Meal Planning and Dieting - Fitness Figure Competitions
Dieting does not mean tons of restriction! Regardless as to whether
or not you are leaning out, diet plays a crucial roll in your end
result. A very high percentage of achieving an amazing physique
is your diet. What you take in will be the difference between a
figure physique and a fit body. You can eat healthy, exercise and
get a nice fit toned look but that will not be enough for a figure
contest. Unless you are starting with a body type which is almost
contest ready, muscularly mature and lean, then you will have the
general needs most women have which include body shaping, symmetry
and single digit body fat percentage.
Diet will affect how much muscle you can put on in combo with the
training but if you train hard with a poor diet, you will not see
the same optimal outcome. You need to plan out a rough estimate
of your diet plan taking you from off season to stage ready. Diet
for the off season will focus on muscle building then going into
pre season which looks at transition into conditioning. On season
begins the leaning process.
These cycles are part of your year out plan. If you want to get
into more detail you can calculate your calorie requirements throughout
each cycle including your protein, carb and fat breakdown which
will cater to your personal needs. These figures need to be relative
to you and you alone, requiring some calculations and researching
of the formulas. Counting calories and grams of fat is not absolutely
necessary and I did not do this for over 10 years yet still achieved
all of my goals and pro cards so dont do it if it deters you,
only if it motivates you. I now find I like keeping track of more
info. Average off season calorie intake is 2,000 calories per day
but this can vary depending on your height, weight, measurements
and body type. 1,200 to 1,800 calories per day is the lower end
for lean down consumption making sure every one of those calories
are from clean foods found in the grocery list included in this
For diet, I recommend using an online program that has a food database
where you can track your calories and macronutrients. Find one with
a great database and is very user friendly. The figures should be
exactly what you need and very valuable. It should break down all
the macronutrients for you and allow you to add food products and
their nutrients making it easy to see exactly what it going on and
eliminating any guesswork. Spend a small period of time each night
to log your data and it will provide you with incredible information
A pre-written diet plan is also a great way to be accountable.
You do minor adjustments as you go along. I find it easier to log
afterwards personally, rather than having it pre-done but most of
the competitors I train rely on a pre-done plan.
Protein needs can vary but you want to be at 1-2 gram per pound
per day using the higher end for off season and the lower end for
Carb manipulation has many variations. They dont all work
on everyone so you need to find your nitch through trial and error.
Most women do well on moderate carbs during pre season as long as
they are clean carbs such as those included in the grocery list.
Some like to up and down the carbs a few months out then drop them
to nothing by the week out of the contest and slowly increase them
during your last week. I have included a sample diet with general
carb portioning but for lean down this diet would most likely be
Fat is essential in all cycles and EFAs are the way to go! I personally
like Udos Oil, and not for cooking since it will break down to quickly.
Omega fats will help with your fat loss and muscle gains as well
as injury prevention.
Face it, most of your choices will be simple, repetitive, boring
and lacking taste but your body functions great, digestive functions
become optimal and there is a cleansing effect to some degree. Creativity
is an asset to your diet!
Most sauces are not good for these dieting purposes so you should
rely on grainy mustards, citrus fruits, vinegars, and non sodium
spices to flavor your foods. Even foods which say "diet"
and "low carb" are all gimmicks, so stick with clean whole
foods. Leave the ketchup, dressing and mayo off and rely on self
made dressings or sauces.
Dieting Foods For Fat Loss
During the lean down process you will hear all sorts of things which
work or dont work for others but there will always be those
who do things different. Nothing is right or wrong, just relative
to the person. In general, competitors will omit dairy, fruit, processed
foods and most grainy carbs excluding oats, brown rice, quinoa and
a select few others. Wheat is almost always omitted. Those who omit
these do so because it causes them to swell or bloat taking away
from tone and making them look "soft" instead. In many
cases, these omissions begin up to 6 months out depending on your
body at that time and how much work you have to put in. The degree
of omission or taper is individual again!
Plan to eat every 2-3 hours and know where you can get food when
on the run or have a back up cooler with items ready to go when
you have to eat in a hurry or on the road. Pre-cooked chicken, tuna
cans with an opener, broccoli and the like would all be great considerations
for your cooler. A shaker cup and protein powder is the minimal
amount of items to carry around. This way you can get water and
have a protein drink if all else fails. You really do not want to
EVER miss a meal, since this goes against you! Fitness is best achieved
when the body is at a positive nitrogen balance and having protein
every 2-3 hours promotes this while avoiding catabolism (muscle
breakdown). Plain, raw almonds are a great item to keep on hand
for munching but just make sure you carry 1/2 cup or less so that
you do not have too many to finish off or then you may end up eating
too much fat, good fat or not! Overdoing anything is not good but
balance is hard with so much restriction! The higher protein intake
also helps with limiting hunger and cravings.
Water is very important and you want to take in no less than 2
liters per day especially if you take supplements. I find that I
tend to only drink water during contest prep because this way I
can try for 2-3 liters per day and I'm not full from other non-nutrient
dense liquids which may contain caffeine which strips you of nutrients,
sugars and bad sweeteners. Filling up on coffee or pop is useless,
although it is a weakness of mine and many of you! Some like to
cut water for lean down. I do not suggest you cut to low if you
do it at all but starting with a plan ahead of time will most likely
mean you do not need to resort to any drastic water cutting and
may even be able to keep up with minimal amounts of fruit up to
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