Plan for Success: The Post Competition Blues

I sat there completely dumbfounded. This was undoubtedly the hardest task I had ever encountered. The options seemed endless and their outcomes complete horrifying mysteries. Forget my graduate engineering classes; deciding on the appropriate serving size of Cheerios was a true enigma.

I was unknowingly experiencing a common aspect of the “Post Competition Blues” following my very first competition season in 2012. After months of monitoring every single gram and ounce of food that entered my body, I was now faced with the daunting task of feeding myself once again. I was amazed that I had forgotten how to simply eat a healthy well-balanced diet that wasn’t structured. This past 2013 competition season I was prepared to do battle. I wasn’t going to fight through that confusion again and I’m happy to report that the transition from “in” to “off” season was smooth.

Here are my transition guidelines to avoid those Post Competition Blues:

  1. Congratulate yourself for your hard-work regardless of your placings! I’ve been last and I’ve been first, and I truthfully worked equally as hard to arrive at the stage both times. Don’t forget to give yourself the credit you deserve. You worked hard!
  2. Remember that stage leanness is not a realistic look year round. We all love being cut and lean, however, it is not feasible to remain this way indefinitely. You’re hungry, tired and cranky  the last couple weeks of prep (Don’t deny it, we ALL are.). Your friends and family would like their “heads” back ;) and I’m sure you would like to stop tantruming over wanting that cookie now and again.
  3. Plan a celebration meal with your friends and family a week after your last contest. Thank them for supporting you and celebrate your accomplishment with them when you are actually coherent, hydrated and not exhausted (We all know we only care if the food shows up to our post night show meal…) This also allows the excitement of the competition to last a little longer than a day, and really helps minimize the “let down” of the big moment being over so quickly.
  4. Create a detailed off season meal plan schedule. During my last couple weeks of prep I worked hard on preparing my “reverse diet”. This started to prepare me mentally for the fact that my contest diet isn’t a forever plan. This past season it took me four full weeks to get back into my full off season nutrition plan. Naturally I added my cheat meals back right away!! Slowly increase your carbs and fats through the weeks in steps. This will not only avoid a rebound, but also help you to adjust to bigger portions and the fear sometimes associated with eating more of these foods.
  5. Don’t be afraid to admit how you are feeling and seek out the support of other competitors. Chances are if a person has competed at some point or another they have experienced the Post Competition Blues at least once! We may not all be open about our difficulties, but more often than not if asked we will have a story or two to share!!

3 thoughts on “Plan for Success: The Post Competition Blues

  1. Niki, Thanks for the new post. I really missed reading them. Keep them coming. Love Gigi

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