Re-Feed to burn more body fat
WHAT IS A RE-FEED DAY?
A Re-Feed day is a day where you increase your carbohydrate intake by 100% or more, increasing your calories up to maintenance level or slightly above. (everyones maintenance calorie level is different depending upon many factors such as: height, weight, age, gender, daily activity levels etc..)
WHO NEEDS A RE-FEED DAY?
A re-feed day should be included in your diet if you are cutting and in a calorie deficit, which means consuming less calories than your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure). In other words, less calories than what your body needs/burns on a daily basis which is required in order to burn more body fat. If you want to know how to burn more body fat and are in a calorie deficit (especially if you have been in a calorie deficit for a long time) then including a re-feed into your diet will benefit you in your fat loss goals.
The importance of including re-feeds in your diet is a factor of a few things such as:
- Leanness (the leaner you are, the more important)
- Calorie deficit (the greater deficit you are in, the more important)
- Length or dieting (the longer you have been dieting the more important)
- Carbohydrate intake (the lower, the more important)
- Exercise (type/amount/etc.. The more aerobic in nature, the more important)
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A RE-FEED DAY?
The purpose of a re-feed day is to help boost your metabolism, burn body fat fast, and help restore your T3 and Leptin hormone levels. (Leptin is the king of all fat burning hormones!) When dieting and on a low calorie diet, your metabolism will drop (meaning you will be burning less calories) plus your T3 and leptin hormone levels will drop in attempt by the body to spare body fat (safety mechanism for the human body).
The body does not want to lose fat, the body just wants to survive, and when you change your calorie intake to less calories than your TDEE your body is going to adjust, your metabolic rate and metabolism will slow down and soon your TDEE will be a lot lower than what it originally was when you first started dieting, resulting in you needing a lower calorie intake to continue to burn body fat.
With a slow metabolism and low T3 and leptin levels it becomes much harder to burn body fat. So including a re-feed day into your cutting diet will be really beneficial as it will boost your metabolism and these specific hormones and allow you to continue to burn body fat at an optimal rate. A re-feed is basically taking 1 step back, but 3 steps forward.
HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO HAVE A RE-FEED DAY?
Everyone is different and will require different amounts of re-feeding.
If you want to know how to burn more body fat then here are my guidelines for you to follow and when to include a re-feed day into your diet.
- If you are above 20% body fat: Re-feed one every month.
- If you are between 15% and 20% body fat: Re-feed once every 2 weeks.
- If you are between 8% and %15 body fat: Re-feed once every week.
- If you are below 8% body fat - Re-feed twice per week.
The leaner you are the lower your T3 and leptin levels will be so the more frequent you should include re-feed days into your diet.
HOW MUCH CARBS DO I NEED TO CONSUME ON A RE-FEED DAY?
Again this is different for everyone, but here we will use "Bob" as an example:
Bob's TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) = 2500 calories
Bobs current calorie intake (cutting) = 1995 calories (500 calorie deficit)
Bobs current macronutrient split = 170g protein, 160g carbohydrates and 75g fat which = 1995 calories
Now this is what Bob's re-feed day would look like:
Protein = 170g
Carbohydrates = 365g
Fat = 75g
Total calories = 2815 (which is 315 calories over Bob's TDEE, putting him into a slight calorie surplus for this day)
Now I usually recommend that you leave protein and fat intake the same as what they are throughout the diet, but you can drop protein and also drop fat down somewhat to consume more calories from carbohydrates if you wish. However, this is not needed and I don't usually do this myself unless I am doing an "aggressive re-feed" which comes in much later on down the track.
Another point I would also like to mention is the leaner you are, the more "aggressive" your re-feed day should be. A 300 calories surplus is what I advise in most cases for most people, but when super lean (close to stepping on stage) fat loss becomes harder and harder and your T3 and leptin levels may end up very low. In this case you may have to increase your carbs a lot more than 100%, sometimes putting you into a 600-800 calorie surplus for that day.
WHAT RE-FEED DAY FOODS SHOULD I CONSUME ON MY RE-FEED DAY?
Any carbs of your choice are fine. Both low G.I complex or high G.I simple carbohydrates are absolutely acceptable in your diet. Some suggest to try and avoid fructose as it has less of an impact on leptin (which is somewhat true), but fructose is still fine to consume in all honesty, just don't overdo the fructose. Some of the carb choices for me which I personally like to include in my re-feed days are:
- Sorbet ice-cream
- Weetbix bites
OR ANYTHING THAT IS HIGH IN CARBOHYDRATES!
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