Preparing for a bodybuilding show takes dedication, commitment, and time. One of the biggest challenges is trying to eat all your meals throughout the day.
I have fond memories of rushing between clients to scarf down my meals so I could stick to my plan. I wouldn’t say it’s ideal but when you are competing you do whatever it takes to get your meals in and for many of us we have to eat 5, sometimes more meals every day.
Don’t forget the daily gallon of water and timing of cardio and weight training. I was doing two workouts a day, early morning at 5am and later in the afternoon around between 5 and 7PM. With this schedule IF has been a blessing in disguise.
intermittent fasting is a lifestyle
I want to start by stating intermittent fasting is a lifestyle, not a diet, or the latest weight loss craze (well maybe), it’s been around from the very beginning when our ancestors were hunting and gathering as part of their meal prep.
IF is a way for your body to recycle its cells, rid the body of toxins, and burn fat until we eat our first meal.
All this happens while you are fasting. There are not any negative side effects from fasting, only positive ones as stated in “10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting” by Kris Gunnars, BSc.
fasting and feeding states
IF has two states: a fasting state and feeding state. It’s exactly as it sounds. You do not consume any calories, including but not limited to supplements and medications, while fasting. You can drink water, black tea, and unsweetened teas. During my feeding state 12PM- 8PM I fit all my meals and most times did not want to eat but of course I did because I know how much my body needed the calories. My last meal was at 7PM then fast would start around 8PM until 12PM the next day, sometimes til 2PM depending on my client schedule.
Waking up to do my fasted cardio and fasting til my first meal gave me great energy for the day and I did not have to stress about when I would eat my next meal. This schedule of eating met my needs and made prepping easy, especially because I knew what I was eating every day and didn’t have to think about it. I also noticed I lost body fat in less time and came in leaner than any of my previous preps. This prep I gave myself 10 weeks and was ready at the end of week 8.
Intermittent fasting (IF) and BIKINI prep
When I started fasting it was before my previous prep (July 6th, 2019) and knew I wanted to continue it as part of my daily behaviors. It helped keep me on track and not eat outside my feeding window. Knowing the drawbacks of breaking my fast too soon kept me honest and I was able to experience the benefits.
Using IF for my competition bikini prep proved to bring positive results and I have continued to keep IF as part of my daily eating schedule. There are other time windows to try with IF and I recommend it to anyone trying to become healthier with more than just exercise and recovery.
Other fasting/feeding time frames
20 (fasting) :4 (feeding), 18:6, 16:8, 14:10, 12:12
If you eat breakfast regularly every day then starting with a 12:12 time frame is a good place to start and each week increase your fast by 1-2 hours.
nutrition coaching for intermittent fasting
If you are still confused about IF and would like guidance on how to start and what to eat please e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation. Have great day!
Just one week after my competition and I have been feeling anxious. Going from 6 days of workouts, early morning cardio, meal prep, and every thing that involved ‘Comp Prep’ has come to a stop. So what now?
For me, I continue living the basics of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. I won’t stop working out or eating clean, I modify my plan. I continue eating my meal plan with modifications. For example, I recalculated my calorie intake to a maintenance amount and from there I fill in the blanks for my macro nutrients. I use this as a guide for when I prepare my daily meals. It’s important to understand after a bodybuilding show you have to slowly increase your calories to re feed yourself and not rebound. It’s also important to give yourself some time off. Some competitors continue if they have multiple shows in their schedule but when you have finished your last show of the season taking a week or more from the gym is ideal for your body to get much needed rest and recovery. Here are a few tips to consider after competition season.
Rest and Recovery
Calculate maintenance calories and eat
A lot of competitors have a hard time post show because they stop meal prepping and start eating whatever they want but this can send them down a spiral of bad eating and quick weight gain. When you have depleted your body with low calories and restricted macros it’s vital to plan for post show nutrition. Believe me, my first show I gained 20 lbs in three weeks and I never let that happen again. Unfortunately I did not have the proper guidance but learned it was the route to take. Get with your coach and ask about a maintenance plan before moving towards a building phase. If you are looking for a coach please contact me directly.
Get back on a regular workout routine
This is not a hard thing to do for most competitors. We find the gym to be our happy place and spend hours upon hours there weekly to get the results we want. After talking to your coach about the next steps you should also make short and long term goals to keep you motivated and planning for your next show if it’s the direction you want to take. Also, a regular routine will keep you mentally fit. I have seen a lot of competitors go through post show blues and even reported feeling a void. It’s normal after coming off a natural high of adrenaline from the show and not having a plan or direction.
Get feedback and work on building or growing for next show
Feedback from the judges and your coach will prepare you for what to work on next. If you are an amateur looking to go Pro then you want to get as much feedback from every show and train to create the look and symmetry required to take it to the next level. I competed in four national shows before earning my pro card as an IFBB and some of the feedback I received was my quads were too big, my lateral delts too small, and my back not wide enough (this helps create a smaller waist in bikini). With this information I focused on these specific things as I continued to work on everything else.
At the end of the day a post show plan can have a large impact on your next steps. Spiraling into bad eating can negatively affect the way you feel and lower motivation. Then trying to recover and lose the weight you gained can be a challenge if you do not have a plan. Bottom line…listen to your coach. We know a thing or two about this and believe me it’s not fun to watch someone throw away all of their hard work.
CPT, Nutritionist BSc.
When we think of habits they aren’t always thought of in the best light. Bad habits have always been the spotlight when deciding to make a change but what about the good ones? When we decide to become healthier , fitter, it’s never an easy task, especially if we want to take a healthy route that allows us to sustain it longterm.
An approach I take with my clients has been one that allows you to go at your own pace and develop new good habits over time. We have all gone full speed ahead with extreme diets and crazy high intensity workouts that I’m sure most of us have crashed and burned. The problem is we are all creatures of habit and at the end of the year we make claims to the “New Me”, start the regimen along with the other crazies that have the same aspirations and before January ends the regular gym goers no longer have to share their favorite cardio equipment with the new year traffic.
One way to remove yourself from this cycle is start developing good habits that lead to a sustainable fit and healthy lifestyle. Obviously eating right and exercising are on the top of the list but there are a number of changes that need to take place for these two to stay consistent. For example, if you intend on going to the gym to do cardio after work then start by packing your gym bag and putting it in your car every night before you go to bed. I’m sure you have a pre bedtime ritual and this can be added to it. Even if Wednesday you know you can’t go because you have carpool that night you still need to pack your gym bag Tuesday night. Preparation is key if you want to succeed at anything.
The bottom line is small changes practiced daily create long term habits. It’s up to you to be consistent. Here are a few steps you can start today to create healthier habits.
1. Decide on 1 new behavior/habit and schedule in daily calendar
2. Plan ahead. Get the materials you need to start and have ready for use. If your new behavior is drinking more water get one that holds at least 24 oz and can take anywhere.
3. Execute. Do it and be great at it. If your new habit is taking your lunch to work find delicious recipes and prepare ones you enjoy.
4. Stay consistent. Easier said than done.
Starting something new can be tough but you are stronger than you realize.
Juliana Halloran CPT, Nutritionist BSc.
Muscle recovery is vital to your progress. I know I know, I also said your nutrition is vital to your progress, well guess what? So is your muscle recovery. As a competitive bodybuilder, I understand the importance of rest and recovery and there is more to it than just sleep. Fueling your body, engaging in active recovery, and your nutrition all play vital roles in muscle recovery.
In the following article Muscle Recovery: Essential to Your Next Workout was originally published on HVMN and dives into consuming, resting, and techniques for recovery. It also highlights the importance of foam rolling and stretching to help reduce the risk of injury. Overall, we have to take care of our bodies in and out of the gym and it starts by empowering yourself with the right knowledge.