Cheat meals have and always will be a hotly debated topic. I just want to give you an insight into my outlook on this subject. Please keep in mind that this is just an expression of my opinions and beliefs.
One thing I have always loved is a good cheat meal. I don’t care what anybody says but if you’re training hard 4-6 days a week, have your diet in check then having a cheat meal is a much needed tool to help you reach your goals. There a few times that I wouldn’t recommend having cheat meals and that would be when you’re dieting for a competition and getting too close to comp date (but everyone is different and everybody’s coach has a different approach) or if you’re high in body fat (for me above 13% would be too high).
To me a cheat meal is a meal that isn’t scheduled into my daily diet and typically consists of a meal that is higher in carbs and fats. I’ll usually have a big savory meal followed by something sweet. The goal of a cheat meal is to replenish glycogen stores, ramp up the metabolic rate, recharge your leptin levels and to give you a break mentally.
You see, when you are dieting for an extended period of time it can be mentally draining eating the same foods day in day out, training hard in the gym with energy levels going further down each day. That’s why I believe it is important to give your body some extra calories which will give you an energy boost and stop you from wanting to jump in front of a bus!
Before I turned vegan I thought to myself that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy life as it seems like all vegan desserts have nuts in them and being a nut allergy sufferer I wouldn’t be having a very nice time. But to my surprise there is a whole host of vegan treats out there that are nut free. If you’re into just buying your sweets from the super market then you will find this link useful [http://www.peta.org.au/living/accidentally-vegan/] but I think getting creative in the kitchen can add to the fun and excitement of a cheat meal.
Ok, so I’m going to sound a little contradictory now but in my experience a lot of bodybuilders have a very unhealthy relationship with food and especially with junk food so the idea of a “cheat” meal can actually be very damaging to ones mental and physical health. This is because calling it a cheat meal gives the individual the idea that they have to cheat on their diet which usually means a shit tonne of junk food (and believe me I’ve been there). So for that fact throughout my life I have identified my “cheat” meals by other names. For example a lot of people nowadays will call a cheat meal a “refeed” – this refers to the replenishment of glycogen stores in the muscle and is typically a higher carbohydrate meal. Another way to look at this type of meal is by calling it a “treat” meal, this can give the individual a kind of sense of accomplishment in the fact that they have worked hard and deserve a treat. For me though however the best way to look at a cheat meal is by calling it “date night” (now this may only work for those with significant others). By calling it date night you (and your partner) don’t really get the feeling that you want to pig out on all the foods. It can be a time for you to relax, dress up and enjoy some foods that you wouldn’t normally eat and don’t forget it can also gets you extra brownie points!
Also be sure to check out my healthy cheat meal video here!