Lots of talk about metabolic crashing during the diet phase of a contest prep. This world is very copycat and although I do agree that it happens, there is one big point that is missing. I am talking about what happens before you decide to go on the plan to compete and decide to start that magic countdown.   

Too many times I see those who need help before they ask for it.  They simply get too fat or make poor choices that hamper their metabolic rate during the so called off season. Then these people think everything will be ok since now they’re going to be eating clean for the next 12 weeks! Well, it does not work that way.  

This is why I hate the word “bulking” and when people use that as an excuse to get out of control and thus their metabolism are in bad shape before they start their contest prep.  Do you really think you need to gain all that body weight in hopes of gaining lean muscle? In short, NO!

Having a healthy metabolism before you enter the fat loss phase is just as important and I personally think is more so! Why not try eating well and productive when you’re not thinking of competing and following a plan before you start the contest prep? 

The benefits of a healthy metabolism are endless and this is why it’s all year and being in control will only lead to a better prep.  You would not need the extra time to get the motor running and would be in a great starting position.   I am not saying you can’t enjoy food and you need hide in a closet during this time but to embrace balance. 

I would suggest keeping yourself at a healthy weight so you can still make strength gains without getting fat. Too many get caught up in the weights increasing in the gym but lose sight that the scale is going up also. Finding the right caloric intake does take time and it is a process but the value is greater than doing extreme things to reach your ideal conditioning.  If this is an issue, I would then suggest using a good two months before you focus on fat loss to get in control. If you competed before, a range of 10 to 15 percent above previous contest weight is plenty. This process of staying leaner will not lead to panic and pushing the wrong buttons.

An easy approach is to start a plan, give it at least 2 weeks, and see how your body responds. You don’t need excessive protein intake and you would use carbs as the main factor for adding calories in and out of the plan. If you are gaining weight too fast, cut back. And, vice versa if you are losing too much weight.  This baseline of consistency is critical for long term fat loss for a contest.

Lastly, bad coaching is a major factor, there are too many that don’t take this into consideration and think that less is more and more is less during contest prep.  These practices lead to silly science, desperation and can be dangerous.  

Imagine not doing hours of cardio and starving yourself to reach a look you desire?  Put the time in now and you will reap the benefits.

Something that I left off in this article was to address those who are obsessed on staying very lean year round. Well, same goes for those people.  You will only hinder strength and muscle gains and your metabolism will be just a difficult to kick start when you need to lose those last few pounds.  There is a fine line of staying lean and going too extreme to keep your abs in.   I good indicator is strength.  You should want to make good strength gains to work on the overall body and to focus on specific body parts.  If your strength gain are lacking, so will your body.  So you need to add the calories slowly back in.

Lastly, by staying too lean your body will adjust and get use to the caloric intake and stall.  So when you do want to drop body fat for a contest, it will be a challenge. Bottom line is, eating enough to gain is the key not maintain