Nope. Nada. Negative. 👎🏻
Are there benefits to it? YES!
Before we dive into the benefits, I want to remind you that weight loss (fat reduction) always comes down to the calories in, calories out formula (CICO). Simply put, you have to burn more calories than you consume. Calorie cycling is a tool to help you do this!
For some of my clients who struggle with maintaining a calorie deficit every day or specifically on days they workout, I recommend eating more calories on workout days. This does a couple of things:
- Provides more energy for the workout and allows a person to push hard
- It makes it easier to “push through” the calorie deficit on the following day
In my experience, calorie cycling helps with adherence to calorie restriction over time. When you know there will be periods when you can consume more, it is easier to fight through the days when you are striving not to eat as much.
What about Carb Cycling?
Because carbs are calories, I program calorie cycling for my clients. However, if you prefer to maintain strict daily macros of protein and fat, you reduce the number of carbs you consume on some days to decrease your total caloric intake. In this sense, it is the same thing as calorie cycling, but leveraging macro focus to do it.
Not Seeing Weight Loss?
In most cases, people who are losing weight are not maintaining a calorie deficit because they aren’t tracking what they are eating each day. If you want to get serious about losing fat, you have to track how many calories you are consuming each day to make sure you are at a calorie deficit at the end of each week.
Another mistake I often see is people trying to cut their daily calories too much! This is a big mistake because it is unsustainable. The best, most comfortable way to approach weight loss is to maintain a calorie deficit each day consistently. It doesn’t have to be a huge deficit. Cutting 100 to 200 calories per day off of your maintenance calorie requirement will make a significant impact if you maintain this approach over time.
Slow and steady wins the race.