Maximize Your Cheat Day
This is the final part of our Cheat Day series. In part one we learned the science behind the cheat day and why it works so well when incorporating it once per week. In part two of our series, we discussed the basics of your cheat day and answered some common questions people have when deciding to eat this way. In part three, we will be going over different ways you can maximize your cheat day so it can work even more in your favor. These are simple solutions that you can do to ensure your cheat day only has a positive affect on your body.
Now please note, what we are about to cover is optional. You do not have to do any of these things on your cheat day if you do not want to. If you eat healthy for the previous 6 days in the week, then enjoy a cheat day; great results will follow. With that said, lets take a look at some simple solutions that you can do when trying to get the most out of your cheat day:
In his book the Four Hour Body, Tim Ferriss did some interesting experiments on the cheat day diet that I would like to share with you. Everything that he tested, I have tried out myself and can confirm they work very well. You can see these solutions as a kind of “damage control” for your cheat day:
Start with a good breakfast:
The morning of your cheat day, always start with a good “non-cheat” breakfast. This meal should consist of at least 30 grams of protein and some good fiber. Doing this will help with digestion throughout the rest of the day as you enjoy your cheat meals.
Many times starting a cheat day with a full on cheat meal will set you up for disaster the rest of the day. I have done this before and spent much of the day in the bathroom. Not fun when it is your one time that week to enjoy any and all food.
Consume some fructose or fruit sugar right before you first cheat meal:
Consuming some fructose or fruit sugar before your first cheat meal will help dull the insulin spike you will surely experience after eating your cheat meal. In his book, Tim recommends drinking grapefruit juice before eating your first cheat meal.
Because the foods we are eating will cause major spikes in insulin, having a small amount of fructose or fruit sugar can help minimize the insulin spike.
Another way to help halt the insulin spike is by adding some cinnamon to your foods.
Have caffeine with your cheat meals:
Adding some coffee or Yerba Mate (one of the things Tim prescribes) will help with the digestion of your cheat foods and allow them to pass through your system faster. This means the cheat foods will not stay in your body as long, which will be of benefit. Simply adding a cup of coffee or a few shots of espresso will do the trick. (100-200 milligrams of caffeine)
Brief muscular contraction can help open up muscle receptors for more calories to flow into. This will allow you to store most of the junk you ate in your muscles rather than store it as fat. Now please note that you are not burning off the foods you just eat. By doing these brief exercises, you are opening up more receptors throughout the body for the cheat foods to flow into so you don’t store the food as fat. During a cheat day, you will be eating more sugar and carbs than your body needs so in a sense doing these short exercises are allowing you to store more food in the right places.
Now I am not talking about going through a full 20 minute workout before or after eating a cheat meal (not even close). Studies have shown that that by doing just 60-90 seconds of exercise is far enough to open up those receptors. The best time to perfrom the exercises is either a few minutes before the meal, or preferably 90 minutes after a meal (or both).
The easiest exercise option is going to be the bodyweight squat. Perform 60-90 seconds of bodyweight squats and you will be good to go. Another option would be wall presses. You want to be sure that the exercise you choose to do will not affect any of the training you are already doing. You are not trying to get sore (or even sweat) from this, you are only trying to get 60-90 seconds of muscle contraction.
In closing our series, I would like to state two more points about cheat days:
First and foremost, enjoy them! If you stay strong to eating healthy for the previous 6 days you deserve a day to eat whatever you want. You should not feel guilty by eating tons of junk food one day per week. As we have seen, this one day a week will help your results. So go out and enjoy the day, it will make the foods taste that much better!
Secondly, just because this is your cheat day it doesn’t mean you should go out and stuff your face with 15,000 calories. Now sure, if the Minnesota State Fair is happening then maybe that is ok (kidding, the fair is just crazy), but other than that you should simply eat as you normally would. Don’t put any restrictions on your cheat day. Have some pancakes in the morning, a burger and shake at lunch, pizza for dinner, and ice cream for dessert. If you just focus on enjoying the day instead of trying to make yourself sick, you will see much better results (please note, this does not mean you should hold back on your cheat day. What I am saying is don’t intentionally go out of your way to eat more than you need to).
That about wraps it up for our Cheat Day series. The cheat day plan is the best nutrition plan I have ever been on, and the best part is, it brings amazing results. If you have never tried it before, I recommend giving it a shot.
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