After months of hard work to chisel your body into perfect shape for a physique competition, the dreaded post-competition rebound can be tough to avoid. Try reverse dieting, a strategy to prevent the metabolic disruption, weight gain, and depression that come after restricting your diet for a figure competition.
What Is Reverse Dieting?
Reverse dieting is popular among bodybuilders, athletes, and anyone who has whittled their body into shape for a serious competition. Participating in a figure competition or other bodybuilding event requires a serious diet and exercise regimen. Unfortunately, after you return to your typical schedule (even if that includes a reasonably healthy diet), you are prone to rapid weight gain, fat gain, and depressed mood due to metabolic disruption and inability to maintain competition-level bodybuilding physique on a long-term basis. Reverse dieting is a strategy to prevent this post-bikini competition rebound.
How to Reverse Diet Effectively
A typical diet involves restricting caloric intake as you gradually increase exercise (whether cardio or resistance training). Although you build muscle and significantly lower your body fat percentage, your metabolism also adjusts to become very efficient. Thus, returning to your normal diet and exercise plan once the competition is over causes you to put on weight.
Reverse dieting is exactly what it sounds like — the reverse of a typical diet. Here, you gradually increase your caloric intake while reducing cardio. Begin by slowly adding calories in the form of carbohydrates and fat, aiming to add 2-5% of carbs and fat each week. Meanwhile, slowly reduce your cardio sessions and while maintaining a moderate resistance training regimen. This “slow reverse” will alter your metabolic set point over a period of several months, allowing you to maintain a healthy physique in between competitions. A knowledgeable coach can offer tailored recommendations for your individual training goals.