No, just because you’re working out in the gym, does not mean you can now reward yourself by eating whatever you want. Even if you’re trying to grow and make gains, does not mean you can hit up McDonald’s post workout all the time.
There are so many myths and there is so much confusion about nutrition and eating! When it comes to fitness, I think nutrition is the biggest hurdle for most people. It is the most confusing part of trying to reach your fitness goals, and to be honest, I don’t blame you! We’re always being told different things when it comes to nutrition. My goal is to try and clear up as much of the bogus that is out there, in a way that is plain and simple.
So, when it comes to eating and working out, you should always eat within your macro-nutrients. As a general fitness enthusiast, meaning you’re not a high performance athlete, or competing in a show, you can generally eat whatever foods you like, as long as they fit within your daily macro-nutrient allowance. However, that being said, a lot of the “treats” that are out there will max out your macro-nutrients for the day fairly quickly. Generally speaking, the more processed foods you eat, the quicker your calories/macro-nutrients get eaten up, and the less amount of food you get to eat through out the day. Eating this way, and trying to stay on a diet is very ineffective. “Flexible dieting” is great in the sense that you can have a treat once in a while, but if you’re eating processed meals all the time, you will not perform as well as you could be if you’re eating whole foods.
So, even though you are working out, you MUST stay within your macro-nutrient/calorie limits each day. If you’re working out consistently, you must eat consistently as well in order to reach your fitness goals, whether it be to lose weight, or to gain size. The more “cheat meals” you have where you eat whatever you want and you don’t count it in your macros, the further away you get from achieving your goals. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t indulge and treat yourself, but it is no longer a treat when it becomes a weekly thing. If you’re treating yourself every week, it is a part of your regular diet. It is a habit that you have created. Even binge drinking every weekend, is an indulgence that you do every week, and it is considered part of your lifestyle. Cheat meals or indulgences are a once in a month thing MAYBE! That is the only way you can really call it a “cheat meal” LOL is if it is a treat that you don’t have often. Something that you will enjoy, because you only really have it once in a while. That is when a cheat meal can truly be enjoyed without any guilt, because you eat and workout consistently, and your cheat meal is something that you earned.