How can the post-comp rebound ever get you? You’re focused; training and dieting hard to enter your very first figure competition. You’ve heard that bizarre myth about that post-comp rebound thing. There’s been a lot of chatter about it and binge eating and the depression associated with it.
Honestly, how could it EVER happen to you? You are just too darn focused and on your game for some gremlin to come along and mess it all up just after your show. You’re too much in control for that to happen. Right?
The 72 Hours After Your Show Are Crucial… Don’t Screw It Up!
The Post-Comp Rebound Bug (What Your Coach DIDN’T Tell You)
What does this post-comp rebound bug look like? Oh, it’s freakin’ SCARY! First it’s invisible. Next, it attacks when you least expect it, totally when your guard is down. When it bites you, you don’t even KNOW it! You don’t feel at all. Once you’ve been bitten your appetite increases and you don’t even realize it. A neuro-chemical breakdown in your brain makes you reach for carbs, but not complex carbs, your arm involuntarily reaches for sugary and processed carbs. Within a day or two you will have gained 5-10 pounds, and this increases by two pounds every 3 days unless you remedy the situation.
A descendant of Marie LeVeau (you know the VooDoo Queen of New Orleans) has been said to have captured the bug once after the 1994 Nationals held in New Orleans. Legend has it that she sprinkled Lizard’s Breath and Blood of Bat into the jar containing the malevolent bug, exposing it for all to see.
Her findings when examining the culprit determined that you can regain your energy and control your appetite and weight if you manage the bug through precise and natural tactics. A team of doctors swarmed in and arrested her for practicing medicine without a license.
Well, maybe the last part was a bit far-fetched. LOL
Post Competition Stress Disorder (PCSD?)
Psychological and physical turmoil sets in just after a competition and if you don’t have a handle on them you can spiral down through a cascade of events, everything from gaining weight to depression.
Depression following a show is nothing new. Many competitors from newbies to seasoned pros can feel the impact of the post-comp rebound blues. A typical prep consists of 12-14 weeks of intense dieting including calorie-cycling and carb-manipulation and even carb-depletion to some degree.
The intensity of the structured dieting can cause the mind to wander and think about all the forbidden foods one can’t have. Nonetheless, the competitor vows to stick to her program. Contest day comes and goes. Usually to celebrate, competitors will indulge in their favorite foods they miss so much. Typically these foods are high in calories, carbs, and fat and highly processed. But hey, it’s a party, right?
Will one night of indulgence set you back and wake up that nasty rebound bug? No, not at all. However, the mind games start here. Once the competitor gets a taste of the array of flavors of processed foods, the neurological chemical reaction is enacted.
Could Part of It Be a Chemical Reaction? (Something To Think About…)
You see food companies spend BILLIONS of dollars on research to find out what will make their food products taste better. They have come up with specific combinations of crunchiness combined with texture along with sweetness or saltiness to attract and keep consumer after consumer. The chemicals added to food products also cause an addition to the food.
What does all this mean to you? Obviously, a figure prep diet is built on whole, natural, and even organic foods free of man-made chemicals. This is what makes successful diets work. The downfall is most, if not all of use, eat processed junk food from time to time, whether it is because we like it as a treat or we eat it to be sociable with work, family or friends. It’s in our faces every day as we drive around or walk through the grocery store.
So when you’ve been eating a very structured diet, free of processed foods, for some time, that little chemical-bug is still in your system. He’s be hibernating, but he’s still there. A good post-comp meal can shake him a little bit, cause him to turn over but that’s about it. However, if you continue your after-show eating endeavors for 3 or more days you’ll wake him up, and let me tell you, that little guy is going to be HUNGRY. Not only did you diet, you starved him and he’s pissed.
So, after about the 3 day mark of eating the two of you are on an outright binge. Along with the starchy and sugary carbs as well as the sodium-laden food you guys are craving, here comes the post-comp rebound weight gain. And let me tell you, the after-show binge eating thing packs on serious pounds SUPER FAST. You can literally gain 20 pound in a week of you don’t have a plan.
Now you’re swollen and holding more water than the Hoover Dam, depressed, and can’t stop craving all that junk.
What Is Normal (Skewed Perception?)
I’m going to throw you a curve ball now… Rebounding is normal. Staying at an unrealistic and extreme low body fat 365 days of the year is NOT normal. During the contest prep phase the competitor’s mind shifts along with her physique. As her body starts to transform slowly, week after week, so does her mindset. As she gets leaner and more defined, her confidence builds as well as her will power to stick to her program that’s obviously working. All this gives her a sense of control, and rightly so.
Now, when post-comp rebound hits out of the blue, the athlete was totally unprepared for it, mentally and physically. You have to realize that the contest prep happened over the course of a few months and the rebound happened in a matter of days to a week.
Assuming one can hold peak condition after a show and for the rest of the year is unrealistic because being in contest shape is actually unnatural.
How to Approach Post-Comp (It’s Reprogramming)
After a show you need to follow a meticulous dietary program to reprogram your body to accept a certain amount of calories and carbs. Keep in mind that your metabolism and muscle mass are not the same as they were when you started your prep plan. Your dieting practices need to change to meet your current body’s factors.
If you prepped for 12 weeks, give yourself at least 8 weeks to get back to a healthy weight and body fat percentage. You need to continue to eat within your calorie limits and adjust macros accordingly. Continue your cardio and add training back in slowly. Your body has just been through a LOT, so no crazy stuff in the gym. Train methodically. It’s safe to go over your contest weight 10-15 pounds.
There is a Precise Way to Stay in Control to Avoid The Post-Comp Rebound
No doubt, it took precision to get you contest-ready and it will take some sort of precision to bring your body back to normalization. Remember, having your body fat in the single digits is not normal and your body will fight you. It’s essential to have the right information and tools at hand to approach post-comp accordingly.
Don’t leave this precious time to chance and binge eating. Be sure you have the best program at your hands when you stop off stage. To ENSURE you don’t fall into the rebound trap I have included “Post-Competition Secrets” with the Gold Package so you can avoid the post-comp rebound weight gain. This is the program written out to the letter for you to follow after your show. It’s the formula I used and it’s the formula I use on my e-clients.
Karen Sessions – Figure Coach