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Cheat Mode: A scientific and surprisingly healthy way to lose fat and build muscle while fucking moderation in the ass: An Official Guide.
Consider this article as the official ‘Guide’ to Cheat Mode (CM). It outlines the major sections of CM and important criteria to note.
It should go without saying that to follow Cheat Mode you kinda need to follow Cheat Mode, but this sentence came into existence because people assume that they can manipulate critical criteria without consequences.
Cheat Mode is designed for people who want the generic goal of ‘Building muscle while losing fat’. It is also designed to be the first daily lifestyle diet for people who thrive on extremes rather than moderation.
(1) The morning fast
The morning fast is the time where you do not eat. The ‘In-depth’ article can be found here.
As it pertains to our goals, the morning fast is a time where we do not want to:
- Consume many, if any, calories
- Do not break the glucagon-dominant state that is dubbed the ‘fasted state’
You are allowed many things during the fast
- Stimulants such as coffee, tea, or thermogenic (fat-burning) pills
- Any manner of artificial non-caloric sweetener
- Minimal fatty acids. A little bit of cream in coffee or some fish oil tablets. Keep it below 50kcal
It should last around 8 hours or so, but don’t stress if you deviate by an hour or so to fit with your schedule.
(2) The pre-workout meal
An meal consisting of protein and fats as the major source of calories. Vegetable intake is emphasized as well for the fiber and micronutrient content. This is to aid in digestion throughout the day and get some calories in outside of the post-workout feast.
Skipping this meal and then consuming ample amounts of liquids on an empty stomach (workout nutrition) may result in not-too-solid results in the washroom. Given how dietary fat is also not emphasized during the feast, this is a good time to get them in.
The only goal of this meal is to not significantly secrete insulin or not contain too many carbohydrates. Grains, fruits and dairy are out.
Make sure it’s fully digested before your workout.
(3) The workout
The workout itself must be heavy resistance training, either power/strength based (such as 5×5 or Olympic weightlifting) or a more volume based bodybuilding approach. There is no way around this.
The workout takes place in the late afternoon, the timing of which is based on how long one has been awake (assuming waking up at around 6-8 am or so). Working out at 2:00 will work to a degree, so will working out at around 8:00 or so. 4:00 pm is usually advised because it is a random number I have gotten used to using.
If you sleep 8 hours a night, it may help to view this as getting to the gym 6 hours before you plan to fall asleep (so if you want to sleep at midnight, arrive at the gym at 6pm), this number just seems to work.
As you can tell by the assortment of numbers above, the exact hour the workout arrives does not matter much as long as it is in the afternoon. Of course, it has to be in the afternoon. Morning weight-lifting workouts in Cheat Mode just do…not…work.
As to why heavy weightlifting is needed, each contraction helps create signals inside muscles which control the metabolic fate of the feast. The contractions must be powerful and they must be numerous.
The effects of cheat mode, given an excessive feast, hinge on the effort put forth during workouts.
- Cardio will not work
- Circuit training will not work
- HIIT will not work
- Half-assing it will not work
- Lifting heavy shit repeatedly and really fast will work
(4) Workout Nutrition
Workout nutrition as it pertains to Cheat Mode is nutrition consumed before or during your evening workout. The In-depth article can be found here
Different options are given for workout nutrition based on where on a spectrum your body recomposition goals lay. Workout nutrition exists for focusing on fat loss, focusing on muscle mass accrual, and a balanced approach.
It should be noted that all choices will build muscle and lose fat over the course of the day, but the degrees of which they do this differs.
Choose which workout nutrition you want to follow, consume it as your stomach allows, and let it let you lift heavier shit while controlling body fat levels.
(5) The post-workout feast
The post workout feast is the time where you are allowed junk food and some other treats with minimal hindrance to your goals, fashioned after Carb-backloading. This meal is excessive and worth the wait. The ‘In-depth’ article can be found here.
Essentially, we wait until late in the day until GLUT4 (insulin-responsive) glucose uptake in both fat and muscle cells is drastically impaired, and then we partially reverse that on muscle cells only with the weightlifting. We also control inflammation and insulin secretion earlier in the day to sensitize cells at this time for when we consume delicious excess, at the time when it can most benefit muscle and not fat.
The post workout feast is a single meal with most of the days calories in it, consumed right after exercise. Certain criteria must be met for the feast to be beneficial:
- You must have completed the fast without any flaws
- You must have just finished a hard workout
- You must consume ample protein during the feast, animal sources are recommended
- You must consume delicious carbohydrates
Certain other criteria, although not needed, are advised:
- It is recommended to get ample soluble fiber during this meal
- It is recommended to limit fructose, as you only have so much liver glycogen buffer room
- It is recommended to avoid excessive fatty acid consumption
This meal can be the last of the day if you want, or you may have smaller meals afterward. The smaller meals should be more moderate though, and with a higher percent protein and less carbohydrates (relative to this feast).
In regards to fructose and fats (I did not clarify these in the In-depth article):
- You deplete some liver glycogen during exercise, and fructose can harmlessly go here. The metabolic fate of fructose if liver glycogen stores are full is different and not too beneficial for our purposes. Fructose is also contained in most junk food (via sucrose), and thus over-consumption is very possible.
- Fatty acids will acutely go to adipose in a state of excess insulin. They can easily be taken out later during the fast, but if they do not need to be consumed than there is no reason to focus on them. Their fate is not wholly bad, so they should not be avoided either. Omega-6 fatty acid consumption (the inflammatory kind) may be beneficial at this time as well due to inflammation and muscle repair, another reason not to completely avoid fats, but just moderate them.
Also, NO alcohol should be consumed alongside this feast. If ethanol gets priority oxidation in the body (and it will, since it is a toxin) then the metabolic fate of all carbohydrates and protein changes drastically and not for the better.
Separating alcohol and the feast is the best case scenario, but due to the timing of the workout and size of the meal this would be pretty much impossible to do without becoming sleep deprived. Don’t lift on days you plan to drink, just do a control day then.
(6) Control days
Control days are days where you do not lift weights, they are designed to optimize and preserve health and as a preemptive strike against possible harms done on weightlifting days. They are guided by the Paleo principles. The ‘In-depth’ article can be found here.
- Eat mostly Paleo foods; some leeway is fine, but keep it minimal
- Eat a minimum of four meals a day
- Try to get more fatty acids, fibers, and vegetables on these days since they are under-consumed on work days
- You may intermittent fast, or you may resume day-long eating habits
- Relax; don’t lift heavy shit
Sample Cheat Mode Diets
The following are sample diet plans for low, moderate, and high caloric intake. To calculate how many calories you should consume, start with your approximate BMR (use any formula online and use that as a guesstimate) and then add or subtract calories depending on your goals to get your daily allotment; similar to any diet plan. 500kcal increments are good to start, with modifications later on based on how you feel and how the diet has been working for you.
- Fast: Pop a few fish oil tablets between drinks of tea
- 2.5 hours out from the workout: 400kcal meal. 40g protein (40%) 25g fats (56%), trace carbs from veggies
- Workout nutrition: Fat-loss protocol
- Feast: 800kcal meal. 50% carbohydrate (100g) 30% protein (60g) 20% fat (18g)
The Basic Recomp
- Fast: Drink coffee with some cream. Take some ephedrine
- 2 hours out from the workout: 500kcal. 40% protein (50g) and 60% fats (33g). Some trace carbs from veggies.
- Workout nutrition: Basic recomp approach
- Feast: 1500kcal. 50% carbohydrate (187g) 40% protein (150g) 10% fat (17g)
The Angry Bear
- Fast: Pulse ephedrine and caffeine with some fish oil, drink some black coffee straight out of the pot. Sneak some yohimbine HCl in there as well. Dominate life.
- 2 hours out from workout: 500kcal, 40% protein (50g) and 60% fats (33g). Some trace carbs from veggies.
- Workout nutrition: The Muscle building Approach protocol
- Feast: Two scoops of whey with 15g Metamucil to get requirements out of the way. A few burgers or sandwiches (3-4) with some chocolaty treat on the side; a few (3-4) bowls of chili or borscht as well. A few babies.
- Relatively ‘Light’ snack: What you didn’t eat before, carried on over later in the night. Maybe make some protein pudding with casein protein and cottage cheese.
(Angry Bear contains some dramatic rhetoric by the way. You still work with your calories as denoted above. I thought this would be obvious with the ‘drink coffee straight from the pot’ and ‘conquer life’, but I apparently overestimate people’s reading comprehension at times. Either that or people are just looking for reasons to hate on CM)
Other considerations given to certain Population subsets
(1) Beginners to weight lifting
If you are beginning weightlifting and follow Cheat Mode, you may not experience as ‘magical’ effects of the feast not going to fat stores. This is mainly because that, as a beginner, you do not have enough experience under weights to know what a true, powerful muscle contraction feels like. This is expected, and you learn with time.
You can either practice some moderation with the feast, or you can accept that you may not lose fat as fast (or at all) with a large feast until you get more experience under the weights.
Beginners also typically have less muscle mass, the reasons of why this matter follows.
The factors that guide the beneficial metabolic fates of nutrients arise from muscle contractions. Women (and beginners) typically have less muscle mass and thus less of these factors overall will be produced.
The feast can still be a feast, but you cannot consume an entire pizza at this time. Practice some moderation (in relation to the true Cheat Mode’s ideals, this moderation may still very well be a large bowl of ice cream and some cookies alongside your protein and veggie containing meal)
(3) Formerly or currently obese individuals
Nothing inherently biological is stopping cheat mode from working in obese individuals or formerly obese individuals. It’s just that we, the formerly or currently obese, have an in-human ability to consume (how do you think we got there in the first place?).
I personally have experienced binges of over 6,000kcal when I was given the excuse to, buffered by my insatiable obese-man appetite and the supposed ‘promise’ of it not going to fat stores.
For these reasons, obese individuals and formerly obese individuals who retain the inhuman ability to consume should act smart. You can eat junk, you can eat a lot of it; you should not eat everything you physically can.
The mechanisms that Cheat Mode offers to protect against fat gain can be overrun, if enough if consumed. Normal human satiety should kick in well before this point, but it does exist.
(4) Those with metabolic abnormalities
Cheat Mode has been cleared for metabolically healthy individuals (those with no significant metabolic abnormalities). These person’s bodies are able to regulate the extremes that make up Cheat Mode and significantly benefit from it.
If you suffer from metabolic abnormalities such as dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, or organ failure/damage (and any other disease states), then do not undertake Cheat Mode as there is no assurance how your body will respond.
A much better approach would be to follow something similar to Cheat Mode, but without the Cheat. Follow the morning and workout protocols, but consume basic Paleo-themed meals after the workouts. These meals may be larger than average though.
If you are on any medication, then please talk to your doctor before changing anything in your routine significantly. This should go without saying though.
(5) The pregnant or lactating, children, the elderly, and individuals under the age of 18.
No, just No.
The first two categories (Pregnant or Lactating and Children) should not fast due to very high metabolic needs (benefit of food intake is greater than the benefit of fasting), I cannot condone such drastic dietary protocols in the elderly due to unforeseen circumstances and physiological weaknesses, and I cannot recommend this to individuals under the age of 18 since they may still be growing and thus need to avoid fasting.
I realize that some individuals around the age of 18 may be done growing, but I cannot outright recommend Cheat Mode for them.
If you fall in one of these categories, no Cheat Mode for you. No questions, no debate, end of discussion.
Like any diet or exercise change, one should consult their physician or medical practitioner to see their current state of health prior to adapting Cheat Mode. None of the above should be taken as medical advice, only dietary; none of it assumes more importance than prescribed medications or diagnosed disease states.