When I first moved to California, I stayed with Glenn Pendlay and Donny Shankle for 5 months. At every meal Donny would always exclaim “You Gotta Eat!” Basically he was trying to say that even though our diets need to be as regimented as our training, there are just some instances where you need to indulge and go outside of the prescribed meal. This is something that I feel is important in all forms of training and personally is a necessity.
There are numerous ways to describe this type of splurge. Some people call them cheat meals, indulgences, feasts, binges, etc. Whatever you call them, they can be awesome and sometimes needed. Personally I hate the word cheat. No meal is ever a cheat, every meal is important in one way or another and I think that’s a better way to look at it.
When it comes to your meal plans you may be following the strictest of plans, and feel that in order to reach your goals you need avoid all urges, otherwise your efforts are in vain. I am not saying to completely indulge but a little lenience every once in while won’t hurt. For example, having a beer with dinner once a week is not going to thwart the past month of hard training. If anything, your training will stay right on track because unwinding from time to time can be good for the body.
When I was younger, I hated having to try and lose weight or stay at a certain weight. I would fight urges for so long and refuse what my body wanted and there would be one trigger that would send me over the edge. Then I would overindulge and go way overboard with consuming what I had wanted. If I had just given in and gave my body a little bit, there wouldn’t have been much harm done and I wouldn’t have felt like crap (physically and mentally) for eating an entire bag of candy or something ridiculous. I know there are other people out there that have felt this way and I am saying it’s ok to give in a little bit, just don’t overdo it and things will stay on track.
As a super (105+kg) I have a little more leeway than others in my diet, but I still am pretty strict about what I eat. I still eat a lot and my diet is pretty clean, but there are times when I like to stray from the plan. Earlier this week, I decided to go enjoy a half price sushi night and cap that off with some Ben and Jerry’s. Now this is not a habit I do all the time and I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I had ice cream before this week. Every now and then my body needs a few extra calories for recovery, especially when training is really tough and starts to take a toll on my body.
I don’t want people to take this and think it’s ok to hit up the buffet or Baskin Robbins consistently, but a treat for a job well done or a night out on the town with friends is not a bad thing. As stated before, the relaxing and unwinding can be therapeutic and just what you need after a rough few weeks. You need to have a good diet to train well and achieve the results you want, but I am also saying that straying and enjoying a piece of cake or a Reese’s can also be needed. Next time your body craves something not on your normal menu, think of my friend Donny Shankle and say to yourself “You Gotta Eat!”