The significance of a cheat meal in a training program is probably one of the most debated topics in bodybuilding. Is it required, or it is just a reward for prolonged dieting? In this article we will be talking about the science behind cheat meals.
The logic is simple- the frequency of a cheat meal depends on your current fitness level and routine. If you are below 12% body fat, then you may think of incorporating a single cheat meal once a week or fortnightly. However, if in case you are above 15% body fat and really serious about your transformation, then just simply stay away from cheat meals, for at least 4 weeks minimum. You have higher chances of rebounding on cheat weeks!
The Science Behind Cheat Meals
The theory of the cheat meal is again, very subjective. There are a few research papers available that show that having a cheat meal after a prolonged calorie deficit diet can really boost the metabolism and has also shown some psychological benefits to the individual who has been dieting for a long time. A treat to the taste buds once a week through a single cheat meal helps an individual to keep himself on track for the subsequent days. Studies suggest that dieting for long durations can also hamper the thyroid hormone (T3 and T4) in the body that can further drop the basal metabolic rate. Now, in this case, a single cheat meal once a week, can revamp the missing threshold in an individual’s sluggish metabolism.
The Optimum Way To Enjoy A Cheat Meal
Well, moderation is the key in order to enjoy a cheat meal without harming your hard-earned gains. Moreover, the principle of fast to feast, i.e. either fasting throughout the day or having a very low carb day, prior to a cheat day, can be applied in order have a guilt free cheat meal. Always plan your cheat meals! Don’t just binge on whatever comes on your plate. Plan to eat what you have been craving for. Here are a few tips- try to share your cheat meal with your partner. This way your chances of binging will be reduced. If possible, check your bodyweight first thing in the morning of your cheat day. These tricks can be helpful in order to keep yourself in control while enjoying your cheat meal. Remember do not eat to make yourself feel uncomfortable and bloated. Just eat to enjoy your cheat meal and get back to the grind the very next day.
Rachit Dua is an advanced K11 certified fitness coach for general and special population (people with medical issues, old age people, pregnant women, and children) and a certified sports nutritionist. You can get in touch with him here .