THE POST CONTEST NOT SO BLUES!
There has been a lot of talk about the negative effects of rebounding after a term of strict dieting. However, I’d like to talk about the positive rebound effects that also take place!? Let’s look at the glass half full…if even just for a few minutes.
If you’ve ever severely dieted for an extended period of time, then you are aware of the mental urge to eat all the things that you were unable to eat during your diet, right? This “post contest mentality” has to be kept in check otherwise things can really turn into a disaster. Consequently undoing all your hard work in the matter of a few weeks. You’ve worked TOO hard to let all your hours in the gym and hours slaving away in the kitchen go to waste!
Now, rather than jumping into that type situation, what about developing a new game plan, strategy, or approach to keep you focused on that post diet period! What most people lack is a place to direct all that energy that has been going towards that one goal. Think about it… You have been going, going, going to reach that “goal weight” or “competition date”. It has been on the forefront of your mind for weeks, months, maybe even years. You literally wake up, eat, sleep and breath this goal. Then the goal is reached (good for you!!). But now what? What has consumed your mind for so long is no longer and this is most often when people turn to food. The term often coined for this experience is the “Post Contest or Post Diet Blues”. Now that you understand that there has to be a shift in your mindset and a new goal to focus on, why not come up with one before you reach your initial goal. Come up with another mini goal to focus on after you reach your first. It could be another physical goal such as making personal physique gains or maybe it is something in a completely different arena of life. Whatever it may be, having a new focus will keep you on track and not turning to food to fill that empty void!
If your new mini goal is directed toward making improvements and fine tuning your physique, this is a great goal! You can take advantage of your depleted body to make some serious changes and refinements to your physique. Your body has been depleted for so long, imagine if you feed it all the clean, healthy foods it has been craving, not only will you feel replenished and full of energy, but you will shock your system and your body will quickly respond. The key is to load up on clean foods, push the training, continue with a realistic amount of cardio and have fun! This is the positive side of a “rebound” effect, as long as you are smart about your choices and how and what you replenish your body with, you will not blow up or gain an excess amount of unnecessary weight! Think about it, it is a win-win because you have worked so hard to increase your metabolism and now it is working extremely efficiently.
I promise, if you immediately shift gears and refocus on new and exciting goals to continually improve YOU, you will not only keep yourself in a good place mentally and physically but you will bypass that common “post contest” blues and potential rebound!
Here are a few pointers to allow you to take advantage of this Rebound Effect!
- Remember that each of us are different and require different amounts of nutrients based on our body type, genetics, activity levels, metabolism, etc. Make sure to increase your nutrient ratios slowly to find that perfect balance of what works for YOU. After dieting, the body can’t wait to make improvements! As long as you reintroduce the right amounts of carbs, proteins and fats into your nutrition program, your body is waiting and ready to respond!
- One reason individuals diet on different amounts of carbohydrates is because we are all so different!! Some eat a very low-carb diet to get in the best shape, while others eat a modified to higher carbohydrate diet and get in amazing shape! In any situation, you can not expect to go from any diet to engulfing carbs or fats post contest without possible fat gains! You have to be smart about your choices and ease into increasing your nutrients! Be choosy and take a smart approach.
- To restructure your nutritional program, I suggest you consider carb cycling. (CHECK OUT MY ARTICLE ON CARB CYCLING HERE) Remember, not everyone’s metabolism is the same so it is important to be your own little scientist and learn what works best for you, your goals, your body and your lifestyle! If your job has you on your feet all day, you will require more than someone who is more sedentary.
- Decrease cardio slowly but not entirely. After doing unrealistic amounts of cardio to reach your goals, the last thing you want to do is cut it out cold turkey. We still need to incorporate cardio into our lifestyle plans to keep our heart healthy and maintain our goals. However, you do NOT need to do such crazy amounts and before! Use the few weeks post contest or severe diet to tapper off your cardio so that you eventually are doing only about 30-45 minutes 4-5x/week.
- Hormones play a role in catabolism and anabolism! Increased cortisol levels (our stress hormone) can stunt our progress and keep us from performing at our highest potentials. With the perfect training and nutritional plan but high levels of cortisol, your body will not respond the same! Cortisol can be that one variable keeping you from reaching your goals. The elimination of this unnecessary and nasty stressor we call “stress” causes your cortisol levels to drop and respond.
- Rather than looking at your post contest or post severe diet as a fearful event, take in all the positive components of removing yourself from that state, mentally and physically, and shifting gears to a much more refined fuel burning machine. Shift gears, redirect your focus, restructure and have fun watching your physique evolve right before your eyes!
Create a new and exciting focus and take advantage of all you have to look forward to after a severe diet or contest prep! You can do it!
For further guidance, check out my Ultimate Weight Loss Diet Plan, which is intended for everyday life and finding that perfect balance to reach your goals AND enjoy life too, YES it can be done!! A full 85 page downloadable plan that will help you reagin your direction, stay on track and re-establish a healthy, well balanced plan. Perfect for those coming off a competition plan or anyone striving to either lose a few pounds or find that balance of training, nutrition, and everyday life! I promise, this will become your foundation into everyday fitness! Check it out HERE!