Cheat meals don’t stop you from gaining muscle or losing weight and most nutritional specialists agree that you should be following the 90 percent to 10 percent rule.
The 90% to 10% rule
The 90/10 rule means that 90% of the time, you should be following a diet plan which is specifically designed for your own goals and 10% of the time, you can treat yourself to something which isn’t on the plan. If you consume some ‘bad’ foods following this rule, you won’t necessarily end up gaining weight or hindering your fitness goals.
The perfect time to cheat is after a strength training session. Of course, during this post-workout window, you could eat healthily, but having a cheat meal isn’t as bad during this time either, as most of it will get used by your muscles after the workout instead of being stored as fat. Even if your workout was relatively low intensity, your muscles will still be able to absorb a lot more carbohydrates and prevent them from turning into fat.
One cheat meal a week
There are studies that show that cheat meals can help speed up your metabolism, but they can help you in a psychological way as well because it’s quite difficult for us to do a full seven days of dieting a week without allowing ourselves a little indulgence.
Not having a cheat meal can even make you go a bit crazy, especially if your diet lasts 12 weeks or more. In other words, a little junk food can do a lot to help with this mental challenge.
Go for it and have a cheat meal
There is a difference between eating foods that help with muscle building and cheat meals, although they can often get confused. A cheat meal is about eating something that is not part of your diet and usually constitutes junk food such as pizza, a hamburger or fries. Whereas if you’re eating to build muscle, you intentionally increase your calorie intake over a period of about eight to twelve hours by eating foods that tend to contain large amounts of protein.
As long as you follow a diet plan 90% of the time, you can have one or two cheat meals a week, but don’t overdo it. Cheat meals are designed to satisfy your taste buds and make you feel happy. So, stop feeling guilty the next time you have fast food! Because even if it is extremely unhealthy, even more so than smoking sometimes, just remember: everything in moderation!