Mark discusses a topic that although timely, is not often spoken about. The ‘post-comp blow out’, “where did I go wrong” and what to do next. If you found this clip helpful, feel free to share it on Facebook and leave a comment to let us know what you think.
What should you do post-comp? To answer this question, I will discuss a few things. The first is something a lot of people talk about, reverse dieting. Now, for me, I’m not really a fan of the term “reverse dieting”. Reason being, that I don’t really feel it addresses what the underlying problem is when someone finishes a comp, and that is one’s relationship with food.
There are a multitude of reasons why people blow out post-comp. And I think that a lot of these reasons have to do with people’s relationship with food, their relationship with their body and also, their ideas about what is healthy and what foods they need to consume to get the ‘ideal body’.
So with that said, I believe that the default setting for anyone who is going to compete should be one of health. Most people who compete, they start off as a healthy person who really enjoys physical culture. When I say ‘physical culture’, I mean that they enjoy training; they enjoy being physical, whether it’s in the gym or simply just exerting themselves through exercise.
What happens a lot of time is that these people see a competition, get inspired and say, “I’m going to compete in my first fitness model comp or physique comp” and they start prepping. But maybe the advice they get isn’t really all that good, it’s restrictive in what they can eat and as a result their hormones do funny things. They deprive themselves, and their body is put under a lot of stress because of it. Depleted and hungry, once they finally do compete they feel compelled to eat indulgent, sweet and junky foods, foods that they did not eat previously.
Another factor that I feel should be discussed, is the identity that one prescribes themselves through the process of competing. A lot of the time when someone does their first show and they compete, they say this statement to themselves, “I am fitness model, or “I am a bodybuilder,” or, “I am a figure competitor”. They then attach this statement to their identity and as a result start to behave in ways, or believe in things that don’t fit them as a holistic person. Meaning, that before they decided to prep for a show they were eating quite healthy and felt good about their body, but afterwards this is not the case.
Once they compete, and after having attached themselves to this identity of a being a ‘bodybuilder’ or a ‘fitness model’, now all of a sudden their diet goes from generally being quite good all of the time, to an off-season diet and a way of eating when in the on-season. In the off-season, they’re going to eat whatever they want. And in the on-season they’re going to be super strict and basically deprive themselves. It doesn’t need to be this way.
When you buy an iPhone, the iPhone has a default setting in it. I would encourage you to really look at your default setting. Before you compete, think, what is my default setting? Is it one that has a healthy relationship with food? Is it one that has a healthy relationship with my body? If it’s not, then I would discourage you to compete until you really get those factors taken care of. Competing can add a lot more ‘fuel to the fire’ and exacerbate things further. It can make things a much bigger problem than they originally were.
In a nutshell, I don’t believe that after a comp people need to ‘reverse diet’. Rather, I think that they need to reconsider their beliefs, idealisms, and the perceived identity of who they are in this world. If they believe that they are a healthy person who eats healthy foods that build and nourish their body, then they will eat and behave accordingly. If your decisions and choices are made from a place of health, you’re going to be okay.
Finally, I feel I should mention that a lot of the time people believe the fantasy that they’re going to maintain contest condition all year-round and, for the most part it’s just not true. Contest condition by definition is only meant to be held for a very short period of time, especially when you’re manipulating water and sodium. It can come as a shock when competitors step on the scale shortly after a competition and see, “Oh I have put on 2-3 kilos,” absolutely you’ve put on 2-3 kilos, but that’s okay and that’s what’s supposed to happen. The problem is when you put on 14 kilos or 15 kilos.
You want to stay, as I said, on your default setting; having a healthy relationship with your body, having a healthy relationship with food. Again, I don’t think that it needs to be this long, convoluted ‘reverse dieting’, and adding calories back in slowly. I don’t think that’s the case at all. I think it’s just more about getting clear on yourself, why you eat well and exercise, and making decisions from that place. If you do that, you will be ok post-comp.
By Mark Ottobre
If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally, physically and in the gym after they have competed in a figure, fitness or bodybuilding competition please get in touch. You can email [email protected] or call 1300 887 143. We would love to know how we can help you.
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