T-Nation/Biotest Cheat Meal Survival Guide

Howdy folks,

Yesterday, I had the most fantastic “cheat” meal

I put “cheat” in quotes because, technically, I’m “supposed” to carb up once a week…but this was clearly excessive, haha.

I won’t go into full details, because this is already going to be a lengthy post, but all 3 of those plates and 2 bowls were for me (featuring 5-6 slices of pizza, a plate of nachos, a plate of breakfast food/pasta, a cinnamon roll and a bowl of chili), and that was the FIRST trip. My second one was dessert, which had 3 slices of dessert pizza and a powdered sugar coated brownie.

This morning, I woke up absolutely jacked and ready to crush a workout.

I leveraged a LOT of resources from here to do all that, and I wanted to write a guide to help those that may be looking to do the same sometime.


So first off, before engaging in a cheat meal, this is a great article to read

  • I ALWAYS have this in the back of my mind before engaging in some sort of hardcore nutritional debauchery. Some great takeaways.

  • “So the gross overfeed led to zero net fat accrual.”

  • “They found that regardless of how many calories subjects ate in a single day, whether it was 2,000 calories beyond maintenance or 5,000, it only resulted in a fat gain of about 0.2 pounds.”. .2lbs of fat gain is TOALLY worth the benefits of eating like this. Socially, physically, etc: I was recharged.

  • “A small amount of carbs is turned into fat via DNL, but much of the rest of the ingested carbs are stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles”

  • “The amount of “soggy” glycogen stored varies enormously from one individual to another and may be particularly large in weightlifters, athletes, or muscular people in general, especially if they’ve worked out that day (thus depleting glycogen to a certain degree).”

Those final two points are huge, and play into the next bit.


Being in a carb depleted state prior to this meal was huge. I wanted my body to soak up every single gram of carbohydrate possible. To accomplish this, I’ve had the Velocity Diet as my baseline diet (and, if you’re REALLY curious, here is my detailed write-up of the process), and this day in particular leaned into that. I had a Metabolic Drive shake for breakfast that morning with some egg whites. Additionally, right before the meal, I slammed a 2.5 scoop Metabolic Drive shake (like, literally, parking lot of the buffet, pound the shake, show up and ready to rock). This plays into something Jim Wendler wrote about here

  • “As for diet, I knew I had to cut back on my calories so I developed a very simple eating plan. Ready? I basically did the opposite of my high school weight gain system; so instead of drinking a weight gain shake after each meal, I drank a protein drink (2 scoops of whey protein in water) before I ate a meal.”

  • But along with that, I also knew that this was going to be pretty sparse on quality protein, so I wanted to do my best to try to improve the meal quality. I don’t believe there’s any real magic in macro ratios, but I DO believe that there’s something to be said about a meal being more “valuable” when it has a good amount of quality protein in it, even IF it comes along with a bunch of garbage carbs and fats. Basically: if we KNOW we’re gonna have garbage, we might as well put some good with it. This also provided a “nutritional insurance policy”: I walked in knowing that my protein needs were covered, so I could just enjoy.

  • Talking more to that above insurance policy, first thing that morning, before my Metabolic Drive, I had 2 scoops of Superfood, so I knew my micros were covered and I wouldn’t have to try to eat 3lbs of beets at the salad bar. I also took Flameout, so I had my healthy fats covered, so no trying to find fish. And then finally, the secret weapon of Indigo-3G 30 minutes before the meal, alongside some Apple Cider Vinegar . I wanted to be as insulin sensitive as possible and ensure my body was going to soak up every gram of carbs as glycogen, rather than fat. And I had my Spoke Hardcaore Energy for all the fat burning qualities that come with caffeine.

  • Earlier in the day, I did this workout

  • Dragged a sled, did a humane burpee ala Dan John (here he calls it “The Coyote”) for 20 minutes. This helped burn up every last bit of glycogen that I had before I rolled up to the buffet. I was primed.


I fasted for the rest of the day. This wasn’t to be a martyr: I legit was not hungry, because I ate enough. This is a pretty valuable lesson in and of itself. I had this meal at noon, it was lunch. Dinnertime rolled around and I fasted (I actually mowed my lawn while wearing a 45lb weight vest, because I had a LOT of energy to burn), dessert rolled around and I fasted. I finally had a Metabolic Drive shake before bed, because I like to have protein before I sleep to help with recovery, and @Chris_Shuggart speaks positively of that here

  • “Don’t skip or decrease the pulse thinking you’re “increasing progress.” It won’t do that and may lead to consuming too few calories, which will backfire by slowing your metabolism or causing muscle loss.”

  • I woke up this morning with my abs ripping through my skin and the most vascularity I’d ever seen before in my legs after that workout. The systems works.

Hopefully this helps. Happy to discuss more if there are any questions.


As a follow-up, the week after that meal, I lost the MOST weight I had in a week, 2.5lbs, and was eating MORE during that week than I was during the earlier parts of the Velocity Diet.

This week, I kept my Sunday Cheat meal on the light side, having a Costco Hot Dog, slice of Pepperoni Pizza and half a churro, split with my kid…mainly because, on Thurs, I’m going to really push this to the limit with THIS

Indigo-3G don’t fail me now!


Great thread!

My general philosophy on cheat meals: Cheats are for already lean people who train hard. (That’s definitely you, @T3hPwnisher.)

Yes, I know, that’s a little over the top. It’s possible to diet hard, train right, have a meal of anything you want on Saturday or Sunday, and still get lean. And there are certain diets where the cheat may even accelerate the process and refuel you for productive workouts.

However, sometimes this messes with people. They have issues with food, usually an all-or-nothing mindset – all cheat meals or super strict diet, no inbetween or healthy balance.

For those folks, I think they need a period of washing out from the cheat meals and less than ideal foods. Sort of a “dietary rehab” to help them regain control. Because for some, one planned cheat turns into a cheat weekend, which turns into a cheat week, which turns into… you get the idea. Some folks (I used to be one of them many moons ago), could weekend-cheat their way up to a weekly calorie surplus.

The key is to ask yourself, “Can I have a cheat meal and then go right back to healthy eating that supports my goals?” It can take a while for someone who’s been very overweight in the past. You just need to be able to judge the slipperyness of your own slope. The original V-Diet helped me kick all those old habits.

These days, I never plan cheats, but they happen sometimes, probably less than 3-4 times per year. Last year it was Thanksgiving at a hotel’s buffet. (Gotta get your money’s worth, right?) And like you, T3hPwnisher, I didn’t eat the rest of the day. Wasn’t planned, just didn’t want anything.

Anyway, I had this a few years ago. I mean, you don’t want to be laying on your deathbed thinking, “You know, I really should’ve tried that bison/fried egg/ham/BBQ pork/hot dog/cheeseburger.”



Absolutely appreciate that dude! And it’s funny: the cheat meal is honestly something I have to force. Left to my own devices, I’ll lock in TOO hard. Compliance is too easy for me: moderation is tough. It’s a big aspect of my “family man” approach thing: I’ll be the guy skipping birthday cakes and pizza nights, not out of martyrdom, but simply out of habit. But I’ve noticed, historically, EVERYTHING about me is better when I have these cheats. There’s been a lot of writing on the value of carbs, and I just don’t eat them normally, but this weekly bump definitely puts me in a good way, and then there’s the social healing that goes with it.

And I think THAT should be priority #1 with a cheat meal: it should be a SOCIAL meal first. If you have a weekly cheat meal and it’s you sitting at home in your underwear binging door dash: that’s missing the point AND doing more damage than good. But if you have an opportunity to cost loose and celebrate with family: THAT is worth cheating.

And, if you’re gonna cheat: cheat to win!


Absolutely. I think that low-carbers definitely need that bump. And I’ve noticed that the “keto for life!” crowd has the best cheat meal photos on the 'gram, which is very telling. :smiley:

And very true about the social value. I’m fine being “that guy” who skips the dessert and fried stuff (Dani and I didn’t eat our own wedding cake), but if one of our 75-year-old friends says to try her dessert at a party, I will, and I’ll compliment her cooking until she blushes.

And yes, we party with the elderly. They have nice houses and good wine.

1 Like

PLUS, you know the party is gonna end at 8:00 pm, which is fantastic for introverts, haha.

Oh hell yes. Get that party started at 3PM, I say!

1 Like

I LOVE that you posted this response and I totally agree!! There’s a blog post that I wrote a few years ago about “cheat days” and the title of that post also contains the word “bullshittery”… And that is all I’m going to say about this topic. LOL


I’ve posted already in a few places, but just to not leave people hanging regarding the status of that burger

And the gruesome details

I definitely made sure to hit up the Indigo-3G before THAT one, and I did an even nuttier prep for this which boiled down to effectively 5 hours of training that day and extensive use of Metabolic Drive shakes to keep me nourished without filling up my guts…and when it was over the next morning I was actually DOWN 3lbs from where I started and still had my abs, but BOY was I hurting, haha.


So, my million dollar question - did you enjoy EVERY bite or were you just eating to finish it? That’s my “cheat meal/day” rule - if you’re eating just “because you can” and not because you’re enjoying it, then you’re out of bounds. I know this was a challenge, so I’ll forgive it this time, but… :wink:

And now I will cease and desist with my unsolicited RD opinions. lol


Minus the plate of onions it was AMAZING. And the first half of the onions were great, but it was a LOT of onions, and that’s what filled me up and made me wanna vomit toward the end. Considering I’ve gone almost full carnivore as of recently, taking in THAT many nightshades all at once was a LOT to take on.

If the challenge had half as many onions, I woulda been a happy camper. Through out the video, you can hear me talk about how good everything is, haha.

I’ll also say that, after a few years of eating pasture raised eggs, the cheap ones are pretty flavorless.

1 Like

Any gut repercussions after all the onion-filled FODMAP action?

TONS! I’ve made extensive use of metamucil and stool softener to course correct. I seem to be back where I need to be. That challenge definitely retired me, haha. I think I could to a pure meat one just fine, but introducing that other stuff wrecked me.

1 Like

Paybacks are a B!tch! LOL

I’m glad things are back online now!

1 Like

Thanks! Small price to pay for glory, haha.

1 Like

Jesus it’s even more ridiculous than the picture on the ad, and that’s saying something.

If you’re wife is like mine I’m sure she was very happy you lost weight after that thing haha

1 Like

Hah! She’s had an interesting combination of pride and shock about the whole thing. I’ve become something of a local celebrity over it.

Hey this was cool to see! Appreciate the nod here team T-Nation!


We’ve been posting some of your topics and pics on Instagram Stories too. Not sure if you’re on there on though or we woulda tagged you.


Definitely appreciate that! I’m not on Instagram. Can’t figure it out, haha.

You mention psyllium a lot. Do you take it occasionally or every day, and is there a dose you aim for?

Would be interesting to know how you feel it helps you in terms of your overall digestion.

I’ve been taking 5-8g for a while, going to work up to 10-15g to see how I react. My stomach is super sensitive so I must do every pretty slowly as it’s difficult for me to see what’s actually helping or not.