When it comes to getting fit, diet is probably the hardest part of any fitness program, especially in the long run. Regardless of how healthy we aim to be when dieting, cutting calories come at cost. To produce extreme leanness, many diets inevitably utilize weeks of calorie deficits and lower carbohydrates. When used correctly, cheat meals can be a great tool to help carve your physique.
They can reset your hormones responsible for metabolism and insulin regulation, replenish glycogen for increased energy and gains. You already know profound benefits of fat/protein rich diets (LOGI foods, paleo, keto) so, the question is how to keep benefits of low carbs diet while enjoying and taking advantage of your cheat days at minimal cost?
First things first, you must think of your muscles and health because you need to keep yourself in top form in order to be constantly progressive at gym (must for hypertrophy and strength development). Progression is relevant towards changes in your body which is only achieved with right nutrients. Therefore, I recommend to have a system with your meals which meet your purpose. Consistent actions lay a brick by brick everyday towards your fitness goals. Check my effective eating for more understanding and tips.
So the question is how to stay consistent with right eating habits? Check HERE tips on self-discipline or MINDSET you must develop. When getting grip on your eating and discipline you can basically enjoy any cheat meal you desire as you worked your ass for it. However, going smart about your cheat meals, can further help you towards your goals or even improve your quality of life. This is effective fitness so let´s get effective.
Simply, eat your cheat meals right after gym within 2 hours where most of inputs remain in muscles (glycogen stores must be refilled). Especially, training heavy (74% of 1 RM) and intense (30-60s) accelerates your metabolism processes in huge extent and also releases more of HGH and Test, thus can enjoy your cheat meal without remorse. Training twice a week gives you an idea of how many cheat meals needed. Only two cheat meals a week? How are you going to survive this?
There are two options to go about it, you either get more active which is very possible because you start feeling better and stronger during the process which gets you obviously more active. This means you can have more cheat meals as a result of being more active (always keep an eye on your macros).
Secondly, going for fat/protein rich diets will automatically fix your problems. How? Leptin, a protein mainly produced by fat tissue, regulates your appetite (sugar cravings) and energy levels. it acts on brain´s hypothalamus to suppress food intake and stimulate the use of energy (calories).
A body operating on low-carbs basis releases more growth and testosterone hormone to get more advantage of your cheating as body gets fooled and digest it as normal calories. For even better results, develop better lifestyle and that by following circadian rhythm to get most out of your mood and hormonal changes. Check here. Just to give you a clue, by sleeping right you decrease sugar cravings.
Eating fat and protein (quality) also saturates your body more (9kcal, 6kcal). The question now is what to eat to get most out of your cheating. As you have surely noticed, I do not eat meat so much (check my 3 meals I eat everyday), why? it makes you more stiff and flexibility is important due to expansion to calisthenics, plus meats are full of antibiotics. If your budget allows it, go for quality meat rich in protein and fat this is especially great for complete content of amino acids (better protein synthesis).
As I am fully aware of benefits of eating meat, my cheat meal choice is usually some good meat, thus avoiding antibiotics by not eating it too often plus, 9 out of 10 times, my choice is fish for its great content of fat and protein, and low carbs. Lastly, I strongly suggest to stack up on some carbs to refill glycogen stores and also avoid acidity caused by too many ketones (fats) in blood.
Another great tip for inexpensive cheat meal is can of tuna, preferably in water with pasta (full corn) – make sure to not overdo it with pasta (carbs but still low GI food). This reminds me, one more tip when cheating make sure its low GI food, thus you remain more likely hormonal balance which means leaner and stronger. Tuna and pasta with some cheese rich in fats (ecological preferably) is also time friendly when it comes to preparation. Cheers 🙂