Recently I was picking the brain of top nutritionist Hany “the Pro Creator” Rambod, whose current clients include ’08 IRON MAN Pro winner Phil Heath. The topic of conversation was cheat meals. Most people associate them with jump-starting a sluggish metabolism while dieting as well as taking some of the suffering out of the process. Hany, however, uses cheat meals for another purpose—bringing up weak bodyparts.
That idea makes more sense if you’re aware of his FST-7 training system, which centers on using maximum muscle pumps to break up and loosen muscle fascia, allowing growth to take place (standard heavy training is also part of the system). So how exactly can a cheat meal help? “A meal that’s high in both carbohydrates and sodium will go a long way toward promoting a killer pump,” says Hany. “You should also be fully hydrated so that the nutrients can be transported properly.”
He notes that the process takes time, so you’re better off eating that meal the day or night before your workout to take full advantage of the phenomenon. And though you can opt for pizza or burgers and fries if you like, a better choice for a bodybuilder who wants to stay lean or get leaner would be to add high-sodium condiments like ketchup or teriyaki sauce to carbs like baked potatoes or rice.
Don’t confuse cheat meals with cheat days. While a single cheat meal can have positive effects, a day-long binge of the wrong foods, especially if indulged in two or more times a week, is a surefire ticket to Fat City!