Hi Guys! Hope you are having a great weekend! I just competed this past Saturday at the Shawn Ray Classic in Baltimore. (Look out for a re-cap post coming soon!)
Anyway, today I wanted to do a little post on post-competition blues/binging.
Have you competed? If you have you have seen competitors with bags of cookies, candies and cupcakes as their post competition “reward.” After all, you spend weeks depriving yourself of certain foods, it would stand to reason, that as soon as the contest is over you pig out on all of those things you couldn’t have, right?
Don’t do it!! Not only will it make you feel awful, bloated, sick and depressed, but it will in some ways do a lot to undo your hard work. I recently learned on one of my favorite podcasts, Muscle Science and Application, about an research article that describes how our metabolisms slows as we lose weight. This means, if you quickly go back to your regular diet after eating at a deficit, your body is more likely to store those extra calories as fat since your metabolism has lowered.
It is recommended that you reverse diet after your competition. What that means is that you slowly increase calories so that your body has a chance to increase you metabolism and less of a chance to store fat. That’s why you need to have a prep plan even after you compete!
I’m not opposed to a treat meal after your competition, but there is no need to go overboard! A nice dessert, a burger with fries, a few slices of pizza, but not all three! It’s easy to eat 5,000 calories post competition in a single meal and some people continue that binge for a week or so.
Instead, have a small treat and get back on track the next day, slowly increasing your calories. If you have a coach, they can help you come up with a post competition plan. Otherwise, you can slowly add calories back on to your diet (100-200/week) monitoring your weight and making adjustments as necessary.
Going hand in hand with the post competition binge is the post competition let down. Not only can messing with your calories and macros change your body composition, it can also affect your hormones. Fat plays a huge role in hormone production so if you cut fat out in your competition diet, then go on a gorge-fest afterwards, the hormonal change can contribute to a temporary depression.
Along with the hormonal depression, working towards a goal and putting lots of time and effort into it and then having it pass may leave you feeling aimless and unsure. Especially if you didn’t place how you wanted to, you may feel disappointed or resentful.
This is also why it is important to have a plan. Having a plan will help you get focused on your next goal whether it’s another competition, gaining muscle, losing weight or something else. Additionally, having a plan and a support system will help you cope with feelings of depression that might occur.
I know these things can be more easily said than done but if you follow this advice you will bounce back after your competition and avoid an endless cycle of yo-yo dieting and metabolic damage. Its important that you know about this stage before your competition so you can plan and prepare.
Have you competed? Did you experience post competition blues or binging?