You've done it! You've finally achieved your goal of competing in a bodybuilding competition. But what now? Do you simply let yourself go and indulge in all those foods you've been hanging out for months.

Depending on how you felt during your competition you could be feeling one of two ways:

1) you're inspired to hit the gym the following week, still careful about your diet and watch that you don't eat too much junk and work harder than ever before
2) you saw all the other bodies and you feel demotivated because you may not have achieved your goal of looking how you want to. You throw in the towel and eat everything in sight for a week and wonder how you've gained that 10kg in such a short time.

To prevent you from getting to that stage, here are some suggestions I would make to help you get back into your training before you completely blowout of your hard earned shape:

Firstly, stop binging! Or at least have a little bit of your favourite foods every other day instead of downing masses of food at once. Remember your body has been 'starved' for the past few months and it's more likely that your body will store food as fat to compensate for eminent famines that may occur in the future. Increase your calories slowly over the next 3-4 weeks after the show. Allow your body to adapt to the increase calories that you are taking in and make sure you don't eat too much at night. To a certain extent stay in 'contest mode' and have fewer calories at night and stay particularly off high fat and carb foods at this time.

Moderation is the key. Keep track of what you are eating. Eat a variety of foods and eat less fat and sugar. Remember if you are not using it and you are eating too much you will store it as fat. The less weight you put on the easier it is to lose it next time. Most people lose up to 10kg and you do not want to exceed what you lose. The naturally leaner people tend to put on less than those that carry a higher fat percentage.

Rest Up
I don't mean putting your feet up on the couch and watching TV kind of rest, but active rest. You've put your body (and mind) through immense stress the past couple of months so it's only fair that you give yourself a break so you don't suffer physical and mental burnout. Adequate rest will also improve your motivation levels in the long term and make you want to get back into the gym rather than having to.

Take a week or two out of the gym and give your self a rest. Maybe play other sports or doing outdoor activities such as bushwalking, mountainbiking. Most importantly take time to enjoy the things you've been missing out on such as wining and dining with friends, or just enjoy an ice cream without feeling guilty!

But if you can't stay out of the gym, at least incorporate a significant period of low-key training. Train 3 times a week incorporating all body parts each workout and keep up your cardio.

Analyse Your Physique
The good thing about competing in a show is that you've basically stripped yourself down to your 'barest'. You are able to see your muscle and skeletal structure clearer which enables you to analyse your strongest (and weakest) bodyparts. Some of you may not feel too good about looking at your contest photos but it is the best way you can make changes for your next show.

Train Differently
Once you've recovered from your show and you're ready to get back to some hard training again, you can now work on your weaker bodyparts. You should try different training routines to stimulate the growth that you desire. Not only will it help to enhance muscle growth but give your mind a different stimulus as well. Experiment with different rep ranges, splitting and combining different bodyparts, frequency of training and the weights that you use.

Set New Goals
Goal setting is an important method of deciding what is an important achievement for you.
Was winning your goal when you competed? Or was just getting up there in your best condition your goal?

What ever was your goal you should allow yourself the satisfaction of completing your goal and enjoy the new look you, even for just a while.
Instead of looking to your next show as your goal, work on monthly goals which are achievable. Focus on the enjoyment you get from weight training and aim for strength goals rather physical ones such as maintaining your contest weight.

Accept that you will gain weight
It's almost impossible to be in contest shape all year round unless you're one of those naturally lean athletes whose metabolisms allow them to eat anything and not gain much weight. However, the reality for most of competitors is that there will be weight gain. Although you may feel 'fat' compared to your contest shape, you are in fact in good athletic condition compared to the 'average' non weight trainer.


The four to six weeks after your contest could be the most productive phase in your overall training. As you consume more calories, you can in fact stimulate more muscle growth as your body forces more nutrients into your body and nourishing previously starved muscles.

However, it's important to find a balance between your food intake and your activity level and ensuring that you still eat a certain amount of the 'good' foods without overindulging on the bad ones. If you do end up eating too much make sure that you work out hard enough so that the calories are going to good use.

Afterall, it would be a shame to waste all that effort you've made to get your body into condition wouldn't it?

Lisa, Go Figure
7 Oct 10


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