I heard this concept on a podcast I was listening to early today on how to approach treat/cheat meals. First off, I like to refer to them as treat meals and not cheat meals. Cheating just has a negative context to it and makes it seem like you are doing something wrong. Splurging from time to time is totally ok...I'll go into this more in a bit.
I hear it from friends that they will just work off that cheeseburger and fries by doing "XYZ" exercise tomorrow. Here is the dirty little secret: when you eat something like a cheeseburger and fries, your body does 1 of 2 things, it either uses it for energy right away or it stores it for energy later. When you exercise, your body will use energy supplies that are in your muscles first and then they will go look elsewhere for energy, sometimes from glucose floating around in your blood and one of the last places it will look is fat cells.
The timing of when you treat yourself is very important in relation to when you workout. If you workout prior to a treat meal, your body will then use those carbs/sugars to refill the energy stores in your muscles. The proteins in that cheeseburger will also go to help build your muscles. For people looking to shed some fat, fewer of those calories will be converted into fat.
You also have the psychological aspect too. If you think of it as a treat meal then you need to DO something to deserve that treat, right? That meal is now a treat for doing something good, something like exercising. Now, if you're the person that says they will just work it off later, the exercise is now a punishment for doing something bad. How often do you actively search and want to punish yourself?
Let me just qualify all of this: don't treat yourself after every workout. I would assume that is obvious...but I guess you never know right?
Here is a link to the podcast that I was listening too if you are interested in hearing more about this. Plus this podcast is also goes into navigating the holiday scene that is upon us and tips to staying healthy. I highly recommend listening to this podcast and subscribing because he puts out some great information.
TMHS 081: Tips for dining out at Restaurants, family get togethers, and how to stay healthy during the holidays.
Thanks for reading friends.
The Cook & The Coach
Healthy is a LIFESTYLE.