ice dog forum. For cardio I have MMA workouts twice a week, 3 hours each session and on the days my legs aren’t completely beat up from being kicked I do HIIT.
I have been at 230-235 lb fluctuation for months and months now(5’7-5’8 and +,- 20% bf).
Well this is the end of week one and scale wise I been down to 228 and no change in bf%. My arms look a bit leaner, but the gut stays the same. No increase in strength (not my goal right now of course) and actually a little loss in strength.
As far as the mag-10, I feel no differnt using it than when I am not.

 I hope things pick up a little this next week with the bf numbers. I almost wonder if I haven't burned out my metabolism in the last 2 years by gradually lowering calories and keeping them low.(I was a bit over 330lbs 2 years ago). Is this a possability? Maybe I need to raise my cals after this next week to around 3500 for awhile?

and of course I’ll mail you Joel after this next week and let ya know how it ended. Don’t wanna ask for advice and run, thats just rude :slight_smile: .

Anyway guys this is my experience so far,
if you wanna know any more about the specifics just ask. After reading the forums and articles for so long I guess its time I start somming out of my shell and start talking.

Sledge: I would not hesitate to state that your metabolism is probably shot from two successive years of hypocaloric dieting. I almost cried when I saw you say you only ate 1400 kcals/day. This is such a small amount for someone your size–hell, for any active athlete.

That said, Sledge, I would definitely not bump them up to 3500 right away, if you were eating in the teens for a prolonged period. The same holds true for dieting. It’s not advisable to drop calories from a maintenance of 3500 to a 1500 kcals in one day.

What’s your diet like on non-refeed days? I seriously think that the prolonged dieting hampered your metabolism to a much greater extent than any refeeds can remedy at this time, bro.

Ok let’s try this again. For my 8 hr refeed ALONE, I’m shooting for these numbers:

2500 x .625 = 1563

1562 / 3 meals = 521 calories per meal

365 calories from carbs (91 grams)

140 calories from protein (35 grams)

16 calories from fat (1.7 grams)

Total calories for refeed = 1563: 1095 from carbs (273.75 grams), 420 calories from protein (105 grams), 48 calories from fat (5.3 grams)

For my first refeed, I’ll have 3 servings brown rice and 1 scoop protein powder, totaling 560 calories, 98 grams carbs, 31 grams protein and 5 grams fat.

Second meal in refeed I’ll have a box of Rice a Roni and half a can of tuna, totaling 555 calories, 100 grams carbs, 33 grams protein and 4 grams carbs.

Third and final meal will be 2 servings of whole wheat pasta and the other half of the tuna can, totaling 500 calories, 82 grams carbs, 32 grams protein and 4 grams of fat.

Well total numbers came out to be 69% carbs, 24% protein and 6% fat. Not too bad, but guess the amount of fat I first predicted was just too low. For the beginning half of the day, I’ll just stick to my usual hypocaloric diet and then around 2pm I’ll begin the refeed.

Timbo, how does it look this time?

Cheers -


What about water intake and fiber while refeeding? Any thoughts?

I’ve been doing only one concentrated carb meal every Sunday; however, after reading this awesome thread I’m going back to a full day or at least eight hours. For now I’m going to leave it at once a week as I’m not on a huge caloric deficit and still have some fat to drop. I’ve got a box of Myoplex Mass sitting in my cupboard that I’ve been wondering what the hell to do with…it’ll fit in quite nicely for the refeed w. 75 g. high-glycemic carbs and 33 g. protein. I’m going to add 25 g. dextrose powder to each one.

Joel: I would love to read those articles you wrote.

Hogan-I had good success with increasing the carb content of the initial meals during the cheat, as they came closer to the end of my workout. One hour post-training, I took in six chicken fajitas. Then, carbs were slowly tapered off (but still pretty high) until the end of the refeed.

teddykgb-I tried to keep my fiber pretty low during the refeeds, as Joel recommended going with the most insulogenic carbs available. Adding fiber just lowers the GI. I did, however, take 300mg of ALA 30 minutes prior to each meal.

Teddy, very good question on the water and fiber. One a one day refeed, fiber should be kept pretty low. I would definitely choose sources that are not high in fiber as sources that are can obviously negatively impact the GI of the food.

As far as water intake goes, it should be sky high as it should during any carb up phase. Obviously water intake should be high at all times, but during a refeed it is even more imperative as water is very necessary for an optimal carb up. I’ve got a bit of a mental fog, since I just woke up, but I think that each gram of carbs stores 2.7+ grams of water as glycogen.

Your question reminded me of another VERY important variable to consider during a refeed/carb up – SODIUM. I’ve written a few times on sodium as it pertains to dieting and carbing up. This has to be the most misunderstood thing in the bodybuilding world. I’ll save the details for now, but suffice to say, once again you will not probably reglycogenate unless you are eating significant amounts of sodium as its a cofactor in glycogen formation. However, you should be sure your diet is high in sodium every day and not just on the carb up day.