Yesterday was the first full cheat day that I had in quite some time. If you have been following along, I have been on a mission to get my body fat down to 10% or less and I have a firm deadline in place. I am finally starting to train hard again, a year after my knee injury. So, what does my current diet look like? Its very simple and there are no secrets. I have as much passion for fat loss, hypertrophy and diet/nutrition as I do for training, which is one of the reason’s I have been striving to make Newell Strength known for both. They go hand in hand, like 2 wheels on a bike. ‘The bike don’t work properly when both wheels aren’t working together’.
For the majority of the week, I have been doing a protein and fiber rich diet and low to moderate fat. I consume very little carbohydrate, coming in the forms of veggies. This is very similar to what I used to do when I was competing. Am I doing this for the long term? Probably not, rather I am using it to jump-start the fat loss process. On Friday nights I have been doing a small reefed, this past Friday nights meal consisting of five rolls of Sushi. This is just to get my through Saturdays workouts, yes that is plural. I’ll address the workouts in a minute. On Sunday nights, I have been doing a 3-hour window of ‘re-feeding’ to offset some of the downturns in metabolism that we will see when in caloric deficit. These include drop in thyroid levels, testosterone levels, IGF-1, leptin to name a few. So you see, these windows do serve a purpose. Here is the problem: most people focus too much on the re-feed or cheat, making it the sole purpose of the diet. I made this mistake too at one point in my more immature dieting days and it is surely a road to nowhere. And if you are too fat, say above 15% for a male and 25% for a female, you don’t really need a cheat meal window physiologically. You may need it psychologically and I don’t believe one meal per week will do any harm in your efforts, but for sure its not needed physically.
Back to my diet. Remember, this is for fat loss and body recomposition, which means trying to maintain a relative weight or in the neighborhood of 225 but shift the balance of muscle and fat. So far, its been working. My cheat day yesterday, which was a success, looked like this:
1. I started with a 40 gram Metabolic Drive protein shake with one cup of raw milk. I did this because I was starving and I wanted to at least control myself at my in-law’s Mother’s Day breakfast. I grabbed a coffee with a shot of espresso on the way to the breakfast (normal Sunday morning routine).
2. At breakfast, I had half a loaf of chocolate chip crumb cake, 8 mini chocolate and cream cheese strudels, 3 sausage links, 4 cage free whole eggs, 4 small pancakes, 1 cup of potatoes and some rasberries.
3. When we got home, I had 2 large cinnabon rolls with 1 large bowl of fruity pebbles. I took a nap, woke up and hour later and repeated the exact same meal along with some meatballs Devon had cooked up. I used vanilla almond milk with the cereal.
4. I sipped on two glasses of Jersey Devil wine while making my family burgers and such for my side of the family. I had an 8oz grass fed beef cheeseburger on a bun, one large baked potato, 1 cup of potato salad and a few French fries.
5. For dessert, I had 1 3×3 inch piece of ‘slutty brownie’ that Devon made, along with 3 scoops of ice cream.
6. To top it off, I had one more bowl of fruity pebbles before going to bed.
How do I feel today? Absolutely great, actually very hungry. This is one of the signs I look for after a full cheat day. I also woke up sweating last night, meaning I had to ‘disrobe’ down to my boxers in the middle of the night because my clothes were soaked. Notice that my cheat day had a purpose though, I was trying to get in as many carbs as possible to refill glycogen levels for the week ahead. Based on my hunger levels after breakfast, I’d say I fell a bit short.
Notice that some of what I do is based on my intuitive knowledge and some of it is based on science. All good coaches do this. I have been reading up a bit on Metabolic Typing and it reiterates the point that every single body is different. I know what works for me and I can replicate it time and time again. I do get a kick out of prospective clients that want me to ‘fix’ them in a month so they can be jacked and ripped. A good coaching relationship takes time to cultivate and for me to learn the athletes body.
And I am in the process of hiring my own personal coach for the next year, as I do believe in the value of having your own Coach, wouldn’t I be a hypocrite if I thought otherwise? Is it a necessity? No, but it is a time saver and a learning experience. As far as training is concerned, I am very concerned with a trend I am seeing and that is: people think they can just follow a nutrition plan and train half ass and get results. NO! You must train intensely along with your diet plan. Otherwise, you may lose weight, but we can do that by chopping off an arm too. If you are trying to re-composition your body, it is going to take some serious effort, not three 40 minute workouts per week. And cutting out on things like leg day or lower body day is not the right mentality. And if you tell me that you don’t have time, then that’s fine, but you won’t get the results you are after.
There is a big psychological and behavioral component to this as well but that is a different article for a different day. I will also be writing about metabolic destruction this week and why I follow the plan I am following after years of competing and chronic dieting. Stay tuned!