To say you’re never going to enjoy your favorite foods again is impossible… We need to create a balance with our nutrition that includes some sacrifices and allows for some indulgence too!
Before I get into the cheating rules, let me explain a bit more on how your body works.
Chronic overeating (especially the wrong things) makes you fat. You knew that.
Chronic under eating KEEPS you fat. You might not have known that.
That’s why normal “diets” stall and ultimately fail. We go from states of overeating to states of damn near starving. Your body freaks out and holds onto its stored body fat through a series of hormonal checks.
One of the big hormones involved is leptin. It is considered one of the most important hormones in body-fat regulation. Leptin is nice and high when we eat a lot. Also when we carry a lot of body fat. When leptin is nice and high your body has no problem allowing fat loss to occur.
Understand that it does not just happen because leptin is high, there has to be a reason for the body to give up the body-fat.
That is where a caloric deficit comes in. That means we need to consume less calories then we burn. Eat less and move more which means diet and exercise.
Uh, no. You see that is where the problem comes in. When calories are restricted leptin levels begin to fall. When leptin levels are low the body will bring all fat loss to a halt. Great, now what!?
It seems we have no choice but to eat more to get leptin levels up. But if we eat too much we get fat. See the problem?
But there is good news- We can use this information to our advantage. We can take what we know about leptin and
make it work FOR us instead of against us.
How do we do this? Simple: Carbohydrate and Caloric Cycling combined with Strategic cheating coupled with specialized high intensity workouts.
To be clear, a “cheat” is a pre-determined period of high calories. The best cheat for our purpose is high in carbs, moderate protein and low fat. But basically anything will work so long as your carbs are high. Do not stuff yourself, but
there is no need to limit either. I will further say that you should plan on only 1 big cheat meal / night per week.
So we will be keeping calories (relatively) low on “normal” days, but then going much higher on “cheat” days. By keeping calories low we will be creating a caloric deficit so your body must turn to body-fat for fuel. BUT we will also be using resistance training (specialized workouts) to maintain and even increase the metabolism.
This is backed by research that shows even when calories are dropped to RIDICULOUSLY low levels lean body mass and metabolism are maintained or even increased – so long as there is resistance exercise as part of the program.
Ok, no problem. You will be training 4+ times per week to maximize your results. So we have that covered.
But remember what I said about leptin levels when you diet? They drop. And what happens when they drop? Fat loss stops.
That is where the cheats come in. We will use the cheats to up-regulate leptin levels. You see your body produces
leptin when calories are high, and it does it fast too. So that means even a short cheat can get leptin pumping again and get you ready to burn fat once again.
To be a bit more specific, leptin levels are influenced by 2 main things: Caloric intake and muscle glycogen levels. Glycogen is the stored muscle sugar (carb), and is in general a good thing. When dieting and working out glycogen levels will fall as we exercise and the sugar is used to exercise.
You can think of your muscles like sponges. When you workout they get rung out. And that is just fine as it forces your body to use fat for fuel. But to get leptin levels up we should refill these glycogen tanks.
Again, this is where the cheat comes in. So let’s put it all together.
When we diet calories and glycogen drop and thus so too do leptin levels. Then fat loss comes to a screeching halt. Ok, let’s fix that with the cheat. A short cheat of 4-6 hours will do the trick quite nicely for our 21 day plan. Leptin levels rise, and now you are in a perfect position to burn fat again.
So there we have it – a simple and effective solution.
(THIS PART IS OPTIONAL) We can do even better. Let’s super charge it.
First, let’s really get you primed for the cheat. To do this we are going to perform a “depletion” workout. Remember that muscles are like sponges? Well with the depletion workout we will ring the crap out of them. Getting the glycogen levels as low as possible. This does a few things, but the most important thing is now those muscle sponges will soak up your cheat calories (carbs specifically) like nobody’s business.
(That is also why it is next to impossible to overdo a cheat. Don’t go nuts, but enjoy.)
Now your glycogen levels are full, you have temporarily spiked you calories and leptin levels are now flying high. That means your fat burring potential is VERY high.
Now it is time to fire up your metabolic furnace with the “Ignition” workout. This happens the day after the cheat. Because your leptin levels will be at their highest we need to take advantage of that and create a massive caloric deficit via getting back to the “normal” phase of our diet and attack the workout.
So you should see a very simple pattern emerging: Workout, cheat, workout. You really earn that
cheat and then use it to incinerate your body fat.
So here is what an OPTIMAL week with a Saturday cheat would look like.
Monday: Normal diet + workout
Tuesday: Normal diet
Wednesday: Normal diet + workout
Thursday: Normal diet
Friday: Normal diet + workout
Saturday: Normal diet until cheat meal + Depletion workout prior to cheat
Sunday: Fast in the morning + Ignition workout + a comfortable lunch or dinner (fasting will mean less calories in total that day)
Also, optimally the depletion workout would be as close to the cheat as possible. Now this might not always work out
(no pun intended) exactly like above, but the basic rule of thumb is EARN YOUR CHEAT, BURN YOUR CHEAT.
Don’t freak out if you can’t do a depletion workout. You’ll still be just fine. But if you can…
The depletion workout does not need to be anything special. Remember the muscle are like a sponge. Just wring out the last remaining bit of glycogen with the little burner:
Basic Depletion / Ignition Workout:
Reps: 10, 20, 30, 20, 10 Moves:
Do 10 Squats, then 10 push ups, then 10 sit ups. Then do 20 of each, then 30 of each, then 20 again, then 10 again.
So now you have the basic info. Stick to the “normal” diet on most days, cheat on specific days and workout 4 x per week. That’s it. Email me with any questions.
Bonus Fat Loss Tactic: Expanding on the 8 hours feeding window principle we can further accelerate the fat loss the day AFTER the cheat day by adding an intermittent fast. This can simply be accomplished by not eating the day after the cheat until the afternoon.
How long can you last? 1pm or 2pm? Could you fast all the way until 5 or 6pm. At that time you will just eat a “normal” dinner. Do not try to eat all of your calories at that one meal (so your numbers will be off on this one day), just eat the one meal that day and that’s it.
Chances are after the cheat day you will not be hungry anyway, so this will probably be a lot easier than you think.
I help people organize their personalized caloric and carbohydrate cycles to optimize the fat-loss! When you combine high intensity workouts with an ideal customized nutrition plan and motivation results happen very fast.
Summer is just around the corner!
Let’s arrange a time to talk about what’s going on with you!
Send me a personal email to start up a conversation: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our program can be covered by your work health benefits plan.