Fitness competitors spend months focusing on one end goal. Their 30 seconds on stage to showcase their very best self. We live, breathe, eat and sleep with that competition in mind. Everything we do, we do for that moment. There’s a focus, a goal and a deadline. Sacrifices are made for months on end. We give up alcohol and partying with friends, we spend hours at the gym lifting, posing and doing cardio, we skip meals with family to meal prep. Lifestyles are changed, all in preparation to show off the very best physique possible.
The competition happens, the celebration, food, and drinks follow right after, but then what? Fitness competitors put so much thought, effort, and hard work into planning and preparing for their show that most of the time their post-competition plan of action is overlooked.
So what do you do once the tan starts to fade away?
Have a Plan and Get Excited
Preparing for a fitness competition creates someone who is disciplined, routine, and hard working. No matter what the placing, that is an achievement in and of itself. So, now that the competition is over, it’s important that the discipline, routine and work ethic isn’t lost. Have a plan of action! Don’t deviate too far off your normal routine, and know
that you’re going to need that work ethic just as much now as you did before. To avoid feeling lost, know what your next step is, have a plan in place, and get excited about it! This could mean adding muscle mass to a certain body part or practicing more yoga/mobility. Whatever it is, find a way to get excited about it and schedule it in so you follow through.
Be Understanding, Kind & Compassionate
Know that it’s not realistic nor healthy to maintain very low body fat all year round. An increase on the scale is expected with post-show due to water weight. Understand that your body will change and that’s okay! Many competitors find it mentally hard to transition away from their stage-ready physique. Be kind to yourself and your body! Express gratitude for what your body is capable of and compassion by speaking kindly to yourself and listening to what you need. You won’t be happy or excited working on your body in the gym if you're consistently speaking to yourself in a negative light. Some supplements that help my mental game stay strong post-competition are NutraBio 5-HTP, Ashwagandha KSM-66, and Alpha GPC.
Get Back Into It
It’s okay to take some time off from your diet and the gym. But chances are, if you’re a competitor, you thrive off routines and your diet and the gym has become pretty routine at this point. Try not to go too long without getting back into some type of routine. Try to balance post-show cheat meals with a healthy staple from your pre-show diet. Reversing your diet, or slowly increasing calories, is the best way to ease out of a show but it’s also the hardest, so be prepared to be disciplined! Overeating or binging is a common and unfortunate unhealthy habit that arises in many competitors post-competition. Be aware of this and have a plan in place, like focusing on a cheat meal once a week instead. Getting back to the gym after a competition may be hard in the beginning, but you’ll be glad you worked out in the end. I always like to hit legs after competing to put the extra carbs to work. You can also try switching things up by doing a different type of workout or training with a friend.