Do figure competition diets destroy metabolism?
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.
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