We hear about ‘comp prep’ all the time...
Eating out of plastic boxes, motivational quotes, abs and stage bikini pictures with the mahogany tan.
Yeah we've all seen that... But what happens after the show’s over?
Many people who have competed in bikini competitions or follow those on social platforms who do will know the preparation involved. It goes without question that for a competitor, at least 12-16 weeks out from a show, being super strict with their diet becomes such an important part of their everyday life. This kind of ‘control’ is why many suggest the boundaries between a fitness competitor and a person suffering with an eating disorder can be blurred.
As I have previously blogged about in my post ‘behind the sass, smiles and sparkles’, even though I do compete and enjoy it, I also like to be honest. I can only talk about the issues that I’ve personally experienced. I do know however that these problems that I've found listed below, are all very common amongst many other athletes too.
Post comp 'staying super shreds' stress:
Let’s get one thing straight. For most women putting on weight is bloody stressful! We do know though that it is extremely unhealthy for any female to maintain a very low body fat percentage, especially for a prolonged period of time. After a show, weight gain is necessary to re-charge our bodies back to their normal, healthy state. Gaining some weight is also vital in building lean muscle mass and to feel stronger, higher energy and generally more kick ass whilst training. Apart from the physical effects, we also need time away from dieting hard to regain a sense of normality in our lives, a healthy body requires a healthy mind. That means enjoying some balance such as socialising and eating out.
Any coach should give you a reverse diet programme after a show. I would advise not ditching a coach as soon as a competition’s over. Of course you’re going to have a day or even few days of going out for food and enjoying the freedom. It’s normal to have a few slip ups occasionally too. I would strongly suggest getting back to your routine as soon as possible though. Off season I like to use the 80/20 rule for sticking to my nutrition plan, that way I try and avoid unnecessary weight gain. Embrace feeling stronger and making improvements ladies!
Post comp blues:
This can be tricky, as I found out after my first ever competition. Not having a specific goal or focus made me feel anxious and a little lost. Whatever the outcome of a show, placing or no placing, it’s hard initially getting out of the ‘show bubble’ and back to reality.
Try to make a plan of action for after the show. Have another goal whether it’s a personal target or work related, arrange to meet up with friends or plan a holiday. Whatever you choose to do, do something! You need to keep focused and busy.
Post comp binge:
I cannot tell you how common this is not just the day or couple of days after a show. It goes back to my initial point of planning a reverse diet for after. Often competitors feel out of control with not having to be so controlled. Sounds odd right? It’s so common for athletes to binge eat, which after being in a calorie deficit for a significant amount of time, will obviously cause rapid weight gain. This isn’t just an issue for the increase in pounds on the scales, it can cause real issues with digestion too. Believe me, your tummy will not thank you for it!
I go back to many of the points raised previously, having a plan post show, following the 80/20 rule and choosing nutritious foods that will make you feel good from the inside and out. If you find yourself binge eating and gaining a lot of weight in a short space of time, it’s important to recognise this, tell your coach or seek guidance.
Like in my previous blogs surrounding competitions, I never intend to dissuade anyone from aspiring to do them. What I do know for certain though is that the plan put in place for post-show, is as, if not more important as for the preparation for it.