When I see competitors posting diets with less than 1500 calories I seriously want to have a fit. I mean, for most sedentary people that is enough to just barely get by so for an extremely active person, this is putting the body at a severe deficit. I see girls post motivational quotes about health and strength when really they are starving themselves and going to unhealthy extremes for a plastic trophy.
Don’t get me wrong. I have complete respect for fellow competitors, but honestly I don’t see a need to go so low in calories that every day is a struggle to function. Especially in the bikini category. Bikini girls are supposed to look healthy and more attainable, not stringy and starved. Listen, I’ve been there and being hungry all day makes you irritable, uncomfortable and unable to focus. Basically, its hard to do anything. I definitely would not be able to train clients while eating such and extreme diet.
Not only that, but people who carb deplete or go way too low on calories tend to binge and gain weight like crazy after their competition. Layne Norton’s post on Metabolic Damage brought a lot of light to this issue. Basically, if you are starving yourself too long, you are lowering your metabolic rate and your body will adjust to burn fewer calories to make up for the huge deficit in your diet. That means, by eating the same amount of food as you did before you started dieting, you will gain weight at a quicker pace. YOU ARE PROGRAMING YOUR BODY TO STORE MORE FAT.
Part of the reason I am so passionate about this issue is because I have struggled through it. It sucks to feel so hungry each day is a struggle to function and it sucks even more to completely wreck your metabolism and screw up your hunger cues. It takes time to reset your body. Now I know better. My contest prep diet never goes below 1800 calories. I don’t do HOURS of cardio. I do 30 min. maximum a day.
Yes, it was scary to change the way I ate and trained, but honestly, I look way better now than when I was doing extreme dieting and cardio. I have also seen so many people mess up their bodies by going through contest prep with a keto diet or ultra low calorie diet and bounce back with depression and extreme weight gain.
I know bikini competitions are competitive and that everyone wants to get the edge to win, but to me, a traditional peak week, dehydration and extreme dieting is NOT the way to do it. I hope that I can prove my theory right by getting my pro card. I am two weeks out from the NPC Ft Lauderdale National Championships.