Sometimes you have to remind yourself to enjoy life when it comes to the off-season. Sure, most competitors want to make improvements based on the judges’ critiques, but you can still do that while giving yourself room to enjoy life. Of course, your physique won’t improve if you stay on a low-calorie diet all year, and that’s why I’m going to talk about more reverse dieting.
As I mentioned in my last blog post, you can easily avoid the unwanted weight gain and post-competition depression that results from rapid increases in body fat. I’ve been able to increase my calories without putting on excess fat or water weight, and that’s generated some requests that I talk more reverse dieting…
The goal with reverse dieting is to slowly work your way up to a newly increased caloric level after extended low calories and high activity levels. Strategically, this helps your metabolism recover and the slow increase of calories means minimal increases in body fat while your body adapts.
After a contest diet and the intense training that goes along with it, your body is so depleted that it acts like a sponge. During competition season, your body adapts to operate on restricted calories, and because it’s adapted to perform optimally on reduced food intake, you’ll store all excess calories as body fat if you’re not careful.
Now that I’ve done more reverse dieting since finishing the Arnold competition, my maintenance calories have increased quite a bit, and my metabolism has been firing up to keep up with the food intake.
Unfortunately, my work schedule has become much busier, so it takes some work to keep my calories up. I live and work in sunny Florida where there are many “snow birds,” which means our patients who live up north for half the year come back here for the other half. That means there are days when I barely have time to step out to eat my prepared meals.
To keep up with my nutrition and calorie needs on those busy days, I find it helpful to have Pure Titanium Whey and RawFusion protein bars in my bag. This way, I always have something I can consume quickly in between seeing patients. Plus, I get cravings just like anyone else, so these help curb my sweet tooth without any guilt. With this strategy, I’m able to “bank” some calories for larger meals after work or after working out without starving myself throughout the rest of the day.
I time my high-calorie meals accordingly, so if I know I’ll be training after work, I’ll schedule a large post-workout meal or sometimes even a post-workout cheat meal. This not only allows me to utilize calories appropriately and fuel my body with the nutrition it needs to grow during the off-season, it also gives me something to look forward to.
This is all especially true on back- or leg-training days since those are such large muscle groups that inevitably burn more calories during training. Those are the days I definitely give myself some room to maybe have that post-workout burger and fries I sometimes crave while still staying within my caloric maintenance window.
Until next time,
Note: For information purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.