Being a figure competitor you have probably heard about various ways to boost your metabolism, burn more fat, build more muscle, and just simply shock your body. Among those popular ways are pre- and post-training carb meals, high intensity interval training (HIIT), fasted cardio, high-rep training, re-feed day, cheat day…
STOP!! Re-feeding and cheating? What are those? Are they the same thing? So the big question is, what’s the difference between a cheat meal and a re-feed meal?
Tricking The Body With Dietary Manipulation Will Heed Far Better Results Overall…
Well, that is exactly what I want to address. I’ve been getting tons, and I do mean TONS of e-mails in regards to figure prep dieting and these two factors. In fact, I had a subscriber ask that question in relation to her contest diet.
QUESTION: “Karen, what’s your advice on sticking to a contest diet without cheating?”
ANSWER: Cheat! Oh yeah, I bet you are wondering what I’m smoking. Let me elaborate…
A figure contest diet is a fairly structured plan and as it progresses it should become more and more rigid. The amount of time you spend on your prep plan can vary depending on your current condition.
- If your body fat is 25-31% you should look at prepping for about 17-20 weeks.
- If your body fat is 19-24% you should look at prepping for about 13-16 weeks.
- If your body fat is 12-18% you should look at prepping for about 9-12 weeks.
- If your body fat is 12% or less you should look at prepping for about 12 weeks.
How To Make Junk Food Work For You (Real Stuff!)
Now, when you start your diet program, be sure to mark it on a calendar so you have a good visual, and so you can take daily notes. Outline your diet for 6 days of the week, and on your 7th day have a cheat day.
Do you have an all out cheat day? Sure, you can. If you follow your meal plan 100% ALL week, you can eat whatever you want and as much as you want on your chosen day. The ONLY stipulation is that you MUST get right back on your contest diet the next day.
Brandy Segura, contributing writer for bodybuilding.com states, “The best way to cheat is to plan ahead! Remember that, while cheat meals are meal replacements, they need to fit into your current eating regimen.”
If you are more conservative you can take a controlled cheat day and just keep eating within reason, choose to have borderline cheats such as a homemade burger, a few cookies… stuff like that.
Tweaking The Plan (Turn The Junk Food Day into a Junk Food Meal)
All good things must come to an end. If you’ve been following your contest diet like you should, 100%, you should see good visual changes each week, even with a cheat day. But, after a few weeks into your dieting you should change that one feast day into a feast meal for that one day.
The cool thing is this allows you to still cheat, but you will be limited to just one cheat meal a day on that one special day. By this time your body will be detoxified and that one junk food meal will be all you want anyway.
So, it’s really perfect timing. This meal can be anything you want, but by this point you’ll probably choose somewhat healthy food.
The Art Of Cycling The Cheat Meal And A Re-Feed Meal Will Get You A Winning Body
Tweaking the Plan Again (Turn Your One Junk Food Meal into a ReFeed)
Now, a re-feed day is simply eating MORE of the SAME quality food on that one day than you did the rest of the week. You need to choose clean food. No junk food at this point.
This feeder day allows you more calories from carbs and protein, firing up your metabolism and fueling high-powered training. It’s perfect timing for the intensity of the diet, training, and cardio.
You may have to tinker with the number of calories you allow yourself on your re-feed day. Most figure competitors start off with an extra 200 calories for their feeder day. Wonderful photo of Natalie Merritt by www.MusclePapa.com.
Rotating Your Feeder Day
When you are about 4-6 weeks out from your show you may feel tired at times. If and when you get to the point you have hit the wall, take that re-feed day and plug it in mid-week. You might try something like 3 days of low carbs followed by one feeder day.
- Start with a cheat day once a week…
- Turn that cheat day into a cheat meal once a week…
- Turn that cheat meal into a re-feed day once a week…
- Turn that one a week re-feed day into a cycling re-feed day.
I hope this sheds some insight on how to implement a cheat and still diet down successfully.
TIP: It is critically important to make your cheat day the same day each week. It should be scheduled in. If you choose to have your cheat day on Sunday, then have it every Sunday. Don’t go back and forth each week between Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for a cheat day. It will only mess up the programming of your body in relation to the diet. Same goes for the cheat meal and non-cycle-refeed day.
Critical Information (Must Read)
But don’t stop there. If you want the FULLY-LOADED System of how to get cut and defined for your show, check out Figure Competition Secrets System. It’s THE program used (and copied) by the Pros.
Karen Sessions – Figure Coach
(Article, What’s the Difference Between a Cheat Meal and a Re-Feed Meal?, Written by Karen Sessions)