The first thing that you should know is that a refeed day is not to be confused with a cheat day. A cheat day is essentially a day where you throw your macros out the window and not track anything. Cheating from your “diet” giving yourself a “free” day of eating whatever you want whereas a refeed is completely different where it’s structured and controlled overfeeding of that day by manipulating your macronutrients.
So Who Needs A Refeed ?
If you are of a higher body fat percentage, if your maintaining your current body weight, if your bulking or even if your in a slight caloric deficit and losing weight very slow/consistently then you probably won’t need a refeed. Although, the reason why you may need one is because some people could still benefit from a refeed even if they are at maintenance calories or in a slight deficit. Adding one day where they have a higher carb intake will not destroy there progress and could even help.
Refeeds are definitely more beneficial for people in contest prep, a severe calorically restricted state (maybe 500 – 600 calories a day) and carbs are getting really low (less than 100 grams of carbs a day). Furthermore, the leaner you get the more often you will need a refeed so they’re not for everyone, but refeeds can still benefit a lot of people so you should try adding a refeed into your diet and test it out.
The Benefits Of A Refeed
- Offset the dip in your metabolism
- Periodically raise leptin levels
- Help replenish glycogen stores from low-carb diets
- Provides you with a mental break from dieting
- Break through temporary weight loss plateaus
- Improve gym performance
Well as we know the more we restrict our calories naturally our metabolism will begin to adapt, so as we keep cutting calories our metabolism begins to slow down. Sometimes to the point where we hit weight loss plateaus (when your weight doesn’t go down and stays the same). At this point many people start to decrease there calories and increase there cardio even more because they want to lose weight again, but you can only go so far in each direction until you start doing more harm than good. This is where the refeed can be beneficial as it will give a slight bump to your metabolism to help break through your weight loss plateau. It also provides many psychological and performance benefits aswell, e.g. you’ve been dieting for a long time and you can look forward to a day where you get to bump up the carbs/calories, giving you a mental break from your diet. You also get performance benefits since you’re restoring your muscles glycogen which will help you get way better workouts in the gym.
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Now one thing not to be alarmed about is your weight, after your refeed if you step on the scale your weight may have gone up slightly since you have introduced a whole bunch of carbs/calories that your body is not used to getting. It’s normal and the weight will begin to taper off the next day.
How Can You Implement Refeeds ?
Well typically what you want to do is if your eating in a deficit, you will want to bump those calories back up to maintenance. For example, your currently dieting on 2000 calories so for your refeed you should bump it up to 2500 calories. Make sure most of the calories come from carbohydrates, now refeeds are going to be different for everyone since we all have different metabolisms so you will need to test and change your calories/macros until you find the right balance.
If you would like to know how to calculate your maintenance calories accurately… Click Here and if you have anymore questions about refeeds then leave a comment below.