When the tanning slowly fades - 2 weeks after the bikini competition

Hey peeps,

it's now 2 weeks after my first bikini competition. My last article regarding my competition experience was about how my show day went.

Now I want to write about a very important, but often underestimated topic of competing - the time after the competition, when you're coming back to reality. For me, the competition prep itself was very rewarding and kind of addictive, because you get to learn so much about yourself.

After 16 weeks of telling yourself "no! no! no!" to most of your favourite foods, you start to make a mental list of everything you want to eat after the show. Your mind goes from "I need to look damn lean at this specific day" to "What am I even counting calories for?". The truth is, it's the worst you can do to your body, if you start to eat like an animal after your big day.

I've read a lot of articles where competitors started binge eating for weeks, forgot all their hard earned habits over the past months, started skipping workouts and gained a lot of weight back. I didn't want that happen to me. So I prepared myself mentally for 'the hardest part of the prep diet' - as it's often described.

I also heard a lot about competitors who have to deal with mental and psychological effects. This is called the 'post-competition blues'.

How did I do during my first 2 weeks after the comp?

The day right after the competition, I had a really big cheat day. I ate the fruits I couldn't eat for the last months, as well as snickers, ice cream, bread and peanut butter. You get the idea. I enjoyed every bite of it. It was awesome.

As a foodie, I really enjoy good food. However, I always had in mind that I have to go back on track the next day. Day one was definitely the toughest, because you have to make the decision to go back on track and remind yourself that enough is enough. Of course, you have cravings you haven't had before, during the contest prep, because now you're allowed to eat a much wider range of food. The most important thing is to find your balance again.

Basically, this is my main goal for the next weeks. Gradually increasing my calories and cutting cardio back, and finding my balance by enjoying foods I love. In my opinion, that's the best about the diet after the competition - called reverse dieting - you can eat that snickers bar, if you can fit it into your diet and macros.

So far, everything went according to the plan. Yes, there are even now moments where I just want to turn off my mind and eat more than my caloric target. Yes, those moments are now harder than during my prep, but mind over matter. And yes, maybe I gave in 2 or 3 times. However, I always got right back on track the next day.

It's all in your head. Visualise the success you'll have before you reach it.

For most people it is so easy to fall off the wagon. For me it's the other way around. I always tend to be too restricted and harsh with myself. It's very easy for me to overdo it, if I have to follow a certain plan. That's why I have to remind myself: life's mostly about enjoying.

Workout-wise, the last few weeks were amazing! I finally have my energy and focus back and was able to go all-in during my workouts. Plus, I'm finally slowly cutting back on cardio sessions. You can tell, I'm not a huge fan of cardio. Who is anyway!?

Emotionally I'm totally stable. I feel really good and energetic. I plan a lot of upcoming events and even when to compete again. Yes, I will definitely go on stage again. It was too much of an enjoyment for me.

My current weight is 55kg/120lbs, which is around 1.5kg/3lbs more than my stage weight. I'm totally fine with that, because most of it comes from water retention, since I introduced carbs back into my diet (5 weeks before my competition, I started a ketogenic diet, so I retained very little water). My form is still very decent.

Here are the stats for the time of my reverse dieting protocol.

BTW, I just published an article about how to successfully reverse diet, just so you know what I'm talking about and what's important while reverse dieting.

Diet consists of

  • 1600 kcal
  • 130g protein
  • about 180g carbs
  • 40g fat
Typical meal plan

As mentioned I'm doing a reverse diet. Meaning, gradually increasing my calories week after week for 100-200 extra calories per day. The main goal here is to recover my metabolism after the long period of restricted dieting.

This is just a random picked meal plan from our app Slickcoach (Sign up, if you want to get informed when the beta-version is available, which will be very soon). In prep, I was eating the same meals every day. Now I'm switching more often to enjoy more foods.

Meal #1 (Pre workout): 20 kcal

  • 5g BCAAs; 20 kcal

Meal #2 (Post workout): 501 kcal

  • 25g whey protein powder; 100 kcal
  • 50g oats; 186 kcal
  • 50g Alpro soy yogurt; 40k cal
  • 250g mango; 175 kcal

Meal #3 (12pm): 415 kcal

  • 350g silken tofu; 216 kcal
  • 25g whey protein powder; 100 kcal
  • 200g mixed frozen berries; 78 kcal
  • 50g frozen blueberries; 20 kcal

Meal #4 (3pm): 342 kcal

  • 25g whey protein powder; 100 kcal
  • 5g raw cocoa; 20 kcal
  • 50g frozen blueberries; 20 kcal
  • 1 whole egg; 83 kcal
  • 2 egg whites; 34 kcal
  • 90g banana; 85 kcal

Meal #5 (6pm): 330 kcal

  • 200g firm tofu; 224 kcal
  • 20g fresh leaf spinach; 6 kcal
  • 60g tomatoes; 10 kcal
  • 2 slices of Malted Danish Bread; 90 kcal
Training split

Now that I have much more energy in the gym, I don't need additional rest days. I cut my cardio sessions down to 20 minutes. I focus more on heavy compound exercises at the moment and push those weights hard in every session.

  • Monday: 45 min Active recovery/LISS cardio
  • Tuesday: Back (high volume)+ 20 min cardio
  • Wednesday: Legs (high volume)
  • Thursday: Arms/Shoulders (high volume) + 20 min cardio
  • Friday: Back (high volume) + 20 min cardio
  • Saturday: Legs (high volume)
  • Sunday: Arms/Shoulders (high volume) + 20 min cardio
Supplementation

Supplementation slightly changed, as I now have the ability to get most of my micros through my diet.

  • 5g BCAAs in the morning before training, if I train fasted
  • Vitamin C (once a day)
  • Vitamin D3 (5000 IUs per day)
  • Whey protein powder as needed

Follow my days back to "normality" on Instagram and Twitter. Thanks!

See you next time.

Until then, train hard and eat right!

Cheers, Sarah

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