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Cheat Meals


Right now I am in the process of cutting down. Throughout the week I eat really clean. I usually have a cheat day every seven days in which I eat pretty much whatever I want. This has always worked for me in the past. Recently, I have just been having one cheat meal on the seventh day instead of eating whatever I want for the entire day.

I am hoping this will speed up the process of cutting down. Since I have been doing the one meal, I have noticed that afterwards I am not able to handle anymore food for the rest of the day. I am thinking this is because of the high fat content that usually comes with my cheat meal. By the way, my cheat meal usually consists of a burger and some fries.

I was wondering if anybody else experienced any kind of stomach trouble on their cheat meals and how many days some of you go between eating clean and having a cheat meal. Also, what types of food do you usually eat when you go off of your diet??


I gotta say... I never really understood the purpose of cheat meals. To me, all this makes me do is want to eat shit food some more. I'd rather just not eat it at all. Anybody else feel this way?


I agree. When I'm dieting (like I am now) and I eat a cheat meal, I usually feel stronger and "fuller" afterward, but the problem is I can't seem to just eat one cheat meal and get back on track. One evening becomes a weekend bender, then I spend the next week working off the damage... and when the next weekend comes along, the process starts all over. I'm better off just being strict.


GSU - I'm with you. I typically eat one cheat MEAL a week: Friday nights. It's the one night I don't care what I eat. It's my family night and we eat for fun. (*edit- ok not really for "fun" but you get the idea) I have absolutely no problem going back on my "diet" afterward.

Usually because after eating 34 other meals during the week clean as clean can get, the cheat meal almost makes my stomach upset. In fact it usually gives me the shits the next simply because I'm not used to the crap anymore.

It is a nice way to take the edge off the desire to eat crap although I gotta tell ya, I'm really love'n my new "diet" and I'm thinking more and more about skipping the cheat meal. ha! What is the world coming to? hahaha!
Hope that helps you bro.


You lost me. How is one meal out of 35+ meals going to cheat someone out of anything? Not going to happen. In fact, many are of the mind that 1 meal of anything you want HELPS the body in getting lean. If for absolutely nothing else, the psychological effect for some may make it justifiable.


If cheat meals actually did that, I'd agree with you


I have one cheat meal a day..hell maybe two. I don't gain any fat from them,I don't turn into a junk-food junkie, and my physique is not tarnished. Why do I cheat every so often? Because there is some great fucking food out there and it's nice to "live" a little. Got have my full slab of ribs or a big ass pulled pork sandwich. And wash it down with some Alaskan smoked porter. MMMMMM!!!!


I've had a weekend bender myself.I'm cutting and I ate a little bit over my needs for fri and today,lol.Back on track tomorrow.The funny thing is,lately,my strength has gone up,so maybe some of that will go to muscle growth too.Cheat meals are VERY important though.It's keeps the fat coming off by not slowing down your metabolism.I always be sure to eat one cheat meal every saturday after my workout(usually pancakes).It keeps my head on too!


One cheat meal per week helps me a lot. Even just psychologically, stepping infront of the mirror after 1500 calories of carbed up refine goodness has me looking intensely vascular and filled out, with excellent definition. I find if I eat more than one huge meal, I start getting soft and bloated.


By the way, when I say meal, I mean I eat until I'm lying on the couch full. Psychologically I feel great, but intestinally I don't, so it's excellent motivation to get back on with my normal plan.


In regards to cheat meals, I stick with Berardi's 90% rule. Since I eat 6 meals a day, that means I'm allowed 4 cheat meals a week. Because I have 4 cheat meals, it doesn't mean I HAVE to use all of them every week. If I want to get a craving out of the way or if there's a social gathering where it's almost impossible to stick with my eating plan, then I'll use a cheat meal.

Personally, when I set a "no room for error" mentallity, it just sets me up for failure.


I don't think this is true. JB wrote an article about cheat meals and he said that they have no physiological impact on metabolism. Here's an excerpt:

"And physiologically, there's no sound reason to have a cheat meal. One meal will not upregulate your sluggish dieter's metabolism, despite what you've heard. Sure, the metabolic rate gets upregulated for a few short hours after the big meal, but no way will this thermogenesis account for the large caloric load you'll be dumping into the gut at once."

But, I do think having cheat meals helps with keeping one's sanity while trying to stay on a clean eating plan.


One of these a week will still not set the average intermediate to advanced well-muscled lifter back when leaning out unless they are are looking to get competition lean.


I'm really a big believer in JB's 90/10 rule for eating healthy. I'm currently dropping some bodyfat right now, so I am incredibly strict with my diet throughout the week. Saturdays I usually lift late in the morning and then eat what I want the rest of the day. For me, the more liberal I am with my food intake that day, the more fat I drop over the next week. I even go out and have a couple of drinks with some buddies at the bar that night. Then it's back on my diet the next day. During maintenance phases I try to keep my cheat meals confined to Saturday or Sunday, but if something comes up I'll have a cheat meal during the week and eat an extra healthy meal on my cheat day. I end up giving myself four cheat meals a week.

As a side note, I have had no problems maintaining my diet the rest of the time. And I used to eat like shit back in the day. Donuts and chocolate milk for breakfast, as much as I could stuff into my face at the dinner table every night. For me, knowing that I have a little bit of wiggle room really keeps me on track. I honestly don't believe that cheat meals are hurting my progress at all.



Well,I'm speaking from experience.If I'm cutting and I don't zig zag my calories my metabolism will lower after 3-4 weeks and I'll stop losing.Jp is great,but everything he says isn't 100% right. If a person is dieting on 1,700 cal a day,they'd be better off,in my opinion,having one day where they eat a little more to keep them on track.


OK, well since this turned into the usual argument about 'to cheat or not to cheat' and no-one answered the question you asked I will.

Yes, quite often after a cheat meal I feel very full and don't really want to eat any more food. If my goal is to get bigger then I will do so anyway. Also, I always make sure to still cram in my bedtime pro-pow shake.


I can't see how one cheat meal a week can hurt. By the way what are you guys eating for a cheat meal?


I need a cheat day or I'll never survive a diet past the first couple of weeks.I don't buy the arguement that a cheat meal or day will turn into 2 or 3 cheat days.If you're not displined enough to just keep it 1 cheat meal or day,how are you disiplined enough to follow a diet or work-out plan anyways.Me personally,after eating healthy all week and taking HOT-ROX,I normally eat smaller portions and get full fast anyways with my cheats and can't wait to get back on my diet.But that's just me,I guess everybody is different


I go with Berardi's 90% rule as well. He claims that there is no effective difference between eating clean 90% of the time and eating clean 100% of the time, with the thousands of clients he's observed.

As far as what to eat, Berardi used to have true cheat meals (as in, eat whatever the hell you want) when in his 20s. Now his cheat meals are more moderate.

That is pretty much what I try to do. I had some pizza earlier this week for one of my cheat meals. But I'll also have oatmeal with protein powder and peanut butter before going to bed, and count that as one of my cheats. As long as you don't go overboard, and take into account your individual metabolism, 10% cheat meals shouldn't hurt your progress.


Don't know if this has been mentioned, but cheat meals may/should be configured as post workout meals if you include them. The extra calories aids recovery, even though its nigh on impossible to train properly whilst eating like a bird, which seems to be strangely popular these days.

Pre Workout cheat pig outs may cause not be conduscive to effective workouts though.

I reckon a cheat month would be more beneficial to some trainees.