I want to piggyback off my previous post HERE, where we discussed the person who was eating 900 cals but not losing any weight and, in part, their cheat meals.
One of the biggest questions was about cheat meals, so I wanted to give you a few simple guidelines to follow when it comes to your cheat meals.
Right off the bat, when it comes to cheat meals, refeed meals, or as my friend Jeremy Scott calls them, treat meals, the frequency of which you have them should be determined by your goals and how much fat you still have to lose.
How Often Can You Have a Cheat Meal?
- Men at over 35% or Women over 40% should have one refeed/cheat meal every 20+ days
- Men between 30-35% or Women between 35-40% about once every 14 day
- Men Between 25-30% or Women between 30-35% about once every 10 days
- Men between 20-25% or Women between 25-30% about once every 7 days
- Men between 15-20% or Women between 20-25% about once every 5 days
As you can see, the leaner you are, the more often you can have them.
Side note: These are just guidelines not to be taken as gospel; some people will have them more or less often depending on their goals.
Cheat Meal Rules
When we have a member that decides to have a cheat meal, then here are the rules we give them:
- Eat out at a restaurant.
- Don’t bring anything home.
- Limit your cheat meal to 90min – otherwise, it turns into cheat meal(s) or a cheat day.
- Pick foods that won’t leave you feeling bloated – nothing sucks worse than walking away from a meal feeling like crap. With that said, overly processed sugary foods tend to be the major culprit.
- Have some sweets if you want, truthfully anything goes!
- Don’t feel that you have to eat bad – some of my best cheat meals were just bigger/fattier cuts of steak and two baked sweet potatoes.
- Alcohol is fine, just don’t get hammered. 😛
- Have them on days after a good hard workout.
Side note: I have found that the best cheat meals that benefited my body and our members are when we increase their fat intake and with some extra carbs. NOT going crazy with the sugar.
The purpose of the cheat meal is both physiological and psychological.
Mentally it gives your body a break from the day-to-day routine of food and physically (if you’ve been eating in a constant caloric deficit); it gives your body a boost of nutrients that you may not be getting in your day-to-day eating. There is actually more than goes into the physiological, but I’ll save that for another time; it can get pretty nerdy 😛
Remember, these are just guidelines to follow; as you get to know your body more, you can dial things in better.
Lastly, do NOT weigh yourself after a refeed meal. You will see a sudden increase in the scale because of the extra food, extra water, extra glycogen (carbs) from the meal. It’s not fat; give it a few days, and it will all be out of your system 🙂
P.S. If you need help with your body transformation, click HERE and fill out the info.
In Health and Awesomeness,
Travis Merritt, BS, CPT, (and other letters behind the name) is the Owner of Rowlett Transformation Center in Rowlett, TX.
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