I was browsing around at bodybuilding.com and came across a diet and video workout plan by Chris Getthin. Getthin is both a fitness success story and one heck of a coach. He’s featured on the bodybuilding.com website. Through a disciplined eating plan, top notch supplementation, and beast-like workouts, he was able to achieve a total body transformation in just twelve short weeks. His results were nothing short of amazing.
In his workout/diet plan Chris recommended many of the same things that we do here at CNB Muscle Building. There was one small issue I had with his initial video, though. He really seemed to knock the idea of having a cheat day every week. He said that if you had a cheat day, you would wonder why other people were getting results and you weren’t. I think great results are possible even with a cheat day. Just look at all those people who successfully lost weight with Body For Life.
What is a cheat day exactly? A cheat day is when you break from your standard diet and take one day, to eat whatever you want: chocolate, cookies, pizza, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts*, you name it. You can even eat these foods in excess if you so desire.
*I think i just drooled on my keyboard a bit
Contrary to popular belief, cheat days require discipline a lot more discipline than you might imagine. Why? For some, the cheat day can trigger a junk-craving domino effect. Upon sampling the delightful goodies in Pandora’s Box of Sweets, that craving for sugar, salt, and fat goes into overdrive. Many people lose their resolve. “Oh one more day couldn’t hurt” they deludedly say to themselves. Before you know it, the very same habits you were trying to break end up coming back with a vengeance. Your eating plan/diet is becomes a cobweb in the back of your memory.
However if you’re disciplined enough to get back to your normal routine the next day (discarding all of the junk food you don’t finish). I think the cheat day is the best way for long term success. It’s kind of like organized chaos. You know exactly when you’re going to cheat, and after a while, you even plan the foods that you’ll used to cheat.
A couple of people who might second me on this include Timothy Ferriss and Bill Phillips. Bill Phillips is famous for both the Body for Life book and Body For Life Challenge that were so incredibly popular from late nineties until the turn of the century. Body For Life was an effective program for so many. It was in the Body For Life Book that I first saw the concept of the cheat day. Tim Ferriss advocates the cheat day in his book The Four-Hour Body. According to this book, the calorie spike on a cheat day has thyroidal benefits (increased thyroid function (the changing the T4 hormone to T3, the active thyroid hormone)).
Aside from the hormonal benefits that Ferriss discusses, there are psychological benefits. If you know you’ll have a chance to eat to your heart’s content I think you’re much more likely to stick to your eating plan long term. Will a person who avoids the cheat day have faster results? Undoubtedly. But if a person is unable to make it through their planned program, which happens to normal people everyday, what good is it?
I am by no means knocking Chris’s plan, because it’s incredibly sound, and apparently very effective in its own right. I’m sure Getthin’s video was geared to target the more serious bodybuilder. But if you’re not a hardcore bodybuilder, I totally disagree on the concept of a cheat day. The scheduled cheat day is a wonderful way for the average person to maintain a healthy eating plan for much longer periods of time…pure and simple genius in my book.
To your muscle building success…