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I lift weights 2-3 days a week, spread as evenly as possible throughout the week.

Saturday is my "do nothing productive day" which helps me stop burning out (this actually really helps me stay disciplined as I know there will be a light/release at the end of the tunnel).

E.g. I do no work (as in my job's work), don't gym, will read a book/watch a movie, check my facebook, let myself eat junk food (note I do not end up eating too much more calories, I just end up substituting something unhealthy for lunch or dinner), and just generally lounge about.

My question is: should my unhealthy eating day be on a day I lift or not?

What I am wondering is

  1. Situation 1: I eat junk food and a slight calorie excess on lifting day, once a week
  2. Situation 2: I eat junk food and a slight calorie excess on non-lifting day, once a week

Would applying situation 1 make more of the excess calories turn into muscle (or less of it turn into fat)? I.e. does how much muscle you build/fat you lose depend on time between eating something and time between working out.

  • If its a substitution of 1 meal and the rest of your diet is good then it's not going to make any real difference when you lift, just that you do at least 3 times a week. As a side note, physiologically, you are setting yourself up for failure long term by dealing with rest days like you are. – John Sep 1 '16 at 6:38
  • Thanks JJosaur. Could you elaborate on your second point? – K-Feldspar Sep 1 '16 at 6:40
  • Briefly, exercise should be something you look forward to and enjoy doing. You shouldn't have to force yourself into the gym and then treat yourself for going afterwards. Example: If I were to reward a child every time they did the washing up after a meal then they would get used to it; expect the reward every time and more rewards as time goes on. They may also eventually not do the task as "they don't want the treat today". They should want to do the chore because it helps someone in need, not because they are rewarded for it. – John Sep 1 '16 at 6:47
  • That is fair enough. Unfortunately I can't really say I enjoy exercising/going to work/studying haha. Maybe I will come to like it over time but all of those have been things I do because they benefit me, not because I enjoy them. I am not really sure how I can change that. – K-Feldspar Sep 1 '16 at 6:52
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    Maybe you could look at a sport? If you are set on the gym, pick a goal like a obstacle course, strongman competition, triathalon, marathon etc. Exercise should be fun, if it's not you will eventually just give up on it. – John Sep 1 '16 at 7:12
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Should my unhealthy eating day be on a day I lift or not?

As I have previously answered, meal timing isn't important, generally you should view you food intake as a weekly (overall) thing and don't bother trying to micromanage it on a daily/hourly basis.

From a practicality perspective you should look at what effect food has on your workout. I personally find if I eat fish and veg before a workout as dinner then I am a little low on energy and need to compensate with some caffeine to give me more energy. If I have a beef stir-fry (higher carb) then I have that energy and don't need the caffeine to perform well.

BUT, this varies week-to-week! The true answer to this question is that you need to listen to your body and see what it feels like. If your cheat meals make you lethargic then use it as a rest day, if not then use it as your heavy lifting day.

Listen to your body and adapt your plan accordingly.

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Try to keep your diet as healthy as possible. This will help on the long run in weight control as fats take a long time to burn. It is recommended to keep at least 1-2 hours of gap before eating and working out. This is because muscles need blood for circulating nutrients and oxygen essential to get maximum results from your workouts while digestion of food will divert blood to the stomach.

This will not give you the required benefits of working out.

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    "It is recommended to keep at least 1-2 hours of gap before eating and working out. This is because muscles need blood for circulating nutrients and oxygen essential to get maximum results from your workouts while digestion of food will divert blood to the stomach" Says who? If you aren't getting a stitch, there isn't any evidence to support this statement. – John Sep 1 '16 at 7:11
  • @JJosaur this was recommended by my doctor once while I was suffering from obesity. Also I found it mentioned in one of Arnold Scwazznegger's training guides. – Jayraj Srikriti Naidu Sep 1 '16 at 9:43
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    Sounds like he was saving you from getting a stitch and nothing more. You seem to have a lot of misunderstanding of how muscle is developed through working out. I would expand but the comments is not for that. – John Sep 1 '16 at 9:47

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