Optimize Metabolism with Fun Cheat Days and "The Cycle Diet"
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Optimize Metabolism with Fun Cheat Days and "The Cycle Diet"

The Complete Guide to Using Refeeds and Cheat Days to Coax Your Metabolism with a Sustainable Lifestyle Diet
4.8 (99 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
446 students enrolled
Last updated 1/2016
Price: $95
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 3.5 hours on-demand video
  • 2 Articles
  • 5 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion

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What Will I Learn?
  • "Have your cake and eat it too" ...but intelligently and strategically, with no guilt.
  • Put your body in "supercompensation mode" so that refeeds and cheat days SERVE the body.
  • Keep your body as LEAN as it is reasonable to keep it, year-round, without "worrying" about diet.
  • Adapt and tweak your own meal plans by listening to your own body's "biofeedback" (the signals your body is giving you).
  • Learn to adapt and work with the diet to make it part of a sustainable, enjoyable lifestyle.
  • Enjoy the cheat days and overfeeds, then simply not have to think about food for the rest of the week.
View Curriculum
  • A willingness to learn and watch all the videos in the course.
  • High speed Internet access.

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.


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:

  1. It must serve the body.
  2. It must be sustainable.

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:

  • How cheat days and overfeeds can serve the body IF you are in the right metabolic and hormonal state, what's called "supercompensation mode," or simply, "Supercomp."
  • How to read your own body's biofeedback to determine when you are in "supercompensation mode" and a cheat day is exactly what your body NEEDS.
  • How to "graduate" from simple cheat meals, to half-day cheats, to full-day cheats.
  • The Right Mindsets for making this diet part of a reasonable, sustainable lifestyle.
  • Actual daily meal plans for your diet days, plus information on how to tweak them, or construct your own from scratch.
  • What kind of weight training works best with the Cycle Diet.
  • How to evaluate if a cheat day "went well" and whether you should keep them in your diet. (And what to do if it didn't go well!)
  • How to determine what foods to include in your diet day meals plans, based on your own body's needs and signals.
  • Variations of the Cycle Diet that Scott has "tweaked" with different clients, depending on their needs, backgrounds, and goals.

...and MUCH MORE!

Who is the target audience?
  • Anyone looking for a sustainable, fun solution to staying lean year round, while making improvements in their physique.
  • You should be willing to have FUN and ENJOY the cheat days, while also respecting a certain amount of regimentation and structure during the diet days.
  • You do NOT need to be a bodybuilder or figure athlete to take this course. This diet works excellently for regular people too!
  • Those with a history of binge eating or disordered eating should NOT take this course.
Compare to Other Dieting Courses
Curriculum For This Course
56 Lectures
Start Here
9 Lectures 36:04

Gives an overview of the Cycle Diet, what it is, what's required for it to work well, and why it works.

Preview 04:03

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 Background of the Cycle Diet

The two criteria of every successful diet approach, and how the Cycle Diet is designed to meet them.

The Two Criteria of Every Successful Diet

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.

Consider the Immediate, the Residual, and the Cumulative Realms of Time

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.

Preview 02:57

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).

The Importance of "Biofeedback" on the Cycle Diet

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.

Can I use the Cycle Diet to get lean?

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.

Tales from the Cycle Diet

A quick final note before you dive in to the rest of the course. :)

"HELP! I don't understand!" Questions? Something unclear?

Successful Dieting in the Real World
5 questions
What's Possible with the Cycle Diet? (CASE STUDIES)
6 Lectures 21:25

Paolo, who stays lean on the Cycle Diet while managing a busy career and kids

Lisa, who actually needed to gain a bit of weight

Aimie, who lost two pounds the week following her cheat meal
Constructing Your Personal Meal Plan
15 Lectures 48:38

These are just the general principles of a sustainable, reasonable meal plan.

Constructing Your Own Meal Plan - Principles

How many meals you eat *usually* depends on how many calories you're having per day, and this video provides some general guidelines.

How Many Meals Should I Eat?

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.

Relative vs. Absolute Deficits - in depth

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.

Biofeedback Signs You're In an ABSOLUTE Deficit (not where you want to be)

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.

Starting Calorie Formulas to Achieve Relative Deficit

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.

Adjusting Calories and Your Meal Plan As You Go

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.

Cosmetically UN-friendly Foods

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.

Cosmetically Friendly Foods

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.

The Glycemic Index, Hunger, and Satiety

Full List of Diet Days' Acceptable Food Sources / Cosmetically Friendly Foods
2 pages

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.

Example Meal Plan 1 (Basic, use this one as your guide!)
3 pages

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.

Example Meal Plan 2 (Larger Frame)
3 pages

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.

Example Meal Plan 3 (Digestive Issues)
4 pages

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.)

Example Meal Plan 4 (Calorie Range of 1,715 - 2,140)
3 pages

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 !!

Where do I get calories for foods? How do I calculate my meal plan?

Meal Plan Quiz
4 questions
Dieting to Get into Supercompensation Mode
7 Lectures 39:24

A basic overview of supercomp mode: what it is, why it works, and so on.

What Is Supercompensation Mode?

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.

What is Supercomp? - Part II - More Nitty Gritty

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).

How Long Does It Take to Get Into Supercomp?

The short answer is no, but this video goes into why.

Can I Just Have a Few Cheat Meals Throughout the Week, Then?

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.

Different "Levels" of Supercompensation Mode

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!

Biofeedback Signs You're In Supercomp

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.

What Do I Do If My Progress Stalls?

Supercomp Quiz
3 questions
Transition to Regular Cheat Days and Cycle Dieting
11 Lectures 37:42

This video discusses how to experiment with your first cheat day. What to expect, what to look for, and so on.

Experimenting With Your First Cheat Meal/Day

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.

What to Expect ON Your First Cheat Day

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.

What to Expect AFTER a Cheat Day

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.

Signs Your First Cheat Day Went Well

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."

Honest Disadvantages or "Side Effects" of a Refeed

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.

Gaining Water Weight is Okay! The "Labile" Element of Bodyweight

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.

A Cheat Day = A NORMAL Metabolic Day

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.

A Tip For Your Cheat Days

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.

Transitioning to Regular Cycle Dieting As a Lifestyle

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.

Adjusting Your Calories or Meal Plan After Implementing the Refeeds

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?

When to Add in the Mid-Week Spike in ADDITION to the Full Day Overfeed
Mindset and Long-term Success with the Diet
8 Lectures 41:14

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.

"I want," "I will," or "I have to" -- the ideal mindset for the Cycle Diet

Mindset determines behaviour. The mindsets in this video will make the Cycle Diet easier, more sustainable, and more enjoyable.

Three More Mindsets to Adopt to Thrive on the Cycle Diet

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.

What All Successful Cycle Dieters Have in Common

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.

How People Sabotage the Diet

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.

The Hardest Part of the Cycle Diet... And What To Do About It

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.

Principles for Staying Lean Year-round with the Cycle 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.

Adding Muscle with the Cycle Diet - Part 1 (Training)

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.

Adding Muscle with the Cycle Diet - Part 2 (Diet and Patience)
About the Instructor
Scott Abel
4.8 Average rating
155 Reviews
794 Students
2 Courses
Physique Transformation Expert and Coach

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.

Michael Forest
4.8 Average rating
99 Reviews
446 Students
1 Course