Off-Season Diet vs. Pre-Contest Diet and How to Master Each
Welcome! If you have landed on this page then you probably need some clarification and direction on off-season diet vs. pre-contest diet. I received two similar e-mails from different women who want to compete, but they are going about their diet and nutrition in the wrong manner. Here is just one of the emails.
“Hi Karen, I want to do a figure competition next year but I’m finding it hard to maintain the diet and to build enough muscle. I feel hungry, bloated, and I barely make it through my workouts before I hit total exhaustion. I feel like my goal of competing is just a dream. How can those women look so good and fit when the dieting part is so rigid and draining?”
Off-Season Diet and Training
To compete in a figure competition you do need a solid muscle base built. My recommendation is to have at least one good year of muscle-building under your belt before venturing onto a pre-contest diet. Your body needs that muscle mass to diet down on. If you don’t build your base first and just jump into prep, you’ll end up strung-out and flat on stage.
An off-season diet can include a bit more calories. You can choose proteins higher in fat such as egg yolks, red meat and fatty fish such as beef, steak, and salmon. Doing so will help you get your calories in easier. Eating carbs in the off-season is a plus, too. The carbs help transport nutrients and help to add power to your training. During the off-season you can be a tad bit more lenient on your diet, but not too much. Don’t get too far off track and get sloppy.
Pre-Contest Diet and Training
Your pre-contest diet and training is simply fine-tuning your off-season program. Pre-contest is the time when you allow yourself anywhere from 10-16 weeks or so to prep. Your prep time depends on your current stats. If you are lean you can typically prep in 12 weeks. If you are 20% body fat or more, you need about 14 weeks or more.
As you diet down you want to slowly lower your calories. Also, change most of your protein intake from steak, beef, and salmon to a more lean protein. Lean proteins for contest prep are egg whites, chicken, turkey, and many types of fish. Going from off-season to contest prep is like shifting gear in a car. You take it from point A, to point B, so on, and so on.
Now that you know a bit more on how off-season diet vs. pre-contest diet, you can better prepare yourself. Make sure you have 12 solid months of weight training under your belt before you even start a prep. When you do start your contest prep, start gradually. Don’t jump in with both feet. Doing so will cause burn out in a matter of weeks. For more assistance, see below…