Cheat Meals?


The life of a Figure Competitor requires a significant amount of will power and dedication when it comes to diet. Keeping your eye on the correct bullseye is imperative. Sometimes hungry, fatigued or even bored of the same food choices? Maybe we don’t feel like cooking, want to hang with friends for a celebration, or even a date night.. the list goes on and on.

As a Figure Competitor however, we forego all of those things for weeks and months at a time. Ask any Figure Competitor what her post show treat will be and she’s guaranteed to start smiling and salivating simultaneously! In fact, many of us know what that treat is months out from stage day ( I know I do!)

During season, every competitor knows of the term “cheat meal.” I’ve enjoyed them in the past during my previous show prep seasons, but this time is a different story thanks to the tough love of my nutritionist. The following was his take on cheat meals and instruction(s) to me:

Cheats: As a rule, during the pre-comp period, the expectation is that you’re at least 95% compliant, if not perfect, and that any deviations are the ones caused by situations like above (travel limitations). That is, you still aim to eat exceptionally well but can’t because of X, Y or Z reason. That said, from weeks 15 to 10, if you happen to have 1-2 “cheat” meals it probably won’t do too much damage. Just be smart about them. Don’t overeat; avoid foods that cause systemic distress (alcohol, fake foods, etc), make sure they don’t displace your veggies, protein and healthy fat, and limit them to within 3 hours post-workout for damage control – especially if starchy or sugary.

From week 10 to show time, you’re in the zone. Food’s only value is nourishment. It serves to help you recover and function and is your #1 tool when it comes to ensuring your body comp success.

In short, margaritas and nachos aren’t cool, no matter how popular they make you with the fat unhealthy kids ;).

Overall we’ll cross each bridge as it comes. If you can earn them via hard work, great compliance and significant body comp change, we may be able to plan a couple in. I’ve found though that if one starts off thinking about cheats vs. compliance, they end up having their eye on the wrong ball. Focus on what you can have and what you can do to help you attain stage success instead of focusing on what you can’t have.”

I couldn’t agree more. After reading this, it set my expectations straight. Cheats just aren’t part of my vocabulary for this show prep. I hope you find the message as strong as I do. This not only applies to physique competitors but any athlete trying to optimize their health and performance needs to eat well. Any weekend warrior trying to shred down for the summer needs to stay dedicated too. When working towards your goal, any goal, cheats may be “fun” but they do exactly what they claim.. they cheat YOU and your hard efforts.

Happy Friday! Skip the tempting weekend cheats!


10 responses to “Cheat Meals?

  1. Great post! I really like how you discuss the need to focus on what you have, and what you need to achieve success – such a key concept for life too.

    Stay the course girl, sounds like you’re doing amazing 🙂 *high five*

    • Thanks Lynda! Glad you dig the message..and yes, very aplicable to life in general…to have the vision first and then the honest, hard work to get there.

      *high five back* 😉

  2. Hello, Alli

    Let me start by saying how much I enjoy your blog. Both you and Coach Nick have a great web presence.

    On a personal note about cheat meals: I find that when I do not get the right amount of sleep, it’s guaranteed that the next day will be one where I am truly tempted to overeat or eat the wrong foods. Being tired, I guess, makes the body look for extra energy.

    So I am very careful about sleep, and do much better when I get the right amount.

    • Hi Nelson,

      Thanks for the reading and posting! I’m pleased you enjoy the blog / content.

      I couldn’t agree more with you about being well rested. Aside from the importance of recovery, the amount of sleep has a direct effect on energy levels which then play a great role in hormone levels and can lead to nasty cravings of instant energy sources (ie: immediate carb/ sugar sources). Great point!! Why make it harder on yourself to avoid those “cheat” pitfalls, get adequate sleep!

  3. I’m tempted to eat something after reading your blog!

  4. Can I have cookies as a reward for not having a cheat meal? 🙂

    Great post – I’m going to make sure all my clients read this too!

    • Hi Nick,

      In response to your question, I say, In a perfect world 🙂

      Since that’s not the case, a few suggestions:
      Have the cookies if you want to be popular with the unhealthy kids.

      Have the cookie if you can reinvent the ingredients to the “cookie”.

      Have the cookie if you want to be called the “cheater cheater cookie eater” again 😉

      Or wait to enjoy the cookies post show with your amazing girlfriend 😀

  5. About changing the ingredients to the “cookie”, here’s a little recipe I’ve used before 🙂

    • Hey Nicole!

      That recipe looks great! and friendly 🙂 We’ll have to give that a try .. thanks for sharing!! Feel free to pass along any other recipes you’ve found to be great substitutes.

      Have a great weekend!

  6. Pingback: Great links for the weekend!

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