Fueling Your Fat Loss – The Cheat Night
Your macros are set, your food is prepped and you’re slamming out some awesome sessions in the gym every week. The pounds of stubborn fat are falling off you like a stack of cheese curds around a pack of hungry teenagers and you’re happy. Really happy—UNTIL the results just STOP! We’ve all been at this point in our nutrition at some point or another, so don’t get discouraged. This plateau of body fat and weight loss that occurs after a few weeks of intense nutritional and exercise exhibition. What do you do? Do you slash calories again? Do you exercise even more? The answer will make you happy. I mean like fat kid in a cake with no one around happy. The answer is the CHEAT NIGHT!
Cheating On Your Diet
Now it may sound like a horrible thing, but cheating on your dietary goals on a set period during the week is actually a really good way to stimulate further fat loss, although cheating on your significant other will leave you penniless, stressed the frack out and wanting to commit suicide. But apples and oranges people, apples and oranges.
Your body is a machine, a very efficient machine at that. So efficient that during the course of your calorie deficient diet that you’ve embarked on for several weeks has started to slow your metabolism to a grinding halt. Now this can go one of two possible ways, either into full on starvation mode, where the body wants to store everything away and not utilize any calories unless it absolutely has to or the body will just stop losing bodyfat. That scale number now seems to be at an impossible standstill and you’re frustrated. What do you do?
The key in this scenario is to not decrease the amount of nutrients coming in, but to feed the body with more nutrients one night a week. Simple right? And here’s why…
Increasing Your Daily Burn
When the body has more calories than it’s used to getting it gets all excited like your wife or girlfriend with an extra $2000 to go shopping at the Outlet Malls. It basically can do anything it wants with those extra calories; so if you’ve been a good little boy or girl and are training hard, eating very clean, undercounting your daily calories by a significant amount it’s going to want to splurge and do some real work with those calories. Generally in this case the body will store some of those calories away in the muscles for use to fuel your workouts as muscle glycogen, start building up some new muscle tissue, and repair some damage that may have been accrued during hard training bouts. Excellent right?
Another nice product from overeating on some nasty treats is when the pituitary gland cranks up the thermostat. That’s your fat burning center that releases some more hormones to use up some of those extra calories as heat, thus increasing your metabolism. This is the real key for what we want to accomplish with the infamous “cheat night”. Crank up that heat!
Now Everyone Is Different
You know that individual differences are what make us special, right? Well, that’s the problem with cheat nights too! If you’ve really earned your cheat night it is going to do wonders for your physique. It will help top off those deficiently fueled muscles, add some good fuel for the brain to help you concentrate better, start the repair process on some damaged areas and it will crank that thermogenic feeling in your body to the maximum!
These are all good things that will help us continue on with losing fat and building/sustaining lean tissue. However, if you’re cheating and you haven’t really hit a deficit that is in need of refeeding the engine, I’m sorry but those calories are not going to help you sustain continued weight loss, they’re just going to get stored as fat.
You need to get the body to the brink of exhaustion and then stimulate with a big feeding of tasty treats it needs. Not just splurge because you feel like you need to splurge. Cheat nights are definitely for the user to remain sane too, but if you’ve been having popcorn and wine every other night in the week do you really need to have a big cheat night out on the town. Probably not! This is where your own integrity and honesty towards losing the extra bodyfat resides.
If you’ve honestly earned a cheat night, go ahead and hit the burger joint hard and then top it off with a couple ice cream cones. They’re only going to rev up your metabolism and be put towards good use by the body. If you haven’t created this “need” you’re just continuing to spin your wheels.
Keys to Cheat Nights
-Create a deficit large enough that the body NEEDS to reefed itself, this doesn’t have to be a large number of calories slashed all at once, but it should be a sustained effort over the course of several days. This is different for everyone so a bit of biofeedback is necessary here.
-Exercise intensely with resistance training and anaerobic cardio to burn off muscle glycogen and get the body prepared for a reefed.
-Reserve your cheat nights to one or two nights a week, depending upon how lean you are already. Notice: If you’re below 10% bodyfat you’re already lean and you may need to refeed more frequently, especially if you’re exercising extremely hard.
-Don’t go completely off your nutritional program during a cheat meal –you still need the extra protein and fibrous veggies to fuel your training efforts. Get a good amount of protein, healthy fats and then slam down some goodies to top it off.
-If you’re cheating more frequently or for several days in a row this option, well, it isn’t really an option you’re on that stationary spin bike and not going anywhere. Re-evaluate your nutritional program and figure out what your missing.
There you have it folks. The legendary cheat night is quite essential for most serious fat loss enthusiasts, not only to help out the brain and give you some necessary brain food, but also to help keep that metabolism running at a good clip. Although you have to consider whether or not you really deserve it first.
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