I’m going to debunk some general figure competition myths I’ve been hearing over, and over, and over, etc. It doesn’t stop so I’m going to put it out there right now. Let’s break through the fact and fiction of these figure prep myths and get to the root you can start winning.
Figure Competition Myths… What’s Fact And What’s Fiction…
#1 – You Have to go on a 12 Week Starvation Diet to Prep for a Figure Competition
This is the most harmful figure competition myth that needs to be expose. If you plan to go on a starvation diet, then you shouldn’t be looking to enter a figure contest anytime soon. A figure competition diet actually requires you to eat balanced meal plans consisting of complete protein, complex carbs, non-starchy veggies, and essential fat. Most figure competitors eat 5-6 meals a day to ensure they keep a positive nitrogen balance and steady blood glucose levels for high-intensity training.
The trick to a figure prep diet is to build muscle and lose fat is in the application of the macronutrients within your caloric realm. The precise times you eat certain meals will enhance your lean muscle gain and boost fat loss.
Many figure competitors, even in prep mode, will take a scheduled cheat day to turbo-charge their body for HIGHER intensity training to see them through the week. This one scheduled cheat meal actually serves as a metabolic boost and enhances fat loss.
#2 – You Have to do 2-3 Hours of Exercise Every Day to Prep for a Figure Show
Really? That’s news to me, and I’ve been in the competitive realm for over 25 years now. This is just another sad figure competition myth.
Now, I know by the looks of the top-placing figure competitors that it appears as if they workout morning, noon, and night, but nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, 90% of their physique is built by diet, and exercise makes up the other 10%. REALLY!
One thing to understand is that nutrition builds your body from the inside out, and exercise takes care of the rest, pulling it all together. What a lot of people don’t realize is that the top-placing figure athletes are in the top 1% because they have an off-season where they take more rest days and allow for muscle growth to occur. In fact, I’ve built some of my best lean muscle mass training just 3 days a week in the off-season.
Now, what you have to understand is that contest prep is a much different ballgame than the off-season phase. The prepping phase will consist of more training days, perhaps 5-6 days a week and some added cardio, but you really should have a full days rest every week even in the contest prepping phase.
#3 – There is no Off-Season
This is a follow-up from the previous figure competition myth. Yes, there certainly IS an off-season, and any competitor that does not take an off-season does not place well in her competitions. Why? Your body needs rest to recover, and it need to rest to build muscle. If you never allow your body to recover and rebuild, you will never, EVER have the muscle development needed to compete and actually place well in a figure competition.
If you continually keep pushing your body with extreme dieting, too much training and cardio year around, you will eventually run into adrenal fatigue. It may not hit you the first year or two, but it will certainly catch up with you.
You will come to know some of the basic signs and symptoms such as muscle weakness, sleep disturbances, hypoglycemia, sugar and salt cravings, etc. These symptoms will usually be thought to be overtraining, and that’s right to a certain degree, but it’s beyond overtraining and slipped into adrenal fatigue.
#4 – You Can’t Eat Fruit
OMG, you can’t? Really!! This has to be one the BIGGEST figure competition myths around.
Fruit is a natural food right from good ole’ Mother Nature herself. If you’ve read any of my eBooks or articles, you will know that I’m a firm believer that you can eat anything that can be picked, hunted, gathered, harvested, etc.
I mean, I’ve heard of women having an unscheduled cheat meal (the worst kind), eating ½ gallon of ice cream and say “oops” and laugh it off, but get bent-out-of-shape if they eat a fruit at a convention or a gathering. Where’s the justification in that?
Here is it. Repeat after me, “I can eat fruit, it is okay.” Got it?
Oh, but fruit is a sugar. Right? Okay. I got you now. So here it is. Fruit contains fructose, a natural sugar and this natural sugar in fruit does not spike your insulin the same way table sugar (ice cream) does.
Ivan Blazquez, a personal trainer, NGA Pro Natural Bodybuilder and fitness writer elaborates, “Eating fruits will not convert to fat nor make you fat. The theory behind fruits stopping fat-burning is based on the muscles lacking an enzyme that converts fructose to glycogen. Now, if the muscle’s lack this storing capability of fructose, then the liver is where fructose can be stored as glycogen. In other words, to conclude fruits make one fat or prevent fat-burning or negatively impact body composition based off this logic, is simply wrong on all fronts.”
When you implement fruit in your figure diet, include it as a carb and eat is whenever you are allowed to eat carbs. Now, if you want to get super lean, cut and defined for your competition, cut fruit out the final 4 weeks.
#5 – You Have to Take a Boat-Load of Supplements
You don’t have to take a dang-on thing to compete in a figure contest. However, if you want to get the judges attention, it’s good to supplement with a few of the basics to preserve lean muscle tissue and even boost your immune system.
Some of the more popular supplements for figure prep are whey protein, glutamine, and some thermogenics. I personally suggest those and a good line of multi-vitamins and minerals. If you are going to dose-up on anything dose up on the vitamins and minerals to keep your immune system up to speed during those taxing weeks of figure prep.
Don’t let this figure competition myth food you. Supplements are not necessary, but they certainly do help you get the extra edge.
#6 – You Must Keep Within 5 Pounds of Your Competition Weight
SHOCKING! I generally lose, as well as my clients, 5 pounds of water peak week. If there was any inkling of truth to this misguided figure competition myth, no one would ever make and progress physique-wise in figure competitions. As a general rule of thumb, you can gain up to 10-15 pounds off-season and still be fit and lean.
Furthermore, getting one’s body fat so low can be damaging to the hormones and throw everything out of whack if an extreme low body fat is kept for too long. Your body builds muscle and loses body fat based on hormones. If you never allow your body to put on its natural weight it needs, you will never be able to add the lean muscle you need for stage presentation and you will have a harder time losing body fat.
#7 – You Can’t Have Any Sodium Peak Week
Wrong, wrong, DEAD WRONG! Anyone that tells you to restrict sodium the peak week (the last 7 days leading up to your show) doesn’t know what he or she is talking about. Furthermore, it can be damaging to your body. Your body NEEDS sodium to function.
This is one figure competition myth that really sets me off. Coaches who promote a sodium-free diet peak week are causing you bodily harm!
The trick is to slowly lower sodium over the course of the week, while at the same time manipulate your water intake. (You may find others copying/spinning this and send it to you in their newsletter). Then, just a day before your competition, reintroduce sodium back into your diet and let the magic being.
So that’s it. 7 figure competition myths exposed and debunked. Use this bit of information to your advantage now to take the stage and win that trophy and pro card gurl! Oh, and if you want the Fully-Loaded Figure Prep Plan you can just download Figure Competition Secrets.
Karen Sessions – Figure Coach