So you just finished a competition and now you don’t know what to do with yourself. You feel completely lost with your diet and training. Depending on your goals and what you did or didn’t do, post competition can be looked at in many different ways.
Most people get struck by post contest blues and cannot control their diet when show time is over. The discipline goes out the door and you basically are not able to say no to all the goodies you have been deprived of for long. When competitors go through this post-competition, They also noticed how fast the pounds come back even after only a few days of indulging. The head games start playing with us. We look in the mirror and wish we could look like the day of the show, and we start pinching at our stomachs and our butts. We try to go back on our diets, but that does not last long. Either the gym becomes an obsession or we cannot even drive by without wanting to cry at the thought of training.
What if you didn’t gain body fat? What if you just regained the normal few pounds? It’s not wise to stay lower with your calories just for the sake of staying at your pre-competition weight. Quite the opposite. You cannot think you are doing better because you are having less calories than your body actually can use. If your goal is to improve your physique and put on more muscle, you need to feed your body the adequate calories it needs in order to do so.
For those who don’t maintain a lean physique without cardio, then make sure you keep it up without over doing it, 4-5 times a week is great. But, if you didn’t need more than a few sessions per week to stay lean, then why not cut it down and do only 2-3 intense, short sessions? That way you can also have more energy for your weight training sessions.
If you have months to your next competition and you like how you look, maybe this is the time you need to experiment with other foods. Either you can add a bit more calories or choose some of your favorite foods and include them in your diet. What I personally like to do is a refeed day to fill up glycogen for better training and to prevent lethargy. This also helps our metabolism from hitting a “plateau”. Basically I eat more food and extra clean carbohydrates(always keep it clean!)
If you are just a few weeks between shows, make sure you reintroduce post workout carbs so you don’t catabolize muscle. Pay attention to how you look so you can stop if your body starts to look smooth. Sometimes we end up looking even better a few weeks after our first show just by little diet changes.
Some people when they are really lean and have eaten too little and trained too much for a long time, the body can start to look soft. The natural response is to train more and diet harder. Most likely what needs to be done is……take a day off and eat more! It’s hard to wrap our heads around this concept when we have established a routine of 2 a day workouts and low calories.
Few things I like to do:
1. Eat a different breakfast
2. Have some peanut butter(or almond butter, or just nuts)
3. Have some fruit
4. Eat a fattier protein like salmon or bison
5. Eat different veggies like carrots or squash
Not only will you feel satisfied, you will most likely feel happier and more energized. Keep in mind sometimes the body may get a little bloated from food we are not used to, but I believe that this is probably a good thing for our metabolism.
Now it’s time to try to relax about the whole “what do I do now!” What you should do now is enjoy your food and training! Work hard and never stop reaching for your fitness goals, and come in more muscular and ready to kick butt at your next show!