If you're following a relatively controlled diet, then no doubt you will already be familiar with the concept of "cheat day". But how does that work in practice?

The theory is that having conditioned the body into being used to high quality food - lots of nutrients and protein, and minimal processed carbohydrates, gluten or refined sugars - you will actually get improved results and benefits by occasionally shocking the body with a big dose of food that you normally wouldn't eat. You're effectively shocking your digestive system.

There are, of course, various interpretations of what is actually allowed on a Cheat Day.

A strict interpretation would be that "cheating" means allowing yourself a small bowl of brown rice once a week, not binging on a double-pepperoni pizza every Friday night. But, you can see Cheat Day as a bit of a spectrum. What you treat yourself with on Cheat Day depends on what your fitness goals are.

If you're working towards a photo-shoot for the cover of Men's Health, then you're going to need to keep things fairly tight. If you're at that end of the fitness spectrum, then a small bowl of brown rice is going to be a treat that you should savour.

For most of us though, we just want to look good when we get naked. So, if you're adopting the Cheat Day technique, make sure that you treat yourself with something that really gets you excited. Go for quality - don't waste your Cheat Day treat on shitty food.

The other benefit of Cheat Day is that it can help you keep your health and fitness goals on track in the longer term. Controlling your diet over an extended period of time is really difficult. Giving yourself a regular Cheat Day treat to look forward to, can help you maintain your diet for the rest of the time, instead of hitting a wall and spectacularly giving in to all of your cravings and undoing all of your hard work.

Cheat Day. Get on board.

Zeb Atlas Logan Vaughn Muscle Worship High Performance Men

Time to take a break from your fitness regime?

If you're struggling to stay motivated to stick to your health and fitness plan, or if you're feeling a bit run-down, it's probably a good idea to take a break.

Why not take a week off?

Taking a break from a strict regime of diet and exercise can be good not only for your overall wellbeing, but it can also help to push your body to achieve the results that you're aiming for.

Your body is clever and can easily adapt to the routine of healthy eating and daily work-outs.

Taking some time out and relaxing the rules will shock your body and give you a boost to performance once you swing back into training.

Relaxing the rules for a week will also remind you of how diet and exercise impacts the way you feel . Once you  get back in the gym, you’ll be on a natural endorphin high for days!

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