Animals feed, humans refeed. You may ‘train like a beast’ but news flash – your human. Before we dive in lets ban ‘cheat meal’ from our vocab, hoo’kay? We aren’t cheating because this isn’t a test, it’s real life. We are human and sometimes we need a couple damn cookies! In this article I discuss the real benefit behind refeed meals.
This is one topic that I’m asked about often. If you are familiar with food tracking refeed meals are not complicated at all. Interestingly enough, following a healthy and balanced nutrition plan is not typically an issue for our clients, its the higher carb refeed days that seem to trip them up most, and with good reason. We bust our ass all week long and we want to make sure we don’t wipe out our progress in one scoop. Lets discuss the skinny on refeed days, or as I like to call them ‘indulgence’ days.
How Often Should I Indulge? If your goal is fat loss, once every 10 days or once every 2 week is plenty.
How Much Should I Eat? Its a good idea to eat all your meals as normal. While some people like to fast up until the meal, I think this is a dangerous move for most. ‘Saving up’ for your meal especially if you do not practice intermittent fasting as Ape and I do, will have you racing into a restaurant so famished you’ll dive in headfirst and likely won’t stop until they have to take you out on a gurney.
Is There Anything I Shouldn’t Have? If you don’t have any noticable intolerances to foods, then go ahead and enjoy whatevere you’d like, but work on staying in tune with your body and stopping when you are 80% full.
Will a Refeed Meal ‘Shock’ My Metabolism? This whole ‘metabolism revving’ thing tops the chart in my book as one of the most misunderstood concepts in the entire realm of nutrition. In order to jump start your metabolism, your metabolism must be down regulated in the first place a.k.a you must be dieting. A lot of people think they are dieting when in fact they are not. There is a huge difference between eating healthy and actually being in a caloric deficit.
The Psychological Benefit? Since I truly believe the average healhty eating gym goer is not in fact dieting, refeed meals serve more of a psychological benefit. Having a meal of whatever they choose is important to these people – which I believe is the majority. It gives them something to look forward to and often strengthens their resolve to stay on track for another week.
While prepping for my last figure competition I had a terrible time with refeeds. My cheat meals consisted of shit foods that made me feel like shit. I had a two hour window of binging. I’d eat pizza, bread, ice cream, peanut butter, cookies, candy and essentially anything else I could get my hands on. I hated this cycle. Low calorie intake 6 days a week and 1 day of completely unhealthy unErika food choices. This prep has been much easier. I keep my calories quite high 6 days per week and have one day where my carb intake is much higher. Here is a look at my last refeed day. Keep in mind I practice intermittent fasting where I eat the majority of my calories in the evening. The only thing consumed priot to 12:30 pm is water, coffee and tea.
Sample Refeed Day:
Meal 1a – Smores oatmeal and apple with cinnamon
Meal 1b – Homemade cranberry turnover with Greek yogurt dipper
Meal 1c – English muffin with egg whites and veggies
7:00 pm Meal 2
Meal 2a – Pretzel crusted chicken with veggies and dip
Meal 2b – Peanut butter cup and frozen banana
10:00 Meal 3
Meal 3a – Pumpkin Pancakes with frozen blueberries
All with perfect macros? BOOO – YA! I made all the meals from scratch that way I could track everything and hit my food levels.
With love from the Trench kitchen,