Classic Physique Masters 2021 Natural Olympia champ Tamer Barakat says, “a refeed day is not the same as a cheat day.”
Cheat days or cheat meals are common in the fitness world, and fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders love to indulge in them. As the name suggests, cheat days are when any food is on the table. So, whether you want to stuff your face with pizza, donuts, or both, the ball’s in your court. And cheat days/meals occasionally aren’t bad. And even recommended by many health and fitness experts to help you lose weight and keep it off. However, often people confuse a refeed day with a cheat day, although they’re vastly different. Professional Natural Bodybuilding Association (PNBA) competitor Tamer Barakat says cheat days aren’t the same.
And he shares how he operates his refeed day in an Instagram post on June 11, 2022. Tamer Barakat is the reigning Natural Olympia champion of the Classic Physique Masters division. He also shared the stage with elite Men’s Bodybuilding Grand Masters and Men’s Bodybuilding Open competitors at the 2021 Natural Olympia. He received a silver medal behind Philip Ricardo Jr. (Grand Masters) and a spot in the top five (Open), despite a 40-60 pounds weight discrepancy. Moreover, Barakat is the first vegan natural bodybuilder to sign a multi-media contract with Generation Iron, INBA PNBA, and Iron Man Magazine.
On IG, Barakat stated:
“A RE-FEED IS NOT THE SAME AS A CHEAT DAY, BUT LABEL ASIDE IT’S NOT AN EXCUSE TO EAT A 2,000 CALORIES DINNER WITH 1000S GRAMS OF SALT EITHER!! WHEN CUTTING MY REFEED DAY, VS REST OF WEEK, IS TYPICALLY 200-300 CALORIES MORE ONLY (UPPING CARBS WHILE LOWERING PROTEIN AND FAT). AT MOST I COULD GET TO MAINTENANCE BUT USUALLY I STAY UNDER AND IN A DEFICIT. TODAY IS A REFEED DAY SO DINNER IS BLACK BEAN FETTUCCINE SEITAN STRIPS AND 6OZ FRIES TOTALING 545 CALORIES WITH 19GF/62GC/54GP”
You can see Tamer Barakat’s full IG post and meal below.
Refeed days allow you more calories compared to other days of the week, but as Barakat acknowledges, not by much. Conversely, you’re usually well above your calorie target with cheat meals and cheat days–typically, an unlimited amount of calories is allowed. But with a refeed day, you only want to consume 20-30% more calories. Tamer Barakat only eats 200-300 calories more.
They help you drop fat and keep your metabolism running efficiently. They also help you maintain muscle mass during a cut. In addition, refeed days are supposed to prevent adaptive thermogenesis, which causes weight loss plateaus.
Refeed days and cheat days vary immensely. Cheat days are a buffet and give you the flexibility to consume calories well above your target. Refeed days only give you wiggle room to go about 20-30% more than you usually would. Refeed days help you preserve muscle mass and optimize your metabolism for fat loss.