TOP 10 CHEAT MEAL DAMAGE CONTROL TIPS
1. Protein and Produce is STILL a Priority!
You don't abandon your weekday diet. You're just adding in the extras you've been craving all week. Starting with a big-ass salad is always a smart move.
2. Make it a Meal, NOT a Full Day (or Weekend)
Unless you're a 200+ pound meathead in college, you can kiss Cheat Weekends goodbye. Even a full day is pushing it for most metabolisms. I've personally found a 4-6 hour period of flexible eating to be the sweet spot.
3. A Start Time of 4pm or Later is Key
The earlier you start, the worse the outcome. You also won't get anything done during the day. It's always better to be a slob in the evening, don't you agree?
4. Book-End Cheat Meals with Intensive Training
Depleting your body's stored nutrients makes your muscles sponges for those eats and treats. The extra calories and carbohydrates can also be an X-factor for growth and recovery. And there's certainly potential for an epic high-energy training session the next day.
5. Eat Light the Day of the Main Event
If you want to go HIGH, you need to go LOW. It's all about factoring in caloric balance over the course of each week. I typically will just have a protein shake or essential amino acids midday on cheat days.
6. Fast The Next Day Until Dinner if Possible
It can take 24 hours to digest cheat meals so drink a lot of water and get a good sweat the next day to clear out your system. Protein is fine but keep the fat and carbs very low during daytime for best results. And definitely don't eat again until you're hungry.
7. Make Cleaner Choices Whenever Possible
Don't be a fat slob just because you can. For example, I eat chips made with avocado oil instead of inflammatory vegetable/seed oils. The calories may end up being the same, but the short and long-term health consequences differ.
8. Limit Liquid Calories
It's a great rule during the week that holds true for cheat meals IMHO. Fill up with food for a more lasting and satisfying experience. If liquids are that important to you, then you need to cut back a bit on the solid side of things to balance it out.
9. Make It Count
If you've earned this cheat meal from your hard work during the week - both inside and outside of the gym - then there's nothing to be guilty about. Make sure you properly reward yourself for a peak end-of-week experience. Nothing's worse than waking up unsatisfied the next day, with 6 days before your next one.
10. Get Away With As Much As You Can (For As Long As You Can)
At 32, my cheat meals certainly aren't as ridiculous as they once were but I still go hard AF. And I'll keep doing so for as long as I can, knowing the window of flexibility closes with every revolution around the sun.
Any questions, just ask. I am here to help.
Stay happy, stay positive, stay motivated and continue to make your Future greater than your Past.