I LOVE my cheat meals.
Fact is I’m no different from most people: I love the foods that are bad for you. I just don’t eat them. It’s called discipline.
However, as I’ve talked about before, I employ the “80/20 Rule” in this i.e. when you do the right thing 80% of the time, you can do the wrong thing 20% of the time and everything will still be cool.
So here are 8 ways to do your cheat meals right!
(1) SCHEDULE IT!
Cheat meals must be planned in advance to stop you overdoing it. If you allow yourself 2 cheats a week, maybe try a Tuesday and Friday evening to split it up.
Planning your cheats allows you to stay sane! You can happily stick to your diet when you know that your next splurge is only a day or 2 away. When you see something and you are tempted by it, simply say, “It’s ok. I’ll have it in a couple days”.
(2) REALLY ENJOY IT
Yes, every single second of it. If you don’t, you’ll not be satisfied and be more likely to fall into temptation later in the week.
(3) NO COUNTING
This is a time to relax and savor! Don’t look at the calories or macros; there’s a time and a place for that, and this ain’t it!
(4) EAT UNTIL YOU ARE FULL
Eating until you are fully satiated means temptation is kept at bay for longer.
(5) BE GOOD EARLIER IN THE DAY
It’s not a cheat day, it’s a cheat meal. If you overdo it all day, you shouldn’t be surprised when you have to say bye-bye to your abs. Minimize any damage by being good before the cheat.
(6) TRAIN EARLIER IN THE DAY
If possible, train sometime before the cheat. This will make your muscles PRIMED for the intake of nutrients, meaning they’ll more likely be partitioned off to muscle repair and growth, and not to fat storage. People on my Total Six Pack Abs program know all about this little tweak for nutrient partitioning 😉
(7) TWICE A WEEK IS ENOUGH
I find any more than 2 cheats a week means you’ll more than likely start to add body fat. And once a week doesn’t feel like enough to keep temptation away. As I said in point (1), splitting it up works better – like mid-week and weekend.
(8) HAVE ZERO GUILT
None! You must see your cheat meals as PART of your diet, not a deviation from it. Therefore, savor it with no guilt. Cheat meals are a part of the physical and psychological end of success in this game. They also work as a “reward system” for those of us that are fully committed to achieving our goals.
So there you have it! Enjoy your cheat meals.
Remember that even during the rest of the week, it doesn’t need to be a burden. With easy-to-make protein-packed recipes to fuel your muscle growth, MuscleHack Buff Baking makes being good feel like a cheat meal. There’s pancakes, peanut butter cookies, ice cream, “strong man’s” sausage bake, chocolate cake, “popcorn” chicken and many more!
If you’ve any questions or need help, ask below and I’ll be happy to help.
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I used to count my macros with a cheat meal. That didn’t last long! Agree – just eat it and enjoy!!
Ok ,how do uake a cheat meal when my job is driving a truck ,across country and my sleep patterns are all over the board. Basically, i can eat all day ,dont have a set schedule, i can eat at night or day livht ,ive put on the fat ,and dont like it,how can i gain control again ? Thx ed
Do you still have a normal carb up day on top of these cheat meals?
To ARPIT and other vegetarians: I was a vegetarian for 22 yrs and a vegan for 8 yrs. The absolute biggest problem I had was getting enough affordable, good-tasting protein. I was tired all the time, was always chubby, blood lipids always borderline high even with ZERO dietary cholesterol, wasted some of my best years trying to be noble on a low protein, very high carb, low fat diet. Save the planet, be compassionate to animals, and ruin your health all at the same time. Arpit, if you are a veg for religious reasons, I understand, but you better get used to huge amounts of soy products of all kinds, pressed tofu, seitan, spirulina, beans and artificially combined veg sourced amino acids (expensive), and you MAY get some results in weight gain if you’re an ectomorph or mesomorph. If you’re an endomorph like me, watch the calories or you’ll fight a losing battle and pack the fat on. Best advice I can give from experience is to re-examine why you’re a veg, and if your mind is changeable, then try changing it and see how you FEEL by adding increasing amounts of whole eggs, lean meats of all kinds, fish, poultry, lowfat dairy, whey protein, etc. I’LL BET YOU FEEL MUCH BETTER AND STRONGER and start getting the gains in strength and health in spite of your or your family’s beliefs. It’s a tough call, but I finally made the above changes and wish I had done so about 20 years earlier! Any veggies out there, let me know if I can share any experiences or answer any questions for you, but just about everything I’ve seen Mark say and write has been RIGHT ON. And in my opinion the cycling eating plan which includes a paleo-type approach, Atkins, Eades, low carb, high or moderate protein, moderate fat or individual variations thereof, depending on personal preference/tolerance are the BEST for overall health and fitness and strength! It’s embarassing being a vegan endomorph, always chubby with a spare tire that just won’t go away no matter what, because of high carb intake, and then not be able to explain it to others. Take it from me. I know. I would welcome comments/questions/criticism from Mark or any of you readers who are having trouble with bodyfat and/or muscle gain and who are wrestling with your consciences about eating animals or animal products, either in the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, anywhere. Thank you. Hoping my experience can help some others avoid making the same serious mistakes I made during my mid-20s, 30s, 40s and up to age 52.
I’m on the GLAD diet after 6 months on Total Six Pack Abs. Every day on GLAD feels like a cheat day! 🙂 Best part is I’m maintaining my TSPA results.
This is good advice, and is how I work things on the GLAD diet. I can be a little slack here and there, but most of the time stick to the plan.
I can tell that TSPA changed my metabolism, because even if I blow it for 2 days, 1 day of good eating and I’m back, so the idea of putting my body into preferring to burn fat over carbs for fuel is true.
Great stuff Mark! Keep it up!
@Edwin. I’d suggest you go on a cut actually to remove the fat first. My TSPA is perfect for that.
@Justin. For the MANS diet, you have a 36hour carb up at the weekend, and a mid-week (Wednesday) “carb spike” is also optional. This is where your cheat meals would go.
For GLAD, it’s just 2 cheat meals whenever suits you best.
@Newton – that’s a brilliant comment. I often get questions from vegetarians and vegans, which I can’t really answer because I don’t have the expereince of being one. However, I do sometimes advise them to question their assumptions. Perhaps beginning to eat meat might be the best thing they ever do.
@pmjeff21. Awesome! Great comment. Very happy for your TSPA and GLAD results 😀
Mark, I’m glad my comments may be of help to some of your veggie readers. I’ve got to tell you, I feel that you’ve got one of the best programs ever devised. It combines good, hard, intelligently applied workouts, along with the best nutrition advice anywhere (listen up, readers!), and I’m sure you’ve gathered much of your knowledge by trial and error because so much of the current “knowledge” out there is total garbage whether pertaining to workout programs or nutritional guidelines! Leaving you, Mark, to figure out the hard way what works and what doesn’t.
It’s fantastic that you share your results with your readers. I’m not being paid to say this, but I WISH I WERE 25 YEARS OLD AGAIN (OR EVEN 45) so that I could apply at that age more of your life’s experiences with nutrition/workouts to my own life! It’s a crime that in the USA (and elsewhere) citizens are being brainwashed with such horrible sugar/starch-based nutritional advice, probably pushed by farm subsidies and Big Agriculture. This is verified by the astronomical statistics the last 20-30 years in “developed countries” of diabetes, heart disease and morbid obesity. I’m ashamed to have been sucked in and participated in such a system for so many years, especially when so many of the solutions to these problems can be found right here IN YOUR LITERATURE!!!!
I do wish you the best, Mark, and I will keep in touch and faithfully read your blog. If you think I can be of any assistance to any of your veggie readers, from any part of the world, please feel free to put them in touch with me, as I MAY be able to augment some of your teachings especially in regards to some of the difficulties that vegetarians are having with the principles they are discovering in your writings.
I understand the mindset of faith-based vegetarianism and veganism as well as “environmentally” or politically based eating habits, so I can address various points of view. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. Thank you, Mark, for your kind comments. Keep up the good work!
BTW, I’m a fervent reader of your emails and bulletins/discussions that come to me regularly, and I can’t always afford to consume this supplement or that, or this protein powder or that, or this food group or that (specifically), because I’m married, on a budget, working full time and very busy, but I’m fully on board with all that you write about, and I envy your readers most of whom are probably between 18 and 45 years old because they are the ones most likely to reap the tremendous benefits of the principles in these pages. Sorry this is so wordy or loquacious.
Thanks I will be using this
@Newton. Great post once again. You’ve no idea how many people say to me that they wish they had discovered my training program and nutrition advice years earlier. They are simply making the best gains of their life.
I get questions here in the comments section from vegetarians and vegans all the time. Hopefully you’ll see some in the future and be able to help them out (also on FB).
All the best 🙂
Thanks Mark. I’ll keep my eyes open and offer suggestions about any vegetarian-oriented questions that I see posted here. And to the readers: if you ask a veg question I may miss it, so try asking again in another post if you don’t see any comments right away.
So if I am currently on TSPA can I still have a cheat meal or should I wait till I’ve reached my goal bf%?
@Larnce. Mate, from what I understand, you should wait till you’ve reached your bf% goal as TSPA is a far more rigid system with a carefully calculated carb up period with carefully calculated values. A cheat meal doesn’t take any values into account which doesn’t follow the diet. However on a system like MANS, the carb up is not calculated but you just eat according to how you feel (when you start to flatten out a bit). So I reckon you should rather wait until after before looking at doing cheat meals.
@Larnce. Yes, what Justin said is correct. TSPA is TSPA. Do it as prescribed. When you reach your goal, incorporate a cheat or 2 into the MANS or GLAD diet.