Every nine out of ten meals should be in your plan. This means 90% of the time you need to eat well; you’re eating greens, proteins, and doing everything necessary to maximise your metabolism.

If you’re eating five meals a day (breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner), then by Tuesday afternoon, guess what? That’s your ninth meal. For this meal I will go for a  cheat!

What happens if you eat clean 100% of the time, is your body gets used to eating clean. Then, whenever you put anything crap in the tank, the body holds on to it and stores it.

So if you shock the body every second day and put something dirty in there, like a cheat meal, the body goes, “Whoa! Get it out! Get it out!” As long as you go back to eating clean the very next meal, your body keeps running as normal.

Any time that day you can have your cheat meal, so long as you have it that day. If you actually write down five days a week multiplied by seven days, 5 x 7= 35 meals a week. If you eat clean 90% of the time, that allows 3.5 meals off plan.

However, it doesn’t mean you can have all three and a half on the one day, because you turn out into a big binge monster and we don’t want that. We don’t want people to be all or nothing. You want to stay in shape and eat well year round.

For each cheat meal, in my opinion, anything up to around 400 calories is about right. Some people, like me, get away  with 600, while other people have less. But you’ll know what works for you, because you’ll start to get fatter or leaner.

I continue to have some cheat meals during my comp prep until the last couple of weeks. People don’t understand if they eat really well 100% of the time, they have nothing left to cut out. You have nothing to take out of your diet when preparing for competitions if you don’t have a bit of junk every now and again.

As soon as you stop eating junk food for the last two weeks of your comp prep, your body shrinks down and your muscles stay full- you look amazing! You have got to trick your body into not thinking that you’re on a diet or that you’re on an eating plan. So by following the rules and having a cheat every second day, you’re convincing your body that it can have junk food whenever it wants and still get lean.

It’s actually been scientifically proven in a 2007 study by Dr. Stephen Bird as well. He proved the theory that if you ate well 90% of the time and included some junk food, you’d get exactly  the same results as if you ate clean 100% of the time. But, you are actually sane compared to someone who is on a diet for the rest of their life, which all we know is impossible.

Another tip is to avoid sugar and limit your complex carbohydrates with your last two meals of the day, unless you are training. What does that mean? If you’re using energy at night by training or doing cardio, you need complex carbohydrates to replace it. Potatoes, rice, whatever you feel like. Google ‘nutrient timing’, it will really explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

You really need to understand what are you doing. If someone says to you,  “I want you to do this” and can’t tell you why, don’t do it. At the end of the day it’s your body and if you don’t agree with something, don’t just take your coaches word for it that that’s a good thing. There are so many cowboys and cowgirls in this industry giving themselves a title: best abs or miss this, or world’s first that. The only titles you should ever get are the ones given to you by a federation. Titles are won, titles are earned.

This is a sport you really need to get right and in order to do that you need to find the right people to help you get there. There’s heaps of support forums and people out there who are recommended and highly regarded. Find those people and find what’s going to work.

And you know some people’s methods might not work for you. So if they don’t, go to the next person and say, “Okay how do you do things?” But whatever you do don’t choose a coach and then six weeks into things say “this is not working”. Go to your coach and trainer and talk to them about it. Tell them what you’re thinking. Tell them your thoughts, your fears, whatever it is, and if they are good coach and trainer they will listen to you. They will help you work through it and help you understand what you’re doing in the stage you’re at.

So don’t give up too soon. But again, if it doesn’t feel right  go back to your coach and trainer and tell them so. If they don’t give you an answer you want to hear then find someone else. Always question, nothing’s ever a secret. 

To find out more about Lindy’s 7 Rules for Success click here