Using Cheat Meals When Building Muscle

28.11.2017 |

Episode #3 of the course Muscle building by Theo Brenner-Roach


Welcome to Lesson #3. Today, we will look at cheat meals and the reasons why you don’t need to use them when building muscle.


What Are Cheat Meals?

Cheat meals are pre-planned meals where you can stray from your diet and eat the foods you normally restrict. Often, they allow you to eat however much you want without placing any restrictions. Other times, you will adhere to a calorie amount but are allowed total freedom within that calorie amount.


Why You Shouldn’t Use Them

The number-one reason I don’t like to use cheat meals (aside from the fact that they often result in going way over your calories) is because of the way they negatively affect your relationship with food. There’s no need to put the foods you like up on a pedestal, like they’re some mystical things you can only access on a designated day at a designated time.

When you do this, you end up in the “you want what you can’t have” scenario, and even those with the biggest reserves of willpower find it hard to resist. Add in the cravings, social pressure, and general up-and-down moods you experience across the week, and it’s only ever really going to end one way: knee deep in all the foods you’re trying not to eat until your cheat meal, filled with regret, and back at square one.


What You Should Do Instead

If 60-80% of your diet is made up of nutritional foods, then you can include some of the not-so-nutritional foods you like in there. I know cheat meals work well for some people, but for others, they don’t, and what was meant to be a controlled cheat meal becomes a no-holds-barred day of gluttony.

So, instead of yo-yoing back and forth between overly strict weekdays and fast-and-loose weekends, eliminate those cravings by allowing yourself to include the foods you like in your daily calorie allowance.

Ultimately, whether or not you’re gaining muscle will come down to whether or not you’re in a calorie surplus and how big that surplus is, not whether you had pizza, popcorn, or a burger last Tuesday.

Relax and learn to work in some of the treats you like around the rest of your diet made up of nutritional foods.


Summing Up

For a smoother fitness journey without binge eating and food cravings, learn how to include the foods you like into your daily calorie allowance. Remember to get the majority of your food intake from quality nutritional sources, and you’ll not only be able to include the sweet treats you enjoy guilt free, but you’ll find the whole process much more enjoyable.

Tomorrow, we move onto Lesson #4 and take a closer look at recommendations for training when building muscle.

See you there.


Recommended reading

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Use Cheat Meals & What to Do Instead


Recommended book

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal


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