T Nation

Cheat Meal Timing


#1

I think I am going to have a REALLY BIG treat. I have not done that in like 8 months. I want a real milkshake, cream and all!

When is the best timing for this in order to have the least bad effects on body comp? Right after I workout (normally I have Surge - I was thinking maybe I'd just have whey and then go get my milkshake) OR after a big meal of a salad with meat so that the digestion will be slowed down?

I figure if I eat it alone right after the workout it's going to spike my insulin sky high PLUS have all that fat. Yet maybe it is going to spike my insulin like crazy anyway.

The other option is since I have 2 workouts tomorrow (am and pm) I could have it after a big meal of salad and meat and then go workout about 2-3 hours later. Perhaps it would make for a great workout?

Any suggestions would be VERY appreciated!!

I'm gaining right now by the way, so I've been eating maint or above, so my metabolism doesn't need a "cheat" day I don't think. :frowning: I know it wouldn't be a big deal if I was under maint anyway, but I'm not.


#2

Holy crap you haven't had a cheat meal for 8 months?

I would have a PWO shake (Surge) and then have the cheat meal about an hour after that.

And just a milkshake? Damnit go big and have a pizza or something. 1 cheat meal will not hurt your progress as long as it doesn't become a regular thing.


#3

Exactly what I was going to say. Have your regular PWO shake and then go at it about an hour later. And I'd personally add a pizza somewhere in there as well. :wink: Honestly though, if a shake is all you need to feel satisfied, the more power to you. For people like me, it takes 10,000+ calories to feel satisfied with a cheat....and it sucks.


#4

Wow, thanks for the replies - I can really have PWO shake AND milkshake? That is a lot. :slightly_smiling: I've been craving it for 2 days though. I usually am satisfied with just a protein shake. Oh well. :slightly_smiling:

What's the reasoning by the way for the 1 hr. post? Thanks!


#5

Oh yea especially if you need 2 workouts in that day. I do the same thing. (i wrestle) If I want something bad I makesure to eat it on my day where I practice AND lift in the same day.


#6

One milkshake!? I wouldn't worry about it too much. I'm in the process of dropping some weight and I incorporate a cheat day on Sundays. And let me tell you it's not just a milkshake. Pancakes, Pizza, nachos, wings, beer, ice cream it's all fair game.... And it definitely has not hurt my progress. I'm having the most success with this cutting phase then I have had in the past. Previously, my cheat was just 2 slices of pizza and a couple of beers and this is way more fun.


#7

1st cheat meal in 8 months? Have it anytime you want, you deserve the hell outta that and it won't hurt progress at all. But, if you're still worried about it, follow the above advice. You should still have the Surge as it's best for PWO nutrition. Wait an hour just to let your body digest the Surge so you don't have too many calories at once. After a workout is always the best time to have cheat meals, as your body is less likely to store fat.


#8

Being endomorphic, I'm not quite a sanguine as some of the other posters about going crazy on cheat meals. You need to eat correctly 90% of the time to succeed. If you eat six meals a day, seven days a week, this means you can "cheat" four times. However, in my opinion not all cheating is the same. I generally schedule one "cheat" meal a week, with the understanding that I'll probably have to only eat half of it since restaurant portions are so large. (that basically makes it into 2 cheat meals one day apart) I save the other two for emergencies when I have to either miss a meal, or eat an unexpected cheat.

My normal dietary rule is that no meal can be less than 50% or more than 200% of 1/6th daily calorie target, in order to count as a proper meal. For cheat meals I allow breaking either the content or size rule but not both (unless I want to count it as 2 cheat meals).

As for timing, if you're going to have carbs in your cheat meal, the best time to cheat is post workout. Since we're talking a milkshake, I'd probably skip the Surge and have that instead. If we're talking pizza, I'd probably have the Surge, then eat the pizza as post-post workout.


#9

This past sunday I had a cheat day. It was pretty much a free for all. I weighed in saturday, the day before, at 250 on the dot and on monday afternoon I weighed in at 265. I am back down to below 250 now. I just think it's crazy that I gained 15 pounds in a day. Granted most of it was water, but still that's a lot of weight to gain in a day. My monday work out was great as a result.


#10

Damn, I ended up feeling so sick after my PWO shake that I didn't want a milkshake. However it was just stuck in my head that I was going to allow it.

So 1 hr. PWO I had a protein shake and some veggies and berries. I felt too sick for anything else.

1 hr. after that I had a huge salad with walnuts, chicken, almonds, and feta. And then about 1 hr later I ened up getting the milkshake - a full 20oz.

If I'm used to eating only on the order of 40-100g. of carbs a day and I have this how much fat am I going to gain? I'm off to workout now, but I still feel pretty bad. I didn't exercise right after the shake. It's been about 3 hours now, so I figure all the fat has been stored??

s


#11

It's in your head. You won't gain any noticeable fat at all from just one milkshake. Have one every day for the next week, and yeah you might notice some gain.


#12

Oh, surely not noticeable, but you do gain it, right? How long does it take for your body to "store" the fat?


#13

That's an over simplification.

Depends on how your body handles it at the moment. If you're already stuffed and have muscles overflowing with gyclogen, then yeah, it'll probably be converted to fat mostly. If you've been on a diet and/or you have low glycogen stores, then probably it'll go directly to your muscles. A cheat every here and there keeps us sane and also provides a nice boost to metabolism and hormones when done properly.


#14

Yeah, well I guess it was interesting. I just haven't had anything more than a protein bar as a treat in so long. I remember in Germany last year I had some cheese cake. Other than that I can't remember the last time I had anything unclean. Oh well. I guess not the end of the world. I don't think it was really worth it. There are so many good healthy foods I want that there is no reason to have milkshakes. Time to move on I suppose.

I am curious in general how things work though in terms of gaining - I mean we are supposed to eat every 3 hours, right? So is all the food you eat processed and either stored as fat or stored in your muscles in 3 hours? What is the time frame?


#15

Usually eating every 3 hours is to make sure your body doesn't starve itself and start eating away at your muscles. In addition, eating every 3 hours, means smaller meals. So with smaller meals, you smooth out your intake (no binging/crashes), keep metabolism reving, and help with nutrient absorption.

So in terms of gaining, from my understanding, eating every 3 hours with smaller meals will make it more likely that the energy is used instead of stored. Say your body only needs 300 calories right now. If you binge and eat 1000 calories, then it'll use the 300 or so store the 700 extra for later. If you take in 300, and wait until another 2-3 hours when you need another 300, then it'll all be used up right away.

This is ignoring a lot of things, but you get the point. Basically, no binge eating. It has its place in some diets, such as cheat to lose or AD, but you'd have to be in the right condition. Binging is probably responsible for a good amount of fat in those people who claim to not eat that much. Eg the typical office worker who skips breakfast, and only has a big lunch and dinner for the day.


#16

So I'm just wondering as to the effect of the milkshake I had yesterday, since I can actually pinch more fat today!! It is freaky!

This is what I did:

8:30 - 1 scoop whey + 3 strawberries
WORKOUT
10:00 - 1 scoop Surge, 1 scoop whey PWO
11:00 - 1 protein shake, zuchinni and onions sauteed, few strawberries
12:30 - big salad with 1 oz nuts and 4 oz. chicken, 1 tbsp balsamic, few pieces of apple
2:30 - BIG MILKSHAKE!!! UGH.
5:30 - 3/4 c. egg substitue, 1 scoop whey
6:30 - WORKOUT
7:30 - BCAAs + glutamine
8:30 - eggwhites, 1/2 tbsp oils, asparagus
10:30 - protein pudding, salad, 2 fish oils

Now this is like 1000 more cals than normal. I had been eating ~maint all week and having Surge PWO every day so probably my muscles were not depleted. :frowning:

Is it possible that all 1000 cals were stored between 2:30 and 5:30 and now they are stuck?

You see the problem is I gain weight first on my abs and lose it there LAST, so yo-yoing is TERRIBLE for me. It is the best way to ruin my figure since if I do something like this and gain a bit on my stomach, I'd have to lose a LOT to get that part off.

Or are things more flexible? Would it not be stored completely as fat right then?


#17

Oh yea, and today I have been eating about normal.


#18

Ok, first of all calm down, cheat meals are important from both a psychological and metabolic perspective, you definitely need them. The trick is to keep them manageable.

Yes, you will experience a higher reading after a cheat, after all you just cheated right? The individual readings aren't particularly accurate though, it's the trend that matters. Your body can change up to five pounds and half a percent bodyfat either way on a daily basis even when you're weight stable, that's just part of the natural process.

Looks like you're doing fine, just get back on schedule and keep trucking. In the long run you'll have better compliance and progress with cheat meals than without.


#19

Your overall diet actually looks almost too low on calories, what is your daily calorie target? I know it seems weird, but often eating more is better than less.


#20

Bingo.

You didn't gain any fat, Sarah. I promise you that all the carbs went to glycogen and that all the fat became intramuscular triglyceride.

How do I know that? Your diet sucks. You do not give yourself enough carbs to store as glycogen, nor do you give yourself sufficient fat to store as intramuscular triglyceride.

The worrying... is sad.

Go have fun.