5 Tips For Cutting Down For A Fitness Competition
Cutting down for a fitness competition starts off much the same as how anyone might want to lose body fat - with diet and training protocols providing a fat burning environment in the body. Of course, there are good and bad ways to go about this and the plans people follow will differ from individual to individual, depending on starting point and diet + training history. However, the really tricky part comes after there has been adequate reduction in body fat and the trainee is experiencing either a fat loss plateau, extreme fatigue or a crashed metabolism.
These symptoms may be somewhat tolerated, and maybe relatively 'normal' when trying to reach very low body fat percentages. The problem is that a lot of the time the trainee still needs to get leaner for the stage but their food intake is already very low and they hardly have any energy to workout intensely. A lot of the time the only answer is to reduce the food further or increase the training, or both. This ends up being extremely stressful and fatiguing for the trainee and can increase the chances of both poor stage condition, and a bad rebound post-competition.
Usually, although not always the case, these dilemmas might have been avoided if the trainee conducted there preparation for the competition with a little more patience and a little more know-how. Sometimes problems cannot be completely avoided and one should expect them to arise, but there is plenty a trainee can do to reduce the chances of these things happening. See below for 5 Tips to help avoid these problems and achieve great stage conditioning.
1. Start Early
Traditionally a competition prep might start 8-12 weeks prior to the competition date. This is actually not very much time and normally applies to the seasoned pros or trainees who are already fairly lean. Much better advice would be to start preparation 16-20 weeks prior to the competition (especially if its the trainee's first time). Of course, it all depends on the start point - but one can use the rough guide of 1lb Fat loss per week being what is realistically achievable naturally. This means if there is 15lbs to lose it should take 15 weeks, but things don't always go to plan so it really does pay to start early just incase a plateau in fat loss occurs. If the trainee starts too late and hits a fat loss plateau then it may result in huge food cuts, which can and will crash the metabolism, leading to further problems with both condition and post competition rebounds of excessive weight gain.