Post Contest Rebound

How to use this anabolic phenomenon to work with you and not against you

 So you decided to commit to entering your first Bodybuilding competition. You planned out your 16 week diet protocol, which will get you as lean as you have ever been. You structured your training program methodically, which coincides with your nutrition and cardio outline perfectly. As the contest date approaches closer and closer, and hunger gets more intense, you begin fantasizing about pizza, milk shakes, cheese burgers and junk food you never initially craved for.  You can’t wait to reward yourself with all of the forbidden junk food you yearn for and also give yourself a much needed break from training and cardio. I mean, hey, you deserve it right? You just beat yourself down for 4 months and should be able to reward yourself for the hard work you put in. Not so fast champ, I will explain the more logical and proactive approach to coming off a pre-contest training and diet regimen.

After months of strict, rigorous dieting to achieve extremely low body fat levels for a bodybuilding contest, you are essentially priming yourself for what could be a muscle building dream, or a fat hoarding nightmare.  As body fat levels dip into the lower single digits, the hormone leptin, is significantly lowered thus triggering intense hunger followed by an increase in ghrelin production.  When attaining truly shredded conditioning, the constant hunger is unavoidable.

 Typically a competitor will begin plotting their "post contest binge" a few weeks before the contest, making a list of all empty calorie, fat storing foods, which are also non-conducive to muscle growth.  Instead, the smart competitor should be planning out their off season protocol a few weeks before the show and plan on making the most of their post contest rebound.  Having a good quality protein powder on hand like Primordial Performance’s Maximum Absorbed Protein can help with those cravings.

After the contest is over, your body is primed to store all nutrients you ingest. Since body fat is extremely low, your insulin sensitivity is very high.  This means less insulin is needed from your pancreas to shuttle nutrients to their destination. Greater insulin sensitivity translates into nutrients being absorbed towards muscle cells and not adipose tissue.  Since leptin is low and ghrelin is high, your appetite for muscle building foods will be ravenous. The foods you should be focusing on are typically what you would have consumed during your pre-contest phase, but in copious amounts. 

The foods that should be focused on are lean protein sources such as chicken breast, white fish, fatty fish, lean cuts of red meat. Fibrous complex carbohydrates such as: whole oats, long grain rice, yams, red potatoes, whole wheat pasta, and hot oat bran cereal.  Add in essential fats such as avocados, raw almonds, macadamia nuts and olive oil.  All of these foods are very beneficial to a depleted and nutrient deprived competitor.  Consuming these food choices in the proper caloric range will yield a super compensation effect of glycogen storage. The influx of calories also will elevate thyroid output, which increases your resting metabolic rate, and  will increase  testosterone production from essential fatty acids and additional saturated fats. This cascade of hormonal responses combined with heavy resistance training plus some added cardio will be your biggest growth spurt of the year if executed properly.  If you fall victim to the post contest binge festival the exact opposite will take place. This option usually entails the competitor eating excessive amounts of refined sugars, processed meats and carbohydrates plus large amounts of hydrogenated trans fatty acid rich junk food.

The enormous post contest ingestion of empty calorie foods is usually accompanied with down time from cardio and weight training which equates to muscle atrophy and fat cell hypertrophy. Not to mention high water retention, muscular cramps and mild depression once the feeding frenzy comes to a halt.  Try taking Primordial Performance’s Slumber Stack sleep formula before bed for a better sleep and improved muscular recovery.

I must admit, I fell victim to the post contest binge and learned my lesson the hard way. If you are a first time competitor or fell victim to a faulty rebound in the past, hopefully this article will motivate you to make the most of this short lived muscle building window. 

Leptin [lep•tin  lep-tin]

a hormone that is thought to suppress appetite and speed up metabolism.

Ghrelin [ghrel•in  grel-ən]

a gastrointestinal hormone produced by epithelial cells lining the fundus of the stomach; appears to be a stimulant for appetite and feeding, but is also a strong stimulant of growth hormone secretion from the anterior pituitary

-By Matt Porter

2 Responses to Post Contest Rebound

  1. Pingback: Need some advise about post contest - Professional Muscle

  2. kanterezza says:

    I agree, the post contest "junk food orgy" must be done, especially for brain satisfaction, but only few days, 4 days max for me, then switching to the "healthy" food again and keeping cardio even during bulking up period.

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