The Cycle Diet has been tested and proven for 30 years! The Cycle Diet has been used successfully by clients in the real-world to stay lean while enjoying fun cheat days where truly "anything goes"!
"I've been a coaching client of Scott for over a decade now and have been using the cycle diet for almost that length of time too. I can say without any hesitation that this is the best diet to follow to stay ripped year round and indulge in all your favourite foods all while making cosmetic improvements to your physique."
- Andy Sinclair, fitness model (Andy is featured in the course!)
The Cycle Diet is not like other diets out there that promise you that you can lose weight eating whatever you want. No. The Cycle Diet is a reasonable, sustainable lifestyle, but it also takes a certain level of discipline.
For example, with the Cycle Diet, you don't just "add in a cheat day." Instead, you put your body in what we call "Supercompensation Mode" so that a huge influx of calories (a "cheat day") is exactly what your body needs.
In this course, you will learn everything you need to know to start Cycle Dieting: what foods to eat and how much, how to read your biofeedback,how to get into supercompensation mode and stay there, and much more.
"COAX THE BODY AND IT RESPONDS; FORCE THE BODY AND IT REACTS"
The Cycle Diet is all about coaxing your body and your body's metabolism and your bodyweight setpoint. I've always said that the metabolic and hormonal environment into which calories enter is what really matters for sustainable weight loss. The Cycle Diet is all about manipulating that same metabolic and hormonal environment over the long term, as a sustainable solution to weight loss and weight maintenance.
Most diets only think in the very immediate realm of time. However, you have to consider the immediate effects, the residual effects, and the more long-term cumulative effects. Most diets "feel great" as you're losing fat at first, but under the surface the body is responding metabolically and hormonally, and eventually you get the inevitable "diet rebound." You can only force the body for so long before it reacts. To achieve longterm results, you have to coax your body. In other words, don't work "on" your body; work "with" your body.
This is what the Cycle Diet was designed to do. The Cycle Diet is NOT a "weight loss" diet; it is a "metabolism" diet. This is because any sustainable solution must be "metabolism first" in my opinion.
To my mind, any diet strategy must meet two essential criteria:
I have been doing the Cycle Diet myself and with clients for 30 years, so I consider it very sustainable. I used it myself to stay "guest posing" ready for bodybuilding contests, and near photoshoot ready year-round. Andy, a fitness model whom you heard from above, uses it to stay within "striking distance" of photoshoot ready: meaning that when he has a photoshoot, all he does is cut out a cheat day or two beforehand, and he's ready for the covers of magazines. (I should add that Andy is a fitness model, so that's just for the magazines. Truth is he still looks fantastic even when he has the cheat day.) Check out the free preview of the "The 'Goals' of the Cycle Diet" video, as well as some of the CASE STUDIES videos, to see more examples of what I mean.
You Will Learn:
...and MUCH MORE!
Gives an overview of the Cycle Diet, what it is, what's required for it to work well, and why it works.
This goes into the background of the Cycle Diet, and how it was reverse-engineered a bit based on the way pro bodybuilders, after a contest and when they were really lean, could just eat and eat and eat... but only for a certain period of time.
The two criteria of every successful diet approach, and how the Cycle Diet is designed to meet them.
Most diets only consider the "immediate" effects of dieting: Hey! I lost weight! Great!
But every diet also has residual and cumulative realms of time. These are what happens after the diet is seemingly over. The body compensates. The Cycle Diet focuses on these latter two, more so than any fad diet out there.
How the Cycle Diet is different from other diets in terms of its goals. The Cycle Diet isn't just a "weight loss" diet; its benefits come from the cumulative benefits that add up over time to optimize metabolism and your body's bodyweight setpoint.
What "biofeedback" is, and why it's so important to the success of the cycle diet. Basically, biofeedback is what you will use to determine if your body is physiologically ready for the overfeeds.
This lecture also goes into the difference between the "outside in" approach to fitness (which is what most approaches try to do), versus working from the "inside out" (which is what the Cycle Diet is about).
Many people ask if it's possible to use the Cycle Diet to get lean or if you have to be lean already. This lectures goes into the details of what's possible regarding that.
Just some anecdotes relating to the Cycle diet, including epic cheat days, people refusing to believe what me or my clients were eating (while staying lean) and more.
A quick final note before you dive in to the rest of the course. :)
These are just the general principles of a sustainable, reasonable meal plan.
How many meals you eat *usually* depends on how many calories you're having per day, and this video provides some general guidelines.
An in-depth comparison between relative deficits (good) and absolute deficits (bad). This is mostly about what each kind of deficit will do to metabolism over the long term.
It can sometimes be tough to determine when you're in an absolute vs. a relative deficit. These are just some biofeedback signs to watch out for that your deficit is too big.
You don't need complicated calorie formulas like the Harris-Benedict or Mifflin or whatever! A formula is only a starting point, and this provides some general guidelines for feeling your way around this, based on common-sense considerations of age, gender, background, and so on.
Note that *most* people tend to adjust things too much. But of course sometimes you do need to just adjust calories as you go based on biofeedback and what your body is telling you.
There's no such thing as "good" or "bad" foods, but some foods provide more or less satiety than others, and some foods tend to make you hold water more than others -- these foods are what we call "cosmetically UN-friendly" foods, and I list a few in this video.
Of course the opposite of "UN-friendly" foods are friendly foods. This video talks about the traditionally cosmetically friendly foods. These are the ones that fill you up really well, and also don't tend to cause water retention, bloating, gas, etc., even during periods of extended dieting.
I often get lots of questions about the glycemic index. This video addresses how much it matters (this can be summed up as "it doesn't") and what you should use instead.
Also, the last 5 min of this video has info on hunger, the brain, and biofeedback -- this is probably the most important part of the video, both in relation to thinking about things like the glycemic index, and dieting in the real world in general.
Use this as an example and a guide! You'll note that there are no calorie counts, but this is about an average diet meal plan for a 180 lb person (around there, depending on factors discussed above). So if you weighed a bit less, you might subtract a bit from the portion sizes. If you are really young (like 18 years old) or you know that you have a very fast metabolism, you might add a bit to the portion sizes.
This meal plan is similar to the one above, but for someone with a larger frame, probably above 200 lbs, but still "relatively" lean. They were put on the Cycle Diet immediately, but I recommend holding off on cheat days and so on until you monitor your own biofeedback. Going straight to the refeeds is very very rare.
This meal plan is really only for illustration for most people, but it might be good if you have a sensitive stomach, or you've been dieting very very strictly with limited food selection recently.
This plan itself was for someone with a sensitive stomach from prolonged dieting with very low calories, very low carbs, and very little food selection. You can see that the plan I gave them keeps carbs "pretty" low for many of the days, but also cycles in (on Day 4) some moderately higher carb days, and then the Cycle Diet itself (with the refeeds) was also used on day 7 to help bring in more food variety. However, again, I don't recommend going straight to the refeeds until you've monitored your own biofeedback.
This meal plan is a lot like the first one, but has calorie counts, just for people to help orient themselves.
You can see that much like the other meal plans, every meal gives you three options, but not every option has the exact same amount of calories as the other options.
What this means is that if someone always chooses the lowest calorie option for every single meal, 1,715 calories per day is as low as this meal plan will possibly let you go. If the dieter always chooses the higher calorie options, 2,140 calories is as high as this meal plan will let you go. (In practical terms, usually the dieter will fall somewhere in between, based on their food preferences and what they feel like eating.)
If anyone doesn't know how to put together a meal plan ("Where do I get the calorie counts?" "How do I tweak it to make it just right?") this just offers a few ideas and links to get you started. Don't overcomplicate it !!
A basic overview of supercomp mode: what it is, why it works, and so on.
More details about supercomp, for those who want to learn more or know a bit more of the science behind it. This is still not super technical, but it discusses how we manipulate the hormonal cascade, one way or another.
How long it takes to get into Supercomp Mode will vary from person to person, so this video goes into some of the variables that will affect this. Remember though to take the inside-out approach. Even if it *seems* like it should take you X number of weeks or months to get into Supercomp, listen to the body first and foremost!
There's also info here on some of what needs to be accomplished while moving your body towards Supercomp (e.g. "settling" your metabolism).
The short answer is no, but this video goes into why.
This gives an overview of how "deep" into Supercomp someone can be. You'll generally get deeper and deeper into Supercomp the longer you are consistently Cycle Dieting.
One of the most important videos. You want to look for these biofeedback signs that your body is ready for a cheat meal or cheat day!
At some point when dieting to get into Supercomp, the "scale" will stop moving. Watch this video to see what to do when that happens.
This video discusses how to experiment with your first cheat day. What to expect, what to look for, and so on.
This video talks about what to expect on your first cheat day -- how you'll likely feel, what it'll be like, some of the pitfalls some people make when it's their first cheat day, that kind of thing.
This is similar to the last video, but it talks about the week following your cheat day. You will notice different energy levels, different levels of hunger, and so on, once you start regularly cycling in big cheat days.
This incorporates both the last two videos, but more specifically addresses what to look for to be sure your first cheat day went well. It includes the simple "black & white" metric you can use in deciding whether to keep the cheat days in, or whether your weren't in Supercomp yet.
When you take in a lot of calories in a single day, yeah, if you eat foods that disagree with you you might get water retention or gas and so on. This video talks about the side effects, especialyl for those who go "overboard."
After a cheat day you will gain a fair amount of water weight. That's okay. It's expected and normal. This video goes into why.
Some clients have done some weird things with what they consider a cheat "day." In this lecture I clarify what a normal metabolic day is: normal wake up time, normal sleep time.
This isn't a hard and fast rule, but if it's your absolute first time doing a refeed or a cheat day or anything, I suggest this tip.
Assuming your cheat day went well, you'll want to transition to regular cheat days to stay lean, enjoy them, and optimize metabolism. This video discusses making that transition.
After you start the cheat days, do you change your calorie levels? When? How? This video consider s this question, and what kind of changes you sometimes (but usually don't) need to make.
So you're regularly Cycle Dieting with the full cheat day. Things are going well. So: when should you also consider adding in the mid-week spike?
These mindsets come partly from Kelly McGonigal, I believe. (I've tweaked them.) They are an excellent way of thinking about the Cycle Diet and any kind of diet.
Mindset determines behaviour. The mindsets in this video will make the Cycle Diet easier, more sustainable, and more enjoyable.
These are a few common attributes I've noticed amongst the most successful Cycle Dieters -- that is, the people who tend to really thrive and enjoy this diet.
The Cycle Diet works... but some clients have been known to sabotage their diets. This video talks about some of the common traps to look out for, before they happen.
If there's one "hard" part to the Cycle Diet, this is it. As you'll see in the video, I don't actually consider it to be very hard at all. Again, it all comes down to mindset, and I talk about how to deal with it in this video.
These are some basic principles for using the Cycle Diet to stay lean year round. These include both mindset-related and physical principles for succeeding with the diet.
If you're on a solid diet strategy, the most important part of adding muscle is having your training in order. Most people say "You can't out-train a bad diet." That's true. But it's also true that you can't out-diet bad training!
It's outside the scope of this course to go too in depth on this (this is a "diet" course, after all), but this video goes into some very general guidelines on training and what to look for in your programming.
This video expands on the last one just a bit by talking more about patience and working the diet so that the training can do what it's supposed to do. It also discusses when you might actually *not* use the Cycle Diet, that is, if you're a true ectomorph with very little development and you need to eat in a pure caloric surplus.
There are no secrets to this. Work the diet, work the training, do it all consistently, and progress will come.
Scott Abel has been involved in the fitness, figure and bodybuilding industries for over 30 years. He has coached hundreds of bodybuilding and figure champions, and he has helped regular people lost fat, add muscle, all while managing busy lives and real careers with family and responsibilities. He is well known for his Metabolic Enhancement Training, his unique Cycle Diet, and for getting his clients ripped.