What's this refeed thing about?!

So I know that if I eat over my calories (from predominantly healthy sources) once a week or so it boosts my energy and keeps me motivated to work out. But I'm not scientific about it. Well I came across the idea of "refeed" days--high carb days at maintenance I believe--and it's freaking fascinating. Do any of you do this in a more formalized way? What/how do you refeed?

Here's information on what it is:


  • bbell1985
    bbell1985 Posts: 4,572 Member
    edited July 2017
    Yes. I'm supposed to increase my carbs on Saturday (as per my coach, but I usually increase overall calories because I just love volume too much to increase carbs only). It helps me adhere to my deficit during the week, enoy life on the weekend, and have a good heavy training session.

    I find the re-feed more important now that I'm lean. I get a little...agitated in a deficit now. Especially with heavy training.
  • timtam163
    timtam163 Posts: 500 Member
    Oh interesting! What do you eat and does your calorie goal change?
  • Maxematics
    Maxematics Posts: 2,287 Member
    So refeeds are a thing, but they're not really geared toward your run-of-the-mill dieter.

    The purpose of a refeed is to boost leptin levels in those who are already pretty lean and are on a cut since their leptin levels tend to be somewhat out of sorts. When leptin levels drop, hunger increases and satiety decreases. It's much harder to adhere to a specific way of eating when this occurs, hence the need to have a refeed day. At my level of leanness this is something I have to do at times. The hunger thing is real and it can get nuts. It messes with your feelings and hormones also. For women, think PMSx1000. I'm talking something like crying because you tied your shoe and it untied after a few steps. You're wondering why you're crying over something so stupid, but you can't stop yourself from doing it. I once had a day where I was a bit over 4000 calories and I was still hungry; I believe I capped out that day at 6000 calories or so and still could have eaten if I wasn't so tired and sad. It's a weird feeling to go through but once you know the cause and what to do, everything makes sense again.

    Some people need them one or two days per week, others every two weeks, or even once per month; it mainly depends on the level of body fat they have and the training they do. During a refeed day a person will eat at maintenance, or slightly above it, with more of a percentage of carbs than usual since carbs have the greatest impact on leptin levels. Leptin is boosted, the following training sessions are fueled better, and the brain/body are happy once again.

    Others have a "cheat" day. Some people go a little too far with the meaning of the word cheat. In any case, I think for anyone trying to lose weight, having a day where they're a little more lax on their calorie intake can be great for mental health and diet adherence. Some choose to do this by banking extra calories during the week so they can splurge on the weekends. Others choose to have a day every week or two where they eat at maintenance for a day without banking calories throughout the week. The difference between that and a refeed is that when you're having a "cheat" day, you don't do it with a specific purpose of increasing carb intake, boosting leptin levels, and keeping your hormones in check.

    I hope that made sense and helps anyone who is curious/interested in refeeds.

  • bbell1985
    bbell1985 Posts: 4,572 Member
    A one day re-feed does not boost leptin levels though. It needs about a week or so of raised calories I believe in order to make a difference.
  • bbell1985
    bbell1985 Posts: 4,572 Member
    timtam163 wrote: »
    Oh interesting! What do you eat and does your calorie goal change?

    Yes, calorie goal is raised to maintenance or slightly above. Fats are dropped slightly, protein dropped a little carbs raised. I eat...what I want. I don't know. It's maintenance brah. Don't overthink it. Have a bagel.
  • sardelsa
    sardelsa Posts: 9,812 Member
    I have two planned surplus days, usually end up having more pasta and extra dessert. While I don't track it, it's not a free for all either.. so far I enjoy having the flexibility on the weekend, and I think it helps my workouts too.