What is Calorie Cycling? | Everything You Need to Know

Usually, diets are based on the premise that you must maintain the same food intake until you’ve lost or gained enough weight to reach your desired level.

In most cases, the goal is to eat less than you normally do in order to lose and keep the weight off, use an SUV bicycle rack to get your bike with you when on a road trip and enjoy the experience.

So, What is Calorie Cycling?

Calorie cycling is basically a method of controlling your daily caloric intake through means other than starving yourself.

Read on to find out how you can use this method to achieve your weight loss goals by tweaking your daily calorie intake.

How Does It Work?

It’s often referred to as calorie shifting and it involves switching from low-calorie days to high-calorie days. This type of diet has nothing to do with restricting the types of foods you eat and the only thing required is to stick to the caloric recommendations based on the specific day or period. Walking and biking for weight loss are good options to consider.

Basically, you’ll probably end up eating in the same way that you usually do, with the only difference being that you’ll need to pay attention to the time of the day in which you eat. The point is to reduce the possibility of going hungry at inopportune times thus optimizing your chances of losing weight.

It also reduces the chances of negative metabolic and hormonal adaptations. The best part is that this is a super easy diet to follow which makes it easier for you to maintain your ideal weight.

Calorie Cycling vs. Eating Everything

To simplify, let’s consider how the body works. Basically, body weight is constantly fluctuating throughout the day depending on the level of activity we engage in during the day as well as the amount of sleep we have and how much stress we’re exposed to.

For instance, you’re most likely to stay on the couch and binge-watch Netflix series on your day off compared to a full day of work that includes a gym routine. Because of the difference in activity, your body doesn’t have the same calorie requirements on different days. But, because we’ve been taught to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, it’s easy to force oneself to eat even if you’re not hungry.

Calorie cycling allows you to listen to your body and eat according to your needs and weight goals.

But you should also find out how many calories you can burn mountain biking. For instance, if your fat loss diet requires that you eat 2,000 calories per day then that translates to 14,000 calories per week. This means you can eat 1,500 calories on some days and 2,000 calories on other days depending on your level of activity without forcing yourself to eat when you’re not hungry.

At this point, you’re basically eating for energy purposes instead of eating for the sake of eating. Your metabolism finds it easier to adjust to the change in caloric intake thus reducing the amount of fat that accumulates since you’re not yo-yo dieting. You’ll most likely experience improved fat loss as well due to the improved metabolism.

Will Calorie Cycling Help You Lose Weight?

When Mark Lauren created the training and diet plan of the US Air Force his intention wasn’t necessarily to optimize his team’s fat loss and athletic performance. However, they experienced these results anyway due to the calorie plan that he put them on.

What’s the difference between calorie cycling and other types of diets available out there?

In 2014, researchers conducted a study involving 74 subjects. One half of the group was placed on a cycling diet and the other half on a calorie-restrictive diet for a period of 6 weeks. While both groups experienced fat mass loss, the calorie cycling group experienced significantly reduced levels of cholesterol and plasma glucose as well

The research shows that the cycling group that used a tracking device such as Garmin actually enjoyed participating in the study and adopting the diet. However, additional and more thorough studies are required to determine the diet’s sustainability and effectiveness on a long-term basis.

Yet another study conducted in 2014 looked at the effect of adding caffeine to a calorie cycling diet. The study subjects partook in the study for a period of 6 weeks. One half of the group adding 5mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight, while the other group was required to not include caffeine in their diet. The initial six weeks was followed by an additional 4-week diet.

Afterward, both groups showed considerable fat loss, and improved glucose, triglyceride and blood cholesterol levels. There was no observable change in either groups’ metabolic rate.

However, the caffeine group reported higher satisfaction levels when compared to the non-caffeine group. The research concludes that adding caffeine to calorie cycling can significantly benefit those in need of fat loss because it doesn’t lower the resting metabolic rate.


To recap, calorie cycling is a fairly new phenomenon in the dieting world. It’s been touted for its ability to improve hormonal balance while protecting the metabolism.

But, like any other diet or lifestyle, it requires discipline in observing basic principles like exercise by riding your bicycle, eating a healthy diet and meeting your daily protein requirements.

These prerequisites are essential to ensuring long-term success on this regimen.

Shailen Vandeyar

A proud Indian origin Kiwi who loves to plant trees and play with my pet bunny when not out cycling through the best routes, reviewing the latest gear, and sharing tips on everything biking.

Recent Posts