After you work out, your body goes into a catabolic state where muscle tissue is broken down. This is the crucial nutritional “window” you’ve probably heard about, when every calorie counts toward rebuilding your muscles to be bigger and stronger than before. Neglect it, however, and the effect is reversed. To tip biology in your favor and kick-start the muscle-building process, eat one serving of whole fruit (banana, orange, grapefruit, berries) immediately post-workout, regardless of the time of day you train. Fruit is a fast-digesting, anti-catabolic carb source that provides your body with immediate recovery fuel.
On this plan, you can allow yourself a no-holds-barred cheat meal once a week. The timing is up to you, but weekends might make the most sense for social reasons. On a day that you plan to eat your cheat meal, have your usual low-carb lunch, and then set yourself loose at dinner. For even further physiological benefits, emphasize carbohydrates in your cheat meals by doubling your daily carb intake. Carbs have the greatest impact on a hormone called leptin, which down-regulates during prolonged calorie deficits. This in turn causes testosterone and thyroid levels to drop and will also help make your plan more sustainable over the long term.