It was Saturday. Gorgeous, about 70 degrees and radiant sunshine. I spent the morning at the gym, training clients and blitzing a short workout. On the way home I ran some important errands and made it home by noon– Not bad for a Saturday! Everything I needed to do for the day was completed and the day was only half-way through.
Even better, I had most of the day to eat and drink whatever I wanted….Cheat day had arrived.
There is nothing wrong with a cheat day, mentally they provide a break from a strict diet and let you relax and unwind. Physically cheat days can provide a much needed refueling for the body and boost various hormones such as T-3 and T-4 that can be down regulated if you are constantly dieting.
Cheat days kick ass. In disciplined dieters they improve compliance and provide a mental and physical break from dieting– As long as they’re kept within reason. Unfortunately, reason wasn’t present yesterday. Two pizzas, chicken wings, plenty of beer, a trip to a vodka bar, and hefty forth meal left me in a greasy stupor.
I drank like a fish and ate like it was going out of style.
Where do all of those calories go?
Eventually carbohydrate storage reaches capacity, leaving excess sugars to saturate the blood stream and join the party around your love handles. If alcohol is involved that will halt all fat burning even further, promoting further fat storage. Eeeek. That’s the perfect storm to blow up quicker than a Kardasian wedding.
There is a way to minimize the damage on these gluttonous days as I learned from Tim Ferriss’ book The 4 Hour Body. The goal isn’t to burn massive amounts of calories on cheat cheat; instead, prepare your body to receive and utilize the excess sugars you’re consuming.
Ideally, you will take more of these excess sugars and calories and have them pushed into your muscles rather than your waistline.
What is Glute-4?
Glute 4 is a protein responsible for insulin related glucose transport into cells. Muscular contractions stimulate muscle cells to translocate to the surface of the muscle, making them more receptive to insulin and stocking the muscles full of glycogen from those carbs you just ate.
Cool, so what do I do?
As close to your delicious meal, whether it be pizza, doughnuts, or whatever else you are craving you must force major skeletal muscles to contract to stimulate glute-4 translocation. And it doesn’t take nearly as much activity as you think.
Here are a few good options:
1.Bodyweight squats 20 reps. Quarter squats are fine, full are better
2.Push Ups (or wall push ups, you can do these in a bathroom stall, oh boy!) 20 reps
3.Band Pull aparts 20 reps
4.Isometric Quadriceps extension: lock your leg and flex as hard as you can for 20-30 seconds. This one can work (or use other muscles) while you are seated if you are out to eat. This way people won’t think you are as weird as me.
**You can do these things in private if that makes you feel more comfortable, but you probably shouldn’t care so much what others think, especially as it pertains to your health and lookin good neeeked
These exercises take all of a minute or so to perform as close to your cheat meal as you can, as well as 60-90 minutes post-meal. This way you are activating the biggest muscles in your body to be more receptive to the surplus of calories floating around in your blood stream to lead to bigger muscles, rather than a bigger waistline.
So there you have it. It’s not necessarily a good thing to go as crazy as I did and eat/drink 10,000 calories . Just know there are strategies to minimize the damage while maximizing the fun, even while trying to look your best
Ferriss, Timothy. The 4-Hour Body. New York: Crown Archetype, 2010. 100-120. Print.