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“Off Season Dieting” aka “Reverse Dieting” - What to do with your diet after your competition

“Off Season Dieting” aka “Reverse Dieting” - What to do with your diet after your competition


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Reverse Dieting Kristin Shaffer

If you have competed in a figure or bikini competition then you know how challenging the so-called “post show blues” can be. It’s a little like a wedding day… months and months of planning for a few hours of festivities, and it’s over in a flash. You’re then left with empty space couple with disillusionment about what to do next. And sometimes it can be downright depressing.

I think it’s easy to look at seasoned competitors with their continual posts on social media showing their ever-positive attitude and forever-firm bodies, and think they never suffer from such an affliction.

But the truth is most do.

The very nature of the preparation for competitions sort of sets us up for this scenario. With our lives revolving around diet, training, and rest, there is little time for anything else.

We are hyper-focused on an end goal, an end date.

We monitor and measure.

We sometimes obsess.

So when that end goal is reached, and our lives stop revolving around this achievement, if we’re not ready for the resulting void we could potentially wipe out all the gains we accomplished through mindless eating and deteriorating exercise.

Fortunately the during this period, known as the “off season”, there are strategies we can embrace to keep us focused.

#1 Set a new goal.

This is essential to continuing your progress. If you look at competing as an evolving process rather than a destination, then the off season is a time to assess the accomplishments you achieved and what you would like to improve upon for the next competition.

This could mean building muscle, tightening, or even reducing muscularity. Each of these objectives takes time and is best achieved in the off season period.

#2 Learn reverse dieting.

Just as we oftentimes slowly and gradually reduce our caloric intake during competition prep to achieve our desired low body fat, the reverse should be practiced when coming off a show to get our caloric intake back to normal levels to maintain the gains we accomplished.

This is termed “reverse dieting” where we gradually and steadily increase our calories to a maintenance level (where we don’t gain or lose weight) or slightly above in order to achieve muscle growth. Since many competition diets are fairly high in protein these caloric increases are typically accomplished with added carbohydrates.

Tip to do so: Add 100 calories per week in the form of clean carbohydrates until you are back to maintenance levels.

#3 Learn to enjoy your “non-stage” body.

Being in “stage condition” year round is simply unhealthy.

Competition fat fat levels are typically too low to be sustained for a long period of time. There are very few athletes who sustain levels that low year round and some studies have shown this actually may be harmful for women (although the jury still seems to be out on that one).

The key is to love being fit and healthy, not to covet the stage day photos.

While having the goal of competing is a fantastic way to keep us consistent and dedicated, the competition is really only the added benefit that comes with living a healthy lifestyle.

If you want to see an entertaining and informative video from a seasoned fitness couple, check out the one I posted below. Kate Kennedy and Nick Holt from "The Fit Reality" discuss this very topic on their way to a camping weekend, kids horsing around in the back seat and all!

What tips do you have to avoid the post show blues?

I want to hear your thoughts below!

With love,


Author: Kristin Shaffer

Member Comments

I must say I enjoyed watching this clip, it has reakky given me some great ideas for post comp coming up in 4 weeks. thank u.

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