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View Full Version : How do you setup refeeds?



yayeti
06-13-2012, 07:52 PM
How do you incorporate refeeds into a cutting diet? It seems like twice a week is common for like 5 hours each time. How do you set up the calories and what foods should you be eating during one? Do you notice a difference vs just eating 500 calories below maintenance?

ZAR-FIT
06-13-2012, 10:45 PM
I dont go on a timing thing, i just have whatever i want until full capacity. I make sure its the last meal before bed or else ill just eat crap all day long. and frequency depends on my progress, but it is usually 2 times a week.

Behemoth
06-14-2012, 11:39 AM
I'm much the same as ZAR-FIT. Frequency depends on how lean I am and my activity levels. When I'm well below my setpoint they may come as frequent as every 3-4 days. Beyond that I allot a time 4-5 hour time frame always at the end of my day. Always keep your fat to trace amounts and theres no need to purposely consume protein during this time.

Some favorite foods are soft pretzels, pastas, a wide array or cereals with skim, pierogies, fat free ice cream / sherbert, fat free fig newtons etc etc

yayeti
06-14-2012, 07:24 PM
I don't quite understand....what kind of signs tells you, its time for a refeed? And do you know the phys behind whats the purpose? Im just tryin to understand it better.

yayeti
06-27-2012, 12:08 AM
should you avoid enriched flour during refeeds? From what I understand it is refined so that your body breaks it down quick and converts it to sugar....is this bad for refeeds?

K-R-M
06-27-2012, 09:03 PM
I don't quite understand....what kind of signs tells you, its time for a refeed? And do you know the phys behind whats the purpose? Im just tryin to understand it better.

When you craze for food and can eat a ridiculous amount of it, even by your standards.

Physiological reason behind it... regulate hormone levels probably. No one really cares enough to study it, but it would make sense from that point of view, so you don't end up into too much of a catabolic state.


lol @ enriched flour though. Eat whatever the fuck you want.

Alex.V
06-28-2012, 08:25 AM
. No one really cares enough to study it,


Because the science is nonexistent. I notice how you didn't come flat out and say that, though. Very polite of you.

Behemoth
06-28-2012, 11:28 AM
lol @ enriched flour though. Eat whatever the fuck you want.

Enriched flour FTW. But I would avoid dietary fat.


Because the science is nonexistent. I notice how you didn't come flat out and say that, though. Very polite of you.

Just so I'm following correctly, you mean the documented science is nonexistent aye? Otherwise refeeds would be nothing more than placebo...

Alex.V
06-29-2012, 09:02 AM
Just so I'm following correctly, you mean the documented science is nonexistent aye? Otherwise refeeds would be nothing more than placebo...

To a certain extent, it is placebo. Even the much-discussed impact on Leptin is marginal- if you're dieting under any sort of significant caloric restriction, Leptin levels fall so quickly that they'll hit your dieting baseline again within a day or two. There's zero evidence that a one day spike in Leptin levels will do much if anything to restart weight loss.

Documented science is nonexistent because, simply put, there are too many different mechanisms at work, making a controlled study difficult. In the few studies where leptin has actually been administered to calorically restricted patients and shown a clinically significant level of weight loss, it was administered on a consistent basis- far more leptin over a longer period of time than a simple refeed would give.

Refeeds may do wonders for your short term energy levels and may be a psychological boon, but I'm not remotely convinced that they're doing anything significant on a biochemical level to restart fat loss.

Allen Cress
06-30-2012, 09:17 PM
Refeeds may do wonders for your short term energy levels and may be a psychological boon, but I'm not remotely convinced that they're doing anything significant on a biochemical level to restart fat loss.

By that logic when someone is dieting and hits a plateau they should just drop calories again, then another plateau hits and drop calories again.... See where this is going. If you reach an absolute calorie deficit you will not only lose weight but bring your metabolism to a screaching hault, waste away precious muscle, and then when you go back to eating more food have a horrible rebound due to downregulating meatbolic function. This can also lead to psycological issues due to the weight rebound and the inability to lose it with dieting again.

I train many individuals who have been here and its very unfortunate. Re-feeds absolutely do more than just give you energy for a few days and give you a mental break from dieting. I always incorporate refeeds with clients when they get to a certain level of leanness, as well as how they are functioning and how they feel. I have given clients just carb re-feeds as well as unrestrcited refeeds of anything they want for one meal and also a whole day. Just because you can't find a study on what it actually does doesn't mean it is a placebo. Its the in the trenches that discovers these things and all us coaches are concerned about is that it does work.

17 years ago when I first started competing I did the regular diet by just continuing to drop calories and always looked lean but stringy on stage and could never really get as lean the next time even though I was dropping calories. It wasn't until I met Scott Abel that I learned about absolute and relative calories deficits and the importance of refeeds.

During one prep my weight was stagnate for 3 weeks and instead of dropping more calories or adding more cardio Scott told me to have an entire refeed day of whatever I wanted. I ate a little over 15,000 calories from pancakes, burgers, fries, 72 pieces sushi, etc.. and I was never really full. I weighed again 5 days later and dropped 3lbs. I don't think this was a placebo.

Alex.V
07-01-2012, 08:30 AM
You yourself state that it is for psychological benefit.

I am far from the type who bases his conclusions on the latest and greatest study- that is internet ignoramus science, and those who do this consistently tend to know absolutely nothing about the underpinnings of what they're discussing. I look at the mechanisms involved, what is known about the biology and biochemistry (quite a bit, as this is not a new science), and draw conclusions from there. If there are relevant studies, then these are taken into account, but the VAST majority of what we discuss is hardly novel, cutting edge theoretical biology.

Contest prep is entirely different- bodyfat is so low at that point that a transient increase in hormone levels COULD make a difference, as the caloric deficits tend to be so extreme that your metabolism does slow markedly. If a regular dieter gets to that point, calories are too low. Period. If you are reaching plateaus in your weight loss, you have done something wrong. You have cut calories too drastically and lost excessive amounts of muscle, you are underestimating the calories you are taking in, or you have been dieting so long that you have simply become very efficient at holding on to weight (a number of reasons this occurs, including gradual lowering of activity level during everyday tasks), in which case, a one day refeed would be far less effective than a full week or two off of dieting to return things to normal. A one day refeed will return metabolic function to near-pre-diet levels for a day or two, max, before things drop right back down again.

I'm a little amused that you do draw a line in the sand with the "in the trenches" and "us coaches". There are many things that work in practice, but the reasons may not be known. The OP asked for the physiology behind refeeds. KRM mentioned that nobody really cares enough to study it. I pointed out that this is because there are very few biological (i.e. physiological) mechanisms that could justify the use of refeeds for most dieters. Psychological, sure. Physiological, not so much.

Am I arguing that they're useless? Certainly not. As we both agreed, there are significant psychological advantages to having them, and they have their role in contest prep. Are they overprescribed for most dieters? Absolutely.

cphafner
07-01-2012, 09:25 AM
During one prep my weight was stagnate for 3 weeks and instead of dropping more calories or adding more cardio Scott told me to have an entire refeed day of whatever I wanted. I ate a little over 15,000 calories from pancakes, burgers, fries, 72 pieces sushi, etc.. and I was never really full. I weighed again 5 days later and dropped 3lbs. I don't think this was a placebo.

I am always curious about the use of fats in a refeed. Is there any point other than getting in massive amounts of calories is easier with fatty foods? Isn't a big point of a refeed refilling glycogen? The fat does nothing for that part. I guess there is a difference between refeeding glycogen levels and eating massive amounts of calories which is your goal in your refeeds.

r2473
07-01-2012, 04:46 PM
Contest prep is entirely different- bodyfat is so low at that point that a transient increase in hormone levels COULD make a difference, as the caloric deficits tend to be so extreme that your metabolism does slow markedly. If a regular dieter gets to that point, calories are too low. Period. If you are reaching plateaus in your weight loss, you have done something wrong. You have cut calories too drastically and lost excessive amounts of muscle, you are underestimating the calories you are taking in, or you have been dieting so long that you have simply become very efficient at holding on to weight (a number of reasons this occurs, including gradual lowering of activity level during everyday tasks), in which case, a one day refeed would be far less effective than a full week or two off of dieting to return things to normal. A one day refeed will return metabolic function to near-pre-diet levels for a day or two, max, before things drop right back down again.

Am I arguing that they're useless? Certainly not. As we both agreed, there are significant psychological advantages to having them, and they have their role in contest prep. Are they overprescribed for most dieters? Absolutely.

are you saying that a "normal" dieter should never hit plateaus IF they do things "right"? if so, do you think it is easy / possible to do it "right"? i ask because most dieters do experience plateaus (i think).

at what approx bf% would you consider plateaus "normal"?

one the subject of muscle loss when dieting, i've taken before / after bod pod readings on my diets. always the same. my lmb (muscle) is never as high as i think it is when i start (meaning the bod bod always shows (significantly) less muscle than other testing methods), and the loss is never that much.

2 examples,

before i started lifting, i went from ~20% to ~10% while GAINING 1.5 lbm.

last year, after several tears of training, i dropped from ~260 @ 30% to ~205 @ 15% while only losing ~6 lbm. and i was hitting plateaus along the way and doing refeeds, which seem to work??? (and not paying a damn bit of attention to how much protein i ate)

i have the actual bod bod readings from these experiments. im not just guessing

sure, this is anecdotal and means nothing. i guess i dont buy into much of the "bro science" either. but i do moitor my results carefully. ymmv

Allen Cress
07-01-2012, 05:13 PM
You yourself state that it is for psychological benefit.

I am far from the type who bases his conclusions on the latest and greatest study- that is internet ignoramus science, and those who do this consistently tend to know absolutely nothing about the underpinnings of what they're discussing. I look at the mechanisms involved, what is known about the biology and biochemistry (quite a bit, as this is not a new science), and draw conclusions from there. If there are relevant studies, then these are taken into account, but the VAST majority of what we discuss is hardly novel, cutting edge theoretical biology.

Contest prep is entirely different- bodyfat is so low at that point that a transient increase in hormone levels COULD make a difference, as the caloric deficits tend to be so extreme that your metabolism does slow markedly. If a regular dieter gets to that point, calories are too low. Period. If you are reaching plateaus in your weight loss, you have done something wrong. You have cut calories too drastically and lost excessive amounts of muscle, you are underestimating the calories you are taking in, or you have been dieting so long that you have simply become very efficient at holding on to weight (a number of reasons this occurs, including gradual lowering of activity level during everyday tasks), in which case, a one day refeed would be far less effective than a full week or two off of dieting to return things to normal. A one day refeed will return metabolic function to near-pre-diet levels for a day or two, max, before things drop right back down again.

I'm a little amused that you do draw a line in the sand with the "in the trenches" and "us coaches". There are many things that work in practice, but the reasons may not be known. The OP asked for the physiology behind refeeds. KRM mentioned that nobody really cares enough to study it. I pointed out that this is because there are very few biological (i.e. physiological) mechanisms that could justify the use of refeeds for most dieters. Psychological, sure. Physiological, not so much.

Am I arguing that they're useless? Certainly not. As we both agreed, there are significant psychological advantages to having them, and they have their role in contest prep. Are they overprescribed for most dieters? Absolutely.

I completely agree that they are overused by many and that comes from the mental part of this industry. Dieting isn't always easy so if you tell someone they can have a refeed every week they will usually stick to the diet the rest of the week. The one thing I do disagree with is that dieters almost always hit a plateau at some point in a diet and yes a week off would also benefut but most of the time that makes it harder for them to return to the diet so one day makes enough difference IMO both physiologically and psycological.

Cards
07-02-2012, 03:41 PM
This is the type of thing that needs to be a sticky in this section. You have two people, both extremely knowledgeable having an awesome discussion that everyone should probably read.

love this type of stuff, more please.

JSully
07-02-2012, 06:21 PM
I give myself a cheat meal or day once per week. Not only for psychological benefits but for recovery benefits with regards to performance. Would either of you disagree that is a good physiological benefit of refeeds, from a performance standpoing that is.

Also after 5-6 weeks of dieting, I take 1.5-2 weeks off and eat whatever and don't really pay attention to calories. I'll gain upwards of 12lbs some times but within 2 days of restricted calories my weight is back down where it was when I left off.

With that said, using these methods I've yet to hit a plateau outside of the 2-3 day stagnation due to water retention. Thougths fells?

Very interesting discussion

Alex.V
07-03-2012, 09:34 AM
I completely agree that they are overused by many and that comes from the mental part of this industry. Dieting isn't always easy so if you tell someone they can have a refeed every week they will usually stick to the diet the rest of the week. The one thing I do disagree with is that dieters almost always hit a plateau at some point in a diet and yes a week off would also benefut but most of the time that makes it harder for them to return to the diet so one day makes enough difference IMO both physiologically and psycological.

I think this does raise an interesting point- plateaus- there are those who diet and hit them, and those who never do. I'm arguing, based on the biology, that the rationale of using a refeed to restore hormone levels to re-start weight loss is fundamentally flawed in that the effects are (measurably) temporary, and wouldn't account for any sort of recalibration of the body's set point. There is also no real physical reason the body would hit a plateau provided a slight negative energy balance is maintained. Yes, this may require significant calorie cutting to maintain weight loss over time, but that's the way the cookie crumbles- once the weight is off, calories can be slowly brought back up as lean body mass increases.

I have never hit a plateau when dieting, nor have any athletes or regular folks I've worked with. For the few who've experienced a slowing in weight loss (usually those who have cut a LOT of weight), calories have been adjusted up or down, and typically I've had them stop actively dieting and go through a maintenance/marginal recomp or even slight mass gaining phase. My rationale here is that a break allows the body to regain a small amount of lean body mass, and for testosterone levels, cortisol levels, etc. etc. to return to true pre-diet levels. I generally feel this is healthy regardless- long term dieting makes it tough to maintain proper micronutrient intake, and there are certain adaptations to weight training (whether it be an increase in skeletal muscle, tendon/ligament growth, bone growth,etc.) that are far more efficient when iso or hypercaloric.

So, open question to anybody out there- if you've hit plateaus in the past (not while dieting to contest shape or cutting weight- that's a different story), what have you done to get through them? And what have your calories been at before/after? It seems so far there have been a number of people who have never hit plateaus, but they've only used a refeeding method while dieting (so it's uncertain if they'd have similar results not using this).

Jake- No argument there- refilling glycogen stores and refeeding will absolutely give you a performance boost in the short term.

Behemoth
07-03-2012, 12:21 PM
So, open question to anybody out there- if you've hit plateaus in the past (not while dieting to contest shape or cutting weight- that's a different story), what have you done to get through them? And what have your calories been at before/after? It seems so far there have been a number of people who have never hit plateaus, but they've only used a refeeding method while dieting (so it's uncertain if they'd have similar results not using this).


I'm not sure I understand your question here Alex. You're asking what people did to get through plateaus with regard to dieting but not while "cutting weight"?

jed
07-03-2012, 01:36 PM
I'm not sure I understand your question here Alex. You're asking what people did to get through plateaus with regard to dieting but not while "cutting weight"?

I think he means contest prep BF % dieting or cutting weight to hit PL meet class requirements.

Alex.V
07-03-2012, 07:38 PM
I'm not sure I understand your question here Alex. You're asking what people did to get through plateaus with regard to dieting but not while "cutting weight"?

Standard dieting- "I'm going through a cutting phase", different from "I'm getting into contest shape". The difference between "I'm cutting X calories per day" and "I'm trying to lose the last 2% bodyfat so that you can see my glute striations when I'm not flexing". i.e. non-extreme caloric restriction or radical body composition- where I'm arguing that plateaus should not be hit via standard calorie reduction.

Behemoth
07-03-2012, 08:43 PM
Standard dieting- "I'm going through a cutting phase", different from "I'm getting into contest shape". The difference between "I'm cutting X calories per day" and "I'm trying to lose the last 2% bodyfat so that you can see my glute striations when I'm not flexing". i.e. non-extreme caloric restriction or radical body composition- where I'm arguing that plateaus should not be hit via standard calorie reduction.

Understood.

I agree that people make dieting crazy complicated when they're still quite fat. Just need to reduce that calories and sit back, shouldn't run into any problems until they start getting fairly far below their setpoint IMO.

yayeti
07-03-2012, 10:42 PM
What is considered long term dieting? Several months?

Behemoth
07-04-2012, 01:36 AM
What is considered long term dieting? Several months?
Imo yes months, but more importantly how far below their set point they are.

JSully
07-04-2012, 10:35 AM
Imo yes months, but more importantly how far below their set point they are.

Setpoint.....

Are you referring to genetic or metabolic?

Expand plz

Behemoth
07-04-2012, 12:38 PM
The amount of body fat that ones hormones will approximate them towards given no drastic or intentional stresses present.

JSully
07-05-2012, 08:40 AM
The amount of body fat that ones hormones will approximate them towards given no drastic or intentional stresses present.

by maintaining a particular amount of body fat for "x" amount of time that setpoint can be influenced in either direction though, correct?

Behemoth
07-05-2012, 01:09 PM
by maintaining a particular amount of body fat for "x" amount of time that setpoint can be influenced in either direction though, correct?

Physiologically it seems you can certainly elevate it, but not necessarily lower it. Psychologically adapting, yes either way.