Nutrition: Refuels


Do-Not-Reward-Yourself-With-Food  The Refuelling Day serves to replenish your body after a focussed week of exercise and progress.  This page will describe some of the nuances around this unique day in the plan.

Why a Refuelling Day?

Research into weight loss shows that a person cannot maintain continual caloric deficit without a downregulation of metabolism, and a slowdown of progress.  Almost guaranteed is a gradual build up of frustration, cravings, and irritability once the initial success and motivation of a program wears off. A caloric surplus once every 7 days helps to mitigate this process, immensely.

Physiologically, the hormonal and metabolic benefits of a refuel day are very significant. When leptin levels get too low, your metabolism will downregulate. To prevent this, a good caloric spike will keep these levels in check. Many men end up having low testosterone levels with the quest for leanness while undergoing a prolonged caloric deficit.  A good refuelling helps to boost testosterone levels and sustain the program results.

Psychologically, I’ve seen too many people who go on prolonged caloric deficits, depriving themselves for long periods end up completely caving over time. They eventually cheat the moment they are weak or lose sight of their goal, or they immaturely sneak in a little bit of this or that, not thinking the body knows exactly what is going on and will assuredly place those excess calories exactly where you don’t want them.

With a Refuel every Saturday, many important things happen from a psychological standpoint:

1. You resist the daily temptations knowing your “Special Day” to Refuel is always just around the corner. This daily discipline keeps those unwanted pounds from “senseless munching” from gradually creeping up on you.

2. You actually enjoy food with ZERO guilt. You seem “normal”, knowing you can let loose from your plan, WITH the benefit of keeping your hormones and metabolism in check.

3. Every week feels like a holiday, where you can truly enjoy your favourite foods.

4. You can work around holidays, moving the Refuel day to accommodate Holiday Sundays such as Thanksgiving and Easter, or adjusting the day of the week only when necessary to celebrate major holidays such as Christmas, New Years, Valentines Day, and Birthday parties on the weekend.

What the Refuel Day is NOT:

1. It is not an all you can eat bingefest. This day is a calculated day that reflects your performance throughout the week.  Work very hard to “empty your tank” through proper exercise, and it make sense to Refuel.  Make progress and lose fat and the Refuel becomes important to help continue keeping pace with progress. Treating this like a “Cheat Day” is exactly as it implies. You are cheating yourself and the plan.  You have to EARN your calories.

2. It is not a wake up and eat all day plan. The leaner you get, the more you will be able to eat.  Coaching requires that a person’s changing needs are reflected by the quantities taken in on this day. My recommendation is that you have a regular breakfast and then enjoy a bigger lunch and dinner with treats along the way. Do NOT wake up at 1am and start eating because your Refuel Day has just begun.

3. It is not an excuse to eat junk food all day long.  If you like licorice, by all means have some licorice.  Ice cream is something you desire? Then have some ice cream.  However, you need to show respect for your body.  Whatever you are tempted to have that does not fit conventional foods (candy, chocolate, chips) have in moderation here and there.  For lunch and dinner, have foods that you would not normally have throughout the week.  This may include ribs, or a bowl of pasta, or perhaps a hamburger and fries. Pace yourself and savour the food.

4. A day to make up ground and forfeit the Refuel Day week after week in the name of progress.  Guaranteed, you will  not last with this so-called self imposed focus.

Refueling Consequences:

Understand that this sudden shift in diet is not without consequences.  Depending on what you eat and drink that day, your weight will potentially skyrocket, even up to 10-12 pounds if you are a bigger person.  Understand that by the end of the week, that weight will drop and you will be lighter than the previous week if you followed your plan and your goal was weight loss. You will also notice that your stomach will have a harder time processing this food.  You might have gas, an increased transit time, potentially stomach pains if you overdo it, drowsiness, etc. Most people veer away from larger quantities of what they are already eating weekly for the “forbidden goodies”.  This is understandable. Again realize there is a price to pay for this.

Mastering the Refueling Process:

Refuel strategy has been around for decades.  It’s nothing new and it’s tried and true by athletes and everyday people alike.  Having been around for decades, there are tips and “tricks” that have helped ease this day’s harmful effects while maximizing its benefits.  Below is a list of those strategies:


While affecting hormones from a positive standpoint, keeping your metabolism from slowing down and feeding your cravings, you must:

a) Have as much of this food go into your muscles as possible.

b) And/or get it out of your body unabsorbed as quickly as possible without doing anything stupid or drastic.

1. Meal #1 must be a regular breakfast that is high in protein and preferably high in insoluble fibre. This is an important first step.

2. Drink caffeinated coffee or tea a few times this day.  This helps stimulate your metabolism and help food exit your system just that little bit quicker.

3. Have a small quantity of fructose (fruit sugar) prior to your first cheat. This has a positive effect on blood sugar, keeping your release of insulin (fat storage hormone) in check.

4. Drink plenty of water prior to or after each binge, not during.  This will fill you up so that you don’t rapidly eat prior to your satiation centres saying you have eaten too much. Drinking water during the refueling will only hamper digestion.

5. Throughout your refueling, remain active with some sort of activity that engages your muscles.  By doing so, there is a signalling of the body to take the food ingested and mobilize them to the muscles (something you want to have happen) as opposed to having it just sit in your stomach, where it eventually transfers unused food to storage where it becomes fat.

Quick tip: Do about 3 sets of jump squats and some push ups prior to your refuel to “prime” your muscles for an uploading of fuel to these cells.  Do the exact same thing afterwards.  The other strategy is to remain active by going for a walk afterwards.  Both strategies in tandem are excellent.

6. Eat out, at a restaurant, or at a friend’s place, or purchase the treats on the road, so that it is not in your house.  try not to associate your kitchen with Refueling Day.

7. Set a plan for yourself for the day.  Figure out WHAT is on the menu for the day. Decide WHEN you will eat the food as opposed to eating constantly throughout the day.

8. Set a cap on how much you will eat.  This is where Myfitnesspal comes into play. Keep score for the day calorie wise. You can easily overdo this day and have it negate the effects of a week’s worth of progress if you completely overeat.

9. Choose foods that will require your body to work to process the food, as your main refuel choices.  A calorie is not a calorie.  300 calories of meat requires your body to work hard to digest it.  300 calories of jelly beans will flow through your system AND create a harmful blood sugar effect.  Protein and fat also help slow the absorption of carbs into your system, thereby not greatly affecting insulin levels.

10.  Consult Coach with your strategy for the day so that you protect yourself from self-destruction.

11. Accept what the scale says the next morning.  The weight gain is inevitable and WILL go down if you are doing things correctly, and that IS in fact your goal.