In the world of health and fitness, we love to go to the gym and work our asses off. We do cardio until we soak our shirts. We lift heavyweight to get stronger. We sleep to recover, and we consume the right about of carbs, fats, and protein to replenish our bodies. Doing that repeatedly over time can become exhausting. The results we get from the gym keeps us motivated as well as just knowing that we are in good health. People who are fit gets a kick out of feeling good and looking good.
Sometimes there's an urge to convert back to the ways we used to behave. We may get lazy when it's time to hit the gym, and even if we go, there may be some slacking going on. One factor we always get back to is our favorite foods. When most people get on their fitness journeys, we have certain foods that we have to cut back on. It would be challenging to eliminate it from our diet, so we have to balance it out. I believe in the 80/20 rule. If you are not familiar with this rule, it's a balance of 80% clean food and 20% cheat food. The rule keeps you in shape while still having your favorite foods.
Here's why the cheat meals are significant, we need some time to refeed and indulge in some extra calories, sugar, fat (healthy), and sodium. As healthy as we want to be, the balance is what's important. I don't believe that it's needed to be on a strict diet 24/7. So, for that reason, a cheat day is useful and necessary.
When I have my cheat day, I like to do it at the end of the day or the end of the week. I do this because, by the end of the day, I've already had my nutrient-dense foods. Waiting until the end of the day, won't leave much room for the cheat food of my choice. So that means that I will have less, I use this method for the end of the week cheat meals for the same reason. By the time the end of the week comes, I've done an excellent job with my diet that it's pretty hard to mess up, also I know that one meal won't throw me off. The only way I would get thrown off is if I was to have cheat meals during the day consistently. At that point, I would lose the program because I'm not following the 80/20 rule.
As for the type of cheat meals I have, it's only 3-4 different types of cheat meals, and it's not so harmful to my goals. The most damage I can make it having too many calories, and that's not such an issue because my goal isn't fat loss. However, I can slow down my progress to the point where I take longer to see results. Possibly I can lose the tightness around my stomach for the time being. I know from experience that I get bloated pretty quickly and easily.
So you're probably asking what the cheat meals are? Before I go into what I eat, I will add what I might substitute with here and there.
Lastly, there is nothing wrong with cheat meals. It's okay to have a balanced diet. There's a high chance that after some time, you will give in to those tasty sugary sweets. Also, you'll develop a bad relationship with foods once you do. You shouldn't look at food as bad or good. Yes, there are ones with nutrient benefits and some without, but you know what they are and when to have them. It's always healthy first over everything. You do your part by going to the gym, pushing your body, and consuming the right foods, along with getting enough sleep and drinking plenty of water.
As I stated earlier, try to push those cheat meals towards the end of the week or day. Also, you only get a cheat meal when you've been on track with your eating. It's hard, but your body will thank you in many ways. You should also think about it like this. The cheat meal tastes better after you've given it a break. I've experienced not wanting certain junk foods after not eating it for a while. I recommend trying that method because that's an excellent way to give up a particular low to no nutrient foods. I hope you understand the benefits of cheat meals and use them in a way where you establish a balanced diet.
NASM CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER
NASM FITNESS NUTRITION SPECIALIST
NASM FAT LOSS SPECIALIST
Christopher Gilbert is a Personal Trainer based in New York City and is known for his effective nutrition and workout programs along with his intense training sessions.