How I Overcame Post Show Binging

Post competition binging is real and it is not something that should be taken lightly at all. It could go on for a period of days, weeks, and even months. It can happen so quickly that you sometimes can’t even remember how you got lost in this reoccurring battle in the first place.  If you have or know someone who has experienced this I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone.  It’s not too late to turn things around for the good of your health and overall well being.

 

How does it start?

So you’ve dieted for approximately 12-16 weeks.  You weighed out all your food, you stuck to your diet 110%, and you carried your meals with you wherever you went.  There are time where it may have felt like a struggle, especially as your show got closer and your carbs continued to drop.  You’ve had to miss out on certain functions simply because you had to eat what you were told to.  At that point all you could really focus on was your show and stepping off stage to indulge in that food you have been craving throughout these past couple of months.  You get to that point, you take your first bite, and you can’t seem to stop. You’re so exhausted, so tired, so drained, that at that point you may feel like I really don’t care about what I’m eating, I just want more. Your taste buds light up at the sight of food and you can’t seem to flick the ‘off’ switch in your brain telling you it’s full and it has had enough.

What then?

You wake up the next day sometimes feeling better because your body was so depleted, but you continue to eat the processed, high fat, high sugary foods you consumed post show. That’s where it gets complicated.  You don’t have a coach really monitoring you at that point, you don’t have a plan to really go off of and you’re just eating all the food you feel like you have been deprived of for so long.  It can go on for long periods of time, and that next morning you will feel bloated, sick, tired, and not yourself.  If you can relate to these types of feelings I’m telling you I’ve been there.  I’ve stuffed my face to the point where I just wanted to throw it all up.  I became depressed and upset with myself. I couldn’t understand how I could be so mentally strong throughout my entire prep, but completely lose control of my actions after my show.  I knew there had to be another way and I wasn’t going to let myself drown in my own sorrow, but instead find a better way to break free from this trap.

Steps to getting back on track:

  1.  Have a post show plan.  I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a post show plan. I’m telling you, it saved my physical and mental health.  My best advice is to reverse diet, if your coach is not helping you with a reverse diet, I suggest looking for another coach because that coach does not have your health in their best interest.  You do not want to run the risk of having a damaged metabolism, which unfortunately is something I seen too often.  If you do not wish to reverse diet, that’s fine, but remember you have been dieting for a long period of time.  You wind things down slowly, so you will need to build your carb tolerance back up slowly.  There is not one way that is quicker than the other, you have to give your body time to adjust.
  2. If you plan to have a meal, enjoy that meal, you deserve it!!!  You put your hard earned time and sweat to get up on that stage an that meal is something you should have and celebrate with loved ones.  I do not recommend purchasing any junk food to have in your house when you get home.  Whatever you eat at that meal let that be it.  If the food is in your house, it will cause temptation, so if it’s not there, you can’t eat it.
  3. Take the feedback from your coaches, judges, and fellow competitors to design where to improve from here.  Picture the the new goals you have and make a plan to achieve them.  Food is going to be your most useful tool to achieve those goals, so you can’t be bogged down with major set backs.  I find writing down my goals helps motivate me to look forward to the future.
  4. Get it out of your head that you need to gain a lot of weight in order to put on muscle.  If someone is telling you this, they are absolutely wrong.  You cannot gain muscle from fat and quite frankly if you have a lot of extra fat going into to your next prep, you’ll be faced with too much cardio to get that weight off, which means LOSS of MUSCLE MASS after you’ve spend your offseason putting in that work.  I recommend to stay within 5-10 pounds of your stage weight and keep track of it.  Not every week is going to be perfect, but remember to hold yourself accountable.
  5. Drink your water.  Water is such a powerful thing that I don’t think many people realize how beneficial it is for our bodies.  It helps flush out the toxic build ups in our colon, keep digestion flowing, keep our skin healthy, and many more.  I recommend drink at least a gallon of water a day.
  6. If you haven’t tried If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) way of eating, I highly suggest you give this a go.  I did not always prep using this way of dieting.  When I first began competing I was on that ‘bro’ diet, but I found that IIFYM way of living helped fight those cravings and helped me feel less restricted on prep.  Whenever I really wanted something, I fit it in, which made post shows feel so much better because there was really nothing I cut out and was craving when I got off stage. I value micronutrients just as much as I value macronutrients, but life is about enjoying the things you eat and do.  There shouldn’t be heavy restrictions on food because when you actually go to have that food after it’s been cut out, our bodies will respond in a negative way.  I don’t do any more than 30 Minutes of cardio and found that you can’t look to cardio for the answer, it comes down to the numbers, it’s a science.
  7. Believe in your mental strength and value your mental health.  You can be physically strong, but it’s our mental health that drives us to be better.  Take control of it and believe you have what it takes to be better, to improve, and not let yourself go along the way.  Again, I’ve been in that dark place, but I adapted a different lifestyle and different mentality to help pull me out of that dark place.
  8. Don’t ever think you’re alone.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to others through social media.  There are so many people out there facing the same thing and can relate to your struggles.  Find the support you need to help keep you going. I made the effort to reach out to others and found comfort in hearing their stories and sharing my own.
  9. Remember why you started competing and the passion you have for the sport.  Remember how this sport made you feel better and gave you the confidence you may have been lacking before hand.  I feel like it’s easy to get caught up in the placements and the trophies, but remember that we are all winners.  We all made certain scarifies and we all put in that time to build our ‘ideal’ physique.  If on;y everyone could place, but then it wouldn’t be a competition.  I just hope that you don’t lose sight in what drove you to do this in the first place.  It can truly be a rewarding sport when we take the time to appreciate the time we invested into it.
  10. Most importantly, learn to love yourself.  Even if you don’t have the best glutes, the roundest delts, the perfectly defined six pack, it doesn’t give us an excuse to be hard on ourselves.  Muscle maturity and muscle growth takes time.  The people you see competing in the Olympia have spent years getting to that point.  Nothing happens over night. We need to learn to be patient with ourselves, trust the process, and fall in love with the journey to get there. You are worth it, you do have what it takes, be a stronger and better you.

When you’re coming off a show and looking at the food, remember to think twice and remember how strong you are.  I hope this in some way has helped you.  I do offer contest prep coaching as well as post show reverse diet plans.  I know it can be hard if you try doing it all on your own, so feel free to shoot me an email.  If you have any other questions, I am more than happy to answer them and thank you for taking the time to read this.

2 replies
  1. Brooke Power
    Brooke Power says:

    Oh my gosh this was PERFECT. I am 4 weeks post show and I wish I read this before. I binged and I’m totally regretting it now. I love your YouTube and now I love your blogs! Love the information you share and I learn a lot. Thanks Sam! 😊💜

    Reply

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