Let’s be honest: Everyone’s looking for a way to boost their metabolism. I mean, who doesn’t want to be a fat burning furnace?? I know I do!
What if I told you that it’s possible to rev up with your metabolism by EATING MORE FOOD. Yeah, you read that right. Food = fuel, which our body uses to turn on that metabolic switch and burn more fat.
I recently mentioned on Instagram that I have been tracking macros again and incorporating a “refeed day” into my routine. A lot of you were intrigued by this tactic, so here’s some info for y’all:
WHAT THE HECK IS A REFEED DAY?
A refeed day is simply a day you plan to take in more calories - mostly in the form of carbohydrates. Now, this doesn’t mean you can eat whatever the heck you want - substance DOES matter! So don’t think you can eat a sleeve of Oreos or a whole Lil Caesar’s pizza. I mean, come on. That’ll prob make you feel like total crap, so please don’t do it!
WHAT DOES IT DO?
A few things:
A) It sort of “tricks” your body into boosting your metabolism because of your new intake of extra calories. It’s like your body is going “Holy moly! Extra food?? Let’s use this to crank that fat burning furnace UP!” Eating extra carbohydrates also replace the glycogen stores that you’ve used up to fuel your workouts during the days before.
B) It preserves muscle mass by ensuring that you’re eating enough calories to prevent muscle wasting (where your body breaks down muscle for energy). When you eat below maintenance (in terms of calories/macros) during the week, the extra boost of calories helps to increase the overall daily average intake, which keeps your body from burning muscle mass.
B) It’s a total mental vacay! It’s sooo nice to have one day out of the week (or however often you do it) to feel like you can have extra guac or a little more nut butter. A lot of my clients really enjoy having this day of freedom to go out to eat with the fam or take the kids for a treat (remember: within moderation!).
IS IT FOR YOU?
I recommend a refeed for people who have been successfully tracking macros for at least 6 weeks. If you’re just starting out, you might not have the discipline and will power to keep your refeed day from getting totally crazy. So give it some time before you try to add that in.
I also recommend it for people who have been consistent and plateau’d in their progress. Again, a refeed can be so good for your metabolism!
I do NOT recommend it for people who are still actively struggling with an eating disorder/binge eating. I personally have had a history with binge eating, but I have been able to recognize my triggers and really THINK about why I’m eating what I’m eating. If you are still actively binging/purging, you need to focus on consistently fueling your body with a normal amount of food before you allow yourself a day to eat excess calories.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU REFEED?
This totally depends on you, your fitness routine, and your daily caloric/macro intake. While some people might benefit from one day a week (such as myself), others might only need a refeed every week and a half to two weeks. I highly recommend testing out a small refeed (extra calories but not a ton) once a week for two weeks and see how your body reacts/feels with it. It you seem to feel leaner and stronger the next few days following your refeed, chances are your body loves it! If you feel bloated and sluggish, perhaps you should space it out to one day every two weeks.
HOW MANY EXTRA CALORIES SHOULD YOU EAT?
Again, this totally depends on you, your fitness routine, and your normal daily caloric intake. Some trainers will tell you to eat as much as 1,000 calories on your refeed day, but I personally think that’s a little much. Shoot, I have a hard time just hitting my normal macros some days!
I would start with 500 extra calories, splitting those into about 300 calories for carbs (75g) and 200 calories for fat (22g). This should be good for most people across the board. But as I mentioned before, give it a little test to see how your body responds.
HOW DO I EAT THOSE CALORIES IN A HEALTHY WAY?
I personally (and tell my clients to) add in extra brown rice/jasmine rice to your bowl/plate, two slices of bread instead of one, two tablespoons of nut butter instead of one, a whole avocado instead of half, etc. One of my favorite ways to get in those calories is with a Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl (with guac). This isn’t sponsored - I just friggin’ LOVE their burrito bowls. They’re a great source of fiber, carbs, protein, and a little extra fat. Trust me, your muscles will thank you for trying this on a refeed day.
Even though you’re increasing your calories, still be mindful of excess sugar and sodium, because those can just make you feel bloated and blah. Definitely not how a refeed is supposed to make you feel!
As with everything else, I’m an open book and here for any questions you may have! I would also love to help you calculate your macros and how much you should be eating on a refeed day. Just hit me up!