Tag Archives: Competition Prep

What Do I Do Now?


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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!


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Remain a Fat Burning Machine On and Off Season

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Come competition time, the aim for all competitors is to become as lean as possible, while maintaining a hard physique. Although achieving this type of appearance should be relatively easy, there is one factor that often negates progress in even the most diligent: a slow metabolism.

A slow metabolism is the one thing a competitor does not want to be cursed with, when the main goal is to lose body fat.

Maintain a Healthy Weight Off Season.

The metabolism is adversely affected when one consumes a large amount of food for a certain period of time. In fact, the term yo-yo dieting stems from many peoples attempts to lose weight, while reverting to bad eating habits, when they should be sticking to a more sensible diet.

The body will simply adapt to maintaining a low metabolic rate if it has to continually adjust to a sharp decline in calories for a certain period of time, followed by engorgement for another period of time. This has obvious implications when it comes to losing weight during competition season. Attempting to lose fat at a rapid rate can also result in losses in protein, and loss of muscle protein means a decrease in metabolism. In my opinion, it is very important to keep a high protein diet, along with supplements like glutamine and branched chain amino acids during dieting to avoid muscle loss.

Another problem with drastic weight loss, is an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL). LPL is a fat storing enzyme that increases when calories are dropped at a significant rate. When your body produces too much LPL and you start to pile on the fat, you will possibly need to diet harder to lose this fat after, which may further increase LPL and making fat loss next to impossible.

Your best bet is to maintain a sensible eating plan during off-season, so when pre-contest rolls around, calories do not have to be severely restricted to lose weight.

Eat Smaller Meals

Eating smaller meals more frequently helps to keep the metabolic rate constantly heightened, and helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. A constantly stimulated metabolism means fat-burning over a longer period of time.

Stabilized blood sugar prevents the hypoglycemia that occurs when one eats a huge meal and feels tired and lethargic soon afterward, due to low glucose levels to the brain. The body is more likely to store fat when in a hypoglycemic state, due to spiked insulin levels.

Train Aerobically

Competitors serious about fat loss should engage in aerobic activity both off-season and pre-contest, to keep the metabolism high. Aerobics, or what we all like to call cardio, has a great effect on fat-loss. Cardio stimulates the metabolism, metabolizes fat directly as a fuel source, and burns carbohydrates. In turn, this will all help to lower the fat-storing potential of these macronutrients.

Cardio can however deplete the body of protein if done too often or for too long. Therefore, if you feel like you are losing muscle pre-contest, it might be a good idea to cut back on cardio to the point where fat, rather than muscle, is being utilized. Depending on the individual, cardio sessions 4-5 times per week for 40-minutes should be sufficient.

Train with weights

This should be an easy one for competitors: training with weights. Weight training builds muscle and muscle stimulates the metabolism to a significant degree. Individuals with more muscle tend to have more efficient metabolisms from the fat-burning effect that comes along with muscle.

Eat Protein

Protein plays a very important role in the fat burning process. Protein stimulates the metabolism far more efficiently than either carbohydrates or fat, due to the energy demands of amino acids.

In fact, studies show that eating a meal high in protein will stimulate the metabolism by as much as 30%, as opposed to fat or carbohydrates which increase it by around 4%. Protein will heighten the metabolic rate for around 12-hours after eating.

Eating sufficient protein shouldn’t be a problem for most competitors, as it is a fundamental requirement in terms of muscle building, and should be an established part of their nutritional plan.

Always eat breakfast

Breakfast has always been the most important meal of the day to most of us, and for good reason: it kick starts the metabolism and helps to negate the possibility of “indulging” later in the day.

Skipping breakfast will keep the body in starvation mode because it has essentially been fasting over an 8 hour sleeping period. When starved for too long, what can happen is the body will need to hang on to every available calorie, and fat loss will be the last thing to occur.

In conclusion, achieving your best body depends on a number of factors, including a functioning metabolism. A slow metabolism can decrease anyone’s chances of losing sufficient body-fat come competition time.

Rather than blaming a slow metabolism on genetic factors, follow these guidelines as best as possible, lose fat, look and feel great!


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