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View Full Version : DAILY caloric cycling. Anyone tried this?



Cue-Ball
02-18-2003, 11:39 AM
I've been stuck at 205lbs or so for a while now (15%bf). I've been eating about 2500cals/day and it looks like this is as heavy as i can get without upping the calories some more. I'm finally coming to the realization that i either need to drop my calories to ~2000 to lose the fat or bump calories up to 3000+ to start gaining again. With that said, i'm considering trying BOTH at once. The plan would be something like this:

3000+ calories on workout days (M,W,F). Ratios in the neighborhood of 40%c/30%p/30%f

~2000 calories on non-workout "cardio" days (T,Th,Su). Ratios about the same as workout days, just lower calories.

"free" day on Saturdays. I'd still eat relatively clean, but might have a beer or two or eat some pizza for dinner.

I think my above plan might actually work since i'll be getting lots of protein and nutrients on my workout days (i workout in the mornings). On my "cardio" days i should be able to burn off the fat by doing my cardio in the mornings on an empty stomach and then taking in sub maintenence cals for the remainder of the day.

I've already read lots of information about the ABCDE diet (no thanks) and the TKD/CKD diets. I don't like ABCDE for the plain fact that i would be starving myself for 2 weeks every month. Not to mention the fact that it doesn't coincide well with my workout schedule (HST). I don't really want to do a keto diet because i don't think i have the discipline to stick to it and make it effective. The weekend refeeds would be great, but i'd be hating life all week long without carbs.

So, has anyone tried daily caloric cycling? Do you guys think this would work? Why or why not?

raniali
02-18-2003, 11:47 AM
first - what are you trying to accomplish?
second - i started a thread on this some time ago and experimented a little bit myself. the only noticeable benefit from this is that *sometimes* i am hungrier than others, so this type of cycling works well. however, as someone pointed out, it's the end sum that counts. so if you spend day 1 @ 2000 and day 2 @ 3000, you are still eating an average of 2500 cal/day. if you want to make cycling more effective, you need to switch to at least 2-3 days of each to cause major shifting of hormones and leptin levels and whatnot. i *think* this might result in a cleaner (but slower) bulk as long as the end sum is greater than your maintenance.

Cue-Ball
02-18-2003, 12:02 PM
What am i trying to accomplish....

I guess i'm trying to do what they say can't be done. Gain muscle on my lifting days (even if it's only minimal) while overall losing fat. I'd love to keep bulking, but i really feel like i need to cut down my bodyfat until i get to 10% or so. The problem is that i'm afraid of eating at sub maintenence calories for more than a few days. I've always been tall and thin (with a bit of a spare tire right now) and don't want to lose what muscle i've got. I have a feeling everyone is going to tell me to "bulk until you hit 220, then cut". But i already feel like a total fat-ass. I think that psychologically, until i can see my abs i'm not going to feel like i've made any progress no matter how large i get.

Thanks for your input. If the consensus is that daily cycling won't work, i will just have to tough it out and either do the CKD diet or at least do weekly cycles to coincide with my light/heavy weight weeks.

CBates
02-18-2003, 01:08 PM
If you cycle the calories weekly, then you might benefit from something like this a little better. Let’s say for example my maintenance level was 2500 calories. Week one I'd go like 3200-300 calories, then week two I'd go maintenance, then week 3 and go a little under maintenance. I posted a diet like this about a year ago here and one of the most knowledgeable members here (Severed Ties) said that the diet was actually a good idea to cut body fat while keeping and even gaining muscle.

CBates
02-18-2003, 01:21 PM
Here is a link to the post I was referring to

http://www.wannabebigforums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=10888&highlight=calorie+cycling

kook
02-18-2003, 02:59 PM
i have tried what you said on a bulk cycle.. on training days eat big and on rest days eat say 500-1000cals under that. well when you're bulking it really doesnt work, for me at least. all that extra food will help you build muscle even on an off day.

this kind of daily cycling diet actually worked quite nice for me during a cutting cycle though. on the days off where i wasnt doing anything i would eat less but on training days eat more because the exercise is burning more cals anyways

aka23
02-18-2003, 03:26 PM
I think toggling strength and cardio days is a good idea. Fat oxidation is an adaptation that the body can make over time so it helps to do cardio on a regular basis each week. There have been a few studies showing one or two cardio sessions a week on non strength days does not negatively impact strength and size gains, maintains conditioning, and maintains fat oxidation efficiency. I do not think you would increase fat burning much by cutting calories. I suppose that if you were in a low-insulin fasting type state, then fat burning would increase. However, this might present other negative medical issues, especially for persons with diabetic tendencies. Another possible problem with cutting calories or being in a low insulin state is that the body would be more likely to break down muscles for energy. Cutting calories may also interfere with building muscle since your body does not buid muscle while you are at the gym. It builds muscle sometime over the next 48 hours, while you are resting.

I think it is possible for you to gain muscle while losing fat, and I think toggling strength and cardio days is a good start. However, I would recommend not doing a daily caloric cylce, and instead staying at or a bit above your maintenance calorie level and listening to your body (eating when hungry). If your weight is not changing on the scale, you still may be gaining muscle and losing fat by adjusting your body composition (lower % fat).

Shao-LiN
02-19-2003, 01:29 AM
Kind of hard to do since a lot of the muscle repair goes on during your off days.

restless
02-19-2003, 01:46 AM
Exactly. If protein synthesis remains elevated for about 36 hours AFTER your training session then it should be around this time that you should have increased calories not before training.

If you're using HST then you could keep the 3000 kCals intake on the 24 hours after each training day, and then from there to the next session go on the reduced calorie diet. This is sort of what I'm doing, though my goal is more to preserve lean tissue than anything else.

Saint Patrick
02-19-2003, 02:21 AM
I'd like to see what TCD and LAM think about this caloric cycling..............

LAM
02-19-2003, 09:48 AM
I am a big fan of cycling calories both up and down. Overfeeding is a great way to jump start anabolic activity just as reducing calories well below maintenance (1,000 under) can aid in fat burning especially once you get down in single digit body fat. But you have to do these thing consciously and keep a record.

Like right now my training is as such:

Day 1 – Heavy Weight Training @ 100% of cals
Day 2 – Active Recovery Training @ 125% of cals
Day 3 – HITT @ 70% of cals

* on day 3 I have a sufficient intake of BCAA’s spread out over the day to help limit muscle catabolism and to take advantage of the effects that leucine has on insulin secretion.

Cue-Ball
02-19-2003, 11:30 AM
aka23 - I know that during my last HST cycle i gained about 8lbs of lean mass and ~2lbs of fat. This was on a diet of 2500-3000 cals/day. This, to me, is a great gain. But i can't continue this trend when i'm already at 15%bf. Assuming i kept the same gains going (not sure if that would happen), in three cycles i'd weigh 235lbs and still be close to 15%bf. This doesn't sound bad at first until you come to the realization that i would be carrying over 35lbs of fat. That's something i don't want to do.

LAM - If it's "the end sum that counts" as raniali said, then how would your daily caloric cycling give any benefit? If you average the three days intakes you end up eating almost exactly 100% of maintenence. Even with doing cardio, does this give much of a benefit? How do you think this would work for someone with a higher bodyfat and how could i incorporate this in my 1 day on, 1 day off schedule? I'm also wondering if you consider "100% of cals" to be LBMx15 or if you use some other measurement.

Dammit, i really hate dieting. Feeling hungry sucks!

LAM
02-19-2003, 11:44 AM
There is a lot more to dieting than just cals in and cals out.

You have to look at the glycemic response of meals and the insulin index of foods. The thermogenic effects of macronutrients and meal/supplement timing. Then factor in activity level outside the gym and in daily life, and the differences in individuals and their body types and genetic disposition for fat storage...

Berserker
02-19-2003, 12:45 PM
I am kind of walking the fence. I started bulking in the fall and was going to bulk until mid March. Well the pants are tight. For the couple weeks I've been reducing carbs on off days and eating a around maintenance. But not super strict on the intake had a couple cookies today. I am still gonna go on a stricter cut in March. My weights been the same the last few weeks, maybe gained a pound. But I do think I lost a little fat. My wos haven't been super but not bad. I've also been snowmobiling and shoveling snow, which isn't great for recovery.
All in all decide what you want. At 15% I would be thinking about losing weight.

aka23
02-19-2003, 01:38 PM
Originally posted by Cue-Ball
aka23 - I know that during my last HST cycle i gained about 8lbs of lean mass and ~2lbs of fat. This was on a diet of 2500-3000 cals/day. This, to me, is a great gain. But i can't continue this trend when i'm already at 15%bf. Assuming i kept the same gains going (not sure if that would happen), in three cycles i'd weigh 235lbs and still be close to 15%bf. This doesn't sound bad at first until you come to the realization that i would be carrying over 35lbs of fat. That's something i don't want to do.[
...
I'm also wondering if you consider "100% of cals" to be LBMx15 or if you use some other measurement.

If you are gaining more fat then you would like at 2500-3000 calories per day, then I would suggest cutting calories and/or increasing cardio. Do not cut calories a drastic amount, as this may make your body even more efficient at burning calories. I would recommend against using calorie formulas based on your body weight. These formulas do not work for everyone.

Vido
02-19-2003, 01:51 PM
Originally posted by aka23
I would recommend against using calorie formulas based on your body weight. These formulas do not work for everyone.

I couldn't agree more.

bradley
02-20-2003, 07:03 AM
Would you think something like Hatfield's approach would be better. He recommends a reverse cyclical diet (5 days above maintenance and 2 days below).

Calories in vs. calories out still holds true IMO, but all calories are created equal is something that is debatable. This goes back to more of what LAM was saying...


There is a lot more to dieting than just cals in and cals out.

You have to look at the glycemic response of meals and the insulin index of foods. The thermogenic effects of macronutrients and meal/supplement timing. Then factor in activity level outside the gym and in daily life, and the differences in individuals and their body types and genetic disposition for fat storage...

EdgeCrusher
02-20-2003, 10:12 AM
Originally posted by Cue-Ball
What am i trying to accomplish....

I guess i'm trying to do what they say can't be done. Gain muscle on my lifting days (even if it's only minimal) while overall losing fat.

Ok, read that and laugh at yourself. You said it yourself, it's not doable. Pick one and run with it.

fuzz
02-21-2003, 09:38 AM
How are all calories not created equal? Besides the obvious case of things like fiber...glycemic index and what not just changes how the body processes certain cals, it doesn't change the fact that if you eat 3000 cals of carbs or 3000 cals of fat, its the same thing.


Originally posted by bradley
Would you think something like Hatfield's approach would be better. He recommends a reverse cyclical diet (5 days above maintenance and 2 days below).

Calories in vs. calories out still holds true IMO, but all calories are created equal is something that is debatable. This goes back to more of what LAM was saying...

Cue-Ball
02-21-2003, 10:27 AM
Originally posted by fuzz
How are all calories not created equal? Besides the obvious case of things like fiber...glycemic index and what not just changes how the body processes certain cals, it doesn't change the fact that if you eat 3000 cals of carbs or 3000 cals of fat, its the same thing.



I'm curious about this as well. I can see excess carbs and fats being somewhat worse than excess protein if you are eating above maintenence, but when eating less than 100% of your daily maint. calories, i'd think that they all get burned off no matter where they come from.

Bradley - Why do you think that system would be better? 5 days above maint. and 2 days below doesn't seem like an ideal fat loss diet to me, but i'm willing to listen to your reasoning.

fuzz
02-21-2003, 10:31 AM
Cycling cals in a 5/2 thing is effective due to leptin levels.

See the following links:
http://magazine.mindandmuscle.net/page.php?pageID=51&issueID=3
http://magazine.mindandmuscle.net/magmain.php?issueID=4&pageID=58
http://magazine.mindandmuscle.net/magmain.php?issueID=5&pageID=64

Lots of very technical stuff, but leptin is the key to why you stall on a diet, why cyclical diets work, why you get extremely hungry on a diet, everything.


Originally posted by Cue-Ball


I'm curious about this as well. I can see excess carbs and fats being somewhat worse than excess protein if you are eating above maintenence, but when eating less than 100% of your daily maint. calories, i'd think that they all get burned off no matter where they come from.

Bradley - Why do you think that system would be better? 5 days above maint. and 2 days below doesn't seem like an ideal fat loss diet to me, but i'm willing to listen to your reasoning.

raniali
02-21-2003, 10:34 AM
all calories are not created equal has more to do with the bio-availability of the nutrients and the quantity of the nutrients themselves. you can eat 2000 cals of refined sugar everyday, but i think you might find yourself anemic along with a host of other problems. same goes for eating 10 taco bell tacos everyday instead of fresh chicken or steak. if you only have x amount of cals u can eat without becoming the stay-puff marshmallow man, then make the most of them. i am on a new trend of eating uber-foods (TM) every day .... the foods that in and of themselves are FULL of quality vitamins, minerals, bioflavenoids etc.

bradley
02-21-2003, 01:57 PM
There are other effects (as mentioned above) and others I am sure
are not known at this time. Secondly, you are confirming my point. Though
one cant avoid the simple laws of thermodynamics, the advice from a
nutritionist that a "calories is a calorie" is wrong. That is, they will
think that because palmitate has approx 9 calories per gram as does say
flax, that it will not matter which of the two you eat, when in fact we
know it does matter. It tells us that using the basic calorie content of
foods as the *only* guide is a big *ss mistake when you dont factor in the
effects of different foods have on the metabolism, in this case the
thermic effects. If one eats higher protein intakes, with more thermic
lipids, and lower carbs with minor insulin release, one will of course
have a better response than if they were eating low protien, glucose syrup
drinks,and palmitate, though both diets could have the exact same calorie
content. The enire effect of one diet over the other may be explained by
its thermic effects and still follows the basic law of calories in
calories out/thermodynamics you are taling about (though I happen to think
other effects may be just as important). Regardless, it proves that all
calories are not created equal in regards to their effects on metabolism
whether it be thermic or otherwise.

This was posted by Will Brink and sums up what I was referring to. Here is a link to the discussion.

http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&selm=wbrink-3003000955070001%40dialup-63.210.157.54.boston1.level3.net&rnum=49