5 Steps to Transition From Contest Prep to Off Season

You worked your butt off dieting down, doing cardio daily, lifting like there’s no tomorrow, and looked phenomenal on stage. After the high of competing, now what?!

Step 1: Contact the Judges

Whether you won the overall or placed dead last, there is always room for improvement. I found it very useful to contact the judges and ask exactly how I can come in better and what it’ll take to win.

Make sure you send in photos of yourself in different poses. Email the promoter of the show and ask him/her for feedback and to forward your email to every judge. You can find the promoters email address on the NPC News Online website.

Sample email:
John,
I had such a wonderful time competing at your show last weekend. I wanted to know if I could please get feedback from you and all the judges on what I can improve on (conditioning, symmetry, posing, hair, makeup, etc.) I am attaching a few photos of myself. Thank you very much, looking forward to hearing from you and competing at your next show.

Regards,
Sumeet Sahni
Open Bikini Class C (4th place, #254)

Step 2: Set Your New Goal(s)

Now, using the information you’ve gathered from judges and what look you noticed they were leaning towards at the competition, you can make a goal.

After my first show, my goal was to put mass everywhere and work on my posing. After my last show, my goal is to put mass on my calves, not to put anymore mass on my upper body, only pose with legs crossed, and to make sure I don’t come in overly conditioned (too lean).

Step 3: Determine Your New Diet

It’s really important to make a transition diet plan for post competition BEFORE you even compete. The last thing you want is to be bingeing and have no structured diet after your show.

I gave myself a week post show to have a few cheat meals and then got on my off season diet.

Your off season diet should be based on what your new goal(s) are.

Step 4: Plan Out Your Cardio

What will your offseason cardio look like? What will the frequency, duration, and intensity be?

Personally, I like to do about 3-4 sessions of HIIT a week.

Step 5: Prepare For Your Physique To Change

This is the hardest thing for me to come to terms with. After having ripped, veiny abs for 5 months, they have disappeared! Be mentally prepared for your body to change fairly quickly post show.

My weight usually goes up 3-5 pounds within the first month of off season and from then on I usually slowly gain weight, if my goal is to put on muscle, until it’s time to diet down for a show. If my body fat gets too high, I go on a mini diet during my offseason.

Making a post show plan for yourself will make your transition into the offseason mentally, physically, and emotionally easier! Make sure your off season plan is well thought out and productive.
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Are You Getting In Your Own Way?!

I’ve been Instagram free for the past week and I’ve never felt so relaxed! As competition time is getting closer and closer (less than 3 weeks out!) it was getting easier and easier for me to get wrapped up in the way I looked compared to others on Instagram. I’d wake up in the morning, open the app, see a female with a beautiful physique, and start bashing myself for not looking like that. First thing in the morning. Definitely not healthy.

So then I just decided. NO INSTAGRAM FOR A WEEK.

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Why?

– It was causing me to stress.
– I was channeling my energy to the wrong things.
– I was forgetting that this is MY journey. I don’t want to look like anyone else. I want to be the best version of ME!
– Instead of being inspired by others, I was comparing myself to others.
– I was becoming unhappy.
– I reminded myself that I only need validation from myself, not Instagram followers.
– I didn’t need to see what other people are eating, wearing, or doing nor do others need to see that from me. I just need to focus on myself and follow my plan.
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What I’ve realized thus far:
– I was getting in my own way of progressing. WTF.
– I have so much more time and energy in my day!
– I’m more present in the moment.
– All of a sudden, I’ve lost a few pounds, I’m more relaxed, and focused (I sware it’s because I’m stressing less and releasing less cortisol)
– I’m putting all my energy into my diet, lifts, cardio, posing practice, and resting.
– I have more time to blog and share my journey.
– I planned to go 1 week without Instagram, but my new goal is to be Instagram free till post competition!!!

What are you doing that is getting in your own way? It could be anything from negative self talk to waiting till the last minute to prep your food. It’s important to constantly be evaluating what is and isn’t working for you and your journey. Then just decide to stop doing that. It’s really as easy as that.

Just decide.

Keep focused, stay stress free, and take it one day at a time!

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Why Stress If Stress Makes You Fat?!

As we get closer to out next competition (7.5 weeks out!!!) it’s really important to make sure that everything is dialed in, including stress. It’s so easy to get overwhelemed by thoughts like, “I’m not lean enough! Competitors on Instagram look better than me!” “Am I where I should be at this time?” “Am I doing everything I can be doing?” “I need to make time to practice posing. Oh wait, I don’t really know how to pose!” “Is there a better way to do this?” “Costs of everything are adding up!” You get the idea. Stress is high and food is low.

Even if you aren’t a competitor, you still deal with multiple stressors throughout the day. Work, money, relationships, kids, family, deadlines, goals. EVERYTHING.

Stress triggers the hormone, Cortisol, to be released which causes us to get hungry and crave quick digesting carbs (sugar). Elevated levels of cortisol, as you can imagine, will cause weight gain and/or hinder you from losing fat.

So, take a deep breath and remember to relax. It’s not worth getting fat over!

Sumeet
Follow me on Instagram: SKSAHNI

Where Are All My Girls At?

I walk into the gym, set my bag down, warm up, slip my gloves on, and I get to work. I always try to push myself HARD and usually wind up grunting louder than the average guy does. Between sets I may look around to check out who else is in the weight room, but to my disappointment, all I ever see are guys. I often stick out being the only female, but day in and day out, I can’t let that stop me from going hard with all the boys.

This attention was something that used to intimidate me to the point where I’d feel much more comfortable on the treadmill or in a yoga class. I didn’t want guys staring at me when I didn’t really know what I was doing! I can’t concentrate on my workout with eyes on me! They would all judge me! And of course there was this thought of, EW! Weights?! I don’t want to get all buff and bulky! Talking to more girls about lifting made it clear that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way.  Looking back, I was another victim of the widespread misconception that females who weight train are going to end up overly muscular and looking like female bodybuilders.  I didn’t know it then, but my views on weight training would change drastically as I experienced first hand the ACTAUL affects it can have.

Now I have no shame in saying I am addicted to lifting. There are so many reasons why I strength train. Maybe if I tell you a few reasons I love it, you will keep an open mind to weight training as a woman (or man, to the guys reading this). Here are a few:

  • I’ve seen the most changes in my body with strength training. I’ve lost fat, toned up, have better posture, and now have the most feminine curves I’ve ever had (who doesn’t want this?!). These are all things I could never achieve with cardio, yoga, pilates, spinning, kickboxing, etc.
  • It feels good moving heavy weights. The endorphins released make you feel incredible.
  • Don’t worry about not knowing what you are doing at first, you will learn over time.  Besides, NO ONE knows what they are doing when they are starting to learn something that is challenging.
  • I don’t care what US weekly says, Jessica Alba, and Beyonce did not build those bodies by “hiking and riding their bike twice a week.”  They built their bodies with strict nutrition and hard work in the weight room! Anyone who tells you different isn’t giving them credit for the very hard work and dedication they put in.
  • A girl who knows what she is doing in the weight room can be damn sexy.
  • I am able to see my strength increase, which is the most rewarding feeling!
  • It has helped me build my self confidence.
  • You get in tune with you body. You learn how to push yourself a little more every single day, but also learn when it’s a good time to back off a little.
  • Every workout is a mental, physical, and emotional challenge. How cool is that?
  • I’ve seen such an increase in my mind/body connection.
  • Training is THE best stress reliever.
  • I saw a dramatic increase in my dedication, commitment, and drive. Not only just with training, but also in how to apply those traits to other important things in my life.
  • Every time I’m in the gym now I get approached at least once by someone encouraging me, asking me what I’m training for, or asking for advice. That feels so good.
  • It’s humbling. I know that I’ve made progress, but I also know there is a long, long way to go.
  • There are still times I feel those judging eyes on me and have a moments where I feel self-conscious. Then I stop and remember I belong here too, and I use those judgments as fuel to push myself to be that much better
  • The satisfaction of being able to deadlift more than the guy next to you is priceless.

It’s funny to think that what I used to be afraid of now encourages me. I am no longer afraid of being stared at or approached. If I don’t know how to use a machine or do an exercise, I watch youtube videos or just ask someone at the gym. I no longer fear that working hard in the weight room will make me bulky or masculine, because the truth is, I know it will only make me, leaner, sexier, and more feminine.

-Sumeet

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