Post Competition = Improvement Season
by Hitch Fit Gym Kansas City Personal Trainer – Joel Salter
“As my own competition season nears its end I am already putting together my “improvement season” plans and goals. I say improvement season because to many competitors (I have been guilty of this in the past) just immediately fall into an “off season” and it’s literally just that.. and “OFF season.” Until it is time to start training for the next show there is no tracking food or set food plans and there isn’t much of a set training plan. You’re kidding yourself if you think you’re going to weight until training for your next show and make sudden improvements. You will not make your best improvements while dieting for a show. It’s nearly impossible to put on good quality muscle or make major improvements to ones physique (besides fat loss) while in a caloric deficit. With a sound “off season” or better yet “IMPROVEMENT season” plan in place is where you will make the most out of your hard work.
A few tips on how to have a successful “improvement season” .
1. Don’t go crazy post show – In many cases competitors can put on 10-20lbs+ in a week or two after the show. It’s okay to reward yourself after a show but don’t blow 10-20 weeks of hard work in one or two weeks of binge eating. A little discipline goes a long way here.
2. Slow and steady – If you got stage lean then your body has been in a caloric deficit during the entire time you dieted for the show. Don’t just jump back into what you were eating right before you started dieting. When you are very lean and past your bodies natural body fat set point you are primed to store fat. Going straight from 1,500 calories a day to 3,000 calories a day will have you putting on excess body fat in no time! Slowly increase calories week by week and slowly decrease cardio week by week.
3. Have a plan in place for your nutrition and training – You should tailor your training and nutrition according to the goals you have set. Maybe it’s to bring up a lagging body part, bench pressing a certain amount of weight or eating x amount of calories while staying under a certain percentage of body fat. Whatever the goal is make sure there is a written plan in place with smaller goals to get you to your end goal.
4. Track your progress – I would recommend tracking workouts and nutrition daily. It’s as simple as writing it down or logging it in your phone. This will give you an idea of how consistent you are being, where improvements can be made and what is working and what isn’t.
5. Use a balanced approach – Now while I do believe there does need to be goals set I do not believe the improvement phase should be as strict as contest prep. This will cause you to burn out over time and possible quit all together. Don’t sweat small things like having to miss a training session here and there or not getting your food perfect this day or that day. Enjoying working out is great but enjoying life outside of exercising and the people in it are just as important.
5. Consistency over everything – I have learned over the years that being consistent with nutrition and training 80% of the time is better than being 100% on training and nutrition 50% of the time. Get into a routine and be as consistent as possible with it and the changes WILL happen
Joel Salter is a Hitch Fit TRANSFORMER at the Hitch Fit Gym downtown Kansas City location.
Contact him at [email protected]