This is a continuation of my first post about what I wish I would have known before starting to compete. You can read it here.
Some more things I wish someone would have told me:
- There is more than one way to diet. The ‘chicken and broccoli’ diet is one, flexible dieting is another. You can go low fat, low carb, high fat, high carb, keto or paleo. You can eat every 2 hours, you can do intermittent fasting, you can eat ‘clean’, you can eat carbs before bed, or you can’t eat carbs before bed. No dairy, no sweeteners, no fruit or you can have all three. There are so many different diets out there. Do not restrict yourself to the first one you stumble across. If you’re dieting a particular way and are feeling lethargic and tired, change it. Dieting for a competition is no reason to ruin your relationship with food. Find a method that works for you. I can’t stress this enough.
- Learning to pose correctly and learning to look confident on stage are a must. The difference between someone who has taken the time to perfect their posing and someone who hasn’t put much effort into it is astounding. Your stage presence can make or break a placing. So make sure you invest in a good teacher who will show you what you need to know and how you can make yourself stand out on stage.
- Carb up MORE. My coach Nick Cheadle had me eat almost triple the amount of carbs I was having on a normal day right before I got on stage. And it worked! I looked so much fuller and so much better than I had looked at any previous competition.
- Be prepared to feel down about yourself the day after you compete if you choose to have a big meal after your time on stage. Your body will be depleted and will hold onto everything you put into it which will make you look bloated and soft. This is a big change from how you would have looked on stage. Make sure you get back into a reverse diet as soon as possible and stay away from binge eating.
- Don’t give up your social life and your friends just to compete. Competing is a part of your life; it’s not the be-all and end-all of your life. Social outings don’t always have to be food orientated. Go ice skating or go for a hike or something and spend time with the people you care about without compromising your goals.
- If you are falling behind at work, reconsider the way you prep. This relates to my first point and my previous point. You work to pay your bills, sustain your life, etc. Why would you throw that all away for a plastic trophy and a few minutes on stage? If your boss isn’t happy with you eating every two hours, either change how you diet or explain why you are doing what you are doing and try to get his support. If you feel like crap because you’re eating next to no calories, change how you diet. As I said before, competing isn’t the be-all and end-all. Consider your long term and short term goals when dieting and if losing your job isn’t one of those goals then change how you do things. (P.s. I am not saying that your diet should be easy; dieting for a competition is hard because you are putting yourself in a caloric deficit which always sucks. But if you are struggling every day for 12-16 weeks, think about what you might be doing wrong. Dieting means you may be hungry most of the time but if you have zero energy, rethink how you are prepping. I find I only really struggle in the last week of my diet and that’s because of all the depletion and loading that goes on.)