T Nation

Cheat Days and Running


#1

What is the philosophy of a cheat day? Is it ok to have a cheat day once a week?
In terms of running, how does running affect muscle volume and thickness? How much running is ok?


#2

The philosophy of a cheat day is that it assuages the temptation to eat garbage during the rest of the week, since you have one day to break your diet. In instances of dieting to low bodyfat for a contest it can also help replenish glycogen and other things in your body that may be dangerously low. I would say its better to have a cheat MEAL once a week than a whole day. I don’t know about you, but i can do A LOT of damage in one day.

There are too many variables to your running question. It depends on what kind of shape the person is in, what their training looks like, how much they eat, etc.


#3

You can have a daily cheat meal if you fit it in right. Plenty of guys have a dessert or similar and are in great shape. The issue is overeating, which is easy to do with high sugar/high fat foods (ie. who eats 1 biscuit and stops?)

Running is fine. Just don’t try running a sub 3 hour marathon while trying to crack 500lbs on your squat.


#4

I agree. I generally figure most people will do better without.


#5

I once dieted down to where I was pretty lean. My go-to cheat meal on Thursay nights was a cheeseburger with a stack of pancakes, blueberry muffin, and a chocolate milkshake. Ahhh diners.


#6

Yeah if you are making progress on your diet, it wont hurt . Me i like my two cheat meals sat,sun after my my two heavy workouts , and my days off. When you are on a strict diet eating junk will make you fill like shit, i am now replace gaucomole over mayo . If you pig out once a week no problem, as long as you are getting results


#7

After a 2200 calorie cheat meal at Taco Bell, I learned that even cheat meals should have limits, let alone an entire day dedicated to cheating.

I could see a cheat day if you went a month without deviating from the plan, but not a week.

As for running; do as much as you can recover from, if you enjoy running that is.


#8

I like the entire cheat day as it gives you a break from prep for an entire day. The trade off is you must have small meals.

If you’re the type who cant stop once they start (my “best” cheat day was 14000kcal) then you just gotta keep things to an absolute minimum.


#9

That could be part of it. I never go “food prep”. I just make big dinners that make leftovers for the next day.


#10

Thanks guys, appreciate the responses, all information, very useful.
I fall in the same category that if I have an entire cheat day, it does a lot of damage.

As far as running goes, I was running a lot till recently like 45 mins on the treadmill or 8-10k outdoors at least 3 days a week but now that I have reduced that to just 10-15mins sprints after each workout, it has helped a lot with muscle development and fatloss. More running brought more cravings and less energy to focus on resistance/weight training.