Cheat Meal – Feast Like a Boss Using the Rule of 3
Cheaters never prosper. If you’re serious about your gains, you must never veer from chicken, rice, tilapia, and maybe a sweet potato for variety.
Right? Not so fast.
There are many methods of dieting. Some are strict, some are cyclical, some include Pop Tarts and some include a weekly cheat meal.
Wait, some diets allow you to cheat?
Oh heck yeah they do. A popular low carb diet called the cyclical ketogenic diet, a trend in the early 2000’s, even advocated a weekend carb-up with hamburgers, pizza and other greasy, carby, and deliciously decadent foods.
Carb backloading, a current trendy little diet, advocates a low carb diet all day, then you train, then you eat burgers and have a little fun. Even IFBB prep guru Dave Palumbo advocates a cheat meal once a week with his controlled-carb diet. This approach has turned many top amateurs into pros, like Tony Freeman, winners of pro shows.
You might be asking, how the heck does this work? Is this diet for me? Can this diet work for me?
As usual, I am here to answer this, simplify things and put this in such a BRO perspective that even the most-feeble of minds can understand. If you want to eat corn dogs and curly fries and still get shredded, read on.
Benefits of Cheat Meals
Psychological: Eating good food gives you something to look forward to, allows you to eat off of the plan and “be normal.” I’ll explain what normal is later. A cheat meal allows you to have dinner out with friends, celebrate a birthday, etc.
Hormonal: A sudden influx of calories can have beneficial effects on many hormones including leptin, ghrelin, thyroid, serotonin, etc. This can help you avoid hormone-induced diet plateaus.
Types of Cheats
First off, I hate the word cheat. Unless you mess up. If a “cheat” meal is planned into the diet, it isn’t a cheat. It is a “free” meal because it’s a planned part of the overall plan for fat loss.
A cheat meal, to me, is when you do not plan it, just break down and get tired of dieting and say “F it!” But these are planned, controlled and meant to HELP the diet.
The Refeed: This is the method preferred by many contest prep gurus. Basically, you either just add carbs in over your normal macros, or you lower protein and fat to allow for more carbs.
This is the method that I personally prefer for serious prep and most people in general. For example, if your macros are:
- 150g protein
- 100g carbs
- 50g fat
Then we move it to
- 120g protein
- 350g carbs
- 30g fat
This allows more carbs, controls calories and allows more fun foods and glycogen storage benefits.
The Dirty Cheat: This is usually an entire day or time period where you can eat whatever the heck you want. For example, from what I understand Dave Palumbo allows a cheat meal for an hour once a week where you eat anything you want.
While I am not a huge fan, Dave gets results, and unless a speed eater, an hour limits it to a reasonable, yet potentially insane number of calories. As for an entire day, this can destroy a diet. That is my least preferred method.
The Free Meal: This is the other method I use. I outlined this in my “Fat Loss Factor Book” and rather than rewriting the bible, let’s take this excerpt from it.
This meal can be ANYTHING you want. Just one meal, within an hour, no buffets. We do not call it a “cheat” meal because it is on the program! Cheating is when you DON’T follow the program.
The free meal will help keep your body on its toes, rev up metabolism and also keep you SANE with yummy, not so healthy foods. But we have seen many people OVERDO it or not do it at all. Both of these can have negative ramifications.
If you go to a buffet, you can eat MUCH more than normal – to the point of gluttony which can consist of swollen ankles, bloated abs, and a 12-hour date with the porcelain princess. NOT having it can be just as bad. When dieting, the free meal acts to stimulate the metabolism.
When you eat 100% clean for an extended period, the low calories become maintenance and fat loss stalls. This is where the free meal can kick your metabolism straight in the glutes and get your glutes tight and firm!
The FREE part also stands for freedom! The freedom to eat without guilt, without a food scale, and without counting. It is psychological freedom at its finest! ENJOY it. Take someone on a date. Eat an ice cream cone with your dog. Or if you really want to get freaky, get some honey and whipped cream and… never mind.
The Rule of Three
So back to the rules. The “Rule of Three” represents three courses. But we are NOT allowing trips to the buffet as a free meal. Sit down at a restaurant or enjoy home cooked yumminess! The three courses are:
Course 1: Salad OR Soup OR Appetizer
You may have any ONE of these. Appetizers are usually meant for two. You can even get fried stuff. Any appetizer works. Just eat half of it or split it with someone. Don’t take it home!
For salads, just get any old salad you want and eat the good dressing! You know, the creamy stuff that is “bad” for you!
Soup is GOOD. Get any soup on the menu. A bowl, not a pitcher!
Course 2: Main Course
ANYTHING on the menu. Fried food, pizza, calamari, burger and fries, chitterlings, latkes, s ’cargo, pork n’ beans, chimichangas, meat pie….you get the point!
Course 3: Dessert
Let them eat cake! Rock it out. Apple pie ala Mode, cheesecake, fried bananas, banana splits. Just order dessert!
This should satiate you and not leave you feeling BAD. The rule is that if it is not the last meal of the day that you should be able to eat your normally scheduled meal after it. If you cannot, you overdid it.
There you go! Now have a good time and fit in with the “average” people for once!
Out of any non-measured method, I like this the best. And with free meals and most cheat meal plans, all other meals that day stay the same since we want that surplus that day.
Who Will These Plans Work For?
For the refeed, pretty much anyone. For the free meal and cheat meal, you will have to be in a decently large deficit all week prior. They also might not work for those with crappy metabolisms or those who succumb to “trigger foods.”
Trigger foods are a psychological trigger where if you eat one, it makes you go into an uncontrollable binge episode.
5 Guys cheat meal with IFBB pro Juan Morel.
Cheat to Win!
Which one is for you? Try them all!
Some like my man Juan Morel are all for the dirty cheats. Some like most other humans not named Juan Morel might do better with controlled refeeds or free meals.
Experiment, see what works best, and then adjust as needed! Because eating cheeseburgers and losing fat, that’s not a game!