Post contest nutrition and training can be just as challenging on you mentally as your pre contest phase. After your competition, you celebrate by enjoying all the foods you've been starving yourself for in the last 3 months. You hoe into your 2nd packet of Toffee Pops, your second Pizza or McDonald's. This binging is probably ok as a celebration meal after the show but when it becomes a habit the week or two weeks after competition - it could turn to be a problem for you psychologically.

 Sample Image The contest year is over, your tan has faded but your hunger is still there. No not hunger for the limelight but for all the 'treat' foods you promised yourself you'd only have after your show. But still after 3 or 4 weeks or even months, you still overindulge.  We realise its probably a little late but the issue of post contest nutrition is still an important topic for those who have competed or contemplating competing, and its an issue you should prepare for as part of your contest plan. 


Sample Image Firstly, let's deal with the body. You are born with certain number of fat cells which shrink and increase depending on the amount of calories you intake, and ofcourse expend. When in pre contest mode you decrease the fat cells through cardio and changing your diet plan. This combination helps you to expose the lean muscle mass which you are displaying to the judges.





It's quite unhealthy to maintain the contest condition for a long period of time as you need
fat, especially women, to maintain normal hormone balance and other body functions.
Ideally, you should increase calories slowly in the following weeks after a show so that
your body can adjust to the extra calories that you're taking in. If you increase your
calories too quickly after a show, it's highly likely that your body will store the extra
calories into fat in case you go into 'starvation' mode again.

As you ingest more calories and take in more salts and fluids into your diet, your muscles
will appear to be smoothed out. Don't worry you haven't suddenly turned FAT!
Your body is just soaking up all the fluids and filling muscles and body, and you'll appear
puffy. It'll take your body a few weeks to recover and adjust itself but as long as you keep
on training and try and eat healthily you will eventually get back to your 'normal' body shape.

Which brings up our next issue, your head!
Post contest is probably tougher to deal with compared to your pre contest plan. Why? because you had a goal to achieve and your mind was focused on that event. Also, as you put on weight and get to a relatively 'normal' body weight, you may think that you're fat. Sure, you're not in contest shape but as mentioned earlier, that shape is not maintainable.

Just like you'll need to adjust your body to take in the extra calories, you'll also need to adjust your head to your new body image and size. You started off your pre contest plan at a certain body weight and size, and I'm sure you were comfy with it then.
So what is wrong with it now? As long as you don't put on more than what you started
at you should be able to maintain your weight. Instead of worrying about the weight that might come back, enjoy the strength you are gaining back to lift the weights - which will help you gain the extra muscle mass.


As a general rule, try and stay within 5kg of contest weight. This can be achieved by maintaining your cardio and eating cleanly, regularly and not taking in too many calories. Sure, you can have a few treats now and again but make sure it doesn't become a habit.
It'll just be harder to get the weight off when the time comes to compete again - and you'll WANT to compete again!

Lisa, Go Figure

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