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Extreme calorie cycling

qbkilla

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Some of the psmf threads got me back into calorie cycling, I like to try different diet approaches and see how I react.

I was doing a straight 3k calories every day, isocaloric. But then I switched things up to get some psmf days and like the results so far in terms of satiety and have lost a few lbs, possibly just water, but look leaner each day going by the mirror.

Previous diet 3k calories per day, 21k per week, isocaloric

New diet
4 days low, 2k, psmf
I day medium, 3k isocaloric
2 days high, 5k , all protein and carbs

I know many do calorie and carb cycling, but what do people feel about the extreme differences in calories (2k vs 5k) vs more moderate high and low days?

One advantage I can think, you can train lagging parts in the high days and maybe that will help stimulate some growth. On the low days, you could potentially burn some fat. Yet your total weekly calories are the same, so in theory no. But on those low days you can have an extreme protein to energy ratio (bboy talked about this) which has some advantages.

Obviously training intensity and overall food intake are the main factors that determine growth and fat loss, but we also know psmf, carb cycling, depletion, insulin sensitivity can impact things if all the major factors are already optimized.
 

luki7788

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I have ALWAYS been a big believer in caloric cycling. I had the best results with it, as well as my clients who have used this method, and I am talking about offsason not only in the cutting phase.

For example, currently my calories in a day without training are only some 3.5k, while on training days it is about 5900-6300 and this is just the beginning of the offseason, so they will probably be higher, I suspect 7500kcal, but on days off they will definitely remain at the same level of 3500. This allows me to maintain good insulin sensitivity and a moment of rest for the digestive system.
 

qbkilla

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I have ALWAYS been a big believer in caloric cycling. I had the best results with it, as well as my clients who have used this method, and I am talking about offsason not only in the cutting phase.

For example, currently my calories in a day without training are only some 3.5k, while on training days it is about 5900-6300 and this is just the beginning of the offseason, so they will probably be higher, I suspect 7500kcal, but on days off they will definitely remain at the same level of 3500. This allows me to maintain good insulin sensitivity and a moment of rest for the digestive system.
Sounds like your approach is similar to mine, the low days are low the high days are high. Seems like many who carb and calorie cycle only have a small variance between high and low days.

I do like to rotate things, after a while of extreme calorie cycling or on a deload I will go back to a steady 3k a day to give digestion a break from all the high days. I know some people do adf, fast a day then eat 2 days calories on the next day.
 

luki7788

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When it comes to building the maximum possible muscle mass and bodybuilding in general, the fast are a total mistake, but if someone just wants to look good and be healthy it can be helpful
 

sloh

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I think the extreme calorie cycling approach works well if you're near your genetic ceiling and are trying to maintain peeled/shredded conditioning and BW. It's better than more moderate maintenance kcals daily since you're alternating between actual days of surplus and deficit, with the surplus days potentially allowing you to put on some muscle and the deficit days allowing you to lose the fat.

However, for those with plenty of progress to make and in a bulking/muscle gaining phase, I think it's better to be in a moderate surplus daily and focusing on increasing BW at a reasonable rate. Push the BW up a bit as Dante recommends, then diet down after.
 

qbkilla

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I think the extreme calorie cycling approach works well if you're near your genetic ceiling and are trying to maintain peeled/shredded conditioning and BW. It's better than more moderate maintenance kcals daily since you're alternating between actual days of surplus and deficit, with the surplus days potentially allowing you to put on some muscle and the deficit days allowing you to lose the fat.

However, for those with plenty of progress to make and in a bulking/muscle gaining phase, I think it's better to be in a moderate surplus daily and focusing on increasing BW at a reasonable rate. Push the BW up a bit as Dante recommends, then diet down after.

Agree with both posts. Agree with what you said, in theory, you would possibly shed some fat on low days, and be able to gain some muscle on high days.

I wonder at what point total calories matter. For example if 3000 maintains weight, and you eat 2,000 one day then 4,000 the next continuous

Would the body shed some on the 2k day, then add it back on the 4k day? Or if we have enough low days in a row, will we shed fat and metabolism slows then on the high day, we speed it back up, so less of that fat Is gained and it's a net gain?

No idea if anyone has the answer because at the end of the week we are both eating 3k per day or 21k per week in this scenario
 

sloh

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Agree with both posts. Agree with what you said, in theory, you would possibly shed some fat on low days, and be able to gain some muscle on high days.

I wonder at what point total calories matter. For example if 3000 maintains weight, and you eat 2,000 one day then 4,000 the next continuous

Would the body shed some on the 2k day, then add it back on the 4k day? Or if we have enough low days in a row, will we shed fat and metabolism slows then on the high day, we speed it back up, so less of that fat Is gained and it's a net gain?

No idea if anyone has the answer because at the end of the week we are both eating 3k per day or 21k per week in this scenario
I actually have been on a diet similar to this for a couple years now. My low days are around 1800 kcals and I throw in a 5000 kcal high carb "refeed" day every time I baseline. It takes me about 3-5 days to baseline. It's hard to predict at what point calories matter because the metabolism can respond to these "refeed/high" days in variable and surprising ways—and it probably also varies from individual to individual. I find that for me, if I average the kcals out over the week, I end up being able to eat more on this extreme cycling approach (which suggests the refeeds/cheats help the metabolism more than the low days suppress metabolism) compared to more moderate daily kcals every day while keeping BW the same week to week.

Psychologically, I find this type of diet more enjoyable. Because the kcals are so high on my refeed/cheat days, I can really eat until I'm content. My appetite will be suppressed for a couple days after the refeed/cheat which makes the low days easy. In comparison, with more moderate kcals daily, I find that I don't really ever get to crush my cravings.
 

D-NUTZ

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I have found that these calorie cycling methods seem to work best for most who want to continue a long term offseason. I just do training/non training day cycles but they’re a pretty drastic calorie difference. Peak offseason last year I was up to 7k calories on training days and about 4.5k calories on non. Over half the amount of carbs on off days and fats jump up dramatically.
 

Dugbet

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On rest days you still need calories to recover and grow, so I understand the idea of eating less carbohydrates if you are not training, but I do not see the point of such a drastic reduction in calories.
 

Bobik

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I have found that these calorie cycling methods seem to work best for most who want to continue a long term offseason. I just do training/non training day cycles but they’re a pretty drastic calorie difference. Peak offseason last year I was up to 7k calories on training days and about 4.5k calories on non. Over half the amount of carbs on off days and fats jump up dramatically.
How many training days a week? Thnx
 

qbkilla

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I actually have been on a diet similar to this for a couple years now. My low days are around 1800 kcals and I throw in a 5000 kcal high carb "refeed" day every time I baseline. It takes me about 3-5 days to baseline. It's hard to predict at what point calories matter because the metabolism can respond to these "refeed/high" days in variable and surprising ways—and it probably also varies from individual to individual. I find that for me, if I average the kcals out over the week, I end up being able to eat more on this extreme cycling approach (which suggests the refeeds/cheats help the metabolism more than the low days suppress metabolism) compared to more moderate daily kcals every day while keeping BW the same week to week.

Psychologically, I find this type of diet more enjoyable. Because the kcals are so high on my refeed/cheat days, I can really eat until I'm content. My appetite will be suppressed for a couple days after the refeed/cheat which makes the low days easy. In comparison, with more moderate kcals daily, I find that I don't really ever get to crush my cravings.
this, pretty much my experience.

what do you mean by baseline? when your weight hits a certain low point, then you have the high calorie day? so rather than 2 or 3 low, then reseed. you wait until the scale hits a certain weight (low), then have a high day?
 

sloh

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this, pretty much my experience.

what do you mean by baseline? when your weight hits a certain low point, then you have the high calorie day? so rather than 2 or 3 low, then reseed. you wait until the scale hits a certain weight (low), then have a high day?
Sorry for the confusion. If 170 lbs is my baseline weight, I will refeed and the BW will spike like 5 lbs up to 175 lbs, then it will take me 3-5 days to come back down to 170 lbs at which point I will refeed again
 

luki7788

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On rest days you still need calories to recover and grow, so I understand the idea of eating less carbohydrates if you are not training, but I do not see the point of such a drastic reduction in calories.
I would say with increasing the number of positive nitrogen balances, you need to understand that the body is not closed in a 24-hour time frame and will not realize that you were in a positive calorific 3 days and one is negative, so suddenly it stops building muscles
 

qbkilla

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Sorry for the confusion. If 170 lbs is my baseline weight, I will refeed and the BW will spike like 5 lbs up to 175 lbs, then it will take me 3-5 days to come back down to 170 lbs at which point I will refeed again

Do you have a set amount of calories for your refeed? Have you expiramented with smaller more frequent refeeds vs higher? Made any gains over time, or just trying to maintain your look?
 

sloh

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Do you have a set amount of calories for your refeed? Have you expiramented with smaller more frequent refeeds vs higher? Made any gains over time, or just trying to maintain your look?
I usually shoot for 4500-5000 kcals and stick with higher carb lower fat options (kids cereal like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, potato wedges, sushi, 1 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts, pasta, pancakes etc). I find that if the fat gets too high, the weight/fat sticks longer, and it takes longer for BW to come back down to baseline. Fat is also so calorically dense it doesn't satiate me as well (I could inhale a cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory easily and that's already like 1,000 calories). I also usually crave carbs the most when these days come around, so it's not a big deal for me to go high carb low fat. I've tried higher refeeds and I get so full that it becomes uncomfortable and it starts to disturb my sleep. With lower refeeds like 3500-4000 kcals, I can definitely baseline sooner and refeed more frequently but I kind of hit that sweet spot with contentment at around 4500-5000. Before I jumped on this extreme calorie cycling approach I did a major bulk the first couple of years where I put on the majority of my size, then cut down while working with Skip and competed. Then I did a couple more moderate bulks and cut down in between each time. When I couldn't tell a difference between pictures after cutting down each time, I decided to switch to this extreme calorie cycling approach. Over the years of being on this extreme calorie cycling approach, I'd say my physique has taken on a harder and denser look.
 

qbkilla

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what do low days look like>. I need to cut back on fat on my refeeds. I try to eat low fat foods but with the chicken, rice cakes, yogurt, I ended up getting 50g last time, probably way higher than I should. do you have a number you try and stay below?
 

FK86

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I usually shoot for 4500-5000 kcals and stick with higher carb lower fat options (kids cereal like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, potato wedges, sushi, 1 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts, pasta, pancakes etc). I find that if the fat gets too high, the weight/fat sticks longer, and it takes longer for BW to come back down to baseline.

132 g of fat
 

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