This article is from the new second edition of my bestselling fitness book for experienced weightlifters. Beyond Bigger Leaner Strongerthat can now be found anywhere you can buy books online.
Also, to celebrate the book's release, I'm giving away over $ 6,000 in delightful goodies, including a 30-minute zoom call with your unruly Vitamix blender, Hypervolt Bluetooth massage gun, and more. Click here to see how you can win.
The central theses
- Calorie cycling is a diet method in which the caloric intake is planned to increase and decrease over the course of the week, typically by consuming more or less carbohydrates.
- Calorie biking can make it easier to get and stay extremely lean and gain muscle and strength with minimal fat gain, but it has no particular benefits in burning fat or building muscle.
- In order for calorie cycling to work, you must also properly set and track your calories and follow a calorie wheel meal plan (which you will learn in this article).
If you are an accomplished gymnast who is rightly skeptical of everything you hear, see, and read to get and stay fit, this sounds like another fitness gewgaw to get people into useless pills, powders and buy PDFs.
And you'd be at least partially right.
Many “gurus” sell calorie biking as a kind of miracle cure to “hack” your metabolism and speed up fat loss while “protecting” your body from the ravages of.Starvation mode. ”
Others refer to it as a smarter, more effective use of traditional bodybuilding principles, a way to build lean muscle while staying torn, and even the "secret" of building muscle while losing fat.
And none of that is true.
Calorie biking is not going to take you to the promised land, and if you are a beginner or intermediate weight lifter (up to 4 years of eating and exercising properly) all you get from the bargain is complex meal planning and prep.
However, if you're an advanced weight lifter, calorie biking deserves a spot in your toolbox. When used intelligently, it can help you minimize fat gain while accumulating lean and comfortably maintain low body fat levels for long periods of time.
Read on to find out how.
What is calorie cycling?
Caloric cycling is a method of eating in which calorie intake is planned to be increased and decreased, usually by eating more or less carbohydrate.
There are many calorie cycle protocols to choose from, but most alternate between high, medium, and low calorie days during the week.
- On high-calorie days, you typically burn more calories than you burn.
- On medium calorie days, you typically burn as many calories as you burn.
- On low calorie days, you typically use fewer calories than you burn.
The exact mix of your high, medium, and low calorie days will depend on your goals and preferences.
For example, if you want to lose fat, you can maintain a calorie deficit five days a week and eat on maintenance for the remaining two days to give your body a break. As an advanced weight lifter, this can help with muscle retention as you get leaner, especially if you are on a very low body fat diet.
Read: How to lose body fat, not muscle
If you want to build muscle and strength while minimizing fat gain, you can flip this layout and maintain a slight excess of calories five days a week and eat with maintenance or even a deficit for the remaining two days of the week.
Proponents of the calorie cycle claim that it is superior to the traditional diet in several ways, including faster fat loss and muscle gain, and fewer undesirable side effects from cutting and lean bloating.
Unfortunately it's not that dry.
Calorie biking is a slight improvement over the norm for some people in certain circumstances, but definitely not a nutritional breakthrough.
First, let's examine how calorie cycling affects weight loss, which is the most stressful.
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Why do people use calorie cycling?
The main reason people use calorie cycling is because they have heard that it is far superior to traditional bodybuilding diets that keep you calorie surplus and deficit for long periods of time.
In calorie cycling, people usually hope to achieve one of three things:
- Dramatically increase fat loss by boosting your metabolism, reducing hunger, and improving your workouts
- Build muscle and lose fat at the same time by maximizing muscle gain for several days and then fat loss for several days, with fat loss outpacing fat gain over time
- Make steady muscle and strength gains while staying very lean
Unfortunately it's not that dry. While not entirely wrong, such promises exaggerate reality, meaning that for some people, under certain circumstances, calorie biking is a slight improvement over the norm, and not a breakthrough innovation intended to disrupt the status quo of diet and nutrition.
First, let's examine how calorie cycling affects weight loss, which is the most stressful.
Is Calorie Biking Good For Weight Loss?
As you know, any diet where you maintain a calorie deficit for an extended period of time will lead to it Weight lossregardless of when and how you consume these calories.
According to some people, the calorie cycle increases calorie restriction by boosting metabolism and burning fat, resulting in greater fat loss.
To understand why, you need to first understand what happens at the cellular level when you lose fat.
When you limit your calories for fat loss, various chemical, hormonal, and metabolic changes take place in your body. Boss under these fluctuations is a drop in a hormone produced through body fat known as Leptin.
That drop of leptin is underlying the constellation of side effects associated with dieting is known as metabolic adaptationor less precise, Metabolic damage.
Read: "Metabolic Damage" and "Starvation Mode" exposed by science
Leptin plays an important role in many body functions, but its main role is to make the brain aware of how much energy is available to survive. The brain pays close attention to the relationship between the energy burned by basic metabolic function and activity and the calories available from food and body fat.
In the short term (hours, days), leptin rises and falls based on your daily caloric intake (especially your carbohydrate intake).
It increases after you eat a meal and is abundant in energy. This signals your brain to reduce hunger, increase physical activity, and maintain a high metabolic rate. and it decreases when the energy provided by a meal runs out and body fat needs to be lost, which signals the need for more food.
Long term (weeks, months, years) leptin rises and falls based on your body fat percentage. When body fat is high, leptin levels are high, and your brain responds by getting fullness after meals, and physical activity Metabolic rate.
If leptin levels are low and remain so for at least a few days, as is the case with dieting, then this is the case sends a strong signal to the brain that it should take steps to increase food intake and conserve energy.
You have probably experienced this firsthand. In the early stages of the diet – the first three to five weeks for most people – it's duck soup. The scale continues to tick down, your waist continues to shrink inwards, you are rarely hungry and you feel like the normal you.
At some point around the two-month mark, however, you feel "it" – the bodybuilding equivalent of "bonking". Your energy levels, exercise motivation, and diet compliance begin to decrease, and your hunger, cravings, and irritability increase.
Read: How to Break Weight Loss Plateaus in 6 Easy Steps
As for your body, you are starving and it is ready to fight hammer and tongs for survival. And its main rule has become too Eliminate the calorie deficit.
Unfortunately, this can only be done, not cured. As long as you are on a diet, your body will withstand your efforts to get leaner.
Now for the good news, as you eat more, leptin levels rise and you feel like someone has "turned the lights back on". In a way, that's exactly what happens – your body "rewards" you for reducing or eliminating the calorie deficit it perceives as a threat to its survival.
Once you've stopped dieting altogether, your leptin levels will be lower than with higher body fat levels, but they can still be high enough to make you feel healthy and vital again.
This also applies to the lower body fat levels that people strive for for “aesthetics” – 10 to 15% for men and 20 to 25% for women. With such body fat levels, leptin production stabilized, create a new normal or Settlement pointas scientists call it. As long as you stay sufficiently active and eat plenty of nutritious foods, you can maintain such a body with relative ease.
What if you want to probe the lowest body fat levels?
What if you want to be "shredded"?
You know, below 10% body fat for men and below 20% for women?
This is a different and more difficult area, the low-leptin bugbears stuff. Once your body fat reaches these levels, it will start producing leptin disappearing lowFor many, this means relentless hunger, lethargy, and irritability.
There's not much you can do about it, either, because aside from injecting synthetic leptin, which costs about $ 1,000 a day, there's no way to reverse the leptin-mediated side effects of low body fat. . . Gain body fat.
You can hold on to your guns, but it will take its toll in terms of energy, mood, strength, and hormonal health. Basically, you just have to choose between “peeled” and the feeling of a normal person.
I've been there several times myself. It's fun to look so "photo shootable". . .
. . . But it's not that fun dealing with the consequences:
- I'm losing about 5% of my strength on a large scale compound exercises.
- Less drive, energy and enthusiasm in my workouts.
- Careful and consistent control of my calorie intake, which meant little for "Amounted to, ”And especially not with high-fat foods.
- I never feel fully satisfied with meals even though I have eaten enough to maintain my weight.
Well, I'm not saying you shouldn't be shredded – in fact, I think most moderate and advanced lifters should experience the process at least once. It's a game of discipline, persistence, and delayed gratification, and these are always skills worth improving.
But anyone who says you can flaunt a “sealed” body 365 days a year without harming your health and wellbeing is lying. And anyone who does it seemingly effortlessly stands up or uses it Steroids.
The latter point deserves emphasis because everything changes with the right medication. All of a sudden, you can maintain ridiculously low levels of body fat, destroy workouts, gain muscle and strength, and eat a good 20 to 30% more calories than you otherwise could.
Read: 6 things you always wanted to know about steroids
For example, it's not uncommon for "improved" bodybuilders to spend only 10 to 12 weeks getting lean, eating more than 3,000 calories a day (just a little less than my lean calories), and doing little cardio.
It is much more difficult for us mortals, however, but we get a consolation prize: our bodies do not break down. Steroids are a sexy but scary mistress who wreak physiological and psychological havoc.
For us natural weightlifters, there is one way to at least alleviate the pain of a leptin-poor life: calorie circulation.
Remember that leptin levels rise and fall due to two factors:
- Your daily caloric intake (short term).
- Your body fat (in the long run).
If you are dieting to get lean, there is nothing you can do about number two, but you can use number one to temporarily increase your body's leptin production.
In particular, by regularly increasing your caloric intake, you can increase Your leptin levels for a few hours or even days and this in particular can alleviate some of the negative side effects of calorie restriction. Imagine taking a breather before taking another lap around the pool.
Eric Helms, a natural bodybuilder and powerlifter, coach, researcher and member of mine complement companies The Scientific Advisory Board used this very strategy to prepare for its first natural bodybuilding show in seven years. This is how it worked for him:
While he still felt the effects of his low-calorie diet, calorie biking made it easier to stay on course.
Calorie biking can help if you're also maintaining low body fat levels, but it's of limited use since your body can only produce as much leptin with so little body fat, regardless of the amount of food you eat.
In either case, in order to correctly complete the calorie cycle, you need to follow two rules:
research shows that the consumption of dietary fat has no effect on leptin levels, while carbohydrate intake is significantly increased causes A significant increase in leptin production that can last as long as you stick with your higher carb diet.
It's unclear what impact protein has on leptin levels, but it is probably insignificant compared to carbohydrates. That is, some research suggests that a high-protein diet can improve leptin sensitivity. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep your protein intake high when using carbohydrates to increase your body's leptin production.
2. You need to eat two to three days a week with maintenance calories.
Why not just follow a very high carbohydrate diet when you are reducing or maintaining low body fat? If carbohydrates increase leptin levels, wouldn't it increase leptin production permanently?
Unfortunately, that's not enough, given the leptin-boosting effects of carbohydrates are short-lived. Therefore, regardless of how much or how little carbohydrates you eat each day, your average leptin level will be about the same over time.
A single high carbohydrate meal or day won't even get the grade because of it does not increase Leptin levels enough to affect your physiology. It takes at least a couple of days (and sometimes up to a week or two) for your brain to finish recognize and "trust" the increase in leptin and respond positively.
So by increasing your calories for maintenance two to three days a week and staying in a deficit otherwise, you can make the ripping more bearable.
In conclusion, driving calories can make cutting more enjoyable, especially if you are lean and working on getting very lean. It's not a game changer, but when leptin levels go low, any help counts.
Summary: Calorie biking can make a low-calorie diet more manageable by regularly increasing your leptin levels, especially if you are getting very lean (below 10% body fat in men and 20% in women).
Is Calorie Biking Good For Building Muscle?
Yes and no.
Calorie biking is not for people new to weightlifting who want to maximize muscle gain. As long as they eat enough Calories and protein Every day they will make rapid progress, and caloric cycling complications will only affect it.
Read: Everything You Should Know About Newbie Gains Is Winning According To Science
Even an intermediate lifter is better off if it's slim.
He should eat about 10% more calories than he burns each day, do a lot of heavy lifting, and once he has about 15-17% body fat, reduce it to about 10% body fat. Rinse and repeat until he's an advanced lifter (someone with at least several years of productive training who has reached 80% or more of their genetic potential for muscle growth).
Only then will calorie cycling be useful for building muscle. If an advanced lifter wants slow, steady muscle and strength gains while staying lean (10 to 12% body fat), calorie biking can help.
It works well for advanced lifters because once they gain most of the muscle and strength genetically available to them, the progression to a creep slows down.
After four or five years of proper diet and exercise, you are lucky enough to gain a pound of muscle every six months. And by the time you've trained as long as I have – for almost 17 years – you'd have to sacrifice a child to the Dread Lord Cthulhu to gain a pound of muscle a year.
Read: How Much Muscle You Can Gain Naturally (Using a Calculator)
We'll talk more about this in Chapter 11, but by the time you start lifting weights, your body's muscle-building machinery is ready to run at full throttle while never going out of first or second gear later in your bodybuilding journey.
During your first six to even twelve months of training with a larger daily calorie surplus – over 500 calories over maintenance – you can achieve great results, as there are considerable demands on the body in terms of muscle building. However, as these requirements shrink – and you do so as you progress, regardless of what you do at the gym – your body doesn't need as many extra calories to meet them.
In other words, it takes a much larger excess of calories to gain 20 pounds of muscle (which many guys can do in their freshman year) than a few pounds. In the latter case, 200 to 300 calories over maintenance are sufficient.
The good news is during Muscle growth The heavier and stronger we get, the harder the fat gain becomes, the less the calorie surplus it takes to keep moving forward. So much so that you can lose mass for many months before your body fat levels rise enough to warrant a cutting phase.
And if you use calorie cycling on the lean bulk, you can ride even longer. By placing your body in excess calories four to five days a week and deficit on the remaining days, you create a "maintenance with benefits" scenario in which you can slowly gain muscle with very little fat storage.
This is how I like to do it:
First, you want to be in excess of calories on the days you exercise. The excess does not have to be large – 5 to 10% over maintenance is sufficient.
Then limit your calories on your rest days to lose the fat gained during an excess. Since roughly half the weight you gain in building muscle is muscle and your body needs to use some of the extra calories to build that muscle, you don't need to make up for all of the excess calories for the week, just half.
For example, my total daily energy expenditure on my training days (five per week) is approximately 2,900 calories and on my rest days (two days per week) 2,500, which makes my weekly calorie expenditure approximately 19,500.
So, if I were to cycle my calories, I would be eating about 3,200 (~ 10% excess) on my workout days, resulting in a total excess of about 1,500 calories on my first day of rest (300 calorie excess x 5 days).
Since it's fair to assume that roughly half of those excess calories were used for muscle building and the other half for fat storage, I would be eating 700 to 800 fewer calories than what I burn on my rest days (about 2,100 calories per day) lost fat during the week.
The overall effect of this is slow but steady progress in my training with no visible change in body fat content. Which is great. . . but not without disadvantages.
For one, muscle growth is a process that starts in the gym and ends a few days later, rather than hours. By restricting your calories even a few days per week, you are stunting muscle growth and sacrificing some potential gains.
Read: The best way to stimulate muscle hypertrophy (muscle building)
In addition, many people find it difficult to stick to the plan because lean bulking is a little fun. Even if you're not a big foodie, it's nice to eat something off plan every now and then. However, when cycling calories there is a need to take a closer look at your daily caloric intake.
With many people exercising during the week and taking the weekends off, eating in a deficit of rest days can make dinner, social events, and rest days less enjoyable.
As with all fitness, however, you don't have to be perfect for calorie biking to be worthwhile.
If you overeat a little on an excess day or two, you can eat less and less on your deficit days to make up for it. And if you overeat on a deficit day, getting you closer to or even exceeding maintenance calories, you can always correct it by eating less on your next deficit day or your next surplus day into a deficit day transform.
The fewer mistakes you make, the better your results will be in the long run. However, as long as you get the right results most of the time, you can still benefit from the calorie cycle.
If you are wondering if you want to eat a slight excess on training days and a slight excess on rest days, this may make sense if you only exercise two or three days a week as it will noticeably reduce fat gain.
However, if you exercise more than that, it won't help much. I would therefore recommend either choosing the lean mass or Mini cut Approaching or eating in an excess of training days and deficit of rest days.
It's also worth noting that if your primary goal is to stay slim and progress gradually, you can simplify things and go for mini cuts and mini bulks. This is not optimal for maximizing muscle growth. However, if you just want to hover around the same body fat percentage while increasing your numbers at the gym, this can work well (at least at times).
One reason I like this approach is that it makes your daily routine a lot easier. You eat more or less the same amount of food every day, and I would argue that the time you spend micromanaging the exact amount of calories you eat each day to be over, under, or on maintenance That would probably be better if you squeeze a few more sets into your workout, a bit more sleep, or basically anything else that is even reasonably comfortable or productive.
To maintain body composition with mini-bulks and cuts, I like to lean on bulk for 4 to 8 weeks and cut for about 4 weeks to get rid of the minimal amount of fat I gained (if I got it right). In a sense, this approach is a longer-term type of calorie cycle that spans months instead of days.
Another option if you don't want to overthink is to simply stay in a slight excess and deficit a few days a week while keeping an eye on your body weight and strength on your key lifts. If your weight is increasing too quickly or too much, choose your calories back. If your weight is dropping and you are stagnating in your workouts, choose them.
Summary: Calorie biking is unnecessary and often counterproductive unless you are an advanced weight lifter looking to stay relatively lean for long periods of time. In that case, it can help you stay lean and slowly build muscle and strength.
How do I create a calorie wheel meal plan?
There are many ways to configure a calorie-burning meal plan. However, depending on your goals, I recommend switching between three levels of calorie intake:
- A high-calorie day that is about 10% higher than maintenance calories
- A low-calorie day that's about 20% below maintenance calories
- A day of medium calories and roughly maintenance calories
There are extreme versions of the calorie cycle that alternate between very low and very high calorie days, but I don't recommend these.
While such protocols can work, they are far more difficult than they are worth, and usually produce worse results than the more sensible, more moderate method I am teaching you here.
If you're not sure how to calculate your maintenance calories, check out this article on Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE):
Read: This is the best TDEE calculator on the web (2020)
Also, keep in mind that while driving calories you still have to Schedule and track your macros when you want the best results.
How to use calorie cycling for weight loss
In Chapter 8, you learned that if you are on a regular diet (eating the same calories and macros every day), calorie biking isn't much going on on a diet higher than 15% body fat.
However, if you're below 15%, you can take advantage of cycling in cutting calories by creating a meal plan that includes five low calorie days and two low calorie days. You can arrange these days however you want, but I recommend placing your medium calorie days on or before the days of your hardest workout.
If you work out in the morning like me or first thing in the afternoon, schedule low-calorie days to precede the training days. If you work out in the evening, plan for this on workout days. By doing this, you are giving your body time to maximize muscle glycogen levels, which increases your performance.
For example, you can do this in the 5-day program:
And if you worked out in the evening it could look like this:
Read this article to learn how to calculate your calories and macros:
Read: This is the best macronutrient calculator on the internet (updated 2020)
Using my person as an example, a low-calorie day would look like this:
- 195 grams of protein (780 calories)
- 55 grams of fat (495 calories)
- 280 grams of carbohydrates (1,120 calories)
- A total of around 2,400 calories
And a day with medium calories:
- 195 grams of protein (780 calories)
- 65 grams of fat (585 calories)
- 410 grams of carbohydrates (1,640 calories)
- A total of around 3,000 calories
Once you have your numbers, all that's left to do is turn them into a meal plan to enjoy and stick to them.
How To Use Calorie Biking To Build Muscle
Wenn Sie auf einer mageren Masse Kalorien radeln, empfehle ich:
- Vier oder fünf Trainingstage pro Woche: Fünf kalorienreiche und zwei kalorienarme Tage pro Woche
- Drei Trainingstage pro Woche: Vier kalorienreiche und drei kalorienarme Tage pro Woche
Da die Größe Ihres Überschusses an kalorienreichen Tagen kleiner ist als die Größe Ihres Defizits an kalorienarmen Tagen, gleicht sich Ihre wöchentliche Gesamtkalorienaufnahme mehr oder weniger bis zur Wartung aus.
Wenn Sie jedoch feststellen, dass Sie abnehmen, tauschen Sie einen kalorienarmen Tag gegen einen kalorienreichen. Wenn Sie zu schnell zunehmen (mehr als 0,5 bis 1% des Körpergewichts pro Monat), verwandeln Sie einen kalorienreichen Tag in einen kalorienarmen.
Wo Sie Ihre kalorienreichen Tage platzieren, spielt keine große Rolle, und Sie können sie Woche für Woche verschieben, aber ich mag es, wenn sie auf Trainingstage fallen. Ich trainiere von Montag bis Freitag und nehme mir die Wochenenden frei. So mache ich das:
- Montag: kalorienreicher Tag
- Dienstag: Kalorienreicher Tag
- Mittwoch: Kalorienreicher Tag
- Donnerstag: Kalorienreicher Tag
- Freitag: kalorienreicher Tag
- Samstag: kalorienarmer Tag
- Sonntag: kalorienarmer Tag
Und für mich würde ein kalorienreicher Tag so aussehen:
- 195 Gramm Protein (780 Kalorien)
- 75 Gramm Fett (675 Kalorien)
- 460 Gramm Kohlenhydrate (1.840 Kalorien)
- Insgesamt rund 3.300 Kalorien
Und ein kalorienarmer Tag:
- 195 Gramm Protein (780 Kalorien)
- 55 Gramm Fett (495 Kalorien)
- 280 Gramm Kohlenhydrate (1.120 Kalorien)
- Insgesamt rund 2.400 Kalorien
Wie erstelle ich einen Kalorienrad-Speiseplan für die Aufrechterhaltung?
Wenn Sie Kalorien für die Wartung verwenden, empfehle ich Folgendes:
- Vier oder fünf Trainingstage pro Woche: Fünf kalorienreiche Tage und zwei kalorienarme Tage pro Woche.
- Zwei oder drei Trainingstage pro Woche: Vier kalorienreiche Tage und drei kalorienarme Tage pro Woche.
Und für Ihre Makros können Sie sie auf die gleiche Weise einrichten wie beim Lean-Bulking.
Das Fazit zum Kalorienradfahren
Kalorienkreislauf ist eine Diätmethode, bei der die Kalorienaufnahme im Laufe der Woche planmäßig erhöht und verringert wird, typischerweise in Form einer Erhöhung oder Verringerung der Kohlenhydrate.
Die meisten Protokolle zum Kalorienkreislauf umfassen kalorienreiche Tage, an denen Sie Ihre Kalorien erhöhen, und kalorienarme Tage, an denen Sie Ihre Kalorien verringern, hauptsächlich durch Fett oder Kohlenhydrate oder beides.
Viele Leute behaupten, dass Kalorienradfahren es Ihnen ermöglicht, Ihren Stoffwechsel zu „hacken“, damit Sie es können. . .
- Steigern Sie den Fettabbau drastisch, indem Sie Ihren Stoffwechsel aufladen, den Hunger reduzieren und mehr Energie für Ihr Training bereitstellen
- Bauen Sie Muskeln auf und verlieren Sie gleichzeitig Fett, indem Sie Kalorienüberschüsse verwenden, um das Muskelwachstum zu fördern, und Kaloriendefizite, um Fett abzubauen
- Machen Sie stetige Muskel- und Kraftzuwächse, während Sie absolut geschreddert bleiben
Die Wahrheit ist, dass es keines dieser Dinge wirklich tut.
Wenn es um den Fettabbau geht, bietet das Kalorienradfahren keine Vorteile, bis Sie als Mann weniger als 15% Körperfett oder als Frau 25% Körperfett erhalten. Mit anderen Worten, wenn Sie schlank sind und wirklich schlank werden möchten.
Wenn dies der Fall ist, kann das Kalorienradfahren das Wohlbefinden schlanker machen, hat jedoch keine besonderen Vorteile für die Fettverbrennung.
Wenn es darum geht, schlank zu bleiben, kann Ihnen das Kalorienradfahren dabei helfen, einen niedrigen Körperfettgehalt bequemer aufrechtzuerhalten als mit herkömmlichen Diätmethoden, aber es wird die negativen Nebenwirkungen, die mit dem Bleiben sehr schlank verbunden sind, nicht umkehren.
Und wenn es darum geht, Muskeln aufzubauen, hat das Kalorienradfahren Anfängern und Fortgeschrittenen nichts zu bieten. Sofern Sie nicht bereits den größten Teil Ihres genetischen Potenzials für das Muskelwachstum erreicht haben – was ungefähr fünf Jahre beständiges und angemessenes Training und Diät erfordert -, ist dies eher ein Hindernis als eine Hilfe.
Wenn Sie ein fortgeschrittener Gewichtheber sind, der langsame, gleichmäßige Muskel- und Kraftzuwächse erzielen möchte, während Sie schlank bleiben, kann das Kalorienradfahren jedoch hilfreich sein. Der Fortschritt ist langsamer als bei einem konstanten Kalorienüberschuss, aber auf diese Weise gewinnen Sie auch mehr Fett.
And just to clarify: by “lean,” I mean around 8 to 12% body fat for men and 18 to 22% body fat for women. In other words, athletic and cut but not “peeled.”
If you’re already around this level of leanness and want to make maintenance more enjoyable, calorie cycling can help by mitigating some of the negative side effects of staying lean.
Although calorie cycling doesn’t “cure” these problems, it does prolong the amount of time you can stay very lean before you strongly feel the need to raise your body fat to a higher, more sustainable level.
Want to learn more about effective meal planning for losing fat, building muscle, and gaining strength? Check out these articles:
The Definitive Guide to Effective Meal Planning
Meal Prep Made Easy: How to Make the Perfect Meal Prep
This Is the Best TDEE Calculator on the Web (2020)
The Complete Guide to Safely and Healthily Losing Weight Fast
How Much Protein You Should Eat to Build Muscle
This article is from the new second edition of my bestselling fitness book for experienced weightlifters, Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger, which is now live everywhere you can buy books online.
Also, to celebrate the book’s release, I’m giving away over $6,000 of glorious goodies, including a 30-minute Zoom call with yours unruly, Vitamix blender, Hypervolt Bluetooth massage gun, and more. Click here to learn how to win.
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What’s your take on calorie cycling? Have anything else you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!
+ Scientific References
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- Olson, B. R., Cartledge, T., Sebring, N., Defensor, R., & Nieman, L. (1995). Short-term fasting affects luteinizing hormone secretory dynamics but not reproductive function in normal-weight sedentary women. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 80(4), 1187–1193. https://doi.org/10.1210/jcem.80.4.7714088
- Izadi, V., Saraf-Bank, S., & Azadbakht, L. (2014). Dietary intakes and leptin concentrations. In ARYA Atherosclerosis (Vol. 10, Issue 5, p. 266). Isfahan University of Medical Sciences(IUMS). www.mui.ac.ir15Sep
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