What is refeeding and recovery?


Refeeding refers to deliberately increasing calorie intake, especially carbohydrates, after a period of caloric deficit to aid recovery and boost various metabolic processes. It's recognized as a beneficial practice to refuel the body and can enhance performance and recovery.

Refeeding After Training or Diet Restriction

Following a period of dietary restriction or intense training, refeeding can help replenish depleted glycogen stores in muscles, aiding in recovery and performance enhancements. This strategic increase in carbohydrates can lead to improvements in strength and muscle fullness, as discussed in one of the Mind Pump episodes where a guest noted feeling physically better after reintroducing substantial carbohydrates post-dieting 1.

Refeeding After Fasting

Refeeding needs to be carefully managed after prolonged fasting periods (over 48 hours), as it demands a gradual reintroduction of food to prevent negative reactions, such as gastrointestinal discomfort or rapid weight regain. The approach should be cautious, starting with smaller meals that progressively return to normal dietary routines over the course of a few days. This makes the transition easier for the digestive system and can help sustain benefits gained during fasting like improved athletic performance and well-being 2.

Not to Be Confused with Binging

It's crucial to differentiate between responsible refeeding and binging. The former involves a planned, temporary increase in caloric intake, especially from carbohydrates, during dieting cycles to boost metabolism and prevent stalling in metabolic rate. On the other hand, binging is an excessive or uncontrolled consumption of food, which can negate the benefits of dieting and lead to adverse effects like the addition of fat cells to the body 3.

Refeeding and Recovery

Braxton shares his experience with a cheat meal and how it affected his physique. The hosts discuss the importance of refeeding and recovery, and recommend a specific program for Braxton to try. They also suggest he join their private forum to connect with like-minded individuals.

Mind Pump Podcast

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Implementation in Diet Protocols

Incorporating refeed days strategically during a cutting phase or restrictive diet can help prevent metabolic slowdown, a natural reaction to prolonged calorie reduction. Strategically placing refeed days — days where caloric intake meets or slightly exceeds maintenance levels — can aid in preserving muscle mass while continuing to allow fat loss 4.

Mindset and Management

The mental approach to refeed days is also significant. They should not be seen as "cheat days" but as a part of the overall nutritional plan intended to optimize metabolic health and recovery. It is more beneficial to increase the size of regular meals rather than introducing entirely different, potentially less nutritious foods 5.

Proper execution of refeed days requires careful planning and an understanding of their purposes and benefits as part of broader dietary and training goals.