The life of a Figure Competitor requires a significant amount of will power and dedication when it comes to diet. Keeping your eye on the correct bullseye is imperative. Sometimes hungry, fatigued or even bored of the same food choices? Maybe we don’t feel like cooking, want to hang with friends for a celebration, or even a date night.. the list goes on and on.
As a Figure Competitor however, we forego all of those things for weeks and months at a time. Ask any Figure Competitor what her post show treat will be and she’s guaranteed to start smiling and salivating simultaneously! In fact, many of us know what that treat is months out from stage day ( I know I do!)
During season, every competitor knows of the term “cheat meal.” I’ve enjoyed them in the past during my previous show prep seasons, but this time is a different story thanks to the tough love of my nutritionist. The following was his take on cheat meals and instruction(s) to me:
“Cheats: As a rule, during the pre-comp period, the expectation is that you’re at least 95% compliant, if not perfect, and that any deviations are the ones caused by situations like above (travel limitations). That is, you still aim to eat exceptionally well but can’t because of X, Y or Z reason. That said, from weeks 15 to 10, if you happen to have 1-2 “cheat” meals it probably won’t do too much damage. Just be smart about them. Don’t overeat; avoid foods that cause systemic distress (alcohol, fake foods, etc), make sure they don’t displace your veggies, protein and healthy fat, and limit them to within 3 hours post-workout for damage control – especially if starchy or sugary.
From week 10 to show time, you’re in the zone. Food’s only value is nourishment. It serves to help you recover and function and is your #1 tool when it comes to ensuring your body comp success.
In short, margaritas and nachos aren’t cool, no matter how popular they make you with the fat unhealthy kids ;).
Overall we’ll cross each bridge as it comes. If you can earn them via hard work, great compliance and significant body comp change, we may be able to plan a couple in. I’ve found though that if one starts off thinking about cheats vs. compliance, they end up having their eye on the wrong ball. Focus on what you can have and what you can do to help you attain stage success instead of focusing on what you can’t have.”
I couldn’t agree more. After reading this, it set my expectations straight. Cheats just aren’t part of my vocabulary for this show prep. I hope you find the message as strong as I do. This not only applies to physique competitors but any athlete trying to optimize their health and performance needs to eat well. Any weekend warrior trying to shred down for the summer needs to stay dedicated too. When working towards your goal, any goal, cheats may be “fun” but they do exactly what they claim.. they cheat YOU and your hard efforts.
Happy Friday! Skip the tempting weekend cheats!