You’ve finished your competition. You put in the work, the blood, the sweat the tears and now it’s all over. Sure, now you can enjoy life. Enjoy time with family and friends. PLUS, eat all the food, which is truly what we all really look forward to the most! Two weeks post show and you find yourself 15 plus pounds above stage weight… You feel uncomfortable, swollen, ashamed and disappointed in yourself. Maybe you’re thinking ‘how did this happen? I dieted and worked my butt off for 12 plus weeks just to gain it all back in the matter of DAYS!’
A post show rebound usual occurs when one doesn’t have a set plan or direction with their diet after they’ve competed. They simply continue to indulge in food, which may lead to binge eating, yo-yo dieting, restrictive eating, and just unhealthy relationships with food.
Far too often this is the case for many competitors. It doesn’t only affect their physically body, but also can have devastating affects to their psychological and emotionally states. Seeing your body go from stage lean to ‘I can’t pull up my pants anymore’ can really take a hit on your ego, confidence, and self-esteem.
I’m here to tell you this doesn’t have to be the case!
Post show can be a hard time for many new competitors because they may not know what to do or how to approach their diet after being in a caloric deficit for 12 weeks. As an experienced bikini gal, I want to share a few tips that have helped me stay on track and stay clear of this common rebound!
Post show meal
So you’ve been dreaming of that double decker burger with peanut butter and bacon? Perhaps that stack of chocolate chip pancakes smothered in butter and REAL maple syrup (move over Walden Farms)
GOOD. GO. ENJOY IT.
I always believe and allow myself a celebratory meal right after the show. This is the moment I dream of, driving into that juicy burger, celebrating all my hard work and weeks of dieting (and day dreaming of this deliciousness) Plus it’s probably one of the first true meals you’ve could enjoy with family and friends for quite some time!
So go and enjoy that meal. However, be MINDFUL. Don’t eat till you feel as though you’ll explode. Eat until you’re satisfied. Remind yourself that food will always be there!
Get Back On Track!
Some people like to take the whole weekend off from their diet, and enjoy a few meals the next day after the show. I’m all for that as well! Personally, after eating the large meal the night before, I prefer to get back to my meals and allow another cheat meal if there was somewhere else I was wanting to go to!
Sugary, fatty foods taste GOOD in the moment, but make me feel like a trash can a few hours later. This is why I personally prefer to get back to my prepped meals or ‘cleaner’/ WHOLE foods!
The show weekend has come and gone, time to jump back to reality and to work come Monday morning. Ok cool. Now what?!
TIME TO REVERSE DIET!
You may be thinking ‘what the heck is that?!’
So, reverse dieting is the process of SLOWLY reintroducing food/ calories back into your diet while decreasing cardio. By doing this slowly, it gives your body and metabolism time to adjust and adapt to the increments. Thus, in hopes of
slowly gaining weight/ fat oppose to just eating all the food with no structure!
It is NORMAL AND HEALTHY to put on weight after your competition. However, it’s the way in which you do so that makes all the difference. I personally believe in a structured reverse diet with weekly cheat meals to allow some sanity post show. By increasing your metabolic capacity and overall caloric intake, you will be able to make the necessary improvements, and muscle gainz, before beginning your next competition season.
So what are the main goals of a reverse diet?!
The main goal here is to slowly add carbs and fats back into your plan.
This can be done every few days, weekly, or as you feel it’s needed.
This varies per person however its recommended anywhere between 10-30g of carbs per week and/or 3-5g fats. Again, each person is different and each coach has their own protocol. In the end, it depends on how your body is responding to the increments!
As I mentioned earlier, I believe in a weekly cheat meal and especially in ones off season! I believe it helps most individuals with their mental sanity as well as cravings that may occur immediately post show. However, cheat meals don’t work for everyone. Sometimes a cheat MEAL, can lead to a cheat DAY or a full out binge. This leads to unhealthy relationships with food and can be psychologically detrimental! In this case, i would recommend this individual incorporate high carb days with an IIFYM approach. This simply means NO foods are off limits! The induvial will simply have days where they are allowed more carbs, thus able to fit more ‘yummy’ foods into their day!
Before you started prep, you were likely NOT doing cardio every. Single. Day!
Thus, in your off season, you defiantly don’t want to be hanging on to that dang stair master, while licking up those salty sweat driblets when the point ISNT to be a shredded wheat! So the goal here is to gradually reduce cardio each week. Some may switch to mostly steady state cardio if they were performing lots of HIIT. Why? HIIT can be more taxing on the body which isn’t our goal at this time. Off season is for R&R! but with that said, once someone is deeper into their ‘off season’, I would recommend HIIT over Steady State as it is more efficient, you will have more energy from the caloric surplus and is proven to help increase your metabolic rate even after you’ve completed the session.
Reminder that reverse dieting can be much easier for those who are familiar with their bodies and understand when their bodies need more. However, if you’re new to the sport, I’d recommend continuing with your coach, or someone with an objective eye, to help you with WHEN and HOW MUCH food to add.
All in all: REVERSE DIETING REQUIRES JUST AS MUCH EFFORT AS COMPETION PREP!
It is a slow process, just as losing the weight during prep was. But in the end, it is SO beneficial. You will not only increase your overall caloric intake, but your metabolism will be working at its highest efficiency! This will leave you in a great place to start your next prep and with the hope of dieting on a higher caloric intake! Remember it’s the QUALITY of weight you put on NOT the quantity!
And lastly, don’t be discouraged if you mess up. Nobody is perfect. Reverse dieting isn’t easy. But guess what? I believe in you. Now YOU need to believe in you. If you fall, get back up. Tomorrow is a new day. A new day to become YOUR best self. A new day to make YOURSELF proud. So let’s kick some butt and get our metabolism revving like fire in our souls!