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Cheater, Cheater

Posted on by Alycia

Just like a calorie is not a calorie, a cheat is not a cheat.

The definition of a ‘cheat’, when it comes to food, can vary from a weekend long bender of beer, pizza and cookies to an extra few handfuls of nuts throughout the course of a day.

-If you are newer to CrossFit Aspire, or the Spring 2012 30-Day Challenge was your first experience with eating only real foods, your cheats might include weekly beer nights, and anything that doesn’t fall under the umbrella of ‘paleo’ or ‘primal’, ranging from the white rice on a sushi roll to the sugar bomb that is a 3-bowls-of-cereal-and-a-pastry breakfast. To you, anything that isn’t ‘real food’ is a cheat.

-The next tier of people draw a line in the sand, and frequently re-evaluate where that line is. They move it a little farther back every few months, tightening things up as they go. First, it might be ‘nothing that comes in the box or bag’, then it might be “no beer’, then ‘no gluten’, and so on.

-Those with more experience or who are trying to lose some fat might consider overindulging on paleo-friendly foods a cheat. Three bananas in one day? Cheat. 3 servings of almonds? Woah now. A whole container of dates? Sugar overload.

-And finally, the strictest group, which is usually reserved for those with autoimmune conditions, those who are serious about gym performance, and/or who have no cravings for ‘bad food’ or alcohol. These people never (or very, very rarely) eat meals that include more than meat, veggies, nuts and fruit. Their intake of food is mostly protein and fat, with post-workout carbs mixed in to keep energy and recovery levels in check. Yes, this includes holiday, birthdays, weekends, happy hours, etc. All the time means all the time.


Choose the category of people above that best describes your current habits.

Spend the next month (which is an easy, veggie-friendly, grill-friendly, relaxed month) getting used to living in the next strictest tier of eating. This won’t be easy at first, but it certainly isn’t that hard. Push yourself. Make that change. Stick with it.

* NOTE: If you are very new here  and you are looking to make a dietary change, but you have not yet changed your eating habits at all, don’t worry. We’ll be hosting a Nutrition Discussion very soon, where you’ll have a chance to learn more about how and why we eat only natural, real foods. For now, just be sure to read the CrossFit Aspire Nutrition Guide that was emailed to you after you joined!

NOW, onto the real reason I wrote this article. A ‘cheat’ is called such because you are cheating yourself out of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. As you know, diet isn’t the ONLY factor in crafting a sustainably healthy life.

Pick one or two things from this list that you do so commonly that you consider them ‘habits’. 

Going forward, consider these ‘cheats’. Every time you do them, you are cheating. Add up these ‘life cheats’ and your food cheats and the sum isn’t pretty. I’ll bet your ‘90% healthy’ lifestyle just got downgraded to a 60%.

I skip workouts regularly.

I do a CrossFit style workout at 90%+ intensity every day of the week.

I’ve been annoyed at someone all week, but I haven’t addressed it yet.

I slept less than 7 hours.

I took a nap or had a cup of coffee after 12pm to keep me going throughout the night.

I have had a nagging pain/ache for more than a few days and I haven’t done anything about it. Foam rolling doesn’t help.

I felt a sharp pain during today’s workout, but I kept going because otherwise my score on the board would look too low.

I worry about things as I fall to sleep at night.

I didn’t cook one meal at home in the past 5 days. I’m ‘doing the best I can’ by making healthy choices at restaurants.

I ate lunch (and dinner) at my desk this week.

I cheated on my reps during the workout to finish sooner.

I said or thought something negative about my body today.

Just like the food cheats, some lifestyle cheats are more serious than others, but surely we can all find TWO things on this list that we consider a habit.


Write these two things down, and keep them in your wallet, your pocketbook, your gym bag, stick it to your computer screen, or fridge. The note will serve as a reminder that you’ll need to make a change during your day to avoid that bad habit.  In the beginning, just like when you start a diet, you’ll have to concentrate on not doing these things. You’ll have to break old patterns and start new ones. But over time, you will see that it wasn’t so hard to stop those things from happening, and you can start to easily live a healthier life.

As the owners of your gym, we are here to help you get healthy, and we realize that our job does not stop the moment we yell ‘Stop” and the music shuts off. We are here to help you become better, healthier, and happier people,  in and out of the gym.

Hopefully this list of habits and soon-to-be ‘cheats’ helped you realize that you can do even better. There is always room for improvement. You’ve got to start somewhere!

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