Monday, April 23, 2007

The lost art of "Refeeds" and the bullshit behind "cheat" days

Refeeds are best used when interspersed throughout long periods of calorie and/or carbohydrate restriction. As the name implies, you're acutely refeeding nutrients (calories and/or carbohydrates) into your system after it's been deprived of those nutrients for a predetermined period of time (5 days, 7 days, 2 months, etc.).

It's important to distinguish between a "refeed" and just trying to rationalize going off your nutritional plan (e.g. cheating). Refeeds are strategically placed and when used right are integral parts of your nutritional plan. Cheating on your diet is more often than not an unplanned event brought on by poor planning or exposure to a situation in which your will power is compromised and you succumb to the primal urge to stuff your face!

Here is a simple yet very effective refeed strategy when on a low-carb diet:

• 5-6 days of low carb dieting (<30g/d)

• 12-48 hrs of eating high carbohydrates

During the week of low carbin' it, you'll deplete your glycogen stores and shift your body to using fat as its primary source of fuel. During your carb up, you'll stuff your glycogen stores full (and even a little beyond their normal capacity) and stimulate the release of insulin.

And though Insulin generally gets a bad name in nutritional science, it is a very potent weapon when used judiciously.

As a rule of thumb, the important thing is knowing when you've had enough. When you start feeling puffy and bloated and can even sense the fat coming on, it's time to go back to your weekday high fat/low carb routine.

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