Fact #1– Training and dieting for a show require discipline and perseverance.
Fact#2 – Post-contest nutrition is just as important as your nutrition during contest prep, but…
The hard training competitor has just begun the process of destroying everything he/she worked for and has just made their next contest prep that much harder.
When you start over-indulging after a show your body will start to gain fat at a fast and furious pace. Your months of hard dieting slowed the rate of your metabolism and your body is happy to oblige by storing enough winter fat for the next 8 years.
I competed in the NPC Southern States on July 12 and had one of my best stage appearances ever. I attribute that to staying very close to contest weight in my off-season, about 6-7 pounds away. This allowed me to eat a lot more food during my prep which made it easier to go into the show looking full, yet ripped.
Here’s how I handled it between my last show in 2012 and the 2014 NPC Southern States, with step-by-step takeaways for your own off-season to follow:
- I slowly increased food in the weeks after my show (this is essentially what people refer to as “reverse dieting,” but I’m not a fan of the term).The first few weeks in particular require a high level of discipline, but when done correctly it will allow you to eat more food than ever in your off season as well as in your prep.
- In 2012 my average macros while training for the NPC Gold Cup show was 225g protein, 150/175g carbs and 45g fat, with one higher carb day each week. Immediately after the show I had a really good fun meal and then ate whatever I wanted the day after.
- At the start of the following week, I started a plan that was just slightly higher than my show prep macros. Each week I would add a small amount of carbs or fat back into my diet. My increases were as low as 10g and as high as 20g of carbs and 5g to 8g of fat. The increase was based what my weight did each week, and at about 300gr carb and 65g of fat I had gained enough weight and was able to maintain. That also included dinner out each week with my wife, Pam.
- In late March when I started prepping for the 2014 NPC Southern States, I lowered my protein a bit from 225g to 200 and lowered fat slowwwly from 65g to 45g,but my carb increases were significant during prep. I was able to go from my 300g of carbs off-season to an average of 350-375g carbs during my contest prep. I even had one higher day each week where I took in 400gr of carbs. Even though my protein and fat had reduced, the carb intake I was consuming for my prep was staggering while still in a dieting mode. My calories were about 2600-2700 and yes I was losing those 6-7 off-season pounds slowly on that.
- Some might argue that my protein should not have been reduced, but contrary to popular belief, it’s simply not the case. Your body can only use so much protein and no more. Plus, the added carbs helped me to have exceptionally good workouts due to increased and sustained energy.
As I move through my current off season (I’m currently about 4 weeks post-Southern States), I’m already at 210g protein, 375g carbs and 65g fat – close to 3,000 calories. I’ve used the same slow increase of food approach as I did after my 2012 show, but this time I can eat even more food! I’m still only 2.5 pounds above stage weight and will have to make another increase this week. I estimate that I will end up at about 210p-400c-80f, or close to it. Close to 3200 calories. This doesn’t even include a fun meal out that I have with my wife each week or any other social events.
Once I hit my goal weight I will have to tweak slightly downward to stay at maintenance but it won’t be much of a drop.
Takeaway #1– Stay within 6-7 pounds of stage weight (though some may need a bit higher). This is essential for anyone over the age of 50.
Takeaway #2 – Increase food (carbs, fat or both) very slowly week to week (10-20g increments) after a show and let your energy, the scale and the mirror be your guide.
Takeaway #3 – Keeping carbs as high as possible in prep will allow you to go in as full-looking as possible.
Takeaway #4 – More protein is not necessarily always the answer.
This approach will have you training with full intensity off season, keep you lean and set you up for a sensational contest prep and show. Plus, it’s a healthier approach than binging for days or weeks after a show .
Don’t just be a hard training competitor, be a smart one too!
If you have any questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org