Cheat meals are often talked about in general nutrition articles but they rarely become the main subject of discussion, cheat meals believe it or not are a lot more useful than most Bodybuilders think. A normal bodybuilding diet should always be kept clean, natural and simple, that’s why world class Bodybuilder’s and Athletes eat chicken, steak, rice and vegetables year round, it’s healthy and it’s easy to prepare. That said, cheat meals are also staples in their diets because not only are they useful but they also taste good, writing an article dedicated to explaining the importance of these meals is a must.
What are they?
Before we can move on and explain just how cheat meals really work you need to understand what a cheat meal is. The term can only apply to healthy eaters because in all reality, how can someone cheat on their diet in they eat burgers and pizza all week? The concept of cheat meal has been used amongst the Bodybuilding and Fitness community for a long time now, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbu are well known for being Mr. Olympia’s and for their pie eating stories, they have said in previous interviews that the night before the Mr. Olympia competitions they used to go and eat pie, that’s probably why they looked amazing come show day.
In the Bodybuilding world cheat meals are used for various reasons, these foods are mostly used to allow the Bodybuilder to create a state of balance in his body, Professional Bodybuilders diet for months in order to obtain single digit body fat levels, if they ate clean during all of that time they would become frustrated and probably quit their diet, cheat meals are used for a variety of reasons but the main one is to keep the dieting process as smooth as possible, they are a simple dieting method.
Why should they be used?
Like it was mentioned above, cheat meals are a simple dieting tool that can be used during cutting or even clean bulking, every Bodybuilder out there has used them at least once in their lifetime to help them keep their physique on track during the dieting process, it comes as a surprise to most that cheat meals are not only used for one sole purpose but instead are used for a variety of reasons.
Maintaining Balance: First and foremost cheat meals are necessary to keep balance inside the human body during dieting periods, the body can only be on a deficit for so long before it starts using muscle mass instead of fat as an energy source. Bodybuilders and even Fitness Models will tactically incorporate these meals a few times in a month depending on their diet regimen to kick start their metabolism and replenish the body with the necessary calories.
Accelerating the Metabolism: The second reason on why cheat meals are a huge part of any Bodybuilder’s diet is a little bit more scientific, cheat meals are great for accelerating the metabolism, there will come a time during your diet that your body will hit a plateau, your body will be dropping fat fast and will look for muscle as an energy source, if you incorporate cheat meals the body will directly use these foods as energy while accelerating your metabolism at the same time.
Maintaining Fullness: It doesn’t matter what diet program you follow, if you want to get lean you will have to lower your caloric intake which means that your macronutrients will also go down, the fullness to a physique is attributed to carbohydrates, if these are low your body will naturally look flat. Incorporating cheat meals while on a diet allows the physique to look and feel full, that’s why you see a lot of guys eating a good amount of carbohydrates on the day of their bodybuilding competitions, no one can look full and maintain a pump without carbohydrates in their system.
Cheat meals are good if they are used correctly, it doesn’t matter if you are dieting for a bodybuilding competition or you just to look good during your summer vacation, don’t stay away from cheat meals because not only will they help you stay on track, they will also contribute to how your body will look. It has been often said that cheat meals should be avoided at all cost but that’s simply wrong, the body needs balance in order to function.
There is also a huge misconception in relation to the classification of cheat meals or foods, there is a big difference between eating a thousand calories worth of doughnuts versus a thousand calories in a burger, cheat meals should be made out of REAL food, take Ronnie Coleman for example, he used to eat a lot of chicken with barbecue sauce alongside a big protein shake, that particular meal is not something that a bodybuilder would eat in a daily basis, a cheat meal is made out of food that you would normally eat when being off a diet.