7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Cheat Meals

7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Cheat Meals

A cheat meal is a lifter’s favorite feast, probably after a whey protein shake. If you’ve been around the fitness scene for some time, you probably have heard how a cheat meal can help you achieve your goals faster.

Fitness enthusiasts and not-so-enthusiasts wait six days a week for their treasured lip-smacking meal. The most popular theory around cheat meals is that they provide your body with enough calories to give your muscles a fuller and rounder appearance.

Another story reasons that since you’re only eating ‘clean food’ while following a strict fitness diet, your body will no longer be able to digest heavy (read: junk) food, therefore you should constantly keep your body in the loop by adding a cheat meal to your routine.

While there might be some benefits to gulping down a cheat meal, the price you pay in the long run far outweighs the benefits. You might want to stop reading here if you live for a cheat meal. It’s going to get brutal.

Cheat Meals Should Be a Big NO!

How Much Should You Eat?

One of the biggest problems with a cheat meal is that most people don’t know where to stop. If you follow a diet plan designed according to your goals, you know exactly how much you’re going to eat and the number of macronutrients you’ll be consuming.

Many people lose their shit when they step into their friendly neighborhood McDonald’s. You can’t entirely blame the rogue fitness junkie when he lays an eye upon his favorite junk food.

While people go around advocating the benefits of a cheat meal, they never talk about how much or what a person should eat. If your cheat meal consists of a pizza, burger, burrito, french fries, and a soda, you’re doing it all wrong.

It’s Not a Ghost Meal


We’re sorry to be the ones breaking this to you but the calories of your cheat meals still count. A Burger King is no Vegas. Whatever happens inside the restaurant doesn’t stay in the restaurant. It comes home with you.

Most people don’t adjust their diets after a cheat meal. You’re going to stray off your progress timeline if you don’t account for the calories and macronutrients you consume in your junk meal.

How many people have you ever seen or heard of who modify their Monday’s and Tuesday’s meal plans to settle the extra calories they had on Sunday? Unaccounted calories can add up quickly and leave a mark on your waistline.

A Cheat Meal Can Turn Into a Cheat Day

Some people get carried away after eating a cheat meal. Usually, people plan their cheat meals on a weekend with friends and family. There are high chances of these weekend lunches extending to snacks and dinners.

These people think that an additional cheat meal won’t do them any harm and they can always train a little harder the next day and burn off all the calories. Sadly for them, it doesn’t work this way.

Few people take the cheat day fiasco a little further. They turn the cheat meals to cheat weekends. They then pacify themselves by saying that they can compensate for it by eating ‘super good’ the next five days. This is a case of pure mental toxicity.

A Cheat Meal Negatively Impacts Your Mindset

A cheat meal subconsciously makes you think that you’re eating punishment food throughout the week and you’re only allowed to “enjoy” your favorite food once a week. Feasting on junk food every week only strengths this unhealthy mindset.

Consider this, if you were craving a slice of a pizza, and you ate it that same day, it wouldn’t take a lot to satisfy your craving. Now imagine if you were craving french fries on Monday but you only cheat on a Sunday. What are the chances you’re going to order a small bag of fries?

It’s like if I ask you not to touch your nose, the only thing that’ll consume your brain is to touch your god-damn nose. It’s better to eat a small portion of what you’re craving than to let the cravings pile on.

Results in Overindulgence

More often than not, the satanic cravings will make you pick a coke with large fries. A normal person craves multiple things throughout the week. Tim might want ice cream on a Monday, chocolate on a Tuesday, cheeseburger on a Wednesday. Little Tim enjoys his food. Leave him alone.

But since Tim is following a cutting program, he might have to wait for Sunday to get his hands on his beloved cheat food. If Timmy finds all his cravings in a single shop, no snake can hold him back from biting the forbidden apple.

Cheat Meals Are Hard To Fit in a Daily Routine

You’re always going to have an unhealthy relationship with food that you consider “bad” and those that won’t fit in your daily routine. Achieving the physique of your dreams is all about following a schedule, plan, and rituals, and a cheat meal can never be a ritual. At least not with your current mindset.

If you have got a taste for junk food, you should follow a diet that better suits your lifestyle. IIFYM (if it fits your macros) is a diet that allows you the flexibility to eat anything you want until it fits your daily macronutrient needs.

Cheat Meals Affect Differently People Differently

One thing that most people forget is that, based on their body types, junk food will affect different people differently. You should know your body type and if you’re an ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph.

If you had to take one thing away from this article, it should be this – stop treating a cheat meal like a fling. Think of it as a long-term relationship, if anything. Don’t limit your cheat meals to restaurants. Bring them home, introduce them to your family and accept them in your life with an open heart.

How often do you eat a cheat meal? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook and Twitter.

Vidur Saini
Vidur is a fitness junky who likes staying up to date with the fitness industry and loves publishing his opinions for everyone to see. Subscribe to his YouTube Channel.