If you're like many people, as soon as you start up on a fat loss diet plan like LeanGains, the first thing you want to know is whether or not you'll be able to include cheat days in the mix.

Most people are highly interested in having cheat days because not only does it provide the temporary psychological relief, but it will also help to make sticking with the diet that much easier as time goes on.

But, as with any protocol, it's important that you plan these cheat days wisely so they don't have a negative influence on the results you see.

So what do you need to know about cheat days as they apply to the LeanGains approach?

Let's have a look at a few of the vital things to keep in mind.

The Macronutrient Intake With Your Cheats

The very first thing to take note of and plan for is the macronutrient intake that you'll use during the cheats. For best results, you'll want to be aiming for a macronutrient intake that is high in carbs and low in fat.

Protein will remain high regardless of what you're doing in this diet, so that never changes.

On days you are planning the cheat, bring down your fat intake to around 0.3 grams per kg of body weight. This will help to prevent any excess fat gains from taking place while you cheat as there won't be that additional fat floating around that could move into body fat storage with insulin being as high as it will be.

Plus, the high carb cheat meal will further help to increase the effects the cheat has on improving your metabolic rate, enhancing the total rate of fat loss you see occurring.

Those who diet for too long, especially while keeping their carbs lower, are going to be in particular risk of suffering from a metabolic crash.

A cheat meal, done right, will help to avoid this.

The Total Calorie Deficit And The Need To Cheat

The next thing to think about when planning cheat meals while using the LeanGains approach is what your total calorie deficit is.

The greater your calorie deficit, meaning the lower your total daily calorie intake is, the more you'll need to consider having those cheat meals in there.

Very low calorie diets will cause problems with the metabolic rate just as low carb diets do, so the cheat meal will help to provide some relief and signal to the body that it isn't starving.

Plus, having a cheat more frequently if you are using a greater calorie deficit can make getting through the fasting periods considerably easier as well.

Since the fasting period is integral to the overall success of this approach, this is one thing that you can't afford to overlook.

The Proper Time For Cheating

Finally, the last thing that you'll want to take into account when planning out your cheat meals on the LeanGains approach is the timing that they're going to occur.

If you want to maximize your progress, aim to have the cheat meals on the day that you have your most intense workout scheduled. This is when you will be depleting muscle glycogen levels to the largest extent and therefore requiring more carbs to restore them.

Given the cheat meal will be high carb, low-fat if you follow the advice above, this is exactly what you will be looking for.

Also, it would be a good idea to consider having the cheat meal later on in the evening if possible as well.

It tends to be easier to have the cheat meal and then go to bed immediately after as opposed to having the cheat meal and then have to get right back to your healthy eating immediately afterwards.

So there you have some of the most important points to note and remember about cheat meals. Do these right and you'll both enjoy the diet more and see faster results.

About the author: Shannon is a fitness trainer and freelance writer who has written for Bodybuilding.com.

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