I thought what with some of the last few bodybuilding shows coming up in the next few weeks for the year, now might be a good time to bring up the topic of post show blues and how to avoid them, especially if you are starting out with competitions!
Coming up to a show, you might feel tired, but you also probably feel great. Your body is probably looking ahhhmazing and all the excitement is starting to sink in and nerves about your upcoming show. Now isn’t a time to be thinking about plans for afterwards right? WRONG!
Now it is crucial to start thinking about life after show day. It is so easy to get totally consumed by training, nutrition and peak week that we can forget to plan for afterwards!
Why plan ahead after a show?
Post show blues are a very real thing as many competitors will tell you. There has been such a big build up to the big day, that when it flies by and it is the morning after, you might not quite know what to do with yourself. You also may still be on a mad buzz of eating as many treats as can fit in your mouth and the last thing that interests you is the thought of getting back training.
By all means, enjoy some Netflix and chill time, but don’t go down the slippery slope of throwing your previous lifestyle totally to the wind! This will result in a lot of unnecessary fat gain and also a knock to your confidence as you see the physique you worked so hard on slip away from you one tub of Ben and Jerry’s at a time.
What should I do pre and post show to avoid the blues?
The most important point I can share with you is have a plan.
Have a plan of what training you will do that week (even if it is very casual and low intensity) and also have a plan to reverse diet back out of your diet as discussed on previous post. This is so so important, and any good coach worth their weight in gold will have a plan in place for after your show with as much emphasis put on it as was put into your months of prep. By maintaining your routine at least loosely, you can place emphasis on what you now want to achieve in a well deserved off season.
Understand that maintaining single digit body fat year round is not optimal for your health
This especially rings through to the ladies. Staying crazy lean year round can cause issues for you with hormones. Although you should not take this advice as an excuse to eat your way out of an all you can eat Chinese buffet, be aware that there are health implications to staying stage lean for a long period of time for many ladies.
We are talking potential brittle bones later in life and potential fertility issues in some cases. Again, a well planned reverse diet will help you stay on top of your health without setting you back with your physique goals. It’s totally ok to gain some weight in the off season, that’s when improvements are made and I feel many of us are overly harsh on yourselves with the pressure to maintain stage leaness post show. The key is to not put on an excessive amount. You can keep everything in check by being mindful about your nutrition and training post show.
It is also important that if you plan to reduce your cardio down, to do some gradually and keep an eye on how your body is responding. Increase calories slowly and you will increase your metabolism as you go along.
Learn to appreciate your off season body
Self love is a pretty hot topic on social media lately, but just how many of us actually practice what we preach? Its important that you love your body year round and appreciate it for all the crazy stuff it does for you, not just in the weeks coming up to a show. It takes a little work, but having a positive mindset and placing focus on more than just asthetics in the off season such as strength improvements goes a long way to making it an easier process.
Record all your progress, not just measurements
In the build up to a show, you will constantly be scrutanising your body for aesthetic progress and changes on a daily basis. Off season, as mentioned above, it is really helpful to redirect this focus to other measurements of progress such as your strength. Now is a good time to set some new targets such as mastering x amount of pull ups or hitting a new personal best on your deadlift. As you reverse diet, you will notice your strength levels and energy returning and you can surprise yourself with some new records on your lifts!