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“Can I meet my goals if I cheat?”

Ask The Ripped Dude
Obi Obadike

Ask The Ripped Dude: Cheat Meals Won't Stop You From Getting Diced

I've graced more than 28 magazine covers in the last 3 years. The global fitness industry has branded me "The World's Most Ripped Fitness Model."
Q

I've heard I won't meet my fitness goals if I eat cheat meals, is that true?

Cheat meals will neither prevent you from getting ripped nor losing fat! In fact, most nutrition experts - like Alan Aragon and John Berardi - have advocated what's known as the 90%-10% rule.

90/10

The 90/10 rule means that 90% of the time you should eat according to your specific goal-based nutrition plan, and 10% of time you can indulge in something that is not on the diet. If you consume cheat meals this way, you won't derail your fat loss or fitness goals.

Of course, there are even more tips and tricks. According to Alan Aragon, the post-workout period is your best time to cheat. During the post-workout window, the cheat meal stands a greater chance of being utilized by your muscles instead of being stored as fat.

Even when you do a low-intensity workout, your muscles can sponge up a lot of extra carbs, preventing them from being converted to fat.

Cheat to Win

There is no single research study that says cheat meals can speed up your metabolism, but eating them can help you psychologically. It is difficult for someone to be on a diet 7 days per week without cheating.

You may go crazy trying to do that, particularly if you are dieting for 12 weeks or longer. In other words, a little junk food might go a long way to help your mental game.

Re-feeds

There's a difference between a re-feed and a cheat meal, though the two are often confused. A cheat meal is eating something that is not part of your diet plan and is typically junk food like pizza, hamburgers or french fries. A re-feed is a planned increase in caloric intake that lasts about 8-to-12 hours and usually consists of a large amount of carbohydrates.

Let's say you are on a strict 1700-calorie diet 5 days per week, and then you re-feed for one day on a 2700-calorie diet. The re-feed is still healthy, but you're ingesting more carbs and calories for a specific purpose.

Re-feeds are particularly important to low-calorie (and low-carb) dieters who need to replenish muscle glycogen and spike the metabolism (by kicking up leptin levels).

Cheat Meal, Not Day

As long as you are following 90 percent of your diet plan, you can include 1-2 cheat meals per week to stay sane. Cheat meals are meant to satisfy your taste buds, not to fill your belly at some all-you-can-eat buffet.

A cheat meal is exactly that: a meal. A cheat meal does not constitute a whole day of cheating. If you follow the 90/10 rule, then the 10 percent spent cheating will never derail you from losing fat and getting ripped.

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About The Author

Known as ''The World Most Ripped Fitness Model,'' he's very passionate about educating people all over the world about health and fitness.

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khemalia05

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khemalia05

Very helpful!

Mar 6, 2012 11:19pm | report
 
bcarley

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bcarley

Cheat meals = staying sane

Mar 7, 2012 9:11am | report
 
fmphillips

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fmphillips

Thanks for this! Love the pics of the food. Satisfies me enough. Definitely keeping myself limited on my cheat meals because in the past I over-indulge. 1-2 x / week one meal/snack and I still try to stay away from McDonalds otherwise I'm afraid I may unleash the dragon inside me! :) Keep it up everyone!

Mar 7, 2012 12:11pm | report
 
stupoo88

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stupoo88

pizza on a sunday it is then :)

Mar 7, 2012 1:06pm | report
 
Sis

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Sis

loved this article!! I alway feel so guilty when I have a cheat meal.... but noone ever broke it down in that 90/10 rule for me before! thanks!!

Mar 7, 2012 1:43pm | report
 
StackingPlates

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StackingPlates

Much better, Obi - perhaps quoting actual experts like Alan Aragon should be your go forward strategy when it comes to nutritional recommendations?

Mar 8, 2012 8:54am | report
 
kickstartkenny

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kickstartkenny

Great job explaining the importance of a "Cheat Meal" as opposed to "Cheat Day" so often these two get swapped. Greasy pizza or tacos from a local mexican resturant are my weekness and therefore my, "cheat"

Mar 9, 2012 9:55am | report
 
jishan_jolly

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jishan_jolly

good one

Mar 16, 2012 11:45pm | report
 
matusidlo

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matusidlo

no matter what, I don't believe in cheat meals

Mar 21, 2012 8:41pm | report
 
matusidlo

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matusidlo

but a very good explanation for others

Mar 21, 2012 8:42pm | report
 
geekfamous

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geekfamous

Great information

Apr 2, 2012 3:25pm | report
 
paulski45

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paulski45

another tip might be what i call cheat the cheat meal....love pizza, but have it with lean or no meat and without cheese, but mushrooms and onions, whole wheat crust..... e personal weakness is for salt, so i crave french fries or potato chips.... if i have too much on a cheat meal, it makes me feel like crap, so take a 1/2 portion

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Apr 27, 2012 5:48am | report
 
Manda8765

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Manda8765

OMG! Thank you so much for this! I'm on a strict high protein - low carb diet for my first show in september. Going straight cold turkey from my regular eating ways (which wasn't bad either) into comp prep was such a drastic change. All I could think about is food and how hungry and unsatisfied I am. Knowing that I can have a cheat meal once a week makes it so much easier! No lie, my cheat meal is a turkey sub from subway lol!

Jul 16, 2012 8:21pm | report
 
DylanJamesOlson

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DylanJamesOlson

When I cheat i have a hard time stopping. Then i get sick. I know its all mental and this might sound nuts but i literally have blacked out while cheating and then realized i jsut devoured an ungodly amount of food.

Jul 30, 2012 9:20pm | report
 
CoachA33

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CoachA33

ha I always fall in the rut of cheating for a weekend, but the 90/10 is the most logical.

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Sep 20, 2012 7:58am | report
 
innovativejr33

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innovativejr33

hey i lost lbs doing cheat meal! i love this article. i was actually going crazy when i listen to my buddy about cheat meals and he said to me dont do that it will slow your progress so i listen to him and of course i was going crazy that im not cosuming the food that i crave for one day. anyways Cheat day is a must its not like you gain 5lbs just for that one day.

Jan 5, 2013 7:11am | report
 
suzyashby

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suzyashby

So glad to read this. I have just started my plan and two weeks in i am finding the diet very bland. I wont feel guilty having a little of what i fancy from time to time.

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Feb 23, 2013 2:21pm | report
 
itsJustAROD

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itsJustAROD

i have cheat meal every weekend to keep my sanity and refuel my glycogen tanks:)
just starting a low carb diet. wanna enter that keto state

Mar 28, 2013 6:15pm | report
 
Striveforit

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Striveforit

you do not need to be low carb to become shredded.. a keto diet isnt the way the go, eventually your body will start to used amino acids as carbs..

Feb 19, 2014 9:36pm | report
tracetheface

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tracetheface

Awesome article. Concise and helpful. Thanks!

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Apr 11, 2013 6:57pm | report
 
mkk666

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mkk666

how many times per week can i have a cheat meal?

Jul 3, 2013 6:33am | report
 
fallinwhisper

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fallinwhisper

Great to know, although my kryptonite is Chinese Food!! mmmm General Tso, egg rolls ... VERY hard to keep the portions in control when it comes to that stuff! =)

Jul 18, 2013 11:02am | report
 
esiolo

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esiolo

question well answered

Jul 23, 2013 10:26am | report
 
shudupandsquat

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shudupandsquat

defiantly good to hear a cheat meal is ok!

Sep 7, 2013 4:15pm | report
 
miahoo04

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miahoo04

I just had french fries today because of my PMS... :( but only one time for today! glad to find this article !

Sep 16, 2013 12:16pm | report
 
Showing 1 - 25 of 33 Comments

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