You know those months of discipline, hard work, and dedication you give to a show? All the events with friends and family that you pass up or are not there mentally because you have one thing on your mind, looking your best for a show. You get into such a routine and everything is scheduled right down to the minute. You have everything planned for your days to come and how they’re going to go. Well, what are you going to do when your show is over? When you step off stage with a trophy and go enjoy that meal that you’ve been waiting months for, that’s when the reality of your show being over hits.
Everyone copes with post show blues differently. Is there really a right or wrong way of dealing with this? In my opinion, I think it depends on the person and their life goals. If competing for years to come and you’re serious about the sport, I think post show is easier. For those people who competed just to trying the sport out and doing it to prove to themselves that they can do it, I think it’s a little more difficult.
If you’re competing for the first time and you don’t plan to compete seriously… good luck! This will probably be one of the hardest things to learn how to overcome. If you thought the prep was rough, prepare yourself for the real challenge. My advice is to work with your coach for a couple months post show to get back to a maintainable you. What I mean by “maintainable you” is to get to a point where you have control of your urge to binge on the unnecessary foods, you’re happy with where you are not only physically but mentally. If you’re doing this on your own, please, do some research and mentally prepare yourself.
If you’re going to do your own reverse diet, I recommend you ease back into other foods slowly. Don’t go crazy and think you’re off the hook and can eat whatever you want. You want to make sure you’re being safe because you’re very vulnerable at this point and you can develop health issues if you’re not careful enough. Keep in mind that you’ve done a lot of work that you don’t want to just throw away for the temporary taste of whatever you may fancy.
Reverse dieting isn’t necessarily the most difficult part in my opinion. The mental aspect is what can mess you up the most. You’ve seen yourself at your best and you’re always going to compare yourself to that. There is a happy medium with body fat percentage and everyone has their own number that they’re comfortable at. If you catch yourself yo-yo dieting, please get with a good coach. Things such as eating disorders may start to develop and that’s not something you don’t want to go through.
For the athletes who plan to compete for years to come, the fun begins after a show. That’s the time where you get to grow and make yourself better. You are never truly “off season” you’re always working.