Are You Ready To Diet For A Competition
You’re in decent shape and might be thinking about competing as a bodybuilder, figure, physique or bikini competitor. You’ve probably been training for a while now and think you have what it takes to get on stage. So you contact a coach 12 weeks before a show you’re thinking about doing.. 12 weeks seems to be some sort of magic number of weeks that anyone and everyone can get ready for a shown in 😂
The truth is most people will not show their best package on stage by taking this approach. 12-16 weeks is just the time it takes to diet down and lose body fat for the show (if you’re in decent shape to start with otherwise it could take much longer) but a contest prep has more components than just the the phase where you are in a calorie deficit losing body fat. To show your best package you will most likely need to go through other phases of training and nutrition.
The 12-16 week cutting phase will only ever be as good as the preparation leading up to that phase. For instance if you go to a coach 12 weeks out to get ready for a show but you’re only eating 1500 calories or you’ve been in a deficit for the last 3 months this will have a massive impact on your contest prep and how lean you will be able to get for the show.
Every successful prep should have 3 phases:
✅ Metabolic Loading Phase
✅ Loading Adaptation Phase
✅ Fat Loss Phase
Metabolic Loading Phase:
💥 This phase is about repairing any negative adaptation and increasing your metabolic rate. Bring calories back to baseline if you’re coming off a cut and start to increase over time (as high as possible while keeping body fat in check)
💥 Improve hormonal balance in relation to fat loss and anabolism (thyroid, leptin, testosterone etc)
💥 Focus on introducing a wide range of foods to get the body adapted to a variety of foods. This will be really important later on when your body is a little more stressed and food and digestive issues can become an issue.
Loading Adaptation Phase: 💥 This phase allows the body to adapt to all the changes made in phase 1 by establishing a new body fat set point at those calorie levels by eating consistently for a period of time at your new higher calorie levels.
💥 Introducing supplementation to aid with insulin sensitivity and digestion may be good at this point also
💥 This phase is really important and often the most overlooked. People are always talking about reverse dieting but no one ever spends enough time on the higher calorie level to establish enough of a baseline to make the reverse diet impactful. Most people will do a metabolic loading phase and then just start cutting again.
Fat Loss Phase:
💥 Begin to reduce calories slowly
💥 Keep your calorie adjustments minimal! Many people cut way too many calorie when making adjustments to their diet.
💥 As you get deeper into this phase and body fat levels get lower start to introduce higher carb blocks (refeeds and diet breaks). Anywhere from 2-14 days depending on how your body responds.
💥 Achieve your goal of getting on stage 🙂
Once you are at your desired body fat level start phase 1 and 2 again to get calories up as high as possible while maintaining body fat levels. If you did not completely achieve your fat loss goal then repeat phase 3 again too.
You won’t always get to your goal in one cycle of the 3 phases (well you may but you’ll need to starve yourself, look and feel like absolute shit). It depends on your starting point and genetics and this is why coming to a coach 12 weeks out from a show can be an issue. As a rule I usually only suggest losing a maximum of 10-12% of your body weight per fat loss phase or a maximum of 12-20 weeks.
If you want to kill it on stage look at starting with a coach at least 9 months out.
I haven’t mentioned training or cardio periodisation over the 3 phases in this post as it would make it way too long but that also plays a role.
Hope this helps you smash it for when you get on stage next guys x
Strength Lab - Personal Training, Body Transformation Coaching and Competition Preparation
Personal Training Camberwell, Melbourne