Each Thursday lunchtime so it's only natural that our mind has started to wonder to the weekend. For me, that means planning my weekly indulgence!
Now it might seem counter productive for a Health & Fitness newsletter written by personal trainers to have a giant picture of a calorie laden unhealthy cheat meal right in your face. But it's by allowing yourself to indulge that may result in an increase in your results. Let me explain myself.
A common topic of conversation of gyms up and down the country, and Instagram the virtual fitness studio, is "What's your next cheat meal?" A cheat meal is an opportunity to eat something you desire as a reward for sticking to a training and diet plan. However, should this purely be one meal, a meal and desert or a whole day?
Lets lay out some ground rules:
1) A cheat meal has to be earned- without putting the work in you can't get the reward.
2) A cheat meal is just that- 1 meal. Don't let your hard work slip into a weekend of excess.
3) Be aware of the extras- do you really need a litre of coke and 4 tablespoons of mayo?
Another system I try to bring into place with my new clients is that they need to commit to a plan for 4 weeks before we can start discussing cheat meals. Once I have seen that display of commitment and willpower to new habits then we can discuss the rewards of consistent training and nutrition.
So how can we avoid having cheat meals but still enjoy eating the meals we enjoy. Be creative. It is simpler than you think to eat Pizza without having to order Dominoes. Try creating it from scratch with a wholemeal pitta for the base and a homemade tomato sauce and protein for the topping. Use the internet for a great source of creative ideas for dealing with those cheat cravings.
Here is how having a cheat meal might benefit your training. By having a reward to look forward to it focuses your mind to work hard during the work to earn that weekend treat. As you are struggling through that last rep or the last kilometre of your run using an indulgence as a goal really helps you power through. The important thing to focus on though is not letting that 1 treat slip into a downward spiral so stick to the above guidelines.
So, currently I am trying to lean out for an upcoming photoshoot. The biggest difference I have made is to my diet. I have increased the intensity of my workouts to increase the fat burn and added in some extra cardio sessions. But the biggest difference in my body composition has come through monitoring closely my diet. That has sadly meant I have had to get rid of my weekly indulgence. However this has led to me becoming even more focused on the cheat meal. Just having this the photoshoot as a focus has enabled me to squeeze out an extra couple of reps when I thought I had fatigued or enabled me to stay on the treadmill for just 5 minutes longer. By acknowledging that I am going to get that cheat at the end has made it easier to remain faithful to my diet plan.
Well, what are you waiting for? Set yourself a weekly target of health related goals that you need to hit to earn your weekend cheat meal. For example if I do 4 workouts this week and eat healthily alongside this I can eat 1 cheat meal on Saturday night. See how it works for you.
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