This week the ADOFitness trainers will be addressing how they have handled off season/gaining weight/ body composition changes and their best tips on accepting yourself at every stage.
Many who haven’t competed or don’t understand the sport, would assume that when one works and diets that hard for that many weeks to achieve that level of a physique and look THAT good, that it would be easy to stay in shape even if one was to “binge” or eat a bunch of crap after a contest. The idea behind this is completely false however. You would think that eating whatever you wanted for two, three, four days- even a week wouldn’t do that much damage to someone who is in that good of shape. The misconception here is that people assume competitors wont gain that much weight and even if they do- they wont get “fat” because they are so lean. However, many don’t realize that it is actually easier for a competitor to get out of shape at an exponential rate and quicker than it would be for someone who had never been on a diet to gain additional weight. The reason being is that with additional exercise, especially cardio, and strict dieting, often times people actually see a decrease in their resting metabolic rate-aka- how many calories they burn on average daily. Our bodies have learned to adapt to additional output, or expenditure and therefor will become more dependent on that expenditure to maintain weight. Along with this, our bodies are so used to eating clean food and often a restricted/lowered amount of carbohydrates and/or fats that excess carbs, sugars, and fats will only put weight on FASTER than we may have put it on in the past. Of course, these effects can be minimized with proper post show reverse dieting and finding a more sustainable/non-extreme way of prepping – but its still very easy for many to gain weight post show as stage weight and leanness are not realistic in the long term.
Water retention post show is normal as well. Most competitors restrict and cut water pre-competition and some go to the extremes of diuretics to flush most all water out of the system. When you cut water that hard and then drink water while eating carbs and crap post show, your body then acts like a sponge and retains and holds on to all the liquid put in the system. It is not uncommon for even a small framed female to be up in weight 5-12lbs in just a few days from the combination of this process.
All these physical reactions post contest combined with the mental thought of being in “the best shape of your life” and then ruining months of work in a matter of days can be devastating. I know because I have been through this MANY times. My first three years of competing I experienced some of the worst rebound episodes of my life. I was embarrassed, ashamed, confused, depressed, and I would isolate myself which would only make things worse. I didnt understand why I couldn’t “control” myself after months of being so in control of everything I did. Thankfully after years of finding a more sustainable dieting approach through flexible dieting and less extremes the rebound periods and fluctuations were minimized. However, this does not mean it became super easy to maintain a show lean physique year around – as I dont and wont pretend to. I put on weight in my off season. Every year. Its important to put on some essential body fat for hormonal balance and overall general health. What helped me accept this the most is knowing what my long term goals were outside of fitness. I knew I wanted a family, I knew I wanted to be healthy not only looking but on the inside. I knew that if I jeopardized my health for the sake of vanity and aesthetics too many times I would possible never get it back. Those are the thoughts that kept me sane even at a heavier weight then I was sometimes comfortable with. For me, keeping things in perspective of what REALLY mattered at the end of the day helped me accept my body at all stages. Also, the support of my loving husband who never made me feel less than beautiful at any weight helped tremendously. Have people around you who accept you for WHO you are, not just what you look like. Work on yourself from the inside out rather than the outside in and you will have a much easier time accepting your body through all its fluctuations and changes. And remember, health should be your number one priority over aesthetics. Aesthetics fade, looks fade, and you wont be shredded forever. If others and especially YOU cannot love yourself at every stage and every weight then you need to reassess the people around you and your priorities. Remember, the fitness industry is not the health industry and although its fun to be in competition shape -without health life is not life. ?”An open minded diet philosophy that creates sustainability for the individual” -ADOFitness?