Cheating Without Cheating

Derrick Sobotka is the Manager of Barry’s Bootcamp San Diego and began his career in the fitness and athletic industries by training as a gymnast for fifteen years, which is also where he developed his personal outlook on life…

there are no excuses, only solutions.

During the conclusion of his athletic career he felt it was only natural for him to transition into training others on how to push past their own physical limits and achieve what they thought was impossible… much in the same way he did as an athlete.


Lets get real… we all cheat.  We all have that day where we take a giant nose dive from our healthy eating habits to enjoy a big, giant, juicy burger. It feels good and it tastes even better. Until the guilt sets in. You know that feeling and that little voice in the back of your head that keeps telling you that you shouldn’t have done that? Stop worrying! There are so many ways to cheat without cheating, to get what we want without compromising the body that we work so hard for. After all, we don’t want to negate the week of bootcamp where we just kicked butt, do we?

Burgers vs Turkey Burgers

Lets look at the all American comfort food. The Cheese Burger! Why not have the turkey burger alternative? Your typical 4oz turkey burger has an average of 168 calories and 9.3 grams of fat. This may seem like a lot, except when you compare that to your typical beef burger ,which has an average of 243 calories and 17 grams of fat. And you feel like you just had a cheat day. It’s all in your head. You feel like you cheated but in fact you made a smart choice.

Margarita vs Vodka Soda

Want to order that margarita? Try 550 calories for your 8 ounces. I think I will take the 64 calories in the vodka soda. You’re still getting your Sunday-funday buzz but that little voice in the back of your head that keeps saying “you’re going to regret this” mysteriously vanishes.

Deep Dish vs Thin Crust

My personal kryptonite is pizza. Yes, I’m a professional fitness instructor and a complete health nut, yet I can’t stop myself when it comes to pizza. What can I say – I spent the majority of my life in New York and know what GOOD pizza is! What I was truly astonished to find out is that one average slice of pizza, and in New York that is no small piece, contains roughly 300+ calories and 17 grams of fat! Your body is just not built for that. Order thin crust with no sauce. I know what you’re thinking… BORING!!! Not at all. When you see the major drop to 180 calories and 6 grams of fat in the thin crust, no sauce slice you’ll feel WAY better about your “cheat.” And when it comes down to it… you can barely tell the difference between the two.

Short Ribs vs Filet Mignon

So there are the obvious all-American comfort foods (burgers, pizza, cocktails), but what about date night? What happens when you actually find a night where you are both off of work, the kids are gone, and you want to treat yourselves to a nice dinner at your favorite upscale restaurant? My personal favorite spot here in San Diego is called Bertrand at Mister A’s. Its on the 14th floor rooftop, has an amazing view of the city and San Diego Harbor, and the ambiance is elegant and warm.  The food….. oh, man…. the food. INCREDIBLE! My favorites are the beef short ribs. I was heartbroken to find out that in the short ribs alone there are almost 400 calories and 23 grams of fat! That doesn’t even include the appetizer, or sides. I desperately needed a better solution. Even on date night I didn’t want to sacrifice all of this hard work that I put in at bootcamp.

Easy solution. I just get the filet mignon instead. Your average 8oz filet mignon is roughly 300 calories and 11 grams of fat. Still getting your red meat fix but saving over 100 calories and 12 grams of fat compared to the short ribs. An even easier solution, which can be applied to any day-to-day meal, is to substitute. You don’t need the mashed potatoes, bread, and fried amazing-ness that I know we all secretly love. One cup of mashed potatoes… about 250 calories and about 9 grams of fat. So your original choice of short ribs and mashed potatoes just went from 400 calories to 650 calories and a total of 32 grams of fat. NO THANKS! But you can still treat yourself. There is no reason why a date night “cheat” can’t be responsible. Substitute steamed veggies for the carb-loaded sides and you are only looking at a total of about 70 calories and .5, yes that is half a gram, of fat. No brainer. You are still “cheating” with your decadent filet mignon, yet offsetting that with the healthier choice of steamed veggies.

This is 2012 and we are at the forefront of a health revolution. EVERY menu has healthier options from which to choose! And let’s be real… if they don’t, they need to get with the program. You may pride yourself on your level of self control, but we have to subscribe to the fact that we are all fundamentally human. We want what we want and sometimes that craving takes over. Trick that craving and change it up a little. Turkey not beef, grilled not fried, ”cheat” don’t cheat. Your waistline will thank you.


For daily fitness updates and inspiration, find Derrick on Facebook or drop in and visit him at Barry’s Bootcamp.