I want to answer a very common question that I receive.
and more specifically, whether you should consume more calories on training days and less calories on non training days.
So the basic idea behind this does seem to make sense on the surface.
Your body requires a greater amount of energy on workout days in order to fuel your training sessions as well as
to recover from them, and it requires less energy on non-workout days since you’ll be less active overall.
So, cycling your daily calories is typically done under the assumption that it will increase workout quality, improve recovery, and decrease excess fat gains in the long term.
The problem with this approach is that it is a very short-sighted view of muscle building and fat burning nutrition.
Whether your goal is to bulk up and put on muscle or to lean down and lose body fat, you need to keep in mind that these are both very slow and gradual processes that are determined by the actions that you take over the long term.
Your total net results in either direction are not going to be measurably affected by a few hundred calories more or a few hundred calories less within small blocks of 24 hours.
People tend to categorize things in terms of individual days (for example, a “good” day of eating or a “bad” day of eating) simply because that is the primary way that we organize our time.
However, within the context of an overall muscle building or fat burning program, 24 hours is really quite an insignificant period of time.
In addition, muscle growth and fat loss are not on/off switches.
It’s not as if you’re “building muscle” one day and then “maintaining muscle” the next day, or as if you’re “burning
fat” one day and then just “maintaining” the next day.
Instead, your body is in a constant state of both muscle growth and muscle breakdown, as well as a constant state of both fat burning and fat storage.
And it’s the total sum of all of these processes over the long term that is going to determine your bottom line body composition.
And for those reasons, worrying about cycling your diet by eating more calories on your workout days and less calories on your rest days is really just a waste of effort and it’s really going to do nothing more than overcomplicate your diet without improving your results.
Not only is expending your energy on unnecessary dietary strategies like this a bad thing in and of itself, but it may also negatively affect you over the long term for the simple reason that it’s going to make your diet plan harder to follow.
Constantly raising and lowering your calories from day to day is obviously more difficult and more tedious to track than simply maintaining a steady intake from day to day, and the simple fact is that the more complex your nutritional approach is, the less likely you’ll be to stick to it over the long haul.
Your goal when structuring your muscle building or your fat burning diet should be to only make it as complicated as it absolutely needs to be, and to eliminate all of the inessentials.
That way you can place all of your focus on the things that truly matter, and get the maximum benefits while utilizing your time and energy in the most efficient way.
Now, that doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with eating less calories on rest days vs. workout days, and if you truly do prefer that method because it fits into your natural hunger patterns or your schedule in a more streamlined way, then that’s totally fine.
The take-home point here is simply that it isn’t going to make a noticeable difference either way, and if maintaining a consistent calorie intake from day to day is the easiest method for you to follow, then that is definitely the route that I would recommend you go.