It’s three weeks after the best competition of your life. For months, you dedicated yourself to a workout routine that would add amazing mass and shape to your muscles. You tracked every single piece of food you put in your mouth to make sure you stayed within your calorie limit and proper macros. You went to bed early and avoided alcohol. You even gave up that bachelor party in Vegas because you knew it would set your training back. And all the hard work paid off with your best competition finish yet.
So why do you feel like total crap now?
In the three weeks since the show, you’ve been “celebrating” with nights out, comfort food, and plenty of booze. In addition to all the hangovers, you’ve also gained 15 pounds of sloppy weight.
I see this scenario happen all too often after a show, but it doesn’t have to be this way. You can dominate the three weeks following a show and set yourself up for an even better show next time. It just takes the right mindset.
I always use the same routine for my post-competition , and it’s always delivered. Getting your mind in the right place sets the foundation for success after a show. Here are 3 mindset hacks to start you off on the right foot.
It’s Ok to Gain Weight…Just Not Too Fast
When you’re in preparation for a competition, you train your body to function on minimal calories. That results in skin that looks tight around your muscles and gives you that “shrink wrap effect.” Nice.
When the competition is over, it’s natural, and even healthy, to gain some weight. Your body needs to bounce back from its somewhat depleted state and get back to your normal “walking around” weight. If you let your mindset veer too far into undisciplined territory, however, you’ll find it impossible to get your body right for the next show.
In the weeks following a competition, I like to train my mind with the thought of eating to grow. Because your muscle glycogen is replenished rapidly as you eat more, it creates ideal conditions to build muscle. You want to eat the same foods you were eating during prep, just more of them. If your mind is not focused on eating the right foods, you’ll be like the guy I talked about earlier who gains sloppy weight. Stay focused, and you’ll gain good weight slowly.
Let Loose for a Day or Two
I know I just said to stay focused on your diet after a show, but that doesn’t include the first day or two after. The Roman poet Ovid said, “What is without periods of rest will not endure.” This is so, so true.
Have you ever tried to focus your eyes on something for a long time? After a few seconds, your eyes naturally lose focus. Your mind works the same way. You have been laser-focused in training, but your mind can’t sustain that level of focus indefinitely.
I like to take 1-2 days after a competition to eat the foods my body has been craving. This is a period of rest for my body and mind. I don’t focus on calorie intake or macros. I just eat what I want. This is a great time to reflect on all the hard work you did to prepare for your last show and refocus your mind on the upcoming task of getting ready for the next one.
A Strong Body is a Healthy Body
This mindset hack has saved me a lot of pain and energy. It’s simply this: have the discipline to rein yourself in when you’re working out after a show.
Once you start eating more calories, your muscles will feel really strong. Don’t let that feeling bait you into going super heavy with your workouts right out of the gate. You need to build up slowly after a competition to prevent injury. This can be difficult if you’re feeling fantastic, but the discipline will help you stay healthy and train more consistently.
Preparing for a show is all about mindset, and the same goes for recovery. To rebound the right way, you need a detailed plan of attack. I created a comprehensive guide called which covers the right way to think about the weeks after a show, as well as meal plans and workout routines. If you’re serious about dominating the next show, check it out.