Will you gain a ton of weight after a competition? Is Peak Week really that horrible? To lose weight, do competitors eat 1200 calories a day? Get the real deal on these common misconceptions newbies have about preparing for a competition.
Myth 1: After a competition, you gain back all the weight you lost.
Part of this is true. You should expect to gain some weight after your show. This is usually all the water that you shed right before your show. It is important to get back to a pre-contest level of health, fitness, and weight. Your coach or online program should include a 4-Week post contest transition to avoid unnecessary weight gain.
Myth 2: The more cardio you do, the leaner you get.
Cardio plays a part in fat loss if done in the right heart rate zones. Just doing more cardio will not guarantee your body fat or weight will go down. How much cardio depends on your actual body fat & water level (you can find this out with an Inbody or BodPod test), how much you need to lose, and how many weeks you have until your show. There are 2 basic types of cardio competitors need to reach the right level of conditioning–high intensity interval training (HIIT) and low intensity steady state (LISS). An experienced coach or trusted fitness professional can help you map out a realistic weight, cardio, and nutrition program to get the best results on stage.
Myth 3: Competitors eat about 1200 calories (or less) for most of their prep.
Yes, there are many new competitors out there eating 1200-ish calories everyday. Unless you weigh 90 pounds that is not enough food to put on (and maintain) muscle, reduce body fat, and have enough energy to get through your workouts. How many calories you consume are based on your actual basal metabolic rate (BMR), exercise calorie expenditure, and phase of training (growth, maintenance, conditioning, etc). Calorie count is only part of the puzzle. Mastering your macros and knowing how to adjust them throughout your prep will yield over 70% of the results you achieve on stage.
Myth 4: Peak Week is horrible for all competitors.
I’m not going to lie, the final week or so of any contest prep is a challenge. The only way it will be horrible is if you are following a cookie cutter peak plan. The kind of program that cuts your calories and water extremely low that you get weak, cranky, and too tired to reach the finish line. If you have had a solid prep, the final week should be exciting and fun.
Myth 5: Eating carbs will make you gain weight and increase body fat.
For some reason, carbs have gotten a bad rap with new competitors. The truth is, you need carbs to provide the energy necessary to train at a competitive level. You don’t want to totally cut carbs from your diet during prep. There are many ways to structure your carb intake to support your training needs. For the most optimal level of conditioning, a combination of carb cycling, re-feeding, and restriction will be most effective.
Do you have more questions about the process of competing? Or do you want to learn how to build a competitive physique without stepping on stage?