Post competition diets…this is something that’s really floated through my mind a lot lately. I’m now just 17days out from show and I’m so focused and driven that even the hunger isn’t an issue for me anymore. However what happens when I have nothing driving me anymore? Once I’ve walked off that stage I’m potentially free to go and eat whatever I want, whenever I want. Do I want to reverse over 2 years of hard work in a matter of weeks? No of course not.
When you’ve dieted hard for 19 weeks you NEED to refeed yourself. There’s only so long your body and mind can manage on complete restriction but it’s often post comp that you see so many athletes completely loose control of their dietary habits. Whilst you 100% need to let your hair down letting post competition binge eating lead into days/weeks will cause serious metabolic damage. During contest prep your body will become incredibly finely tuned. Bingeing on a long term basis will affect your hormonal system, insulin and thyroid activity will change, endorphins will be released and your going to send your entire body into overdrive. In as little as 2 days your body will start needing junk food due to the increased stimulation that it’s received. Once your at this stage it is incredibly difficult to stop so the best thing you can do is start preparing your mind for post competition whilst you are still in prep.
Heres my plan for post competition
- Have 24 hours off. Eat whatever I like during this 24 hours. Enjoy the food that I have missed but also remember to feed my body some good nutritional value.
- Maintian water intake at least 6 litres daily. Water retention is going to be high and the majority of weight gained post competition will be water. The more I drink the less I will hold.
- Once my free 24 hours are up return to my pre contest diet at approximately 6-4weeks out. I will however have dinner as a family meal but this will be weighed and portioned accordingly to avoid overeating (I’m going to monitor this and see if I has any adverse affects).
- Be aware around social situations and don’t boredom eat.
- Keep my cardio levels at around 50% of my post contest amount. So for me it will be around 3 1xhour cardio sessions a week.
- Maintain weight gain at 5-10lbs. I do not want to be gaining any more then this. It’s a reasonable amount to be able to get off reasonably quickly.
- Continue eating 7 meals a day and maintain my high protein intake whilst keeping carbohydrates located to post workout and my evening family meal.
- Keep carbohydrates wholesome!
- If – and only if- I am maintaining well allow a small treat meal once weekly, if I am gaining too quickly for any reason this will be adjusted.
- Stay just as focused as I was during prep.
I know that this sounds really structured and possibly not much fun but I’ve realised it has to be this way. I’ve worked so hard to get my body into the condition it is I would become depressed really quickly.
I think it’s really easy to walk into prep thinking it’s okay it’s only 16-19 weeks of my life but it’s actually so much more then that. It extends well past competition. Think of it almost as food rehab, you have to rehabilitate your own body to process food again. Plus if you want to compete again you need to remain in somewhat lean condition.
I think contest prep has taught me a lot, it’s trained me to be really strong willed and I’m hoping that I can carry this on well past prep and actually into the rest of my life. It’s shown me some really good principles to have and shown me that I can train my mind as well as my body.
If you are in contest prep or even just really heavy dieting then it’s such a good idea to prepare a plan for the end! I think it may be the best choice you make if I’m honest!