The secret to your success is your own hard work and focus. My goal is to give you the tools to accelerate that success. I am not here to make it easy, but I am here to make it possible.

Nick Mitchell

Why Cheating On Your Diet Can Be A Good Thing For Fat Loss!

Many of you will be aware that I am currently at the closing stages of the hardest and most disciplined diet I have followed in well over a decade.  You may also know that it is my long held belief that unless you are one of the very fortunate few who can get ripped just by dropping bread from your diet, a bit, or even a lot, of suffering are inevitable consequences of doing what it takes to attain extreme condition.  I am blessed with a fairly average metabolism, it is neither excessively slow not is it excessively fast (genetically I am closest to my brother who has never seen his abs in his life…sorry Mark!), so despite my years of knowledge and tricks of the trade I still need to suffer at times, and the leaner and more carb depleted I become, the harder it is to function like a patient, tolerant, calm human being! For example, my upcoming photo shoot is in Los Angeles and I don’t think my serotonin deficient system can deal with all that bumper to bumper traffic driving on the wrong side of the road, especially as I’m bound to get lost several times each journey!  Hiring a driver may be the most worthwhile investment of my year…

Just 36 hours ago I did my evening walk and it was a genuine effort putting one foot in front of the other.  It is as though all the zest and life is drained out of you, and you want to lie down simply staring into space.  Sleep is of course not an easy option as your metabolism is racing away, carbs raise serotonin levels and without them it is impossible for me to relax,  and my mind is a veritable whirlpool of activity.  On the positive side, I have been a productive demon this last month or so, even though I haven’t been able to chill out even once.   Apart from yesterday.

As I write this, I feel great, I am looking forward with a gusto to today’s double weights sessions, I have a spring in my step, and I even managed to take it easy a bit at home yesterday and relax.  Oh yes, I also had a much needed nap in the middle of the day – something that has totally eluded me of late and was sorely needed.  And I know for certain that I will be super strong and super pumped in the gym.  I also look leaner, bigger, and actually weigh 117.4kg – up 0.4kg from my actual starting weight 7 weeks ago when I was fat and full of post Christmas bloat!  I’ve posted my last 2 weeks of progress photos below this paragraph so you can see for yourself that I am on the road to being significantly leaner and bigger simultaneously.  A feat that has shocked me and will take some evaluation when all is completed and I look back at my training and nutritional diaries (these I will be publishing as part of a comprehensive “body transformation” package due out at the start of April!).

Refeed-fat-lossMy fat loss progress from week zero to week five and week seven: cheating for fat loss can work wonders if done correctly!

So what has sent me from a shuffling zombie with barely enough stamina to pick up his (admittedly gigantic) toddler son, into an energetic, pumped up beast ready to attack the weights as if he hasn’t been murdering himself in the gym, and depriving himself in the kitchen, for nigh on two months?  It is very simple, and you may well have guessed it already, I had a giant refeed day.  The basic premise behind this is that as the body “flattens out”, becomes overtrained, drained of energy, and mentally and physically exhausted, then a short period of planned overfeeding will shock the metabolism, raise energy levels, kickstart any potential slowing down of the fat loss process, and (just as importantly for long term adherence to any diet) make you feel human again.  In other words, all in all a wonderful thing!  But stop for a second before you rush out to stuff your face this is also an extremely dangerous practice and I can think of scores of excuse makers I have encountered over the years who use their little bit of “refeed” principles knowledge to serve as a crutch for their lack of discipline and mental weakness.  It is all too easy to diet for a few days and then excuse yourself for 1-12 hours by fooling yourself into thinking you need a ‘refeed”.  So what I am going to do now is tell what a true refeed is all about, how and why it works, and the practical rules that you need to follow to allow yourself to “cheat yourself thin”!  Cheat yourself thin sounds better than “cheat yourself lean” by the way, but take note that I for one do not want to be thin – its all about being lean for me!

If you get bored by science, then perhaps skip this paragraph, but I’d advise you not to – I’ll keep it simple and digestable (oh my, what a pun), and it will help you contextualise the later more practical refeed advice.  As I hope you know by now, calories are important (see much more on this in my “Do calories count” rant) but they are not the be all and end all as macronutrient ratios are also significant because of the hormonal response they can generate.  But even if you get your calorie intake spot on, and consume the right macronutrient ratio for your genotype, muscle mass, and body fat level, fat loss does not occur in a linear line.  In fact, you will have found that fat loss starts quickly and then slows right down.  For many people it crashes to an unflinching, soul destroying halt.  But if you look at my own progress photos you will see that this has in now way happened to me, and in fact I have been clipping off body fat at a rapid and extremely consistent rate.  This isn’t merely because I am a fat loss genius, and it certainly isn’t simply to do with my capacity for hard work, although this latter point is important whereas the former point is, I hope you realise, (a little) tongue in cheek.  If it was just about hard work then those who were real grafters with their diet and their gym sessions would have no problems achieving extreme levels of conditioning, and this just doesn’t happen.  The problem for all would be fat loss aficionados is that extended hypocaloric periods can cause a cataclysmic shutdown of one key hormone that regulates a healthy (by this I mean fat burning and fast) metabolism.  This hormone, that many are ignorant of as I believe, and this is off the top of my head so if I am wrong just let me know in the comments section below please, it’s importance was only properly appreciated as recently as 1997, is known as leptin. And if you want to get really lean, then you need to make it your friend and become familiar with the right ways to control it, rather than as with 99% of cases have it control you.  I regard it as the hormone that “assesses your current nutritional status”, which is why it is so significant to the person seeking significant fat loss.

Leptin has been described as “the anti- famine / anti starvation hormone” and it has a dominant role to play in regulating hunger and energy expenditure.  This is the primary hormone that tells the body if it is starving or not.  When leptin levels fall it plays a causal role in the majority of negative adaptations which occur during dieting, including but not limited to decreasing metabolic rate, decreasing fat oxidation, and a massively increased appetite. Leptin is synthesied in adipose tissue (fat cells) meaning that the smaller the fat cells the lower the leptin production, and the greater the hunger and the lower the energy expenditure as the body desperately clings to it’s remaining fat cells because your dieting has mimicked a famine situation.  And just to make matters (much) worse, the type of dieting that seems to affect leptin levels the most detrimentally is low carbohydrate nutrition.  The very type of fat loss diet that best suits the overwhelming majority of the population, including myself despite my relatively high muscle mass.  So on the surface it seems we are damned if we do, and damned if we don’t (my late Grandma’s favourite moan by the way), as if we go hard, go long, or just get lean, leptin levels plummet and our metabolisms fall through the floor.  This is a problem that is very often exacerbated by the frustrated dieter’s misguided attempt to deal with stalled fat loss – take in even lower calories and increase overall energy expenditure via exercise!

Knowing your science can be a useful tool for fat loss though, and research has shown us the best ways to keep leptin elevated.  It is in fact an approach, after a fashion, that bodybuilders have followed for as long as I can remember, but whereas their old concept of an occasional “cheat meal” / “free meal” (the latter is a significantly better way to view it as it doesn’t open the door to wholesale binging) to “boost the metabolism” was correct in general, we now know some specifics that can really help nail down the right way to do it.  Of course, just to confuse you, as with every aspect of body composition, the very best way encompasses both a science and an art, and we will address that too.

Refeed Rules and How To Raise Leptin Levels:

An arbitrary cheat meal / cheat day will not cut it, so forget about hitting up your local Pizza Hut or McDonalds.  It needs to be controlled.

Leptin has been shown to be highly responsive to glucose metabolism way above fat / protein metabolism, so the majority of your extra refeed calories should come from carbohydrates.  Some will tell you that fast acting high glycemic carbs are the best to really spike leptin levels back up, but I feel this is a bit uncontrolled and I like to see the use of foods along the range of the glycemic index.  So for example, porridge mixed with egg whites with a sliced banana is perfect as part of a refeed day as you get fast, medium, and slow digesting carbs and proteins.

Fruit, other than a couple of apples or a handful of berries, should be off the list.  Fructose has very limited impact on spiking leptin levels.

When should you refeed?

There is no specific set point in a diet when a refeed becomes necessary, it is all down to the individual’s conditioning, training state, and muscle mass.  This is where a really experienced coach / personal trainer is worth their weight in gold.

You need to be lean, depleted, and starting to feel totally worn down.  It will NOT happen in the first month of your diet unless you are already very lean to start with.

As a basic rule of thumb, if you are in any way unsure that you are ready for a refeed then you have answered your own question.  When I helped Glenn Parker with his amazing 3 month transformation I recall looking at his ripped up physique, seeing the far away glaze across his eyes, and even a hibernating bear could have sensed his fatigue and “flatness”.  So I asked him what he was craving most, and when he responded with a desperate gasp of “Pizza, Boss!” I sent him home with the orders that he had to eat three large pizzas of his choice that day! Needless to say the next day he came back and tore up his workouts, and that week he dropped from 8.3% to 6.9% – a phenomenal difference in a man already so lean.

How much should you refeed?

This is a tricky question to answer in any sort of generic manner and it is where the science and the art of coaching come into play.  When I had my recent refeed I ate about 1500gms of carbs in one single day! Now that is a hell of a lot of food, carbs and calories.  But then again, I have been training twice a day, limiting my calories and carbs, and I weigh between 18-19 stone at sub 10% body fat.  A smaller person than me would need far less.  And a professional bodybuilder would need way, way more!  It is a very individual thing and the best way to really learn is to experiment on yourself and track how your body responds.  In my opinion this is the only way to truly learn all the tricks of the body composition game, and one of the key fundamentals as to why anyone seeking a personal trainer to assist in fat loss / muscle building needs to find someone who has done it to themselves multiple times.

In terms of determining refeed levels, keep reminding yourself that the lower the leptin levels the more calories above daily maintenance will be required to spike them back up and shift the body into an optimal fat burning mode.

I was very flat, so a refeed day was in order for me.  It may be that you need a refeed window that is much shorter.  Either way, ensure you damn well deserve that refeed before you stuff your fat face – it is not an excuse for gross piggery!

Have your refeed on a rest day

We are trying to raise all sort of good hormones so don’t try and over stress the already tired body by refeeding on a training day.  My own preferred option is to do a lot of early morning cardio on a Sunday and then refeed.  That way I finally get to chill a bit, as dieting tends to wire me out a lot, especially as my body fat drops into single digits, plus the carbs can make you very sleepy, especially when you have gone without them for a while.  So a Sunday afternoon nap is often the order of the day, thus enhancing the restorative and recuperative qualities of a properly planned refeed.

cheating-for-fat-lossStrategic refeeds have kept me progressing as you can see in these photos taken at week 3, 5 and 7!

The Hormonal Consequences of a Refeed

Anyone who has ever been on a real diet and dropped their body fat down to the level that a refeed is necessary will tell you just how exhausting and draining a process it can be.  I currently have the patience of a schizophrenic on PCP and the sex drive of a neutered flea.  All because I am on low carbs, low calories, and my body fat % is dropping to a place that it doesn’t really want to get below.

What a refeed and the consequent spiking of my depleted leptin levels does for me is make me feel more like a fully functioning human being again.  At least for 48 hours anyway!  Increasing leptin raises my liver glycogen levels, boosts testosterone, Growth Hormone and thyroid levels, whilst simultaneously reducing cortisol output.  All in all this turns one into a fat burning, muscle building machine!  I truly believe that the correct use of the refeed principle has been a key component to me leaning up so aggressively whilst not really dropping any actual bodyweight.  Basically I have achieved the Holy Grail of simultaneously adding muscle and losing fat.

And for the females amongst you, hard dieting and lower body fat levels play havoc with menstruation and fertility levels.  On top of this there is the additional issue of osteoporosis for very lean women, so regular refeeds can be of massive benefit here.

Refeed Pitfalls

Where do I begin with the pitfalls of incorporating a refeed into your fat loss programme!  As I see it there are two major issues with refeeding that everyone needs to address:

1) Only refeed when you really need it.

Yes, I know that I have told you the right time and occasion to refeed, but trust me when I say that a lot of you won’t listen to me or will just fool yourselves.  As I write this, my mind harks back to a former client of one of Howard Pearson, one of my senior personal trainers, who proved the adage that a little learning is a dangerous thing, especially in the hands of a weak minded man!  This was a character who would constantly harp on about all the tricks to get lean, and the need to “reefed” was always on his mind.  I can categorically guarantee you that he will never ever get close to even 10% body fat because he is so adept at fooling himself and taking the path of least resistance, believing that he needs to, and I quote, “spike his leptin levels after a hard five days of dieting”.  He will be fortunate to ever even hit 15% body fat.

Just to repeat myself, if you are in any doubt whatsoever that you are not ready to reefed, then do not do it.  You pretty much need to be at the end of your dieting tether, and the reefed comes in when fat loss has either ground to a halt or your (well trained) muscles are so depleted of glycogen that walking for five minutes has become a chore.  I myself know that I need a serious reefed, and that I am starting to get in shape, when even typing this blog becomes a physical challenge.  And no, I am in no way exaggerating, there are times at the moment when lifting my fingers up a few mm is an onerous burden!

2) A Refeed Day / Refeed Meal can too easily open the door to cheating.

I have been plodding along, maintaining my dietary rigour and discipline with nary a backwards / sideways thought, and my previous cravings for breads, sweets and ice cream had all disappeared by the wayside.  But then I have a reefed day, my pleasure seeking neurotransmitters are kicked up, my body remembers how nice it is to have a full stomach and how uncomfortable it is to have an empty stomach, and all of sudden going cold turkey after a day of self indulgence and rampant blood sugar levels becomes a renewed challenge of the highest proportion until equilibrium is established again.  The only time that I have ever been seriously tempted to break my diet is the day or two after a heavy reefed day.  Being aware of a potential problem should help you to mentally prepare for it before it happens, but if you find yourself succumbing to cravings after refeeding then the solution is staring you in the face.  Limit your refeed to just one or two meals and see how you progress.  If you are one of those who only needs to have one “free meal’ / “cheat meal” and all of a sudden your dietary discipline disintegrates then in all honesty you are better off avoiding wild refeeds altogether.  In these circumstances your best bet is to refeed on nothing more outlandish than brown rice and porridge.  And if this sounds a tad unappetising, let me tell you that as I write this from the depths of my own diet, a big bowl of porridge sounds like manna from the heavens right about now!

Refeed Conclusions:

Getting your refeed strategy spot on can be a bit of minefield.  It is one of those advanced fat loss strategies that I am very hesitant to discuss with many people simply because it leaves the door open to cheating and the kind of mental headgames that can totally scupper an otherwise sound fat loss regime.  However, appreciating how the hormone leptin works, and assuming that you have heeded my warnings that refeeds are only to be used when fat loss is stalled and you have otherwise been doing everything else right, it is an extremely powerful tool for allowing you to become super lean whilst maintaining all your hard earned muscle mass and (for the ladies who read this blog)  “tone” – both of which are vital to keep looking both cosmetically at your best and functioning at the right level metabolically and hormonally.

As ever, I want to hear your feedback, and know what you think about sticking to your diet and if you dare plan in reefed meals or days, how you deal with them, and what you’d like to know to improve your abil;ity to keep getting lean and avoiding fat loss sticking points.  And if you think others might benefit from this bit of a monster of post please do help to spread the word and like / share via the buttons to the left.

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53 Responses to “Why Cheating On Your Diet Can Be A Good Thing For Fat Loss!”

  1. Sami says:

    Hi Nick,

    Good info there. How often have you been refeeding? I know it is completely dependent on each individual but it would be useful to have a general idea seeing as we know how long you have been training for etc.

    Do you think it is better to refeed with any sort of carbs or do you plan more carefully and go with higher quality carbs such as sweet potatoes etc.?


    • Anonymous says:

      I have now had two major refeeds over an eight week period. Plus about 3 small refeed meals.

      Any carb source can work for a refeed IF you are depleted enough. If not, don’t bother…

  2. Anonymous says:

    I rarely eat eggs for breakfast, and have not done so at all for 6 weeks. Typically it is whey and estrogenomics shake and then a large steak an hour or so later.

  3. Mr D says:

    Hi Nick,

    Great blog, I have been using this exact principle to drop just over 5% in 4 weeks. Porridge and raisans being my personal fave refeed, odd as I never crave it normally! I am now 9% and aiming to add 7lbs lean mass. In terms of carb cycling for lean muscle gain do you again go by feeling? Or is it more regimented than that?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not by feeling, by observation and experimentation. But if you are 9% then you need carbs every day to start adding muscle, just play with the macros a bit and see what happens. Yes, to keeping on cycling though. Try the odd very high day too.

  4. Brian says:

    Inspirational and informative as always.

    Think I’d be too scared to risk a whole re-feed day, know I’d get the taste for shite again.

    1 treat meal every 5 days seems to working well for me at the moment – muscle is going up, fat is coming down.

    Nutritional cleanse next week! (estrogen and metals) then an estrogen specific protocol after that.


    • Anonymous says:

      Careful you don’t drop below 45kg with that cleanse Brian…

  5. Ben says:

    If you have time, or can prepare it before, meat & nuts is something suggested by Charles Poliquin. I train in the morning & feel much more switched on than when I have eggs.

    Great article Nick

    • Anonymous says:

      You won’t get ripped eating too many nuts unless you are very lucky with your metabolism…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Charles suggests 5 days a guide, but like anything there is variance in this suggestion.

    Caffeine free diet coke and chewing gum kill my cravings.

    A consult with me costs £200, but I think I am going to stop doing this, and I only take PT clients on these days if they can commit to close to £10K for approx 3 months training. The best thing to do is watch out for the educational products I’ll be launching within the next 2 months. There will be a few otherwise impossible to get bonuses like a Q&A webinar / coaching with me.

    • Sassy says:

      I would like a nutritional consult please

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m not able to see you before I go to the States but if you email me your current 5 day food diary I’ll make some comments. I need to also know how much more weight you want to lose, the current rate of weight loss, energy levels etc. Also tell me the exercises you can’t do due to your hip replacement, the years using a walker, and I can get an easy to follow programme sent to you for your gym in Earls Court.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Estrogenomics is a (very very expensive but very very powerful) medical grade protein (non whey) that really helps shift estrogenic fat deposits – so think pec and hamstring. If you can afford it and you live in the UK then my experience suggests that you should make it a staple part of your supplement regime.

    • Ashholland86 says:

      Ok Nick. I might just have to order some of that up. Would you use that as a post workout protein as well?

      • Anonymous says:

        I usually have 2 scoops of estrogenomics plus 30gms whey and glutamine post workout.

  8. Anonymous says:

    That sounds about right, but if you do it right and don’t get too lax you will add weight (via glycogen) so the body fat % will drop further even though you may be adding a little more overall adipose tissue. Am I making sense?

    • Mr D says:

      Yep. I’ll monitor caliper measurements closely then. Thanks for the help.

  9. Anonymous says:

    A simple answer to a complicated question:

    I’d get the athlete as lean as is optimal at a rate that doesn’t make his athletic performance suffer. In my experience anyone over 10% body fat can go lowish carb / controlled carb (if the athlete is one of the lucky few who function better on carbs) without too much trouble and impaired performance. It is only when the real suffering of the diet sets in that you will see a performance drop off, and I don’t think it is necessary to go so hard so fast when cosmetic appearance is not all that important.

    Taking myself as an example, if I look back on my diary I can see that I felt and performed fantastically until I hit sub 10%, had been dieting for over a month, was “overtrained, and had a depleted system. This is not a state I would ever advise a performance driven athlete to enter, and I wouldn’t have hit it myself at the stage that I did if I had given myself more preparation time, or not got so damn fat over Christmas!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Thanks! Is this the Fivos I know from Muscleworks?!

    • Fivos says:

      Hey Nick..Yes mate :-)… your doing suuperb work..i do read a lot of your stuff and am very impressed..(not suprised though)…glad all is going well for you!


      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks a lot Fivos. Coming from someone like you that means a lot.
        I just tried to email you about photography work but the address you have on here bounced back…are you able to drop a 1 line email to and then she can forward it to me so I have your email add?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Read voraciously on the net – anything and everything and learn to sort the wheat from the chaff. And experiment on yourself…it is the only way!

  12. Leo says:

    Hi Nick
    This is one of my favourite posts, thankyou and keep it up!
    A have a quick question about the calories you take in during your diet. You suggested in a previous post that you take 10-12 calories per pound of body weight, would you suggest this amount for everyone when dieting down? I am currently 165lbs, therefore I have worked out I will need about 1815calories/day- should that be my goal? of course my aim is 1.5grms/lb body weight of protein and then adjust the other macronutrients to reach the calorie goal.
    Also Nick, what sort of ‘cardio’ do you do during the week, and for how long? Do you do any HIIT style training, or just stick to fast walking?
    Thankyou for your time

    • Anonymous says:

      The approx cal/lb depends upon lean bodyweight. The leaner you are the more cals/bodyweight you require. So a 400lb obese man will not need as much as 10-12calories per lb.

      I personally stick to fast walking as I have been doing so much training that anything else will negatively impact my recovery abilities that are already teetering on the edge of overtraining.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Hi Nargess,

    It sounds as if you are not eating enough fat / fiber to fill you up. Try adding more green veg. If you have been 5 weeks on very low carbs then a single carb meal is also definitely called for now. It will only do you good!

    And if you do know any decent taxi companies in LA please let me know as I’ve decided not to hire a car and I’ll be bouncing around from Santa Monica to Costa Mesa, then Chino Hills…!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I can’t really answer this Leo as I’d need to know exactly what you have been doing lately, how you have been recovering etc. Its a bit too complex of an issue I’m afraid.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Exactly. The smaller the muscle mass the less aggressive the refeed should be.

  16. Robbieellis says:

    Hi Nick,

    Great post. With your low calorie intake, what supplements did take to preserve your muscle mass?

    Would you expect someone who weights considerably less that you, 75kg 13%bf to loss much muscle mass by adopting the same calorie intake protocol as you did. Taking into account weight training once a day 4-5 times week.

    Thanks for your time,


    • Anonymous says:

      Tonnes of BCAAs, glutamine, insulin modulators…the list is very long and I’ll be publishing it in the new e-book.
      I had low calories, but 400gms plus of quality protein every day. Possibly 100gms from amino caps and BCAAs – this is what has helped me get by on low calories. Plus correct nutrient timing. Today I weight exactly what I weighed when I started (117kg), but I now have about 10 visible and prominent veins crisscrossing my abs whereas I was a fat blob at the start of January!!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Diet soft drinks and gum will help at any BF%.

  18. Anonymous says:

    It sounds generally right but I can’t really give specific timing advice without actually knowing your body. Certainly if it is working for now then there is no need at all to change it!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely smoking can / will have stunted your height. But so long as you’re no longer a smoker why let it worry you? We all have crosses to bear and the secret is how we step up to the plate to deal with our problems. Trust me, very very few people have perfect childhoods, I myself used to “swim” in buckets of plastic granules, breathing in all the toxic fumes, something I shudder at the thought of now!!

    Chest hair is NOT related to testosterone levels. If you haven’t got any don’t sweat it – I’m jealous because I am so damn hairy that I need to trim everything always in order to see any muscle definition!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Too many unknown factors to prescribe a plan. But you should weight train and ditch the cardio as a first course of action. It ill massively help your flagging hormonal profile.

  21. Johan says:

    Hello Nick, I actually met you once when you were just opening your gym, don’t know if you remember (You were very busy on a conference call and I came to you regarding biosignature). I had three questions, two personal ones and another regarding this post:

    Jan 22/2011 I was 101kg (I am fat), March 5/2011 I was 96.5kg. I was doing cardio twice a week and weights three times a week until I read much articles on the detrimental effects of cardio on fat loss and how pure weights is the way to go for long term fat loss. So I stopped the cardio and am in my fifth week of implementing the german body composition program by Poliquin. I achieve 30g protein and a bit of veg 4 – 5 meals a day. Fish oil, gotu kola, and HCI digestive aid is used.

    1) Since the change on March 5 my weight started to linger around the 96 to 98kg range. Is this a signal that I am not losing fat as efficiently as I did previously?

    2) I am much stronger (managed to do one chin up from doing none) and I can see an increase in size and definition (through the fat) of my arms, shoulders, and back, but not around my lower chest and abdominal area. Am I being impatient or is there something I can do about it?

    3) I allow 1 refeed meal a week. Is this too often? This may seem obvious based on what you mentioned above but for clarification, do I just keep dieting until I am entirely drained and refeed whenever I reach this stage?

    Thank you so much in advance.

    • Anonymous says:

      I can only answer a question like this with ifs and maybes. My best advice is to find someone who can see your body and level of conditioning and give you advice accordingly.

      It sounds like you are on the right track though! And remember that a refeed meal is all down to your body fat levels and how low you have been in carbs…

  22. John S says:

    Hello Nick. Great blog and great transformation you’re undergoing. A while back I read a moobs article on here but it seems to have been removed and is now on I wanted to ask, have you experience with clients getting gyno surgery?

    • Anonymous says:

      Not with clients, but with people I know via bodybuilding yes. What did you want to know exactly John?

      • John S says:

        Hi Nick thanks for replying. I was curious as to how much non-surgical techniques (weights, diet, biosignature modulation and the improved hormonal profile these three produce) can reduce the gyno. There’s little information out there suggesting non-surgical approaches, which is why your article was interesting.
        I guess I should at least get my bf down to 10% before I consider going under the knife!

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes, wait a bit to see what happens. But true gyno, that hardening under the nipple, will not go with a change of diet or any fancy BioSignature protocols. If that is what you really have, then the only recourse is surgery if it bothers you that much.

  23. Mike Farabee says:

              I have read your article for the first time.  I’m new to “refeed” concept.  I am now doing strength training while eating grilled chicken/brown  rice and watching my fat.  How do you do a refeed? And if i am doing strength training which consists of Legs (Squats)-Monday, Abs-cardio-Tuesday, Chest (Bench)-Wednesday, Arms-cardio Thursday and Back(dead lifts)-Friday, (Off Sat/Sun) is this something i could do without hindering my energy for strength training?  My diet is very regimented but weekends are difficult but do my best.  My vascularity is starting to show and i have been doing this for a year with a friend who got me on the diet and is helping me train.  Any thoughts would be appreciated.  Take care.

    • Anonymous says:

      The concept of a refeed is too complicated for a blog response. I think I have tried to answer it as best I can in the blog itself – the bottom line is that a refeed works ONLY when you are flat, relatively drained, and lean. It is not an excuse to go crazy at weekends unless it is that very very rare occasion when you are so calorie and carb deprived, overtrained and jaded, that the hyper calorie surge will do you good.

      Truthfully, a refeed is a very hard thing to get right and the best way is to work with someone experienced who can also be highly objective. We tend to lose personal objectivity very easily when blood sugar is low and hunger is rampant!

  24. Dominic says:

    I’ve been strictly dieting for almost 4 weeeks now. I had my fist cheat meal last sunday which was oatmeal with a banana. Im decently lean just under 15% body fat. I was wondering if you think a larger reefeed once a week may be warranted. I can tell my tryroid has slowed down since I am cold all the time and im pretty depeleted as walking is now a chore. Im doing a gbc workout 4 times a week. And actually sleeping well (8 hours a night) for the first time in years. This weekend is fathers day and i have been craving some bbq ribs and desserts. A response back would be greatly appreciated.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is impossible to say categorically, but if you are so depleted that walking is a chore one big Father’s Day refeed blowout may well not hurt you, and could be a good thing for longer term fat loss both physiologically and mentally. Whether its one meal or meal is impossible to say over the internet.

  25. Dominic says:

    I was wondering if you were with Poliquin on the strict no pwo carbs untill under 10%. Being just under 15% bf sometimes I feel that pwo carbs would be better than a clean carb up meal once a week. However, I am using bcaa at high dose during workouts. Your answer is greatly aprreciated.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think pwo carbs can sometimes be overrated when trying to get lean, but nor do I believe that if you are over 10% then it is set in stone that you should severely limit carbs. It depends upon muscle mass, insulin sensitivity, the volume and type of exercise you do…

  26. Keem Cuper says:

    Nice share and Inspirational and informative so.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Nick, that’s for another great article. Over the last few years I have experimented with quite a few different eating plans. All of which have proved successful to some degree (I presently sit at about 10% BF). For probably the few months I have struggled to get below 10%, after reading your article I am now motivated to have another good crack at it.


  28. Peter says:

    Hi Nick, I’ve just stumbled onto your blog and this is the first post I’ve read so you’ve certainly gained yourself a loyal reader!

    I think too many of the diets which incorporate a “cheat day” or “refeed day” give their adherents too much freedom to eat what they want and how much they want.

    I can speak from personal experience that the “cheat hour” nevermind the “cheat day” has never worked for me, due largely to my sluggish metabolism. (My ancestors bodies must have learnt to store fat during the ice age!) Now, I will allow myself, on a Sunday to have one very small cheat, like a cookie and skim milk. After that, it’s back to the strict diet.

    Your friend who was on a hardcore diet for 3 months straight before a single refeed is testament to the fact that you do NOT need a cheat meal/day every week. If you’re lucky enough to have a good enough metabolism for that, more power to you! But for the rest of us ice age survivors, it’ll just have to be diet, diet, diet with a glorious jumbo hamburger or pizza only when one’s body gets to the brink.

    While this may sound like a hard life for people reading this comment, trust me, the end result is far worth it! 😉

  29. Daniel says:

    Hi Nick,

    I was wandering how you dealt with the lack of brain functionality on this diet and also, how you negated the effects of severe dieting ?? Here are the problems:

    problem #  1
    I went on an 9 week severe diet, undercut everything severely  – didn’t weigh my foods and only took hand portions. The end results : alot of fat loss as well as muscle loss and shitty moods combined with no sex drive/affection for anything. I found fruit as my treat after dieing of a lack of energy and found this did not hinder my fat loss much.

    I should point out I’m 20 years old and live in the current warm climate of Australia.

    problem #  2  

    These problems still persist even though I have upped my calories and have had the occasional carbohydrates. My sex drive is minimal and it’s worrying as it (And i’ll be honest) takes a girl to start me up for anything to happen these days.

    I still want to diet and so have considered carb-cycling.

    Please assist me as I have read your blogs and understand you too went through a similar phase.

    Kind Regards


    • Nick_Mitchell says:

      I’d only go through feeling shitty when very dry and at about 6% BF and under, are you getting as deep as that before you feel bad? I am suspecting not.
      You cannot overdiet, and if you have overdone it very often it can take a few weeks to get back to normal.

      Get back to eating maintenance calories, have balanced macro levels of both carbs and fats, and see how you feel in a few weeks. Then if you are feeling good, try carb cycling. Or even try dieting by cutting both fat and carbs moderately, but keeping carbs in. It does work!

  30. Alyssa says:

    FANTASTIC READ!!!!! I am recommending you site to so many people!

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