The Elite Physique

Contest Prep Bloating

Facts About Contest Prep Bloating Issues and The Fixes

Contest Prep Bloating

Contest prep bloating is not a hoax.  It can be a real thing for some competitor hopefuls.  The discomfort of digestion issues is not fun.  Learning which foods affect your body in what ways helps a lot.  That’s why it’s important to spend at least a year trying different dieting formats before committing to doing a contest prep diet.  You will need to know from the start how certain foods affect your body.

Bloating is your body’s way of letting you know something is out of whack.  Using laxatives and diuretics is only a band-aid for bloating.  These will not correct your issues.  You need to tape into the digestive issue to relieve the bloat.

First, learn what’s body fat and what’s bloat.  Lower body fat and abdominal fat can confuse many newbies into thinking they are bloated, when it’s body fat.  Body fat doesn’t hurt.  However, when you are bloated, it can be uncomfortable in the gut area.  If you experience gut discomfort, pressure, or constipation, chances are, there is a problem.

Let’s cover a few of the dietary things that can cause GI upset.

Fiber and the Contest Prep Bloating Connection

A good diet is high in fiber.  If you tend to eat a structured and clean diet, you are more than likely getting enough fiber.  However, fiber can be a culprit in bloating issues if you are not careful.  Roughly, 25-30 grams of fiber a day for women and 40-50 grams for men does a body well.  Eating too much fiber can cause gastrointestinal issues (GI) such as gas, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal discomfort.

The best way to start your fiber intake is track what you currently eat for about a week or two.  From that point, slowly increase or decrease it as needed. Don’t make dramatic increases or decreases.  Going from a low fiber to a high fiber diet quickly can upset your digestive tract.  Make changes slowly so your body can adapt to the changes.

Artificial Sweeteners and Sugar Alcohols

Diet sodas that contain artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, can wreck havoc on your gastrointestinal.  Most chemical artificial sweeteners are not fully absorbed in the digestive tract.  Aspartame combined with carbonation can lead to bloat and digestive upset. While one diet cola isn’t going to throw your digestion out of whack, you do need to be aware of what you are consuming.  Taking in artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols 25-50 grams can cause some belly discomfort including bloating and diarrhea.

 Artificial Sweeteners

  • Acesulfame Potassium, aka acesulfame K (Sunett and Sweet One)
  • Aspartame (Equal and NutraSweet)
  • Saccharin (Sugar Twin and Sweet n’ Low)
  • Sucralose (Splenda): Common additive in supplements such as protein powders, BCAA’s, protein bars etc.

 Sugar Alcohols

  • Erythritol
  • Isomalt
  • Lactitol
  • Maltitol
  • Mannitol
  • Sorbitol
  • Xylitol

Use natural sugar substitutes such as stevia, xylitol, and erythritol.  They are powerful, so don’t use them in excess.  Truvia contains stevia in their product as well as erythritol.

Dairy, Protein, and Protein Drinks

Dairy can lead to some digestive upset due to lactose, milk sugar.  If there is not enough of the lactase enzyme in your gut, you can’t digest lactose well and will experience GI issues.  Try limiting or eliminating diary for your diet and see if that helps your belly issues.

Can too much protein cause digestion problems?  Sure.  Excess protein, including egg whites, have proven to cause gas, bloating, and even constipation.  Everyone’s ability to digest high levels of protein varies.

Changing your protein drink from a whey protein to an egg protein might help with your digestion, too.


Any time you make radical changes in your diet, you could have some digestive or bloating issues. Drastically increasing your protein intake can do it. Going from all rice to all vegetables can do it.  This is why it’s best to make gradual, changes throughout your contest prep rather than making big dietary changes all at once.

It’s helpful competitors to take a probiotic to help with digestion. Make sure the probiotic includes lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacteria bifidum to aid in a healthy gut flora. Take your probiotics first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.

Water to Help Contest Prep Bloating

Water balance is important for ion balance, blood volume, cell function, as well as blood pressure. Your body will do what it can to maintain homeostasis and may even retain fluid to preserve water balance. Sodium depletion can cause bloating. Your body regulates blood sodium levels tightly.  If blood sodium levels are too low, your water levels increase, causing bloating.

Stress can cause water retention.  Your body reacts to stress by driving blood away from your digestive track.  In doing so, it causes bloating, constipation, or even diarrhea.

Extreme water changes in your body can cause bloat.  Large water shifts combined with sodium influxes can cause water retention and bloating.  Ideally, most competitors drink about a gallon of water a day.  This is to help keep the kidneys flushed due to the high-protein diet.  Of course, a gallon of water a day will keep you well-hydrated.  This is why I continually stress consistency in your contest prep diet.  Any change can have an effect on your physique.

Water is necessary for proper digestion.  However, drinking a lot of water during your meals can actually impair digestion.  It’s best to drink your water between meals.

Parasites and Contest Prep Bloating

Shocking, parasites can be a cause of contest prep bloating.  A parasite is an organism that lives on or in a host and gets its food from its host. It can cause repeated bouts of bloating and abdominal pain.  Parasites are typically acquired from consuming contaminated water or food.  Since parasites feed from inside your body, they can interfere with digestion and vitamin and mineral absorption.  However, those with a weakened immune system or leaky gut syndrome can be more susceptible.

It’s estimated that about half of the American population carries parasites.  There are a number of types of parasites that we can contract, and we get them from drinking untreated water, eating unclean fruits and vegetables, eating pork, and walking barefoot.  Also, if you’ve been to another country such as Africa, China, India, Mexico (Cancun), and if you drank the water or ate the food, there’s a great chance that you could have picked up a parasite.

Many natural remedies prove to provide parasitic relief such as wormwood.  It’s important to drink a lot of water when taking herbs to remove parasites.  It’s the only why you can flush them out of your intestines.  Since parasites live in your digestive tract, you need to ensure that you are eating enough fiber for regular bowel movements.


A hernia can lead to feeling bloated.  It’s a bulging organ or fatty tissue through a soft or weak spot in the body, such as the intestines bulging through the abdominal wall.  It can cause a bowel blockage.  The blockage leads to lack of vitamin and mineral absorption, abdominal swelling, and even constipation.

A naturopath can detect a hernia and even help you treat it naturally.

What You Need to Know about Contest Prep Bloating…red arrow pointing down

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What You MUST Know...

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Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT

What You MUST Know...

My name is Karen Sessions and I am a life-time natural female bodybuilder, multi-certified fitness instructor, author, specialist in performance nutrition, and a success coach. I've been in the fitness industry since 1988! I teach people Just Like You how to transform their bodies, get in shape, build muscle, lose fat and compete in Bodybuilding, Physique, and Figure Competitions. When you have the CORRECT information you can have total confidence and turn your dreams into reality... and I can help transform YOUR body. I have helped THOUSANDS of clients reach their goals and I can help you, too. Be sure to grab my free gift above so you can start moving toward your goal.

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