UNDERSTANDING POST BODYBUILDING COMPETITION PERIOD
You did it – you competed in a bodybuilding competition, and regardless of how you placed according to the judges, you should be extremely proud of your accomplishments. In fact, you may already be looking forward to another upcoming competition and wondering what you can do to best prepare.
At the same time, you’re probably feeling hungry, emotional, and thoroughly worn down after stepping off the stage, particularly if this was your very first body building competition. In reality, bodybuilding competitions are always extremely exhausting for the competitors, even if experienced professionals are accustomed to this type of exhaustion.
Fortunately, it’s possible to quickly recover from your pre-contest preparations and the rigors of the competition itself by incorporating some basic post-contest concepts into your diet, exercise, supplementation and rest routines. The post-contest stage of bodybuilding is all about recovery, replenishment, and rewarding yourself for the extremely hard work you’ve been putting in over the last several months or even years.
HOW TO BINGE WITHOUT SPOILING YOUR BODYBUILDING EFFORTS:
The following are some specific tips to follow to ensure that you binge in a way that helps your body recover and prepare for a return to growth and gains in muscle mass, strength, density and definition:
- Drink plenty of water. Much of your pre-contest prep involved depleting water levels, and now it’s time to rehydrate. The more water you drink, the less likely you’ll be to crave junk food, since thirst is sometimes mistaken for hunger. Drinking lots of water will also cause you to retain less water, reducing bloating.
- Maintain a reasonable caloric intake. This holds especially true after your first day of binging, when you should be transitioning to your off-season eating habits.
- Eat whatever you want for 24 hours in order to reward yourself, but don’t allow binging to go on for days. This is where the discipline you learned during your bodybuilding program will come in handy.
- As a rule of thumb, initially return to how you were eating approximately four weeks before the competition date. This will help you to transition back to a somewhat higher-calorie diet.
- Focus on eating plenty of protein.
- Eat between six and eight smaller meals each day.
- Avoid gaining more than 20 pounds over your competition weight if you’re a male, and 10 pounds if you’re a female. Ideally, you’ll want to minimize post-contest weight gain as much as possible.
- Do something you enjoy to take your mind off of junk food cravings. Visit a friend, see a movie, go shopping – whatever gives you comfort and temporarily takes your attention away from bodybuilding.
- Stay away from alcohol while you’re binging, as it will dehydrate you even further. Alcohol also has an extremely high glycemic index, meaning that your body turns it into glucose very quickly, messing with your metabolism in the process.
POST-CONTEST BODYBUILDING DIET:
During the course of the pre-contest diet your body goes through a complex series of adaptations to…as dramatic as it sounds… prevent you from starving to death. For example in scientific studies such as a peer reviewed case study of a bodybuilder several different physiological outcomes were witnessed. During the review the bodybuilding subject was preparing for a contest, whereby it was observed that his resting heart rate decreased so low that an ECG machine could not pick it it up, on top of that his blood pressure and body temperature all decreased in order to put up with the lack of available energy delivered from food.
Healthy Relationship with Food:
This article is not supposed to fear-monger the metabolic damage, rather provide some understanding and allow making educated lifestyle decisions. Food is an important aspect of our social lives and there is nothing wrong with enjoying a celebration meal with your friends or family after a show. Do not obsess about it and do not treat it as reward either, heave a healthy approach towards food, eat until feeling comfortable and do not feel guilty about it. However, once the day is over you should be getting back to the game plan.
Remember that bodybuilding does not end once the show does, it is a 24/7 lifestyle!
The concept of reverse dieting is not really new, but it recently became a new hype in the industry. It is simply a set period of time during which you methodically increase your calorie intake while reducing cardio – allowing the body enough time to catch up and use the surplus of food to restore the basal metabolic rate rather than dump it in your love handles. By doing so within few weeks you will restore body’s homeostasis and settle the cravings along with hunger before losing sight of your abs. This approach can not only be used by competitive athletes but also by fitness enthusiast who pushed their diet and training for a summer holiday, photo-shoot or maybe a wedding day, to find that their regiment is not-sustainable.
It is important to keep in mind that the degree of metabolic down-regulation (“damage”) will depend on how hard you pushed your body, the more drastic the diet and training the harder the crash. Also the rate at which the metabolic damage sets in will depend on how gradual were the nutritional and training changes, more rapid and unreasonable changes will speed up the process.
Therefore the reverse dieting protocol will greatly depend on how your pre-contest programme looked like. There is no set in stone guidelines, however you can use the template below to get an idea of what to do and make the necessary adjustments.