Every competitor wants to know if they can cheat and pull off a trick a few days before the show day so that they are figure ready. They ask me about carb loading and overladin with water. For what ever the reason, specially new competitors, think that carb loading is some technique that’s going to make then incredible on the day of the show. Well I want to tell you from years of experience that carb loading has such a minute impact on your physique that it’s not even worth messing with. So many competitors think that if they somehow play around with their carbs or water that somehow they are going to transform from Wednesday to show day on Saturday. It’s not going to happen. I’ve never seen it happen.
The body just does NOT respond that quickly to anything. If you think that some system is going to transform you from NOT being ready to being figure ready in a couple of days, you’re fooling yourself. I always say to my girls “If you’re not ready the last week before the show, there’s nothing you can do to get ready for the show PERIOD.” But you know what? You CAN mess yourself up though with all that water! All that water will make you look soft. And all that hard work you put in will go down the tubes. THAT I can promise you!
The key is to train hard. From the beginning of the contest prep all the way up to the show day. The name of the game is “consistency”. That is the trick. Hard Work. You get ready by following a proper diet FAITHFULLY. There’s nothing you can do to change your body for the better in just 3 – 4 days. Get that through your head right now. The only exception is if a competitor needs to lose 1 – 2 before the show and has a week or so to do it. At that time 1 – 2 lbs is big. But in order to lose those 2 lbs it’ll take you at LEAST a week or HARD HARD training and strict dieting.
Under no circumstances should you think that you can dramatically change your physique a few days before the competition and go from a 3rd place finish to a first. It’s not going to happen. I’ve seen competitors totally mess themselves up with too much water, carbs and totally blowing any chances of being placed AT ALL. Don’t be that person. Don’t play games with your body chemistry.
My rules for a wining body on Show Day are:
Now go do it!
There’s a question is many figure competitors’ minds that competition diets are destroying their metabolism. Because they say that after the show they gained a lot of body fat. My personal experience is that it’s not true. Here’s why. First and foremost, when you train and diet for a figure competition your metabolism WILL slow down because it’s trying to conserve body fat. After the competition, if you stop working out, stop cardio and eat what ever you want, what’s going to happen is that you’ll gain a ton of weight. And you’ll gain it faster than you would normally have gained it because your metabolism is slower.
So what should you do after your figure competition? You need to give your metabolism a chance to speed up again. You do this by slowly and gradually reintroducing your normal food back into your diet. So you can’t just got from chicken and veggies one day to eating pizza and wings the other. Just cutting your workout in 1/2 and increasing your calorie intake by 300 – 400 a day can cause you to put on body fat fast. Your metabolism may take up to 4 weeks to increase back to it’s normal rate. So go easy on your food intake.
What I tell figure competitors is to eat what ever they like for a couple of days after the show. It’s good physically and it’s good mentally because your body needs the extra carbs and fat. There’s nothing wrong with that. Yes you WILL gain some weight. Perhaps 7 – 10 lbs. But you need to realize that most of it is water. OK let’s say your show was Saturday. So you eat Saturday night, Sunday and Monday. By the time you wake up Tuesday morning you may be up 10 lbs or so. That’s fine. Because if you go back on a nice tight diet, not exactly a “competition diet” but you want to make it close to it. You’ll lose around 80% of that weight in 3-4 days.
So the initial “fat” gain is not really fat. Most of it is water. So you can get it out of your system in a couple of days, get back onto a post competition diet and in the following week you maybe up a pound or two. But if you continue to eat continuously for a week or two without following my advice, pretty soon you’ll gain 15-20 lbs before you know it! And that’s when you read something online about metabolisms being destroyed and you think that’s what’s happening to you! That’s NOT you. And you should NOT fall into that myth. YOU should learn to reign it in after your competition. Eat good for a couple of days, go back onto a diet, slowly introduce other food and you’ll be fine. If you go on a binder and eat like there’s no tomorrow, in a few weeks you’re going to be up 20 lbs, depressed and looking for an excuse.
If you want motivation and good advice, you should NOT be talking to competitors who’ve gained 20 plus pounds post competition. Rather, you should talk to figure competitors who stay tight all year round. The ones who stay 10-12 lbs within competition weight. Talk to them and I guarantee they’ll tell you they aren’t eating a ton of calories. What you’ll hear is that they keep it tight and maybe have a day or two hear and there where they eat what ever and then they go back to following a fairly strict diet. I’m not saying you have to follow a strict diet 24/7. When you’re off season, it’s fine to put on a few extra pounds and not be so strict. But MOST of the time, you should be following a FAIRLY strict diet. Not competition diet, but fairly strict. Then if the weekend comes around or you have a get together, there’s no problem eating a little more than you did the days before. So it’s fine if you go to a party on the weekend and eat pizza or ice cream. No big deal. Because the previous 5 6 days you ate well.
If you came into my gym and complained about figure competition destroying your metabolism, I wouldn’t have to say a word: My competitors will give you an earful them selves. And those will be the ones who are “tight” all year around. Because they’ve seen enough competitors more times who’ve done it right and are tight all year around. They maintain a good body fat percentage all year round.
So the decision is yours. Decide which way you wanna go. But please don’t blame it on a diet that destroyed your metabolism. Because you cannot destroy your metabolism going on a low calorie diet for 3 months. It’s not possible.
Paaalease! It seems almost every week someone “invented” or is promoting a fab new diet or fat loss supplement. Of course they’ll have you believe that there’s scientific “proof”. The only promise that will hold true is that in a few months the diet will be just another bad memory as people find out they just don’t work.
Take a look at the figure competitors in the picture. Every one competitor of them got lean eating the SAME basic foods! No special, exotic or dangerous diets. Just the standard competition diet! MY Competition DietI know because I trained them all!
I personally trained and handed them MY diets. (Bikini, Figure, Bodybuilding). 3 of them just recently won pro cards. No crazy diets, no special shakes, zero supplements. Believe me, they all ate the same foods to get lean. The only difference is that figure competitors diet a little harder than bikini competitors, Ms fit/Fitness competitors diet a little harder than figure competitors and bodybuilders diet the hardest of all because they have to get the leanest. That’s it folks! There’s no “magic pill”. It’s plain and simple.
Whether you are a figure competitor or any type of physique competitor – YOU DON’T HAVE TIME TO WASTE TRYING NEW DIETS THAT HAVE NO HISTORY OF SUCCESS BEHIND THEM. You can get as lean as you need to be for ANY competition by eating: chicken, fish, tuna, oatmeal, egg whites, protein powder, a wide variety of vegetables, sweet potatoes, brown rice, good fats, some fruit (not too much) and a cheat meal once a week.
I’ve been asked this question a lot of times and every time my answer is – NO! Carb loading and dehydration is a big NO NO. But what DOES work is Carb Cycling.
You see, carb cycling is awesome. But it you are one week away from your figure show then you should not be doing carb loading and depletion. Carb loading is a surefire way to kiss that trophy goodbye.
If you want to lose body fat before your show then one really good way to accomplish that is by Carb Cycling. I found this out even before I became a figure coach. You see my clients (non figure competitors) used to go off their regular diet for 3 to 4 days and they would gain some weight back. BUT… as soon as they went back onto their diet they lost that weight AND…here’s the best part…they lost a few extra pounds on top of that! So I’m a firm believer in Carb Cycling. All my girls that I train do it.
For those of you who don’t know what it is, Carb Loading / Depletion is a method where you try to “fill” your muscles in before your show by forcing carb and water into your system days before the show. Usually this is done by first drinking minimal amount of water and then drinking heavily. But trust me when I tell you that there’s Scientific Research that shows that this doesn’t work. But a lot of figure competitors have gotten it in their head that this is a “must do” thing before a show for some odd reason that they don’t even know of. Don’t do it cos you THINK it’ll help. I’m telling you now, it doesn’t help.
Dehydration will just suck the water out of your muscles and let me tell you it’ll make you look FAT. If you were a male bodybuilder then your physic will be forgiving and you can get away with it. But NOT you, the female figure competitor. You MUST have full muscles on the day of your show. I’ve heard coaches and trainers tell competitors to dehydrate to get the water from “under the skin” lol. Fact: There is NO WATER under your skin, If you appear to be too “smooth” on the day of your competition then it’s not cos you have “water under the skin” but because you’ve got FAT under your skin! Read that sentence again! Go ahead. I’ll wait. OK now remember that! If you want to get LEAN then you have to stick to workouts and diet. There’s no magic bullet at the 11th hour the day before the show. If you’re not ready the week before the show – YOU ARE NOT READY! There’s no potion or pill that can help you at this later stage. So make sure you do it right from the start.
I’d love to hear your comments below: