How Often Should You Have A Cheat Day?

how often should you have a cheat day

Maintaining your diet and calorie intake is necessary to achieve the fitness goal for which you are working. Still, some breaks are required to keep you motivated and satisfy your taste buds once in a while. Let’s discuss how often should you have a cheat day.

As the name indicates, we assume a ‘cheat’ day to fallout from your following diet plan. You always want to avoid them. Instead, we have discussed ways to include cheat days in your strict diet schedule without making them wrong.

In the end, there are some things you need to keep in mind while planning your cheat days. With these tips, you can guiltlessly work out and treat yourself at times.

How Does a Cheat Day Help?

It might seem that eating a little more calories makes you work a little harder the next day. Although a cheat day might not work for everyone, it has some significant benefits for motivating you to try at least once:


The significant reason even gym freaks, athletes, and artists have a cheat day is the psychological benefit. You need to eat and be happy simultaneously. Having beloved, high-calorie food once in a week or two weeks will help you maintain your sanity.

Further, most of us tend to avoid social events and meetups as they mean drinks and junk, i.e., high calories. You can plan your cheat days to accommodate such events and hit two birds with one arrow. It doesn’t count as cheating if you are within the limit you set.

Psychological effects of A Cheat Day


Some theories state that leptin, the hormone that suppresses the feeling of hunger, is produced in less quantity when you start eating less. Even with significant weight loss, leptin production in the body might reduce. So, when you eat well again after achieving your goal, lower leptin can lead to overeating and faster regain.

With a cheat day in a while, the production of leptin might boost up. It will help to control your intake in the future.

This theory is not backed up by many scholars and researchers but is worth the try.


Cheat day foods are foods that improve your mood and, thus, your energy levels. With higher energy, your metabolism improves and might help burn extra fat. This higher metabolism rate might reduce back quickly, but it does improve your food.

Some Cheat Day Plans

Here are some recommended cheat day plans you can include in your diet. After regular monitoring of your intake, energy requirements, and craving levels, you can choose the best one for you. The exact number of cheat days depends on individualistic factors; you can redefine these plans suitably for you.

Reward System

The most widely used plan by all fitness freaks out there is the reward system. As the name suggests, it means rewarding yourself with a cheat day after you complete a short-term goal.

For example, you can set a goal of working out for an hour every day, religiously, for the next week. That might not be enough for you to increase your workout routine. You can set a reward here, that after completing this goal, you will make yourself a cheese sandwich.

That will help you focus on your workout and diet more for that one sandwich you like. The main task here is to stick to the goal; you cannot succumb before completing your goal. Being mindful is the trick.

Reward Systems of A Cheat Day

Cheat Meals

Another common technique to keep your tastebuds happy while maintaining fitness is having cheat meals. Instead of dedicating an entire day to a break, keep one meal of the day as a cheat meal. Any meal of the day can work.

You need to keep in mind to schedule the cheat meal and not decide based on your instant cravings. It will help you organize your workout and maintain the fat level accordingly. Besides training, it will save you the extra intake you tend to make when you take full cheat days.

Another benefit is that you can have more frequent cheat meals than cheat days without compromising your goal. As high as cheat meals twice a week have proved successful for even athletes. Carefully analyze and schedule your cheat meals to keep yourself motivated.

Nutritious Cheat Food

You need to attract yourself to the delicious food and work harder to make cheat days successful. This delicious food need not be complete junk or high-calorie food. You can cook it yourself, with a little more diet consciousness than others.

Add little extra green vegetables to the sandwich you will reward yourself. Use the least possible amount of butter and bake your food instead of frying it. These little steps will make your cheat meals healthier than you can imagine.

When your cheat meals don’t lead to much fat gain, lesser than what you anticipate, you tend to work more for them. You can increase your cheat meals to twice or thrice a week. Your cheat days will be ultimately successful this way.

Nutritious Cheat Food


Before going into planning your cheat days, there are some things you need to keep in mind.

  1. Don’t overdo your cheat meals. Too frequent meals, in the beginning, might make you succumb to the cravings.
  2. Don’t associate guilt with the earned cheat days. Enjoy them as rewards.
  3. Keep a regular track of your fitness and mold your plans accordingly.

Ending Notes

There is no specific answer to how often should you have a cheat day. The optimal number seems to be once or twice a week. You can have fewer cheat days initially and then change the plan according to your dedication level.

Cheat days might seem attractive, but they will deviate you from your fitness goal without proper planning. You can also choose to make your diet food enjoyable by using a variety of vegetables and spices. It will limit your cravings, and you will require lesser cheat days.