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Contest Dieting Revisited

What I would like to do is simplify what I feel should be done in order to get ready for a contest. The first thing that you have to assess is have you done enough in the off-season and how have you performed. This means have you been consistent with your training and eating. I am a great believer in that you must train hard and smart, knowing when to go flat out and then when to back off. The most important issue then is to back it up with a sound nutritional plan.

For many the off-season is an excuse to eat what they like, so long as protein intake is high that???s all that matters?? I disagree with this and strongly believe that quality gains come from quality nutrition (aim for 1.5g protein per 1lb of bodyweight and 2-3g of quality complex carbs per 1lb of bodyweight). The only reason people eat the so called rubbish/treat foods is to satisfy there mental needs. Now having a treat meal here and there, yes I agree with but only 1-3 meals in a given week, everything else should be spot on to ensure maximum progress. When a diet is not controlled all that happens is that too much body fat is formed thus making more hard work when getting into shape. Now that I have got that off my chest let me give you my pointers for getting ready for a contest.

When getting ready aim to try and lose 2lbs a week. What tends to happen with some people is they get too fat or don???t give themselves long enough in order to get into shape. Hence why it is important to get to grips with your off season eating.

The first thing I strongly urge people to do is introduce aerobics/cardio every day. Yes every day and start off with 20-30 minutes first thing in the morning before breakfast, i.e.- fast pace walking, stationary bike etc (in the off-season I recommend that people do 3 aerobic sessions a week to help maintain a healthy profile). To get the ball rolling further you could also drop your carbs by 50-100g as soon as you start your contest preparation. For example someone who is eating 500g of carbs will reduce to 450-400g, plus with doing aerobics everyday body fat levels should start to drop steadily. I have heard of people cutting their carb intake in half and more when starting their contest diet???Why???

The most important thing when getting ready for a contest is to make small and steady adjustments so that you lose body fat and maintain muscle. By making radical and drastic changes muscle will be lost in the process

Once you have started on this road all you do is monitor yourself. Weigh yourself first thing in the morning before breakfast and do the same the following week at the same time to see what you have lost. Initially you may lose 3 or 4 pounds in the first week but then try and ideally keep it in the region of 2-3 lbs max. When things start to slow down or you need to charge things up, either increase cardio or cut back slightly on your carbs, that???s all there is to it. Nothing flash, just keep it simple.

On a side note, the high fat, high protein, low carb diets that some bodybuilders are doing don???t make sense. I am not a big fan of this way of eating full stop. bodybuilders need carbs and eat carbs in the off-season, so by going down this high fat road doesn???t add up. I have had numerous people say it works for me, but when I have seen them I believe they would have looked far better doing it the way I have briefly explained.

Remember body fat is stored energy and to lose it you have to use up more calories per day than you consume by eating less, performing more exercise or a combination of both, but this must be done in a way so that muscle tissue is conserved.

contest dieting is about revealing the effort and work you have done in the off-season. So if you have trained well and ate well then it???s just a matter of making small adjustments along the road to contest time. It doesn???t have to be hell when getting ready for a contest, it???s simply that people put themselves into a position where it becomes that way.


sent in by Matt

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