Alex and I have been working hard for the past few months. She’s been training for a marathon and I’ve been trying to whip my body into shape for my latest fitness goal (to be announced shortly). When you’re training hard, a cheat meal is an absolute necessity (to me at least). It gives you a psychological break from focusing on every item you put in your mouth. The problem is that you can undo some or all of your weekly weight loss progress if you go HAM during your cheat meal.
I’ve found a little trick that allows me to minimize (even negate) my weight gain after my cheat meals. I first learned about this technique a few years ago when I read The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. Here’s what I usually do:
*Disclaimer* This only works if you’ve been eating a healthy, balanced diet and allow one day for “cheat” foods.
You’ll need to do an intense workout on an empty stomach before your cheat meal. The purpose of the workout is to deplete muscular glycogen and activate the glucose transporters in the muscle (GLUT4 and GLUT12) to minimize fat gain.
2. Eat a high-protein (non-cheat) breakfast
I usually have a few scrambled eggs with soy bacon. This also helps curb your appetite.
3. Pre-cheat meal exercises
Complete 90 seconds of body weight exercises a few minutes before your first cheat meal. I do squats, lunges and wall pushups. According to Tim, this brings glucose transporter (GLUT 4) to the surface of the muscle cells, opening more gates for the calories to flow into. The more muscular gates we have open before insulin triggers the same GLUT 4 on the surface of fat cells, the more we can put in muscle instead of fat.
If that just went completely over your head, don’t worry. It’s a fancy way of saying that those funny exercises keep your body from holding on to fat during your cheat meal. The science really is fascinating. I’d recommend reading the book.
4. Cheat time!
I eat whatever I want. The only thing I avoid is fast food or packaged crap. If I want a chocolate chip cookie or whatever, I get it from bakery that uses quality ingredients. No trick can undo the effects of chemical-filled food.
I usually cheat from 1:00 p.m. until I go to sleep. Seriously. And yes, I drink during that time too. I typically stick to wine.
5. Post-cheat meal exercises
Complete 90 seconds of body weight exercises after you’re done eating. Technically, you’re supposed to do these after each cheat meal, but I didn’t find any difference in my results when I did so I just do these at the end of my cheat day.
I think it goes without saying that you MUST get right back on your diet the next day. Sometimes I do an intermittent fast for 16 hours the next day as well.
That’s it. Try this on your next cheat day, then weight yourself 24 hours after your last cheat meal. You’ll be amazed!