Bikini Competition Prep: What Happens Post Show
What happens between competition preps is often a total mystery to non competitors. I think this mainly stems from competitors coming out of shows and falling off the map! Often times, the prep journey is shared on social platforms but the offseason is not due to insecurity around the weight gain that follows time on the stage.
However, if prep is done correctly, there shouldn’t be a drastic rebound but instead a gradual period of weight gain associated with muscle growth and heavy lifting. If the work continues into offseason, your next bikini competition prep should actually go much smoother and more effectively!
The Truth About Offseason
The truth is… offseason matters. Bodybuilding is not a seasonal sport! It’s year round. To truly be successful, the work does not end because you hopped on stage. If anything, the work has truly just begun.
The true process of competing is meant to be:
- Offseason is for building. When you’re in your offseason, the additional food gives you energy to lift heavier weights and put on muscle size. This is the process of really creating a new body SHAPE.
- Prep is for cutting. Once you launch into a prep, most of the building should be done! Now it’s all about maintaining as much of that muscle as possible while chiseling away the fat to reveal all of the hard work from your offseason.
What Changes Post Show
Post competition, the first order of business should be jumping into a reverse diet. This means you’re gradually adding calories back into your daily intake and allowing your body time to adjust.
At the same time you are also gradually reducing the amount of cardio you’re doing. If you immediately went back to your previous food intake or stopped all cardio, your body would store a significant amount of fat because your metabolism hasn’t yet re-learned how to burn all the food.
Why Our Training & Nutrition Needs to Change Post Show
Your next question might be “why don’t I just keep eating how I was eating on prep or keep doing all the cardio?” There are a couple reasons but, of course, the first is that it’s no fun to live your whole life on low calories or spend that much time kicking your own butt on the treadmill! There has to be balance outside of prep.
The second reason we return to normal food intake and little to no cardio is to stop the body’s adaptation. If I stayed at the same calories and cardio, my body would consider this it’s new normal and would stop burning as much I.e. weight loss next prep would be MUCH slower and MUCH more painful (LOWER calories). The goal during offseason is to get your body adjusted to eating as much as possible and doing as little cardio as possible while storing as little fat as possible.
The slower and more gradually you add your calories back in, the less fat your body will store.
In addition to this, we need a caloric surplus (eating more than you're burning) in order to build muscle most effectively. The process of putting muscle on when you're dieting down is MUCH slower and less effective than building while consuming more food.
So there you have it! The offseason is NOT a time to “bulk” or put on a bunch of excess fat. It’s meant to be a very strategic season of a tracked caloric surplus (eating more than you’re burning) and building muscle.
My Current Training & Nutrition Regimen
I am currently 7 weeks post show and about 10 lb up from my stage weight. This is perfectly healthy and normal, gradual weight gain post show and the slow increase in calories has helped me to limit fat storage as much as possible while I grow my muscles.
My cardio has gone from 40 minutes of walking 6 times per week to 10 minutes of walking 4 times per week. I still train 6 days per week but the focus has shifted from hypertrophy training (higher rep ranges with a focus on muscle building and conditioning) to lower rep ranges and heavier lifts to develop more muscle size.
I hope this serves as a reminder that the look you see on stage is not meant to be sustainable long term. It's important to maintain a healthy, happy lifestyle post competition and put some body fat back on to support your bodily processes and restore your energy levels.
Are you looking to transform your body but lost on where to start?
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If you’re ready to take the leap, you can apply here for a customized training and nutrition program. Once your application is received, I will get in touch with you to discuss packages, pricing, and plan details so you can stop feeling lost on your training and nutrition and start focusing on becoming your very best self!