Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I love reading T-Nation (Testosterone Nation), it has lots of good down and dirty articles, many of which are informative and some just downright silly. There are also lots of pictures of cut men and women on the sides too!~
If you compete, or have ever competed, even once, you know all about "cheat meals". I have been watching my fellow competitors for a while, just making mental notes about cheat meals and how they use them, how often and for what specific reason.
When I am competing, or preparing for a competition, I have a "cheat meal" for only one reason- my body needs it. Sometimes I think I need one, but am not quite sure, when David starts looking at me weird saying "you need a burger...you need a burger", I know it's just about time...that means my veins are probably popping out all over, my cheeks are sunken, my skin is sallow and my eyes have dark rings. Along with the fact that my once beautiful muscles are looking flat...
I think that many people use the term "cheat meal" when they just aren't eating "clean" and they say it so everyone around them knows that they are fully aware of what they are doing, and making a conscious decision to "cheat".
I think that is fine, I don't believe in depriving yourself for life, that's no way to live. Right now I am not competing, I do not have "cheat meals" but there are occasions, sometimes a couple times a week when I will eat something that I wouldn't normally consume during competition prep. I don't consider this a "cheat" because I am not on a diet.
Now ask anyone who knows me, works with me or socializes with me and they will probably tell you I am ALWAYS on a diet. That's not true, I just stick to a good, nutritious diet year round, that's all.
Some people end up turning their "cheat meal" into a "cheat day", bad, bad mistake.
I find it best just to get in a "zone" stick to the diet plan and don't deviate unless absolutely necessary. Sort of like driving to Los Angeles, you get in and hit I-5 and keep going, stopping only if you must, and only for a very brief moment.
This article has some foul language, so be prepared if you are offended easily (but I guess you probably wouldn't be reading my blog if you were anyway!)
Nutritional Leverage: The Dieting Edition
by Shelby Starnes
Q: How do I know when to take a cheat meal or cheat day? I hear guys talk about them and they sound awesome. I'm pretty fat I guess and have been dieting for 3 weeks. Is it time for one?
SS: Sometimes I wish I never mentioned that I give my clients cheat meals or cheat days on occasion, because now every chubby guy with a treadmill thinks they 'deserve' a food bender after a few days of avoiding junk food. Sorry Charlie, it doesn't work that way.
Cheat meals (and days) should only be employed to accomplish the following:
• To stoke a stagnant metabolism
• To temporarily refill glycogen stores (when you're REALLY flat)
• To stave off catabolism
Cheats serve a psychological benefit as well, but they should NOT be employed when:
• You're bored with your diet. (Newsflash, asshole — it's a diet. If you want to indulge your inner epicurean, get a job at the Food Network. If you want to get lean, get used to eating a slightly limited selection of foods.)
• You're feeling "entitled" to eat what you want cause you worked hard, trained hard, were feeling sad, Grey's Anatomy was lame, etc. Entitlement has no bearing on whether you get to cheat or not.
• You hear the ice cream truck. 'Nuff said.
So when should you cheat? Well, it's hard to give clear-cut rules on when and how to incorporate a cheat meal, as every situation is different, but here goes:
• If you've dropped a lot of weight in a short amount of time (more than three pounds in a week, not including the first week of dieting when you drop water and glycogen weight).
• If you're starting to have shitty workouts on a regular basis (no pump, poor strength, lack of focus).
• And, if your body temperature is starting to drop (you feel cold ALL the time).
Then, it's probably safe to say that a cheat meal is warranted.
Don't go nuts though — a cheat meal is a tool, not a license to go ape-shit and binge for hours on end. Keep your binge to around 60 minutes, tops. In an hour you should be able to fulfill a lot of cravings anyway, provided the ice cream truck driver doesn't know you're on a diet and actually stops for you.