This is my first article for the site and I am certainly no expert or have any formal education with regards to nutrition, however I wanted to write about this topic since I just finished my contest season and currently just starting my offseason, so I wanted to share my observations and opinion on how best to do this. Perhaps you have a different take or perspective and if so I encourage you to comment so that we can all discuss and learn how to become better bodybuilders.
Reverse dieting is the big buzz word of late when it comes to transitioning from contest prep to offseason. First let me say I am a big believer in not going hog-wild and gaining a bunch of weight after contest season. That said I think some people are taking reverse dieting to extremes and I honestly don’t see the point? Instead I think people should focus on post contest recovery.
Post contest recovery involves focusing on getting hormone levels back into normal ranges and is the primary goal. Along with this you want to get yourself back to feeling “normal” from a physiological and psychological perspective. Yes you also want to increase your metabolic rate but that should be a secondary goal not the primary. Seeing people who are still at stage weight two months post show and eating huge amounts of food is great but they still have suppressed hormone levels due to still being at 3-4% body fat. It’s like we went from one extreme of bulking and putting on huge amounts of weight in a short period of time to now not putting on any weight months later.
Body fat levels need to go from 3-4% back up to 6-8% in order to start the process of restoring hormone levels. This will need to happen no matter what, so my question is why delay it? To me it makes more sense to add 8 to 10 lbs of body weight in 2 to 4 weeks’ time which should see you hit the 6-8% body fat range and the bottom end of your body’s set point. Once there focus on maintaining weight while your metabolism recovers, this is the time to reverse diet until you’re eating the same or even more calories than you did prior to starting your prep. By doing this you allow your body to return to a more optimal hormonal balance while recovering your metabolism at the same time. This to me is a much more moderate and practical approach to take post contest season.