Are Cheat Days Good? Fitness Coach Exposes The Cold Hard Truth About Them

Put down the fork.

Are Cheat Days Good? Fitness Coach Exposes The Cold Hard Truth About Them

Credit: Shutterstock / Fedorovacz

Who doesn’t love to indulge themselves in pizza, doughnuts, cheese or any other kind of food that nutritionists and health advocates would turn their nose up at? We’ve all had that post-work snack “because I earned it”?

Letting the pants loose at the weekend is a joy shared by many. It’s time off from work, spent with family and friends, or even by yourself so you can recharge for the forthcoming working week. But if you’re putting yourselves through a strict diet, heading to the pantry for just one more square of chocolate, can have a bigger impact on your weight loss goals than you may have first thought.

Don’t believe us? Fitness coach James Kew recently took to Instagram to share a post that details how much of a negative effect just one cheat day can have if you’re trying to lose weight.


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Note that last sentence, this post applies to anyone wanting shed pounds, rather than bulk up. In that case, cheat days can be beneficial, as Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has proven on many occasions.

Back to the subject at hand. James provides an example of someone looking to lose weight, who has a maintenance calorie intake target of 2,500 (to maintain their current weight) but in order to lose weight, they need to consume 20% fewer calories, so 2,000, per day – although this goes against a previous study that found that as long as you remained active, you could be more relaxed when it comes to eating.

When Saturday approaches and the lads come round, it can be all too easy to pop open a tub of Ben & Jerry’s, kick back with a takeaway pizza and crack open a couple of cold ones. You’ll no doubt feel amazing after (maybe not the following morning), especially if you’ve consumed nothing but rations all week.


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But as James points out, those two foodstuffs alone can easily equate to 3,000 calories in just one sitting. Add a few beverages or mirror it for breakfast and/or lunch, and consuming 5,500 calories in one day becomes instantly achievable.

That one cheat day alone can, therefore, result in a higher average calorific intake for the entire week, and way above your target amount. If you continue the trend week on week, then you’re not going to lose the weight you want, but rather just plateau.

James does add that it’s ok to treat yourself and “enjoy life” – because nobody can really enjoy life eating nothing but lettuce leaves and carrot sticks – but it’s all about the most bounded-around word in fitness and nutrition: “moderation”.

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