IHOP1If you’ve been on a diet for a while now and have started to see your fat loss slowing down, a refeed day might be beneficial for you. What is a refeed day? To simply put it, a refeed day is a planned day where you eat foods that are high in carbohydrates to boost glycogen levels and to restore the bodies leptin levels (we’ll get to what leptin is soon). It is not to be confused with a whole “cheat day” where you can eat whatever you want to eat. Refeed days are strictly reserved for carbohydrate intake only and not tons of fat consumption on top of that.

What Is Leptin and Why Is It Important to Boost It?

 

Simply put, leptin is a hormone in the body that is produced by fat cells that regulates fat storage. Leptin controls your metabolism, hunger levels, and the amount of energy your body expends. Being in a calorie deficit for long periods of time will lower your leptin levels triggering your body to slow down it’s metabolism. This helps to ensure that your body doesn’t burn the rest of the fat that it has on it’s body just in case of emergencies. This is what leads to weight loss plateaus at lower body-fat percentages. Implementing refeed days periodically (to maintenance calories or higher) throughout your diet will provide boosts in leptin levels to keep your metabolism from slowing down which in turn keeps your body burning off all that fat and to get you as lean as possible.

What Do You Do When You Have a Refeed Day?

 

As I’ve stated before, refeed days are planned days where you increase the amount of carbohydrates that you eat throughout the day, because carbs are the most effective way to increase leptin levels. A rule of thumb on determining how many carbs you need is to take your current calories and increase it by 30% and divide by 4. For example, if you’re currently at a 1900 calorie a day diet it would look something like this:

1900 x 0.30 = 570 calories
570 divided by 4 (4 being the number of calories in a gram of carbohydrates) = 142
So the amount that you would increase your carbohydrate intake for your refeed day is 142 grams.

IMG_3797_01How Often Should You Have a Refeed day?

 

Usually once every two weeks will work well for the majority of people but depending on your activity level throughout the day and how much energy you expend, you might find that weekly refeed days will be better for you. As with everything, the need for refeed days will be different for many people. If you find that your weight is still dropping week after week and your energy levels are fine, usually a refeed day isn’t needed. On the other hand, if you feel like your workouts are suffering, your muscles are feeling flat, and your mood is just overall in a negative state, then a refeed day will help boost your energy levels and restore your sanity.

Refeed days don’t have to be anything too complicated. You can implement them on whatever day that you feel you need them. Many people choose to have refeed days on heavy leg days where more energy is needed to squat heavy weight. It’s totally up to you. It’s also important to note that the day after you have a refeed, you may notice that your weight has gone up due to the water retention from extra carbohydrate intake, but a few days after that you will notice that your weight will go back to what it was, or you may even be down half a pound to a pound of weight.

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John

John considers himself as a fitness enthusiast who loves to do anything to keep the body in peak physical performance (much like a highly tuned machine). He mainly focuses on sports nutrition and supplement research, but is also highly knowledgeable in relation to muscle growth and fat loss. He's helped numerous people over the years achieve the body that they've always wanted and hopes his information will guide you to the goals you want.

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