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Cheat Meals – The Hard Truth (YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!)

Eat foods you like while building ripped athletic muscle here

Cheat meals are one of the most asked about topics when it comes to bodybuilding and workout nutrition. Everyone wants to know how often it is ok to indulge in cheat meals and whether it is possible to have them and still be ripped. It is just another one of those nutrition questions that people seem to get hung up on, rightfully so, on their way to getting a six pack. In this video, I’m going to cover the hard truth about cheat meals and give you all the facts so that you can decide for yourself.

First, we have to define what a cheat meal actually is. In my opinion we are not talking about foods like steak, pizza, pasta, potatoes, or mint chocolate chip frozen yogurt. Those are actually just foods that are not only part of my recommended meal plan but what I eat in a single day. Instead, I am referring to those foods that are loaded with fats, carbohydrates or calories that are typically served with a death certificate along with a napkin.

That said, as long as we are defining these indulgences the same way I would say that you have to ask yourself 4 questions when it comes to deciding how important cheat meals are to you.

First, you have to ask if the meal plan you are on right now is making you feel deprived. Most diets and diet plans do exactly that. They revolve around the concept of deprivation. No carbs. No fats. No wheat. While this is something you can likely follow for the short term you will not likely be able to stick to this for any meaningful period of time. If this is you, you might find yourself craving cheat meals.

Next, you have to ask what your fitness goals are. I have a brand that I am the face of that I believe I must represent honorably. Because of this, I follow a pretty rigid eating plan. You on the other hand may be perfectly happy having 8 percent body fat and still being able to eat some cheat meals every now and then. It’s totally possible as long as you follow the remainder of the rules I put forth in the video.

You also have to determine your level of motivation and how likely you are to not allow a cheat meal to turn into a cheat day and a cheat week. Staying the course long term again is the goal of any nutrition strategy. One that includes cheating or not.

At the end of the day, eating the right foods and having good nutrition is important for getting your six pack abs to show year round. You can’t eat unhealthy foods and follow a bad diet and think that you are going to be showing good muscle definition. That said, while this can be the hardest part for many it doesn’t have to be complicated. Simplify your nutrition with the X Factor Meal Plans included in the ATHLEAN-X Training System that you can get at today.

For more videos on workout nutrition and cheat meals as well as cheat days, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on youtube at

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  1. Hey Jeff, I've come across some research on blood-type based diets, I read some of their papers and it made sense to me, and so far it's been super helpful for me in losing weight and feeling great, here's an example of a doctor that advocates it: . what do you think of it? do you recommend I keep following it?

  2. If i go on a strict diet 5 meals a day , 7 days a week = 35 meals, 5 days of train each week , with a proper cardio after exercises, but only one meal on each week will be total  absolute Trash Food, is this gonna ruin all of mine effort ? and yes i am noob thats way i ask 🙂

  3. Jeff, you say that you put science before strength. Can you share your opinion about those documentaries like What the Health and so, and what do you think about animal food sources and diseases these days…

  4. During my past few years of training and watching what I eat… A few years down the line… your starting diet will become your average intake. And that is good, that is a the goal. Don't go back to binging just because you are thin now, you will destroy years of work.

  5. I can’t gain muscle even though I’m lifting like crazy! How much protein is in ejaculate? I ask because I masturbate CONSTANTLY…and the only thing I can figure is I’m blasting all the protein out of me throughout each day….

    Perhaps I should aim for the ol’ mouth, you know…waste not want not.

  6. One of the things I struggle with is sweets. I love chocolate and cakes, but over time, I've avoided the sweetest and most sugary snacks and shifted my taste toward much more bitter chocolate. Milk chocolate is mostly just sugar, and even 70% dark chocolate can have around 20% sugar content. I gradually moved to 100% chocolate, which is basically just cocao mass, but it's quite good once you get used to the taste, and it's so bitter you simply can't binge on it. I'm also in the process of converting my ice cream habit to banana "ice cream", which is where you chop up a banana, freeze it, then put it in a blender, mash it up and eat it. It tastes like really nice banana ice cream 🙂 Home made wholemeal bread and homemade jam (way reduced sugar) also help a bit. I guess they are still not really great nutrition, but making and eating them make me happy 😀

  7. Everytime i feel like having a cheat meal, all the sweat and hard work i put in the gym hours upon hours everyday lurked in to my head, I just can’t lol.

  8. When ever I want to have a cheat day I remind myself that I have terrible metabolism so it's not worth it.

  9. My cheat meal once a week after deadlift day is 2 double cheeseburgers large fries (1150K) i love deadlift tuesday 🙂

  10. Totaly true I used to have one cheat meal of traditional couscous in lunch but then it got stretched to dinner and then to the next day I will be returning to one meal a week

  11. Great advices there! The problems I got on my side to keep motivated are :

    1- My working schedule! I work physically 12h a working shift and on a 3-2-2-3 base and I don't feel in the mood to cook food before/after work. I dunno what to do honestly to counter that.

    2- I feel like I always run out of idea of what to eat. I am going to grocery store and get so bored. I waste so much time there than I feel hungry and go to eat asian food or subway.

    3- My wife! Sometimes, I am on a very good run of gym/good eating but my wife want me to stay at home with her even if she is the one who complain about my fat ass before. Divorcing ain't a solution btw, so don't suggest that.

    4- My last problem is, I get bored of drinking water. I know drinking water is a big part of cleaning the body and it does make a difference but it is so boring.

  12. Im having my cheat meal on Saturday night. Ive chosen what day and im sticking to it. Plus its only a chicken snitzel with chips and broccoli. Im still having my chicken and potatoes just not so healthy.

  13. I lost 60kg and i found it hard to keep it going i got the shits and had kfc the next day i was 2kg lighter??? Wtf?? So now i have kfc twice a week and clean the rest and my weight started going down again

  14. I have noticed eating certain snack replacements like sunflower seeds instead of chips and rice cakes are good but I try not to pig out on cheat meals but just eat normal portions lettuce wrap burgers, donuts but only one or two self control is the hard part. But I can do two cheat meals if I cut the snacks.

  15. What if you eat one or two pieces of chocolate small like 3 cm x 3cm will that impact gains enough to not eat it?

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