In fact, if you aren’t careful, an all-out cheat day can easily throw your entire fat burning plan off course and erase much or even all of your training and dieting efforts from the previous week.
However, no matter how you break it down, fat loss is still ultimately a numbers game based on your total calorie intake versus your total calorie expenditure.
In other words, in the big picture over the course of a few days and weeks, you must maintain a net calorie deficit by burning more calories than you consume. For example, let’s say you were following a standard deficit of 500 calories below your maintenance level. This would mean that over the course of 6 days, you would have created a total deficit of 3000 calories. Everyone has differing appetites, but what if that involved eating an extra 1500 calories above maintenance? This is something that would be fairly easy for most people to do on a typical cheat day, and it would result in your overall calorie deficit being immediately cut in half. For those with bigger appetites who take the concept of cheat days a bit further, taking in 2000 or even 3000 calories above maintenance is not unrealistic at all. This all adds up very quickly and can easily amount to way more total calories than you might think.
Not only that, but because you’ve been in a calorie deficit during most of the week, your cravings for high-calorie foods will be much higher than normal. It’s simply hard-wired for survival and wants to get back to equilibrium where calorie intake meets calorie demand, and this will make all those delicious foods even harder to resist once you get going. In any case, go ahead and wolf down 4000 or 5000 calories on a cheat day and you’ll essentially be erasing your entire calorie deficit altogether, or at the very least, shrinking it down to an amount that will make noticeable fat loss all but impossible to achieve in the long run. They may think they’re maintaining a 500 calorie deficit on those 6 days of the week, but in reality, errors in calorie-tracking actually have them eating at a much smaller deficit than they realize. This makes cheat days all the more dangerous, and in extreme cases they can even cause some people to gain weight even though their goal is to lose it.
Instead, focus on developing an overall lifestyle where higher fat and higher sugar foods are simply a part of your regular diet but are just eaten in moderation.
Make sure your diet is primarily based on nutrient dense whole foods such as high quality proteins, minimally refined carbs, fruits, veggies and healthy fats, and then once those bases are covered, allow for 10-20% of your total calorie intake to come from whatever foods you’d like. Just make it fit into your overall calorie intake for the week and then lay it out in whatever way you enjoy most.
Rather than eating at an unmonitored calorie surplus like you would on a cheat day, a refeed day takes a more modest approach and has you eating at your calorie maintenance level instead, with the majority of the increase coming from carbohydrates.
This will allow you to consume roughly an extra 500 calories or so on your refeed days, which would equal out to around 125 grams of additional carbs. Start tracking your diet with more accuracy and allow 10-20% of your total calorie intake to come from whichever foods you most desire. Incorporate a refeed day once a week by eating at your calorie maintenance level, with the increased calories coming in the form of carbohydrates. Following these two simple steps will allow you to lean down effectively while still eating all of your favorite foods on an ongoing basis, and without unintentionally sabotaging your results.

Sean Nalewanyj is a best-selling fitness author, natural bodybuilder and success coach who has been publishing science-based, no B.S muscle building and fat loss information online since 2005.
In Part One of the article I talked about how you need to factor leptin into your diet plan if cheat days are a part of it. Essentially it is a day or meal where you exceed your normal amount of calories for that day in order to boost your leptin levels and in essence kick start the fat burning process all over again. The day before your strategic cheat day you want to ensure you keep your carbohydrates low as to deplete your glycogen (sugar) levels.
This is simply making sure that 80% or 90% of your food choices on a day to day basis is as close to perfect as possible and the other 20% or 10% is about 80% of perfect.
That means you can have that piece of chocolate or glass of wine or couple of beers throughout the week so you don’t have that craving to binge on your cheat day. In my opinion, food is supposed to be enjoyed not endured, so based on your goals and your personality find what works best for you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Cheat meals are necessary when it comes to weight from a hormonal stand point but it can be a slippery slope if you are not careful. You must strategically plan when your cheat day or meal is going to be and take action accordingly. Michael is a strength coach who specializes in functional strength, fat loss and athletic performance.
He has a degree in Kinesiology, is CSCS certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and Certified K-12 P.E and Health in Missouri. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Michael moved to St Louis in 2002 to play soccer and now co-owns his own functional training facility called Defining Natural Ability (DNA). He believes when it comes to a healthy lifestyle it is a mind, body and spirit commitment to become the best version of yourself. Dear Fun and Fit, K and A: I’ve heard that a “cheat day” will boost my metabolism and increase leptin hormone levels. Burning calories during a workout is very dependent on your metabolism, when your metabolism is running quickly, the odds of burning it all off are much greater. There are many things you can do outside of the gym to help boost your metabolism, some of these things include eating a quality breakfast, drinking green tea, get quality sleep, avoiding stressful situations, breaking routines, and incorporating cheat meals into your diet.
With that being said, there are also some things you can do in the gym to boost your metabolism. A plank is a very unique exercise, which involves a combination of different muscles working, while testing your endurance levels at the same time. Lay it out however you want throughout the week, and just make sure it fits your overall calorie target as a whole. Through the comprehensive free content found in his Articles, YouTube Channel, Facebook Page and online newsletters, Sean has helped hundreds of thousands of average, everyday people from all over the world build muscle, lose fat and completely transform their bodies and lives. I give out real, science-based, no B.S training, nutrition and supplementation advice to help you build muscle and lose fat in the most productive yet practical way possible. This will help with insulin sensitivity when you eat and drink some of those goodies the next day.

This will further deplete your glycogen levels and then you can go ahead and make that next meal your cheat meal. On the day that you cheat, don’t make it a whole day of madness because 1. That next day I would again drink plenty of water, fast for as long as your hunger will allow and go for a walk or light jog. I didn’t even know about the importance of the day before and the day after cheat day! If you reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories a day, you’ll lose about a pound in a week – 500 X 7 = 3500. Your metabolism is like an engine, the more it works throughout the day, the more likely you are to burn.
Something as simple as incorporating some warm up cardio can elevate your heart rate and boost your metabolism going into the workout. With all these different elements involved, this exercise certainly is a great metabolism booster. In an industry that has become completely overrun with gimmicks, false information and outright scams, you can trust this site as an honest, reliable resource to help you reach your fitness goals. Fasting will help regulate your insulin, boost leptin, decrease IGF1, boost T3 and T4 and increase glucagon and growth hormone. There are also some exercises that you can incorporate that will surely have an effect on your metabolic rate. This exercise specifically eats at your abdominal strength, but requires core strength as well, in order to keep yourself upright for the allotted time you are required to stay up. Mostly choose healthy food, yet leave space for a few of the treats that you were saving for cheat day.
Make sure to add a plank exercise into your weekly routine, it’s a great metabolism kick starter. It will take more than a week to lose a pound of weight if you are at the higher, 1350 amount. So in 6 days you reduced your intake by 3000 calories, but on that seventh day you took in an extra 1850 (3000 -1850 = 1150). Think of them as your parents, yelling “Put the spoon down,” and the fat as earbuds that you stuck in your ears so you wouldn’t have to listen. So for the entire week, you had a total reduction of 1150 calories, which means you’re losing less than half a pound a week. It’s not good to become resistant to leptin and insulin because they are your BFFs, and want to help you.

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