Cheat meals are a popular topic when it comes to dieting, especially when you get into the bodybuilding world. If you’re not familiar with a cheat meal, it’s basically what it sounds like—it’s a schedule meal that let’s you “cheat” on your meticulous dieting. For me, the reasons for cheat meals are mainly done for two reasons: there is a psychological effect as well as a physiological effect. Psychologically, cheat meals help me cope when I’m dieting and the restrictions to what I can eat are very strict. It gives me to look forward to and helps me stay sane when my carbs are low—nothing like the thought of a cheeseburger in 2 days when my carbs are only 50g when I’m dieting. Physiologically, the extra calorie boost during a cheat meal will kick start that metabolism again. With a lower intake of calories during dieting, your body basically lowers the energy it runs on to continue basic functioning, thus slowing your metabolism down. With the cheat meal, not only will the influx of calories rattle up your metabolism and get it running faster again, you’ll also replenish your glycogen stores, giving you more energy for, let’s say a heavy leg day or a deadlift day. Scheduling of a cheat meal is a whole other story—what I want you to do is to think about cheat meals in another way. Next time you want to have a cheat meal, try eating your cheat AFTER you have your regular meal. So what I’m saying is to have your regularly schedule meal, whatever it may be, and then have that cheeseburger or cookie or fried chicken. The reason for this is because 1) you’ll have your every day macros, so you’re not skimping out on good protein, fats, and carbs that your body needs and is use to and 2) it might help you from over indulging because you’re partially full and you still get that satisfaction and taste from your favorite treat/meal. I’m all for cheat meals, nut I’ve been in a place where I’ve let them get the best of me—this is something that I’ve started integrating into my own dieting because it’s full proof and I get the best of both worlds. Try it out next time you’re having a craving during your dieting or for your next scheduled cheat meal. Danny Quach is a senior at the University of Georgia and he’s studying Health Promotion and Behavior. He’s a powerlifter at heart and has done it for over six years. He just competed in his first bodybuilding show in Summer of 2011. For powerlifting, he holds some Georgia records. In his first bodybuilding competition, he placed 2nd in Novice in INBF Southern States. On his spare time he’s a part of the University of Georgia’s cheerleading co-ed squads; his favorite past-time? Throwing girls around and catching them.