The Power of Refeeds

Ohhhhhh refeeds.

Those glorious days in our diet where we get to add in more food, specifically from carbs. These days are magical when you’re in a calorie deficit and give you, the dieter, something to really look forward to. But, do you need them?

You’ll hear some people talk about all the benefits of refeeds and swear by them for every single client. Other people will say that you don’t need them and you should just suck it up and deal with the diet. The answer is somewhere in the middle. There are no two clients that will ever respond the same to dieting, refeeds or macronutrient splits.

Nutrition coaching should be highly individualized to the client, situation, goal and experience level. Do I love refeeds for clients? That’s a big hell yes. But there are times when refeeds simply aren’t working for that client and they are causing more harm than good.

In this video, Dr. Campbell and I dive into the research that they did at the USF Physique Lab diving into refeeds and their efficacy during calorie restriction. They compared dieters who ate the same number of total calories per week but one group ate the same continuous calories (e.g. same calories and macros daily) and one group had refeeds built into their week (e.g. 5 days of calorie restriction and 2 refeed days at maintenance).

The results of this study are truly badass. This is the first study looking at a lean, resistance trained population and how refeeds effect their metabolism, fat loss, and muscle retention. The study isn’t published yet but I’ll be sure to post about it as soon as it comes out! For now, watch the video and critically think about how this could impact yourself and/or your coaching.