Tip: How Instagram Makes You Fat

Bodybuilders do it. Figure competitors do it. Action stars do it. And they're all sending the wrong message.

Stop Looking at Cheat Meal Pics

We are highly influenced by our peers. Even when we think we aren't, we are. So when your jacked friend only posts pics of donuts and pizza with captions chronicling these experiences, you start to wonder why you're not living it up in cheat-meal land.

The problem here is what you're NOT seeing: the chicken, rice, salads, tuna, and broccoli your friend had for six days prior so he could afford the massive calorie dump of the cheat meal.

How about those viral photos of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson? You know, the ones where he's inhaling 12 pancakes, 4 pizzas, and a pan of brownies.

The Rock Cheat Meal

Well, you may have missed the fact that Johnson had dieted hard for over 37 WEEKS before devouring that buffet of Type-2 diabetes. Have you? And do you train like him? And do you have the amount of muscle he has? The same roaring metabolism?

The truth is, while cheat meals are tempting, they only work if you're lean enough, spend enough time doing intense training, and have a 90% adherence rate to a sound nutritional protocol.

So be careful about comparing someone else's diet to your own. Don't think you can afford to eat such meals because you saw your buddy throwing down, and don't think that's all he's been eating.

Tim Hendren, CSCS, has been training clients for 13 years in Baltimore, MD. Tim is a body composition and strength specialist. He also has extensive experience working with patients in cardiac rehab. Follow Tim Hendren on Twitter