By: Shaun Hadsall
Believe it or not, Strategic Cheat days, Structured Re-feeds, and Strategic Binging can be the ultimate weapons of physical and psychological fat loss warfare when you learn how to use them properly.
However, there can be a dark side to cheat meals and cheat days.
In fact, nowadays you hear people talk about cheating like it’s a fad diet.
Sometimes, I wish I never even mentioned cheat meals or cheat days because it seems like every person on the planet using a treadmill thinks they deserve a food bender after a few days of eating clean.
Sorry folks, it doesn’t work that way.
I’ll only say this once. IF you abuse this technique or decide to stuff yourself to death on cheat days, you’ll create a downward spiral and sabotage the desired effect physically and mentally.
Ummmmm…You mean I really can’t eat 300 grams
of protein at once on my cheat day? (yes, that’s me)
Cheat days and cheat meals should only be used to accomplish specific physical and psychological functions directly related to fat loss goals.
Let’s get started.
Know WHEN and WHY you should cheat
- To spark a dead metabolism from being on the crash diet yo-yo or constant low carb dieting.
- To replenish and/or refill glycogen stores (when you’ve low carbed yourself to death or exercised intensely for prolonged periods of time).
- To serve as a psychological reward (only when you’ve earned the right).
- You have no energy or drive in your workouts or when you constantly feel flat and can’t seem to get a good “pump”. Or you just can’t find the emotional renewal you’re looking for.
- Your body temperature is always low or you’re cold all the time and feeling the chills a lot. This usually happens in leaner individuals. (Cheating will heat you up in a healthy way by using the thermic effect of cheat food and stoke your metabolism to get it moving again.)
- To reset fat burning hormones like leptin and provide a metabolic spark for your thyroid (usually from 4 to 6 days or longer of aggressive carb/calorie restriction or maintaining super low body fat levels for a long period of time).
Side note: Leptin is quite possibly one of the single most important hormones in terms of regulating body weight and appetite. The science behind this hormone goes way beyond the scope of this update, but leptin signals the brain about how much fat you’re carrying and also how much you’re eating.
In other words when you cut calories or start to get super lean, leptin drops fast so we have to metabolically manipulate and reset it. When leptin levels return back to pre-diet levels after weight loss, the results are improved thyroid levels, an increased metabolic rate, and continued fat loss.
Now that you have an understanding of when and why to cheat, let’s talk about the other side of the coin.
Know when NOT to cheat
1. You’re bored with bland diet foods – Newsflash, it’s a carb cycling plan, not the Food Network…if you want results, you have to Macro-Pattern™ and be willing to make some sacrifices a few days a week.
2. You’re stressed out and need an emotional food “high” – I think they call it “life” and last time I checked we’re all going to deal with some stress while we live it – so get used to it. Food can be like a drug, so don’t let yourself get addicted or emotionally attached to it.
3. You lack discipline – It’s either the pain of discipline OR the pain of regret. In other words, cheating is a reward – NOT an escape.
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to eat your favorite foods guilt free when you carb cycle. Just plan out when your cheat days and re-feeds are, make your sacrifices and go after your reward!
This is crucial for your long term success with fat loss. By focusing on earning a reward you automatically cultivate more discipline with your nutrition plan.
Additionally, by depriving yourself of your favorite cheat foods to accelerate fat loss and be more healthy – they all of sudden tastes twice as good as they normally would. You’ll also find that after a cheat day you’ll be ready for cleaner eating again. It happens over and over again to carb cyclers.
Every. Single. Time.
Now let’s move on to the 4 specific cheat day tactics you can use to accelerate fat loss and apply this approach effectively.
Apply STRUCTURED Re-feeds, Carb Loading Cheat Days, and Strategic Binging
1. Strategic Cheat Day (sometimes referred to as Carbing UP or Carb Loading) – Most times this is used mid-week and it’s specifically designed to provide a metabolic spark to help avoid the adaptive response.
- Usually consists of only one or two cheat meals
- Cheats are comprised of specific cheat foods that stimulate the metabolism and replenish glycogen
- Free meals are ty pically placed towards the end of your day
- Don’t binge or stuff
2. Hormonal Cheat Day (sometimes referred to as a Free Day or just Cheat Day) – This is the most flexible and fun cheat day with hardly any food restrictions.
- Specifically designed to reset fat burning hormones and replenish depleted glycogen
- Normally used after longer periods of depleting or Macro-Patterning™ when fat burning hormones have been suppressed and glycogen is super low
- Specifically done no more than once per week in most cases, sometimes less
- Again, never binge or stuff yourself to death (if you can help it)
3. Structured Re-Feeds – This is the most restrictive, but effective type of cheating.
- Specifically done for set periods of time, usually one to five hours
- More structured and detailed than traditional cheating
- Used for people who are a little more serious about getting lean
- Typically is comprised of specific foods, sometimes consumed in a specific order, and usually for a set period of time to achieve the desired outcome
4. Strategic Binging – This is a carb loading strategy used after high intensity weight training or bodyweight training (sometimes called MRT) workouts.
- Specifically designed to take advantage of the post workout “magic window”. In other words, after a high intensity resistance training workout your muscles are like a sponge that’s been emptied out and rung dry – so they are primed metabolically to suck up and absorb extra nutrients (especially carbohydrates)
- Comprised of specific high glycemic starchy carbs and fruits
- The binge is usually a little cleaner and only takes place for a one to three hour window
- Used for faster recovery, repair, and growth stimulated by high intensity resistance training
- Utilizes and takes advantage of GLUT-4, which is a Glucose‑Transporter or metabolic trigger, almost like a gateway that helps re-direct or “partition” the extra carbs straight into muscle
As you can see #3 and #4 are a little more structured. BUT…it’s still cheating. J
Remember, even though cheating can be fun, it can also be a double-edged sword if you’re not careful. The goal is to cheat long enough to get it out of your system and reward yourself, while metabolically triggering what your body needs physically and mentally.
Hopefully this is all starting to make sense and you can see how living this way can be a lot of fun.
Cheat Day Rules for FASTER Fat Loss
- Try to avoid a lot of alcohol when cheating. This can mess up the metabolic and hormonal effect you’re trying to accomplish.
- Try to avoid a lot of deep fried foods and high fructose corn syrup. Deep fried foods are basically void of any nutritional value and therefore don’t provide any metabolic or hormonal benefits for the cheat. Some research also indicates HFCS can potentially block or negatively impact circulating leptin levels.
Again, it’s a cheat day so you don’t have to get anal, but little tricks like this can really help.
- Plan for extra water the day after a cheat day. Remember the extra water your body will carry (from all the carbs) the next day. That’s why you hear people always talking about “carb-bloat” the day after cheating. Water is great damage control to get you back on track.
Oh ya, make sure you have a bathroom nearby. You’ll be making your trips to the bathroom part of your exercise plan for the day, but it’s worth it. 🙂
So hopefully this gives you some insight to how to apply your cheats properly.
Again, the key words here are “structured” and “strategic”. People will sometimes misuse this type of scientifically proven method and sabotage all the benefits associated with it.
It’s all about the preparation and the approach.
Before cheating you can specifically create the ultimate environment for a healthy food bender. After cheating, your metabolic pump is “primed” for super fat loss.
You just gotta know what to do!
Which leads us to the 14 Day Rapid Fat Loss Plan and you.
Now that you know WHY and WHEN you should cheat, it’s time to decide if this way of living is really for you or not.
If you’re looking to get started on this powerful weight loss strategy today, we have some great new for you. Just go to this special website we set up for you and you can see what it’s all about:
Enjoy and have an awesome day,