September 16, 2016

How to Deal with Body Image Rebound after a Competition

If you have ever done a fitness competition, or are thinking about doing a fitness competition, this is something that you should know about.

The competition body image rebound.

What is it?

Well, for me it was a weird feeling of my perception of my body, and the reality of my body not matching at all.

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Why does it happen?

For a show you get super lean over a extended period of time. It happens pretty slowly over a period of weeks. Getting show lean requires a body fat percentage that is way below even a athletic range. It’s is a type of lean that is really an unrealistic long term goal. And honestly it really would not be healthy to stay that lean for long. But it is part of the process. And if you are doing a show, you need to be prepared.

After seeing your body tight toned and super lean, you then have to watch your body change as you put a normal amount of body fat back on to get back to “healthy” levels.

It can be very strange seeing your body change so quickly, and mentally it takes a bit to adjust back to the “old” you.

 

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What are some things that you can do to combat this?

1. Make sure you have an after plan
This is absolutely the most important thing. Having a reverse diet and a reverse workout program is very important to being able to rebound without gaining too much weight. It also helps your mental preparedness for the “after” show effects.

2. Be emotionally gentle with yourself
Listen, it is totally normal to go through this period where you feel a bit “icky.” Just know that it will most likely happen and try to have good positive self talk through those moments.

3. Allow yourself to have some “off” time
Taking some time off of the gym after an intensive training period is absolutely ok. In fact, I think it is just mentally a good thing to do. Whether that means not going into the gym all together, or changing your activities. Whatever sounds good to you, do it, and be ok with it.

4. Change your routine
You can go to the gym for less time or at a different time, workout in different classes, or be active outdoors. Changing the pace and location of your workouts can be beneficial. And being a little more flexible will give you the break you need and get you back to a normal baseline with your daily fitness activities.

5. Be mentally prepared for a period of time where you will feel unsure.
Just go in knowing it will probably happen. You will have bad days afterwards. You will feel great one minute, and “fluffy” the next. I mean, it might not happen to you, if you are lucky. But it probably will. I always feel like being prepared helps me get through those rough patches. Just take deep breathes through those “icky” days, and know eventually you will get back to normal again.

6. Give yourself the foods you want without feeling guilty.
After strict dieting for a number of weeks, you need to eat what you want. And you should do it guilt free…period. Food is not a punishment, and having guilt about eating takes “healthy” to a place where it should not go. Just remember, you need get those cravings out of your system and get back to normal. It’s ok. And it’s healthy. So allow yourself to get back to a “normal” healthy and don’t feel guilty once.
Prepping for a show is a difficult on your body, but sometimes the after show rebound can be one of the hardest mental barriers to overcome. Hopefully, knowing some of these strategies going in will help make the rebound the easiest it can be.

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