Happy Almost-Time to start Prepping for a Summer Show!
Show date is picked out! Countdown of weeks has begun! Now what?! If you are under 12 weeks you know whats up but what if you are more then 12 weeks out and its not time to start "real prep" yet?!
After the holidays come and go and we start to balance out with the holiday parties and eating, many find themselves in this predicament. I say this with 12 years experience doing it myself and as a coach. I will speak for myself here; I find myself done with the holiday weight gain and look towards a show to get the pounds off or even a mini diet. For many many years I did NPC Jr. USA, where I would need to start prep right after Valentines days for a show the 3rd weekend in May. I wonder do I: a) Eat as much as I can or want because I am going to go into a state of deprecation for 3 months OR b) start taking out the extras so the impact of the diet isn't so harsh? What is your choice to be?
I (promise) I have gone full tilt on both ends! What I have, inevitably, found is that BOTH are kind of accurate. My best results have come from increasing my calories from week 16 down to week 12, those are clean calories by the way. I use macros when competing so I will use an example from macro based dieting. Say, I am 140lbs on stage and 153lbs in the off season and I use a 12 week prep ( i advocate for more prep time if you have more to loose) my off season macros will look something like 170 protein/ 220 carb / 45 fats with a "free meal" once or twice a week (after all it's off season!). At 16 weeks out, I will increase my carbs and fats, keep protein the same or decrease. So for 4 weeks I will increase my overall calories by about 1/4, the break down will be something like 170/260/55 (loosely), "free meals" will be eliminated but I also wont want them because I will be more full. See where I am going with this? How many preps are started and it takes a few weeks just to get your head in the game? I have also found on several occasions when I have done this I have lost a pound or 2. The 2 biggest benefits to this approach are: 1) Once the body/metabolism adjusts to higher calories, less will have to be taken during the prep process (if you have a good coach) to get desired show appearance 2) Head will already be in the game and adjusted to schedule and foods, as mentioned, so its smooth sailing NOT starving from there.
The same approach can work if you are just doing a mini cut for the spring and summer, just in a smaller time frame. Take 2-3 weeks to increase clean food choices so as to not induce bingeing. At which point, take calories back to a manageable level.
I find the "hard and fast" approach to shedding pounds to be the least successful and the most unhealthy. If hard work has been put in the off season the last thing you want to do is loose dem gainzzzzzzz!
Hope the was helpful and feel free to reach out with any questions as this is an unconventional approach.