Personal Trainer helps you to cheat your way to fat loss
A Top Personal Trainer looks at whether a cheat meal really works to keep you losing weight
The good old cheat meal. Can you really cheat your way thin? Does it work, how often can you use it and how do you use it correctly are the questions I hear time and time again from my clients.
Keeping carbohydrate intake low is the key to fat loss but utilising carbs at the correct time can be very powerful and it’s this carbohydrate manipulation that needs to be understood and trusted for the cheat meal to work.
Let me introduce you to leptin.
Leptin is a very powerful hormone and is secreted in our fat cells. If leptin is absent, we tend to overeat but if leptin is present then eating or feeding is inhibited. It basically regulates feeding and controls our appetite. The more body fat someone has the more leptin is secreted to inhibit overeating and the storage of adipose tissue. That’s the technical term for fat. Leptin is our hunger hormone and can be very powerful if harnessed properly.
When anyone is on a low carb diet, leptin levels will drop and the metabolism can slow down and become slightly suppressed. In the beginning, this is not a problem as the reduced carbohydrate intake will rapidly help you lose pounds of body fat in a very short time but after a while, this reduced metabolic rate needs to be addressed and quickly or fat loss can quickly come to an abrupt halt.
The quickest way to increase levels of leptin is to eat a combination of high GI carbs withfat. This sudden influx of calories will SPIKE your leptin levels and literally turn your fat burning mechanisms within your body back on. Great news right? The pancreas, which is a very clever organ in the body responsible for insulin production and many other things, has been having an easy time of it as it has had very little work to be doing in the absence of carbohydrates. Suddenly, this massive intake of sugar and fat jump starts the pancreas and literally ramps up the metabolic rate as insulin is secreted to combat that sugar.
This increased metabolic rate puts you back into fat burning mode and allows you to continue with your reduced carbohydrate dietary plan. Secondly, it keeps you sane and gives you something to look forward to once or twice per week.
For most people, a cheat meal every 5-7 days is enough but can only be used if the diet has been clean and well balanced in the 4-5 days leading up to the planned cheat meal. For the lucky individuals out there who are under 10% body fat most of the year, like my business partner and good friend, Tom Dyer (he is about 5% at the mo), I would advise a cheat day where you literally eat whatever you want for the entire day. This is best done on a Sunday so the new week can start first thing Monday.
For us mere mortals, once a week is all that’s needed and advised. For the obese, I wouldn’t advise a cheat meal at all. A good clean consistent diet and food choices is what is needed here.
I can understand that the very concept of this “cheat meal” goes against the idea of losing body fat but you have to trust the science and the research and trust me when I tell you that this works and it works well.
I will raise a slice of pizza to your continued fat loss…..
Now, where is that Dominos menu?
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