Bread, pasta, sweets, salty treats? One of my worst cravings was peanut butter! One or two spoonfuls everyday can add up to one fat competitor!
Many new athletes (and coaches) feel that having a ‘cheat day’ where you get to eat what you want (like burgers, fries, pizza, sweets, etc), will achieve results. It is necessary to eat more at specific times of your prep but having a sanctioned free-for-all will leave you in the last call outs.
Consistent cheating on your contest diet will definitely keep you from leaning down enough to be competitive. Here are 6 tips to squash the cravings so you can walk across that stage…
1. Eat often. When you are hungry everything looks good. Missing or skipping meals will create calorie deficits that make you overeat or cheat. Try to eat every 2-3 hours, balanced meals with lean protein, good fat, and performance carbohydrates.
2. Don’t cut your calories (too soon). One of the common mistakes newbie figure athletes make is cutting their calories too early in their contest prep. If you are beginning your prep 16 or more weeks out, your calorie count should start between 1,500-2,000 depending on how much you currently weigh. The goal is to build and retain lean muscle mass while losing the maximum amount of body fat. If you are not eating enough calories, you’ll won’t be able to burn through those tough figure workouts. The body will not let go of fat if you starve the muscles.
3. Map out your week. Pick one day of the week to get all your food prep done. Dieting for a figure competition is very structured, so thinking through each meal ahead of time will limit falling off the wagon. I usually spend Sunday grocery shopping, measuring out meats, chopping veggies, boiling potatoes, grilling chicken, steaming rice, and making sure I have all my supplements. I use Tupperware to store each meal in the fridge for easy access.
4. Plan a strategic ‘refeed’ once a week. Exercising and eating low calories everyday can make you feel sluggish in the gym! Having a higher carb and higher fat day at the end of the week causes leptin levels to spike. This is important because low leptin levels caused by prolonged dieting will lead to a decrease in metabolism and an increase in appetite (leading to more cheats). Now this doesn’t mean head out for a calzone! It means make a healthier version of your favorite meals. Log those extra calories and keep an eye on the effects of each refeed.
5. Go to bed earlier. If you are up after you’ve finished your last meal–expect to be sniffing around for something else to eat! When the food is done, go to bed. Now if you cheat on your diet–its only in your dreams.
6. Throw it in the trash. Hey, everyone in the house is not on a diet, so expect to see take-out boxes with leftovers or goodies sitting around. But just because these items are available–doesn’t mean have a free for all! Throw away any uneaten food especially after events. You can even give it away. And when you throw it in the trash, cover it up with garbage. Nothing more unappealing than donuts with coffee grounds on them 🙂
With the right competitor diets–you won’t feel like cheating! Click here to start eating & training like a champion!