There are definitely ups and downs of competing. Nothing feels as good as reaching your goals and having your family, friends, and fans cheer you one. But there’s also the hard training, cardio, and extreme dieting it takes to get there. There’s also the need to be cautious with your post-contest nutrition, which is why I’ve been taking the reverse dieting approach.
Many fitness, bodybuilding, and other physique competitors experience a big post-contest rebound, and many end up suffering the consequences of metabolic damage. When athletes diet down to extremely low body-fat levels, their bodies naturally adapt to the restricted calories and high volume of training which causes the metabolism to eventually slow down.
When you have low calories combined with intense activity, it’s inevitable to get incredibly hungry and tired during a full contest-prep phase. Once a contest is over, it’s easy to sit back, relax, eat freely, and exercise less for a while. However, it’s crucial to stay somewhat strict with your diet and activity level after a competition if you want to move forward with your physique, let alone if you want to be healthy about it. This is what separates successful competitors from the unsuccessful ones.
The best way to come down slowly is called “reverse dieting.” That may sound like a fancy concept, but it’s really quite simple and makes a lot of sense. Reverse dieting gives your body a structured approach to restoring your metabolism without gaining too much extra body fat or wreaking havoc on your health.
The reverse dieting concept involves having you slowly increase calories while simultaneously also slowly decreasing your exercise volume or energy expenditure after prolonged periods of restricted dieting and excessive training and cardio.
As simple and logical as reverse dieting sounds, it can be very difficult and can take almost as much effort as your pre-contest diet and training, mostly because of the post-contest mindset of wanting to binge on everything. That’s why most competitors fail to follow through with it.
Binge eating is something just about every competitor has done at least once, so it takes willpower and planning to make reverse dieting work. That’s not to say a cheat meal here or there after a contest is bad, and it can actually help mentally and physically when done in a controlled manner. It’s when the binge eating becomes every meal for days or weeks that very bad things happen.
I have my sights set on the Fitness Olympia at the Mr. Olympia weekend later this year in September, so it’s all about control and planning for me right now. I’ve been following a strict reverse diet plan since the Fitness International contest from the Arnold Classic weekend, and it’s made a huge difference in my weight, overall appearance, happiness, and energy. I’m able to utilize some of the extra calories to make improvements and muscle gain in areas where I’m lacking.
My favorite part of this reverse diet has been adding RawFusion protein bars back to my pre-workout eating and sometimes as my post-workout meal. I’ve also reintroduced RawFusion Complete meal replacement powder for my morning shakes, mixed with almond milk and ice.
I’m now able to incorporate more nutrient-dense and higher-calorie foods in my diet while maintaining a healthy body-fat level with minimal changes to my body mass index. I feel great, and this makes preparing for the next contest that much easier.
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.