Contest Prep diet to Offseason diet
Coming off show mode I was SOOOO excited and desperately looking forward to eating my favourite foods again. But be aware, there is a protocol to follow when moving from a contest prep diet to an offseason diet because your body has to adjust to the change….trust me, I know!
Show mode is simply not sustainable for long periods of time, it cannot and should not be maintained for long but rather used to peak at just the right time. You will have to be careful not to engorge after your show as that will only make you feel ill and terribly bloated. Your body will need time to adjust gradually to a more natural eating pattern. You shouldn’t waste all of your hard work by simply moving on to bad eating habits post show and gaining excess body fat (albeit a very good idea to gain a small quantity of fat back post show). I personally feel that opting for a couple of days of a relaxed and untracked eating plan works very well.
Your body needs fat
Your body needs ‘essential’ fat to absorb vitamins and prevent vitamin deficiencies, it also helps food to stay in your stomach for longer which can stop you feeling hungry between meals, it helps to slow down your digestion rate. Having said that, I recommend that you have a controlled approach to gaining body fat post show. As your metabolism will have been altered through your prolonged show prep period, your maintenance calories will have altered so the next step is to re-determine your maintenance calorie level. This is the point at which you maintain a specific body weight. During this period of time a good way to approach your cardio is to cut your weekly cardio work in half compared to your pre-show prep.
What I find generally works well with clients is initially check-ins every three days during which time calories are gradually introduced back into the diet plan. Whilst it is hard to stick to a nutrition protocol and incredibly tempting to fall off the wagon, it is important to work towards a successful offseason and realise your long term goal(s). Personally, I like to increase protein to help satisfy cravings, keeping satiety high and drip feed carbohydrates and some fats back into daily calories.
It is important to adhere to this process and not be tempted to over eat which may cause many negative outcomes such as your weight and hormones to yoyo. You need to take the time to let your body reset into more of an optimal state before starting to transition into a full offseason, don't jump the gun!