Thank you for following our e-course, “Nutrition Secrets to Give You a Professional Edge”.
In this final part, we take the information you have learned in the previous sections and apply it to how it can assist you to get into great competition shape.
Whether you are aiming to compete in fitness model or bodybuilding competitions or simply want to get into great shape, you need a plan of action for your diet.
Nutritional science has evolved dramatically over the last fifteen to twenty years and practices which were once common have been replaced by a more informed approach over this period.
Traditionally, strength trainers and bodybuilders tended to alternate between two extreme phases: bulking up and cutting.
In the bulking up phase the emphasis was on building bodyweight and muscle mass by eating a very high calorie diet. Often the diet was less well balanced than it should have been due to the very large amounts of food required to make up the calorie quota. There was a tendency to eat more fatty foods because they were more convenient than eating bulkier, carbohydrate rich foods.
Then to prepare for competition, a dramatic switch to a very low calorie diet was made in a bid to rapidly lose weight and get into competition shape. Often this was left very late and involved practically starvation level diets.
This extreme yo-yo form of dieting plays havoc with the metabolic system and has serious implications for muscle integrity and long-term health.
Nowadays, with improved nutritional guidelines, the objective for most serious strength trainers and bodybuilders is to remain as close as possible to competition shape at all times.
Even so, there is still a requirement for pre-competition preparation including diet and exercise refinements in order to achieve the optimum results.
The main difference though is that now the preparation is carried out over a longer period of time and in a more controlled manner.
In general preparation for competition should span a period of up to three months, which allows time to make gradual changes and fine-tune both your diet and exercise program. The process is known as tapering and can produce extremely impressive results in terms of muscle definition, fat loss and performance ability.
Success in bodybuilding competition depends on well cut muscles and low levels of body fat.
To reduce the levels of body fat, a two pronged approach works best: reduce daily calorie intake and increase levels of aerobic exercise.
As an illustration, if you reduce calories by 250 a day and use a further 250 calories in additional aerobic exercise, you will effectively “save” 500 calories a day or 3,500 calories in a week. This is the equivalent of one pound of bodyweight and is well within safe weight loss limits of one to 2 pounds a week.
Maintaining muscle integrity is vital in the run up to competition and the protein element of the diet is therefore particularly important and must be carefully monitored. It should be maintained at the upper limits of at least 1.8 to 2.0 grams per kilogram of bodyweight during the tapering phase.
There should also be a slight decrease in carbohydrate and fat consumption to compensate for the higher protein intake.
You also need to make adjustment to the types of food you eat at certain times of the day. In particular, before an aerobic exercise session, you need to curtail the amount of carbohydrates eaten in order to increase the amount of fat burned during the session.
This flies in the face of your normal regimen, where you are advised to stock up on carbs a few hours before exercise.
Water retention is a major problem for bodybuilders and it is a common mistake to think that reducing water intake is the way to avoid it. In fact precisely the opposite is true.
You should drink as much as you can and in this way the body flushes out any surplus supplies. But, if you cut down on the amount you drink the body panics and holds onto every drop of water and it is this that causes bloating.
In the week immediately before the competition a more extreme program can be undertaken to really get cut and lean. But there are limits and these should be observed to prevent damage being done. For a limited period, calorie intake can be reduced down to as low as 33 per kilogram of bodyweight for men (30 for women) while continuing with the aerobic program.
This will turbo charge your final efforts to perfect your competition shape without posing any danger to your health.
On competition day, remember to eat and drink although you may prefer to stick to liquid meal replacements until after the competition.
For weightlifters and powerlifters, the emphasis is on strength instead of cutting and in the run up to competition building powerful muscles is best achieved on a high carbohydrate diet supplemented with creatine.
As is the case for bodybuilders, a three month lead time to prepare for competition is the surefire way of achieving the best results.
To lose weight in the run up to the competition, additional aerobic exercise combined with a slightly lower calorie intake will help to burn up fat stores within safe weight loss limits of one to 2 pounds a week.
If a last minute weight reduction is still necessary, an extremely low calorie diet (as low as 20 calories per kilogram of bodyweight) can be followed but only for a maximum of one week.
Dieting to this extreme for longer periods can have serious health consequences and will undoubtedly impair competition performance.
Getting this equation just right is a major challenge but extremely important if you want to achieve your best shape. plan:one contains specific modules for bulking up, cutting and tapering and with a click of the mouse your plan is perfected to match your individual needs.
We hope you have enjoyed reading this e-course and that you have learned some useful information to help you reach your maximum potential.
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