Contest Prep Side-Effects
Contest prep side-effects can be a real thing if you don’t approach your prep and post-comp program correctly. Even so, competing on stage with extremely low body fat and being bone-dry is not really healthy. However, it is for just a short amount of time. If you approach your contest diet and training right, and follow a formatted post-comp plan, you can keep in control of your body.
Dieting Down to Get Cut
If you start your prep haphazardly and cut calories in half and remove all your carbs, you are going to have some side-effects. The result can be extreme hunger, carb and sugar cravings, and ultimately, binging. There’s a reason competitors take several months to diet down.
You need to take your contest dieting process slowly. This serves several purposes. For one, when you diet the body fat off at a slow pace, your run less rick of damaging your metabolism. Also, taking the dieting down process slowly allows your skin to keep up, to you can be tight for your show.
Training for Contest Prep
More often than not, people prepping for a contest drastically change their workouts. They do extra exercises, extra reps, and extra sets. Amping up your contest training to such a degree right out the gate can be overwhelming to the body. This will lead to overtraining and eventually burnout before you even make it 4 weeks out.
Your training doesn’t have to change too much from what you have been doing off-season. If your off-season training was in a correct format of training each body part once a week with 3-4 exercises for 3-4 sets in the 8-12 rep range, there’s not a lot of changing you need to do. As you diet down you will lose some strength and THAT’S when you make training tweaks.
Contest Prep and Peak Week
Most people get to peak week and screw everything up. An example of this is the eager competitor cutting water days before his or her contest. Cut water too soon and your body will retain it. There is a process to go through each day with diet, water, training, cardio, and even supplements. If you aren’t sure how to approach peak week, then don’t. Just keep doing what you did to get to the point where you are a week out. Your peak week should be pretty strict. In addition, follow a proven formula rather than winging it.
Post-Comp and Side-Effects
Besides peak week, post-comp is the most critical part of your contest prep. The worst thing that can happen post-comp is that dreadful rebound. It’s not fun and it can be dangerous if it gets out of hand. Yes, you are going to gave a few pounds post-comp. It’s water weight and it’s to be expected. However, you don’t want to plump up 10-20 pounds overnight. Not only is it uncomfortable, it’s also unhealthy when it’s so extreme.
Number of Shows a Year
The number of shows you do a year can have a dramatic effect on your overall health. Some side-effects of doing many shows in one season is muscle loss and burn out. These sound minor. However, the effects of just one show on a person is very overwhelming mentally and physically. The human body is just not designed to go through a contest prep and post-comp phases. Your body needs time to recover from just one show, let alone several. Ideally, two shows a year is best on the body and the mind. Your best bet, just one or two shows a year.
Take the Next Step
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Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT
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