T Nation

Any Way to Counter a Cheat Meal?


Yesterday, I ate homemade hamburgers and fries with 3 XX. I'm not trying to compete or anyhting but do want a six pack by summer. My diet it pretty clean. Although I have cut my cheat meals to 1-2 a month.

Is there any real way to counter that before it turns to blubber? I go to the gym and train hard the next day but other then that, I do nothing else. Any recommendations? Or should I not let it bother me and just enjoy my cheat meal?


If your diet has been that strict beforehand, all that will do is fill your muscles out. Very often my best workout is the day after a cheat meal if dieting for a week or more. You are stressing over something that is probably helping you more than hurting.


The only thing I'd suggest is to keep your cheat meals as clean as possible, but don't hold back as far as calories goes. If you're watching your calories most of the time, it's actually important to periodically spike them up, otherwise your body will lower it's metabolism to adapt to a lower-cal diet. I consider a weekly calorie spike to be a part of my diet/training protocol. But I keep my cheat meals clean.


The fact that he's strssing over something so minimal is worse than the meal its self. People need to just accept that you're going to cheat and if its in moderation it will have zero adverse effect on your body. People stress over the little things too much. Its ONE meal, who cares?


I honestly don't think it matters and even some of the pros claim their cheat meals are pizza or cheesecake. If I have been eating MRP's, chicken breasts and tuna all week, one hamburger won't do anything but possibly give me more energy in the gym. Your results are the conbination of ALL of your effort. One meal isn't going to derail you as long as it doesn't turn into 2 and 3 days of falling off your diet. In fact, planning those cheat meals will help you stay on a diet longer.


I agree.

I cannot live without gnocchi in a spinach pesto sauce (I know weird, but whatever). I have a nice big bowl of it every Saturday, and no matter my short term goals (as long as I wasn't training for a comp) it has never hampered my progress.


exactly. I try to keep to one cheat meal a week when I'm dieting. For me it would be today but I'm not dieting so I'm not really to worried about it. Usually I got out to the bars with my friends on Monday nights(none of use have to work on Tuesday) we have pizza,wings,beer, and whatever else we can get our hands on. Then Tuesday I'm back at it. Eating clean and working out. As long as I don't drink too much my workouts are better than when I used to try to stay clean 100% of the time.


On countering, go for a walk before and after.

I used to walk to the bar for a cheat evening. I'd eat and drink and enjoy myself, and then walk back home. If the walk is long enough you should at least be burning off some fat each way...


Are you serious? It is ridiculously hard to burn off calories through strenuous exercise, nevermind something as simple as a walk.


I try and have my cheat meals within an hour or two of slamming myself in the gym. Two reasons:

  1. If I eat a cheat meal, it's a damn cheat meal. Cheesecake, beer, 3 kilos of steak, potatoes, and anything else I can get my hands on. The last thing I want to do that day is go to the gym. I usually enter a carbo induced coma after one of these.

  2. I'm also hoping that the whole post workout meal idea will help a lot more of this into my muscles and not onto my cleverly disguised 6-pack. I usually have awesome workouts for the next couple of days.

It sounds like your cheat meal wasn't anything to get worried about. It's not like you ate 40 donuts or something like that. You should relax a bit more.


Cap'n, I'm thinking the idea is to counter any extra stored fat due to the cheat meal.

Compared to a drive or plunking your ass on the couch it will burn perhaps 200 kcal there and back if it's, say, a half hour walk. Heck, the after meal walk may even help lower blood sugar levels.

All you have to do is burn off the extra calories you would store not the whole thing. Would 300-500 calories do the job? Maybe.


If you have been maintaining a hypocaloric food intake for a week, what fat gain will there be from one cheat meal unless you just knock out a few thousand calories? You should think of the way your body responds more in terms of "weeks" or longer periods of time than one day.


I like the idea of clean cheat meals. I always feel sick after and the next day if the cheat meal wasn't clean. This has happened so often that I have very little desire to cheat anymore, but I do think a clean calorie spike is very good for your progress.


I like to have a medium Georgia Mud Fudge Blizzard with Cookie Dough instead of the pecans, every Sunday night.

The Dairy Queen I frequent is VERY CLEAN <;0)

\|/ 3Toes


Good to see the old avatar back!


You eat 2 'cheat meals' a month and you're worries about how to counteract them?? Isn't the idea of a cheat meal to-well-cheat.

I would say you are actually doing a diservice to yourself only cheating twice. You can benefit MORE, by fluctuating caloric as well as macronutrient totals than by maintaing a strictly clean diet.

Unless you're counting down those last couple/few weeks to a show--enjoy a slice and a dog while watching a good game


Exactly. And as much as a burger won't do much harm, I also find that I actually crave clean food. I often watch my intake of higher calorie foods, even if they're healthy. So eating 'clean' but high calorie foods like cheese, or natural peanut butter, and using olive oil very liberally, well it's not a 'cheat meal' to a dude like X, who eats huge all the time, but to me it is!


A clean cheat meal?

Have I been doing this wrong for the last few years? Isn't a cheat meal where you actually cheat and partake in the badness? Isn't this the reason that cheesecake exists?


A cheat meal per week, within reason, shouldn't hurt you. In fact, it may even help depending on what you ate.


I can only assume that people who claim they "cheat" with more chicken and rice must all have simply awe inspiring physiques. I don't understand dieting like you are getting contest ready. You don't get an award for never eating a pizza in your life time. I mean, you do what makes you happy. However, does anyone really believe a cheat meal NEEDS to be this strict or else you make less progress?

Also, to one statement made above, I don't eat "huge" all of the time. That is relative anyway. If I am gaining some could say this because it takes a lot of food to maintain my body weight. The scenario is completely different when dropping some weight.