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Eating Strategy #3: Calorie Cycling

Calorie Cycling is an eating strategy that consists of higher calorie days and lower calorie days throughout the same week.

There is a multitude of ways to do calorie cycling, but I’ll outline the main two ways it can work while also showing the standard way as well and you can try them all to get a good understanding of how each one works in your life and decide which one works best for you.

Calorie cycling is the one eating strategy that can be used parallel to the Triple Double or Double Double eating strategy, as calorie cycling is more about structuring your calories on a weekly basis, not a daily basis. Keep reading and you’ll understand what I mean.

It does require a little more planning initially, as each day may have a different amount of total calories.

So why do calorie cylcing? Well, eating the same number of calories every single day can be hard and/or boring for some people, so if you like to vary your eating, this might be the right move for you. 

You’ll benefit from this style of eating if You:

  • Enjoy eating more calories on the weekends.
  • Enjoy more calories on workout days.
  • Have a big appetite some days, have a small appetite on other days.
  • Have a inconsistent day-to-day schedule.

How To Use Calorie Cycling

Using the BBP Fat Loss Calculator, you can set your Calorie Cycling targets. 

You’ll see there are three different options, but only the last two of them are actually calorie cycling.

The Main Calorie Cycling Methods

  • The Standard Deficit: Not really calorie cycling, just eating the same amount of calories every single day.
  • The Energy Deficit: Eating more calories on your training days, and fewer calories on your rest day, but it evens out to the same amount of calories by the end of the week.
  • The Lifestyle Deficit: Eating lower calories Mon-Fri and higher calories Sat & Sun (or whatever days you decide), but it evens out to the same amount of calories by the end of the week.

You can follow the same cycling schedule every week or alternate back and forth depending on what you have going on with your week/month.

After you pick your cycling schedule, you’ll need to choose one of our other Positional Eating Strategies:

The Triple Double (3 meals per day, 1-2 snacks) or

The Double Double (IF, 2 meals per day, 1-2 snacks)— to hit your daily targets.

Here how Tim and Tina set theirs up.

Tim really enjoys eating more calories on his training days, and he doesn’t feel as hungry on his non-training days, so he’s gonna use The Energy Deficit.

Remember, His calories are 2300 per day, so here’s his schedule:

  • High Calorie Days: 2700 Calories & 110g Protein Minimum
  • Low Calorie Days: 1900 Calories & 110g Protein Minimum

Remember, this still evens out to about 2300 calories per day at the end of the week

Tim Trains Mon, Wed, and Fri & Rests Tues, Thurs, Sat, Sun

His weekly Eating schedule will look like this:

  • Monday: Training Day -> High Calories
  • Tuesday: Rest Day -> Low Calories
  • Wednesday: Training Day -> High Calories
  • Thursday: Rest Day -> Low Calories
  • Friday: Training Day -> High Calories
  • Saturday: Rest Day -> Low Calories
  • Sunday: Rest Day -> Low Calories

Now, to hit his targets each day, Tim is going to use the Triple Double eating strategy (3 meals per day, 1-2 snacks). So now Tim has the ability to change the size and calories of his 3 meals depending on if it’s a high day or low day.

Tina is a very social person and enjoys her weekends. She wants to have her higher calorie days on the weekend to eat more food with friends & family, and maybe go out on Friday nights. She’s gonna roll with the Lifestyle Deficit.

Remember, her calories are 1800 per day, so here’s his schedule:

  • HIGH DAYS: 2250 Calories & 110g Protein Minimum
  • LOW DAYS: 1400 Calories & 110g Protein Minimum

Here’s how her week would look: 

  • Monday: Low Calories
  • Tuesday: Low Calories
  • Wednesday: Low Calories
  • Thursday: Low Calories
  • Friday: High Calories
  • Saturday: High Calories
  • Sunday: Low Calories

So in order to hit her calories and protein on a Daily basis, Tina is going to use the Double Double throughout the week and the Triple Double on her High Calorie days so that she can have breakfast with mom, lunch with friends, and Date night with her significant other.

Calorie Cycling FAQs

Question: Are there any specific days should I use high and low calorie days? 

No, this is based on your personal preference. You can use them on whatever days you’d like. I like to have my high calorie days when if going out on the weekends, so twice per week.

Question: Can I have more extreme high & low calorie days? 

If your calorie total by the end of the week stays the same, then technically, yes.

But I wouldn’t recommend it. The extreme high calorie days are fun, but it’s not the best habit to build as you’ll have extreme low calorie days to compensate, which can get really challenging.

Q: Will my weight fluctuate from cycling calories?

It’s normal to have less linear weigh-ins from calorie cycling, so don’t stress.

It has to do with the different amounts of food and water you’re holding from the previous days.

The best way to deal with this is using the Methods outlined in the Track your Progress Guide.

Use the BBP method every day (First thing in the morning, After using the restroom, and Before eating or drinking anything) and then use that data to find weekly and monthly averages.

These Lifestyle Eating Strategies you just learned deliver the most success to our coaching clients and pocket coach members. In the end, you have to find an eating strategy that works for YOU, your schedule and fits into YOUR lifestyle.