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Everything You Need to Know About Calorie Cycling

Updated: Sep 8, 2022

You have probably heard of the term 'calorie cycling', but what is it?

Calorie cycling is an eating pattern that may help you stick to your diet and lose weight by alternating higher and lower calorie days to account for a weekly average.


To do this, determine your weekly average calorie consumption. For example, if your calories are 1,600 per day, multiply this number by 7. 1,600 x 7 = 11,200 calories per week. This means that you can distribute 11,200 calories across the week however you please. As the above examples illustrate, the two most common reasons for calorie cycling are: - to allow for higher calories on weekends - to allow for higher calories on training days To calculate your calories when accounting for a higher calorie weekend, determine how many calories you would like for the weekend. For example, if you want 2,000 calories on both Saturday and Sunday to be able to indulge at brunch with friends, that is 4,000 calories total. Subtract this amount from your weekly average of 11,200 calories and distribute the remainder (7,200) across the remaining 5 days (1,440 calories daily). To calculate your calories when accounting for higher calories on training days, note how many times per week you are training. For example, if you train 4 x per week and would like 1,800 calories on those days to ensure you have plenty of energy for your session, then multiply 1,800 by 4 = 7,200. Subtract this amount from 11,200 calories (your weekly average). That leaves 4,000 calories remaining for the last 3 non-training days (4,000/3 = 1,333 calories each rest day). To then determine your macros, input your calories into My Fitness Pal. Calorie cycling can be extremely useful and can even be helpful in situations where you are feeling hungrier on a certain day or have a social event. However, it's important to note that it can also be quite damaging if you overly restrict yourself. This should not be a tool utilised if you exceed your calories by excessive amounts. For example, if you exceeded your calories by 1,000 on a certain day, do not take this from the next day. This will only perpetuate a binge/restrict cycle.

Sometimes, the best approach is to start FRESH. 

Whichever way you decide to distribute your macros, this is up to YOU. Find what works best for you, because ultimately, this will lead to long-term adherence!


Want to learn how to calculate your macros? You'll learn this, amongst many other valuable pieces of knowledge and tools to help you in your fitness journey in our Motiv8 8-week course!

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