You’ve just completed the final show of your season, you’ve been living on poverty carbs and fats for weeks on end…but what now?
First, take what I am saying with a grain of salt, because a single post cannot cover it all. Though it is not overly complicated, there is no one size fits all…this is just the basics.
Hopefully you or your coach put a plan together to get you started on the right path AND you were in AT LEAST the 4th Stage of Contest Prep, the Metabolic Building Stage. If so, chances are high that you will continue to lean out a little as you add calories back in.
The goal is simple, start reintroducing more food without putting on a ton a weight. To do this successfully, you must have the right mindset. You must be willing to eventually accept a reasonable amount of weight gain, including an acceptable amount of body fat, while eating as much food as possible to stay within that scope.
So, how do you do that?
First, look at your daily calorie intake at the end of prep…BEFORE you started Peak Week. Let’s say you were consuming 1500 calories a day. Next, determine how much weight you were losing per week, at that calorie range. Let’s say you were losing .5lb weekly.
Now, we all know the general rule of thumb is that it takes a 500 calorie deficit a day to lose 1lb per week. So, if you were losing .5lb a week, you were in a 250 calorie deficit.
Now, we calculate your maintenance. Its very simple, add 250 calories (your deficit) to the amount you were eating while losing .5lbs, (1500), you come up with 1750 calories. By calculation, that means your maintenance level would be around 1750 calories.
That would be a good place to start the first week or two after your last competition. It will give you some time to see if you are on track with your calculated caloric maintenance.
Next, if your weight stays fairly stable, then it’s time to start your reverse. A good place to start would be to add 5% to 7% to your caloric maintenance. If you want to focus on a more “Lean Gain” stick to the lower range. If you are ok with a little more body fat because you want to eat a little more food at a quicker pace, start at the higher end.
Your range would then be 1827 – 1872 calories a day. Again, this depends on how much weight (muscle and bodyfat) you are willing to accept. The more body fat you are ok with, the more muscle you will add…to a degree. (There comes a point where body fat starts to accumulate at a faster pace…this is where an experienced prep coach comes into play).
From here, there are many paths you can take. There are many variables to take into consideration as you continue your reverse diet. For example, the amount of cardio you do, whether you will be reducing the amount of time you are working out or not, the macronutrient ratios should be using, and more.
Regardless, this should at least give you a vision of the right path…and it’s never too late to start either. But, the longer you hold off, the harder your next prep is likely to be.