Introduction to Competition Dieting

13 February

Preparing for a figure competition is no small task. You work hard in the gym all week long, and eat a decent meal plan every day. A figure competition diet does not vary much from an off-season figure diet as far as types of foods to eat, but managing the calories and macronutrients can make a big difference in a figure physique.

Most figure competitors allow 12 - 16 weeks to prepare for a figure competition. Seasoned figure competitors can allow 8 – 10 weeks depending on how much they know their body will respond. Protein nutrient intake should remain fairly high throughout the entire diet to maintain muscle mass, while changing the carbohydrate and fat intake amounts will allow you to shed body fat.

To calculate protein intake needs, multiply body weight by 1.5. For example, a 120 pound female figure competitor would need 180g of protein daily. Carbohydrate intake should also be a 1:1 ratio with protein, so 180g of carbohydrates are also required. Fat intake should be minimal and only being supplied in the foods eaten daily. Do not add additional foods with a high fat amount such as peanut butter, avocado or natural oils.

The majority of foods to be eaten are as follows:

Protein should be chicken breast, turkey breast, lean beef, tuna, low-fat fish, egg whites, protein shakes and non-fat dairy products.

Carbohydrates should be brown rice, sweet potatoes, oatmeal and steamed green vegetables.

The basic formula for planning meals is half protein and half carbohydrates. Limit fat intake as much as possible. There will always be a little bit of dietary fat in the foods eaten, but this is unavoidable. Some good examples of figure competition diet meals are oatmeal and egg whites, chicken breast and rice, grilled fish and vegetables, lean beef and green salad.

Meals should be evenly spread throughout the day with a total of five or six meals spaced evenly. The majority of your carbohydrates should be eaten immediately after a weight lifting routine, and some protein. Do not eat many carbohydrates in the evening or even the late afternoon. Prior to bedtime, drink a protein shake, or eat some non-fat cottage cheese or tuna.

Be sure to prepare meals and snacks ahead of time so you always have food ready when you feel hungry.

All foods should be as unprocessed as possible. Do not eat trans fats, saturated fats, artificial sweeteners, or refined or processed carbohydrates.

Do drink as much filtered water as possible, a dehydrated body will not shed body fat as efficiently as a hydrated body. Do not drink soda, flavored water, or sports. They have additional sweeteners that add extra calories and provide no nutritional value.

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