Competing in a bodybuilding contest can be a source of immense physiological and emotional stress. As one of the most demanding activities one can engage in, it requires extreme control, discipline, and motivation to even be competitive in the sport. To recover from this stress and bring the body back into balance, attention to proper nutrition and supplementation is critical.
Refeeding After the Show
Immediately after the show, it is common to indulge in foods that have been off-limits for weeks or even months. While the practice is not detrimental if done in moderation, often times, this leads to bingeing behavior. If done correctly, refeeding after a contest can actually be highly beneficial to the body.
Hormone and nutrient levels may be severely depleted following months of intense dieting, while a competitor’s metabolic rate may have decreased as well to accommodate a lower caloric intake. This influx of nutrients stimulates the metabolism and delivers much-needed carbohydrates, fats, and protein to depleted muscle tissue.
Dangers of Bingeing Behavior
Some competitors find themselves bingeing days and even weeks after the contest, which can quickly destroy months of hard work and sacrifice. When someone regularly consumes foods that are high in sugar and fat, they stimulate the release of endorphins in the brain. This can lead to a feeling of euphoria following consumption, creating a persistent craving for these foods. If bingeing continues, insulin levels will remain elevated, resulting in the acquisition of excess body fat.
A Healthy Approach to Post-Contest Nutrition
Bingeing the night of, or day after the contest is not necessarily detrimental to progress. Unless the competitor is planning to compete again in the very near future, being in a caloric surplus for one to two days is acceptable. Following this period, it is essential to gradually return to patterns of normal, health-conscious eating. Steadily increasing levels of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins can ensure a progressive rise in metabolic rate.
It also assists competitors in maintaining a healthy body fat percentage while training in the offseason. Continuing to perform strength and cardio training during this period will contribute to muscle growth and cardiovascular health. Maintenance of a healthy diet, combined with proper training and rest will provide a strong foundation for the competitor’s next contest.
Are you in search of a bodybuilding trainer who can help keep you on track? The experienced personal trainers at Titanz Fitness in Smyrna can work with you to not only regulate your diet, but shed accumulated fat, and build muscle. Contact us today to schedule a free personal fitness evaluation with a qualified personal trainer.