Contest Prep Diet and Supplement Schedule by Kristi Wills
If you're preparing for a fitness show, your diet and supplement schedule need to be set at least 12-14 weeks before the show. People vary depending on their body types, weight that needs to be lost, muscle that needs to be gained, and/or their metabolism. Personally, I begin my contest diet about 13 weeks out from my show, so that about two weeks before my show, my physique is where it needs to be. You want to be able to take the last few weeks to rest your body, heal any bruises, and focus on your fitness routine. There is nothing more stressful than trying to lose those few extra pounds just days before your show. Therefore, once I am just about 13 weeks out from my show, I mentally have to prepare myself for the next 3 months.
Because I love to eat, I make sure to have a last fun filled weekend of delicious food. I know that the next time I will be able to eat like that will be when my show is over and I am celebrating all of my hard work with my family and friends. However, until about 6 weeks before my show, I do allow myself one cheat meal a week. This one cheat meal helps me to stay on track with my diet and gives me something to look forward to each week. It also prevents me from going on a binge and still allows me a night to socialize with family and friends. Once I start my contest diet, I make sure to clean out all of my cupboards and refrigerator to ensure that there's nothing around to tempt me.
I am very lucky to have family and friends who support my fitness career and the dieting that comes along with it. They think nothing of me bringing my own food to functions, especially during the holidays, and know pretty much which restaurants are best for providing the food I need. It’s very important that your significant other supports what you do, because not only do you constantly have to eat the same food, but as your diet changes as you get closer to your show, so does your mood!
During my off-season diet, I have about 1,660 calories, with about 40% being protein, 47% being carbs, and 13% being fats. This diet allows me to have plenty of energy to be able to work on the areas that need improvement. I will focus on my weight training and will only do 3-4 days of cardio for about 20-30 mins. It is also important to not stay lean year round, so you have to put some fat back on! This is why I have about a 10lb. difference in weight between my off-season and when I'm on stage. During my competition diet, I have about 1,630 calories, with about 44% being protein, 41% being carbs, and 15% being fats. As I get closer to my show, I will start to cut back more on my carbs and increase my protein. Lowering my carbs will help me to become lean and the increase in protein will help me to maintain my muscle mass. I will also have some healthy fats like all-natural peanut butter and almonds to give me energy, as I lose some of my carbs. I highly suggest that if you are really serious about competing and making it to the national level that you hire a nutritionist. I work with Kim Oddo from Body By O and we e-mail each other weekly, have phone consults, and I send him pictures on a regular basis. He is then able to adjust my diet and/or workout schedule right up to the time I step on stage!
The following is an example of my contest diet/supplement schedule for about 12 weeks out from a show:
Breakfast: 3 egg whites, ¼ cup of oatmeal,
and 1 table spoon of all natural peanut butter
AM Snack: ¼ cup of oatmeal with a scoop
of low carb protein
Lunch: 1 cup of veggies, 4 oz of lean
protein, and ¾ cup of rice
PM Snack: 4 oz of lean protein and
a 5 oz baked potato without the skin
Dinner: 4 oz of lean protein, ½ cup
of kidney beans, medium salad, 4 tablespoons of
Evening Snack: 1 scoop of low carb protein and 1 cup of strawberries
I take a multi-vitamin daily for “whole body protection,” digestive enzymes to support digestion and alleviate gas and bloating, L-Glutamine for essential protein synthesis and optimal recovery and vitamin C and EFA’s which may be depleted in my diet. In addition, I have 1 serving of BCAA's before and after I workout and before I go to bed on only the days I do weight training. Branch chain amino acids maximize recovery following intense training while reducing unwanted body fat and increase lean muscle mass and strength. Also, the BCAA's and low carb protein I use are aspartame and sugar free. All the products I use are MRM products and have been highly recommended by my nutritionist. They can be purchased on bodybuilding.com.
Preparing the food you need to eat takes a lot of time! I highly suggest you do your cooking on the weekend for the entire week and that you pack your meals for each day. This way you will already have everything measured out and you can spend the week focusing on your workouts and fitness routine and making sure you get to bed early. The best time for muscle recovery and growth is while you're sleeping, so you want to aim for 8 hours a night. For those who are new to dieting, it may take a while for your body to adjust and it might still be craving unhealthy foods. However, after a while, you will be surprised how your lifestyle will change and you will actually prefer the healthy foods. Not only will you look better, but you'll feel a lot better. Besides, that ice cream sundae is a whole lot sweeter when you can only have it every so often!