Cheat meals are something you want to avoid repeating often, but what’s life without a little bit of fun? There are good ways to utilize them, and bad ways to utilize them. Sometimes you just need a little bit of something to keep you sane, but what you do with the food the rest of the day is very important.
How NOT to Cheat
If you’re on a moderate cut, maybe a 250 calorie/day deficit, throwing in an 800-1000 calorie cheat meal is NOT okay. If it makes you overshoot by 1000 calories, you took the deficit away from 4 days by loading it all into one.
Don’t cheat when planning to compete in bodybuilding or physique. Although you may feel like you need it most at that point, competition requires a full commitment. Your coach would absolutely not approve of a full cheat day in the middle of your cut. Stay strong, push on, and keep making progress. There’s a big difference between a cheat day and a refeed day.
Don’t cheat if you’re going to complain about the results you aren’t getting. If you’re trying to lose weight, but you aren’t, and you’re complaining about, you do not need a cheat meal. You need to eat better, get to the gym, and work a bit harder.
When to Cheat
When you’re feeling depleted and worn down. A cheat meal might be those extra calories you need to get you going again. It’s important to make it a cheat meal and not a cheat day or week. Have your cheat meal, then get back on track as quick as you can.
They can be useful when preparing for a hard workout. The night before it may be beneficial to have a cheat meal if you train in the morning. If you train in the afternoon or night, then it would be best to have that cheat meal for lunch to make sure those calories get utilized.
How to Cheat
Cheat meals are best used before or after a workout. This way the extra calories are used for performance and recovery, not just thrown into your gut.
Make sure to make the rest of your meals smaller throughout the day to match the calories you have on a normal day. Cheat meals can carry a massive amount of calories with them, and when cutting, trying to keep the overall calories down for the day is important. Cut back on the carbs and fat of your other meals to keep the overall macros close to your normal daily goals.