I am currently 6 Weeks Out from a natural bikini competition. I had a “Prep. With Me” promo before I began, and those who signed-up get weekly progress, updates and all my training and dieting plans during my prep. For most of them, it’s an honest glimpse into what I takes to see if it would be something they would like to endeavour! And today in my update email, I ramble a little, and then I thought it might be a good addition to the ‘ol blog. Enjoy!
Here we go! The last 2 weeks of a rigid(er) type meal plan. At 4 weeks out, I’ll begin a carb cycle.
Here’s why. And every athlete is different, but for me- I’ve been dieting down for his competition for an entire year. The rate of loss is of course different for every athlete, and the methods I use to get them lean. Some girls have troubles right about now loosing the last little bit to get stage lean- these are the girls who in my experience, have been also dieting for a prologue period of time before commencing a prep. Things that are unfavourable for us at this point becomes the slower metabolism, plummeted hormones levels, and sometimes thyroid “crapping out” for better use of words.
This is why in the perfect scenario, an aspiring physique competitor would come to me about a year out from a goal/show, so we can start in an off-season. This would allow us to study the patterns of cause/effect from stimulus imposed from macro, training, supplement and recovery strategies. All of this with the goal of setting as high of a “set-point” in maintenance calories. And maintenance being the place when the athlete feels the best, performs the best, and can get away with not being so strict. With the caveat that- I would still encourage macro tracking. With competing being the goal, it would be good habit forming to start weighing food and tracking daily intake; whether you’ve already done this in the past or not, it’s still a good idea to bring it back as your eyeball’ed portion size of 4oz my have frown over the years. The athlete would have macros to follow for sure, or an actual food list/plan if they craved more structure (most bodybuilders do…). And then, perhaps months down the road, or even in their next off-season, the entire process becomes less daunting as the ground was laid, and we can find their new set-point after competition with intuitive eating; that’s the purpose of a reverse diet- to find your new “maintenance” macros. Too many people assume that their goal would be to jump back into what was normal months before prep.; but, your body composition will have changed, and your body will require more/less than before. Side note; athletes that I’ve prepped for more than 1 show, always weighed MORE for their second, even thought they became leaner, and with ease. That’s because we took the time to use the off-season productively with reverse dieting- we are able to build more skeletal muscle, and to have a better oiled engine that will work with us when it’s time to cut down. And I mentioned “intuitive eating”, now for someone like me, who’s been measuring/tracking/dieting for like- ever- I will just “know” what to eat and things like where I’m at for protein grams at any given time of day. So intuitive eating, for me, is prioritizing protein around every meal, and adding energy macros (fat & carb) intuitively- just enough to feel satisfied, energetic, and myself. Do you ever notice when dieting that basic “you” mannerism just kind of leave you? Like bobbing your head to your fav. song, or just cleaning the entire house instead of watching TV? Haha, well ya, I’m there now. At 6 weeks out, I’m not so on top of things that I usually have energy to do as I go, like laundry for example, or shaving my legs in the shower. Right now I just think about my next meal, and what I need to prep. for the next meal or morning. So much prep. In a prep. Ha! Anyhow, this post what completely fuelled by caffeine and I think it’s about run out! Here is a copy of this weeks meal plan, yes I’m eating Shepherds Pie for breakfast, and it’s only because I don’t want to spend an hour this weekend making crepes. And I’m having whey at lunch because it will optimized my lean muscle gains and recovery post workout, which is mid-morning for me.
And with that I just realized I didn’t even finished my first paragraph- I will begin a carb at 4 weeks out to stimulate fat loss. Like I began to say, and as you know, I have been loosing baby weight all year, so my metabolism and hormone levels may be catching on. With a carb cycle, I will be able to elevate leptin (and insulin obv.) in the days after a higher calorie day to help with fat stores being “reachable” have you, and to fuel training intensity, because after all, the weight training IS what is increasing my metabolism, by utilizing dietary and stored energy and amino acids repair the muscles torn and glycogen used.