It has been just over 2 weeks since I placed 5th in the Pro Men’s Bodybuilding Lightweight Division at the DFAC World Finals down in Miami, Florida. The contest prep was the best yet and different than any other – as each prep seems to be its own unique experience. The transformation this time was slow and steady and a very natural part of my lifestyle. Taking as much time as I did in preparing for this contest, I also took the time long before Miami to plan and set a course for what happens after this contest in terms of my nutrition, training, and conditioning.
Over the years, I have read, learned, seen, and experienced all sort of post-competition strategies from the all out free-for-all food fest, to a very calculated reverse dieting program. For me, I have come to value the reverse diet for many reasons.
Even when I am not preparing for a contest, my eating is consistent and decent. I am not one to binge eat or pack in a ton of treats or meals on an average day and so that just doesn’t fit my lifestyle. The idea of eating at every restaurant in town, choosing the best desserts, and having tubs of ice cream, chocolate anything, and pizza, sounds appealing, but if given the opportunity, it wouldn’t ever really happen. I eat for goals, but don’t really deprive myself of food or use food as a reward/punishment along the way. I have been learning to include a variety of meals throughout this contest prep and over the past few years.
Which brings me to this time frame post contest. I knew I wanted to stay on track with my nutrition and carefully start to bring up calories and macros after this competition. I want to do this for several reasons. First, my metabolism is already slowed from being in a somewhat restricted state while I prepared for Worlds. Overloading it with a ton of food, especially high processed foods and sugars would only serve to slow it down even more and wreak havoc on my system. My goals after this contest are yet unclear as I process how I did in Miami, listen to and evaluate the feedback from the judges, and then use it to plot a course to improve, be better than I was, and decide where I want to go from here.
Another thing I want to do is take advantage of the post contest period of growth and strength as the muscles are primed for this according to what I have read and studied. So my goal would be to use this time frame for the weeks and few months after this contest to increase size and strength while keeping bodyfat increasing at a slower rate. There is no need to stay in contest level conditioning year round and I don’t think that is the healthiest or best way to meet my goals anyway. But I do want to keep careful track of my bodyfat levels, strength levels, etc year round. It may just be me, but I am extremely meticulous like that.
The day after Miami I had packed a few meals that were measured and weighed, but also left room in my day to enjoy some meals with my daughters while in Miami. Monday we were traveling back home and so I had somewhat the same plan for the day – to eat mostly my usual planned meals, but also take into account that the girls had an Ultimate Cannoli Cheesecake waiting for me for dessert that night along with dinner. So those two days were looser as compared to my usual nutrition where I have every meal written out, macros calculated and aim to hit a certain total each day.
I used the rest of the week as a reset week, meaning I kept my macros at a certain level, reverting back to about a week or so out from Miami. One difference this time around was that I was back in the gym in that first week. Typically, the competition signals the end of the workout cycle and I use the week after or longer as a rest and recharge period. That didn’t happen this time. I felt great heading in to the competition and just as good after, so I decided to keep going and continue this workout cycle.
After the first two weeks, I can say that my weight has not increased and in fact has returned to its lowest state before peak week. As I enter the 3rd week post competition, I have increased my carb levels a bit and will continue to train in the gym this week. My conditioning, at least when posing in front of a mirror is still there, and looks the best it ever has this far after a competition. I will weigh in again on Sunday and evaluate how the increase in carbs this week has affected my conditioning, my strength levels, energy levels, and weight. From there I will set the goals for next week, which will include Thanksgiving.