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Can I Cheat On My Diet?

Alright everyone, this is a topic that I get a TON of questions about, so I figured I’d elaborate a little about cheating on your diet.

Before I get into the importance of staying away from unhealthy foods, I have to confess that yesterday, July 4th, I decided to let myself have a cheat day. Yeah, you heard it right, I ate some foods that were not exactly the healthiest to eat. However, in my defense, this is the first cheat day that I’ve had in just about 4 months. There was nothing healthy to eat, and it was either eat some unhealthy foods or starve during the 4th of July. Of course, I wasn’t going to let myself starve, so I decided to eat a few things that satisfied the taste buds. Let me just say that wow, I forgot how good some of that food tasted! But today I’m right back on track, and even lowered my carbs for the day to “make up” for yesterday.

OK, now that I have that out of the way, it’s time to talk about if you should be allowed to cheat on your diet or not. First of all, just because that I had a cheat meal doesn’t mean that you should. You have to remember that I have been doing P90X for about a year and a half and I’m in excellent shape now. My metabolism is super fast and my body pretty much burns anything that I put into it. However, that doesn’t mean that I can have a cheat meal every week. I would begin to gain body fat back if I did. With that said, is it OK for you to have a cheat meal? Maybe.

What do I mean? Well, if you are just beginning a fitness program, then the answer is a definite no. You are beginning the program to get into excellent shape. Having a cheat meal will just remind you of the unhealthy foods that you were so accustomed to eating, and make it harder to stay clean for the rest of the program. I recommend following the Nutrition Guide strictly for the entire 90 days, which means NO cheat meals! This is how you will maximize your results and feel a sense of accomplishment. Believe me, this is what I did and how I got my results!

When is it OK to have a cheat meal? When you finish the program and reach all your goals! Cheating on your diet during the 90 days will only set you back, sometimes quite a bit, making it harder to reach all your goals by the end of the program. When you get to the point where you feel amazing about the fitness level you’ve achieved, then you can allow yourself to cheat every so often. I recommend cheat meals and not cheat days because having just one meal loaded with sugar and fat is much better than having 5! If you are going to cheat, I only recommend once a month at the most.

If you are having trouble with your diet, shoot me an email at, and I will help you get back on track!


  1. so i work full time at a pizza place. and i get food for free there. making it hard to get motivated to actually spend money on any other food. and it doesnt help that the pizza and other products are frickin tasty. and after, you know, 8 hours, pizza starts to sound really good. i eat oats and flax and other cereal type stuff for breakfast, and i try to “eat less/more often”. but its hard. what would you suggest, other than just self control. ha.

  2. Well the most important part of the program is the diet, and you have to dedicate yourself 110% if you want to get excellent results, and that means staying away from the pizza! Pizza is one of the worst foods to eat because of the very high carb and fat content.

  3. thanks man. i know its really important. and yeah, pizza is pretty nasty. anyway, i know this may sound dumb, but heres kinda how i figured it: i just finished my second day of phase two, and all thoughout the p90x program, ive been running 6+ miles after each workout. on saturdays (kenpo days) i run 11 miles. anyway, what im getting at is, i kinda picture the running as cancelling out whatever i eat, leaving me at “ground zero”, if you will, to improve with the benefits of the program. im not very educated in the “ancient dark arts” of weight loss, so tell me, is this way of thinking absolutely retarded?

  4. You have to watch running so much because you can end up burning a lot of muscle, which is what happened with me when I ran 3-4 times a week. I found it very hard to maintain my muscle mass.

  5. What is the rule with drinking alcohol? Im a 23 year old and yes i want to get in the best shape of my life, but i also dont want to lose my social life either. I dont drink during the week, and its mostly a friday-saturday occurance. With all of the 50 calorie beers out there, and hard liquor being calorie and fat free…is drinking allowed?

    What kind of effects will drinking have in regards to my diet and weight loss? Would you suggest low calorie/carb beer, or the hard stuff?

    I am going to try and cut it down to drinking/going out only 1 day during the weekend, but will this completly negate all of the hard work i am putting into my diet during the week? I know i can stay away from the ‘drunk eating’, but its the drinking itself i am concerned about.


  6. I noticed you guys talking about running so much. Let me start by giving some background info. I recently started P90X and am comparing it to CrossFit. Ive wrestled my whole life and running sprints and long distances were a way of life to me. After graduation I got into body building and one of the first things I learned was that running was bad in the sense that it tore down so much muscle. So instead to lose the weight my coach said to walk on a treadmill at a moderate pace (3.5 – 5) with the incline fairly steep (7+) for 30 minutes a day, twice a day if i was feeling risky haha. This not only builds your leg muscles, trust me you’ll feel it in your calfs immediately, but also helps you shed that extra weight. Just a little tip to help out.

  7. There is nothing wrong with having a few drinks every once in a while. I like to have a few each weekend with my friends, but I just make sure I don’t go overboard. Try to stick with the “healthier” drinks like MGD 64 and Diet Rum and Coke. This won’t effect your results if you stick with a healthy diet.

  8. I have discovered that running isn’t good if you’re looking to build some mass. About a year ago, I was running 3-4 times a week, about 3 miles each time, and I found it very hard to gain mass. This was because my body was targeting the muscle as energy. I haven’t ran since then and have gotten much stronger. I stick with high intensity cardios like One on One Cardio Intervals, Interval X Plus, and Kenpo Cardio Plus.

  9. Josh

    How much of P90x is diet would you say?



  10. How is running different compared to other cardio programs? If they are both cardio wouldn’t they both effect muscle building? Or is it because running is higher impact that caused it to effect your muscle building?

  11. I tell the people that I coach that your results will come from 80% diet and 20% workouts.

  12. Usually when people run, they run at a moderate or low intensity, which targets both fat and muscle for energy. Higher intensity cardios burn mainly carbs and fat for energy. I tried running 3-4 days a week along with P90X and hit a hard plateau with my progress, and it wasn’t until I stopped when I saw the greatest improvement.

  13. Hey I’ve always wondered this because I have a very hard time gaining mass, being 5’11” and only 135 pounds. I eat the average amount of junk food and such, I’ve tried diets that require a set amount of fat/carbs/protein and they typically don’t work. I have a hard time finding the proper nutrition to satisfy all of the needs for the diets and was wondering if there was a difference in how you obtain your protein/carbs.

    For instance.. If I were to drink a quart of lowfat chocolate milk it would contain 640 calories, 104g carbs, and 32g of protein.

    Would this have the same effect as if I were to obtain the nutrients through powdered shakes? I want to build muscle but would like to put on a little weight first so I don’t look like a muscular skeleton.


  14. Diets that do requite a set amount of fat/carbs/protein do work. I would say about 98% of all people that have committed themselves to the diet have gotten results. More than likely you weren’t taking in the proper ratios due to your goal of gaining mass. The difference between the protein found in regular milk and whey protein is that most whey is stripped of the fat, and really is the best protein that you can consume. Being that you want to gain mass, you will need to increase the calories and eat all throughout the day, along with taking the proper pre and post workout supplements. You can find more information about that on this site.

  15. I read when you said that running can make you lose muscle. And I’ve been jumping rope lately, to strengthen my legs, and I heard it made you more agile, but I wanted to know if it will make you lose muscle like running will. Thanks in advance.

  16. When most people run, they run at lower speeds, which causes you to burn some muscle as well as fat. Jump roping is a high intensity cardio exercise and good for you.

  17. Is high-intensity interval sprinting okay to do? I’m a soccer player and running is kind of important lol.

  18. Yeah, I used to do some interval running about a year ago.

  19. daniel /

    hey i eat 2-3 large eggs, 2 pieces turkey bacon an fruit an orange juice for breakfast, frozen dinner like weight watchers or that other brand for lunch with a salad of just spinach, and some fruit for lunch, and whole wheat pasta or a healthy choice pre made meal thing u heat up in microwave usually they are some kinda pasta selections. Im a college student so cooking things is kinda of hard. and my snacks consist of a piece of fruit an nuts. is this a good idea for trying to cut weight im just about to begin my workout an want to make sure i have a good diet. thanks for any help

  20. This looks pretty good. However, make sure you use the 2 egg whites and one whole egg for breakfast. Also, if you eat pasta or breads, make sure they are whole grain or whole wheat. Also, the snacks need to be high in protein, and fruits are high in carbs.

  21. Ayush /

    hey, I’m a vegetarian, and currently im in phase 2 of p90x. I feel like im not gaining muscle mass however, I am losing body fat. How much protein should I consume in a day? I weight about 195 lbs and 6’0” height. I drink protein shake about twice a day (56g) and I also drink the recovery drink. Thanks

  22. @Ayush. You need to follow the requirements in the Nutrition Guide, regardless if you’re a vegetarian or not. For the Fat Shredder Phase, you need to have a fat/carb/protein % of 20/30/50. You’ll just have to get your protein through nuts and whey.

  23. bob /

    its my third round @ p90x im in gr8 shape, but recently ive been having awful cravings, specially when it comes to sweet and breads … i had a full dozen donuts las night b4 bed, it just makes me feel so guilty i dont want to lose my 6 pack, what would you recomend me to do in such case ? thanx

  24. Josh /

    @Bob. A dozen doughnuts before bed? That’s an easy way to lose your 6 pack! If you’re that hungry and craving sweets throughout the day, that’s telling me you’re not eating enough throughout the day. If you have to eat something, eat a light healthy snack before bed like almonds.

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