Today I did cardio..and thats it. Nothing really exciting to talk about there, so I thought I would go over some things that I think are VERY IMPORTANT when coming off a contest prep. We have all seen the competitors that blow up post contest. Some people will muster up some crap about it being necessary for growth and blah blah blah. While its true that you cant really be in a deficit and add size, I think its wildly insulting to pass that off as the reason someone is gaining an excessive amount of weight in the months post show. Give.me.a.break.
I am going to assume that in prep, the following were utilized to lose weight:
2. caloric deficits/macro manipulation
3. fat burners of some sort/stimulants
—Anything outside of this will also require attention..however, I am NOT well versed enough to talk hormonal manipulation. If you take this route, I highly advice prioritizing your hormonal recovery.——
Its tempting to have a big ole week of binge eating, cut your hours of cardio, and taper off your stimulants. Hell, some people will try and tell you there’s this magical anabolic nature post contest that is PRIME for building muscle. However, make no mistake: you are a fat storing machine post contest. You have been in a deficit, your metabolic capacity is absolutely lower, and as a system that strives for homeostasis, your body is accounting for a large activity load and a lessened caloric intake. You cannot flood the system the calories and rest and think that nothing is going to happen. Further, if you decide to be lazy in this aspect, you can find yourself in the world worst position: a very low BMR and a very HIGH bf %. Suddenly, you are dieting in the off season, wasting time. So…here’s what I would/am do..
1. Ditch your stims. Im not saying you cant have your coffee/monster energy drink/etc…but this is a good time to really cut back or eliminate fat burners. They are probably responsible for the least of your weight loss. Adjust to this.
2. Get back to your diet that you had right before show day. Consider this your baseline. You are going to reverse from here. This is a safe spot to start. Keep your water intake high. The best diuretic is water itself.
3. Cut your cardio back, but not out. I dont know how much cardio every person does, but cut back A LITTLE. If you were doing an hour, maybe do 50 minutes.
—Assess…weigh yourself..see what these changes are doing to your body. The goal here isnt to stay at stage weight, but its to minimize fat accumulation. If you are putting on bodyfat at an alarming rate, then you probably need smaller adjustments. If you are stage ready again, you probably will be fine to increase calories a bit more, drop cardio a bit more, or maybe even both.–
If that went well, add 50-100 calories/day on week two. Again, really small additions. You need to be as diligent with your diet as you had been during pre-contest.
Reduce cardio again..not by a lot, but a little. I would say about a 10% reduction in cardio a week is probably reasonable until you are doing a cardio schedule that is comparable to GPP.
—Assess..weigh yourself..look in the mirror…take measurements..be accountable for changes into your body.–
Continue as necessary. I think the “off season” should be about recovering and building a SOLID base. You cannot continue to push the envelope year after year when your health is in the gutter. It also just makes more sense that the person who has the metabolic capacity of 3,000 calories is going to have an easier prep in the future than the person who is living on 1500 calories.
Be smart. Be diligent. Reversing is time well spent. You can have cake and ice cream and donuts and pancakes and whatnot, but you dont have to have it all at once.