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The first few weeks of a cut are usually smooth sailing. You aren’t that hungry, your energy levels are good, and you’re still enjoying your workouts.

Somewhere around the four- to six-week mark, however, the other shoe begins to drop. You’re starting to feel hungrier leading up to meals and less satisfied after. Your energy levels begin to sag, and especially in the afternoons. You’re no longer progressing in your workouts, which are feeling harder and harder.

There are two schools of thought on what to do next:

  1. Grit your teeth and keep dieting so you can move on to the fun stuff as soon as possible (maintaining and lean gaining).
  2. Take periodic diet breaks where you increase your calorie intake to maintenance for several days or weeks, then continue dieting after your reprieve.

Many diet break advocates say that taking a break here and there can speed up your metabolism, help preserve muscle mass, and even “hack” your hormones to supercharge fat loss.

Others claim diet breaks offer no real benefit beyond “feeling good” and are only necessary if you’re too “weak” to stay the course.

Who’s right?

That’s what I ask James Krieger in this episode.

James is an accomplished researcher and writer as well as a lifter who knows what it’s like to diet down to extremely low body fat levels, and in this episode he tells you everything you need to know about the real science behind diet breaks and refeeds.

In this episode, you’re going to learn:

  • Why people incorporate diet breaks and “refeeds” into their cutting regimens
  • How taking diet breaks affects fat loss, muscle retention, and metabolic rate while dieting
  • When you should or shouldn’t take a diet break
  • The pros and cons of diet breaks versus continuous calorie restriction
  • How to take an effective diet break
  • And more.

Click the player below to listen in . . .


6:06 – Why do people do diet breaks?

10:30 – What did your research find regarding diet breaks?

13:11 – For most people, isn’t the bulk of their total daily energy expenditure really their resting metabolic rate?

17:54 – How can you use diet breaks effectively?

23:56 – Is the weight loss related to a reduction of cortisone levels?

24:48 – Where can people find you and your work?

Mentioned on the Show

Thinner Leaner Stronger by Mike Matthews

Research Review: Intermittent vs. Continuous Calorie Restriction for Fat Loss

James’ Website

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!