Calorie cycling: What is it, and could it help you lose weight?

If you’re on a mission to lose weight, tone up or build muscle then you probably already know about every fad diet out there, and how hard and frankly dull counting your calories and sticking to a meal plan can be.

It’s no secret that the most effective and sustainable way of losing weight is a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise. Ensuring that you’re in a calorie deficit each day (consuming fewer calories than are needed for body maintenance) is undoubtedly the best way to help you shed the pounds. But what if I told you that you don’t need to stick to the same regimented meal plans day in, day out, and that there is a way to keep yourself in a calorie deficit whilst still enjoying the treats you love?

This is where calorie cycling comes into play, and it’s simple to follow once you get to grips with it!

Eat in a way that suits your lifestyle

While day to day intake is important, it doesn’t have to be exactly the same each day – as long as your overall weekly calories are in check, then you’ll still be on the right track.

If, for example, you’ve dropped your daily calorie intake down to 1,500 calories a day then you’d ideally want your weekly calorie consumption to be 10,500 calories.

Some people like to feel as if they’ve ‘earned’ their calories, so if you’ve had a day which included a workout or a gym session then you could increase your calorie intake, and make sure that you lower it on your rest day.

So, for example if you wanted to eat consistently throughout the week it would look like this:

Monday – 1,500 calories

Tuesday – 1,500 calories

Wednesday – 1,500 calories

Thursday – 1,500 calories

Friday – 1,500 calories

Saturday – 1,500 calories

Sunday – 1,500 calories

Total weekly calories: 10,500

But, if you wanted to up your calorie intake on a training day and lower it on a rest day, it would look like this:

Monday – 1,200 calories (rest day)

Tuesday – 1,900 calories (training day)

Wednesday – 1,200 calories (rest day)

Thursday – 1,900 calories (training day)

Friday – 1,200 calories (rest day)

Saturday – 1,900 calories (training day)

Sunday – 1,200 calories (rest day)

Total weekly calories: 10,500

Finally, if you’re reluctant to give up your weekend takeaways, meals out or even a few drinks to wrap up a week well done, your calorie cycle could look something like this:

Monday – 1,300 calories

Tuesday – 1,300 calories

Wednesday – 1,300 calories

Thursday – 1,300 calories

Friday – 1,300 calories

Saturday – 2,000 calories

Sunday – 2,000 calories

Total weekly calories: 10,500

Sticking to a meal plan and keeping a track of your calories doesn’t have to be dull and all-consuming. By keeping your weekly total the same and mixing it up throughout the week so that you’re still allowing yourself treats and avoiding the feeling of being ‘on a diet’, you’ll find it much easier to achieve your goals and get to where you want to be!

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