Cheat often can we take them?

Every athlete has a guilty pleasure when it comes to junk food. As for me, a few of mine are Resee’s Peanut Butter Cups, Oreo Cookies and the breadsticks from the Olive Garden.

I get asked by my Les Mills participants all the time: How often should we take said cheat days? And how often does our beloved instructor take them?

One or two cheat days a week doesn’t hurt, so long as you stick to your exercise routine. I will admit, sometimes I take a couple a week, and my typical Wednesday night meal after teaching BodyPump is a plate of spaghetti, glass of beer and a cucumber on the side.

The big thing about these cheat days is that we have to earn them. If you eat a Big Mac or take a trip to the Cheesecake Factory on a given night, the worst possible thing you can do is take a day off from the gym, or group fitness. We always joke in our classes about “earning” certain things, like that glass of beer or wine on Thirsty Thursday, or a couple of tacos on Taco Tuesday.

For example, after my AIM II was in the books a couple weekends ago, the first thing I did after going through security at BWI Airport was look for a Mickey-D’s to grab a well-earned burger, and the next night at Game On and Fenway Park in Boston was complete with a couple of cold adult beverages and some well-earned hot dogs.

Let’s face it: If we’re going to indulge in those calories, we’ve got to burn them somehow. And what better way to burn them by in the group fitness studio, right? Some other good heart-popping offerings along with BodyPump for you cardio fanatics include RPM Cycling, BodyAttack and BodyCombat, three of my favorites. For me, RPM Cycling is my second favorite, followed closely by BodyAttack and BodyCombat.

So the next time you want to enjoy a cheat day – which in some cases can be an entire weekend – don’t forget the workout routine that helps you earn that plate of cheesecake, bowl of ice cream or piece of candy. Remember, that same plate of cheesecake can easily be burned off with some lunges, pushups, and everything in between! Hey, if instructors can have cheat days, so can everybody, right?

Ryan McLaughlin

About Ryan McLaughlin

BDN sports reporter Ryan McLaughlin grew up in Brewer and is a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. In "The Boston Blitz" he'll be sharing his perspective with BDN readers about what's happening on the Boston professional sports scene.