When you get off that stage are you ready for what awaits you?
As I scrape away the last of the stage tan from last week’s Ontario Physique Association (OPA) Provincials at the Toronto SuperShow, I’m in the final phase of post-competition recovery. I’ve noticed for over a week on Facebook that my fellow physique competitors are either talking about getting back to the gym with more motivation (whether they placed or not), taking some time off to develop their physiques before hitting the stage again in later years, or spent the majority of the week binge-eating all the foods they denied themselves for weeks or months.
Post-competition is a tricky period for many people, if an appropriate plan isn’t in place.
Here are a few strategies for success during the post-competition period.
EVALUATE, THEN MOVE FORWARD
Hopefully it all came together at the right time and you placed as well as you hoped. Even so, there are probably some things that you think that you can improve on. No matter what the placing, I’ve never heard a bodybuilder or physique competitor in any category (Bikini, Figure, Men’s Physique) exclaim, “I’m completely satisfied with everything I did and I’m bringing exactly the same package to the stage at my next show!”
As physique competitors we tend to be demanding of ourselves and examine our bodies and performance critically. Those traits can help us succeed in our chosen sport, but it’s important not to concentrate too heavily on weaknesses but use them as an opportunity to improve.
WHAT NOT TO DO
Resist the urge to send death threats to the judges if the results didn’t go your way. Get feedback and plan to attack your weaknesses. It’s not useful to make snide comments about the men or women who placed higher than you, or to feel bitter towards anyone.
Respect your fellow athletes. They are trying to achieve the same thing that you are – their personal best. They can be your greatest allies during your prep and at future shows. Don’t let your post-competition cheat meal/day/week turn into a month of indulgence and stomach pain that makes you put on 20 pounds of fat. If your contest plan involved months of deprivation it probably isn’t a healthy prep plan anyway and you should get guidance for a more sensible strategy if you decide to compete again. Don’t take a long break from the gym.
You might be feeling depleted and need a few days of physical and mental rest. No problem, but much longer than that and you might lose the momentum you’ve built through months of consistent training. Post-competition is a great time to cut your cardio and re-build your strength with heavier weight sessions.
WHEN’S YOUR NEXT SHOW?
It’s the question that gets most competitors excited, but can cause anxiety for those competitors that had a disappointing result and aren’t sure where to go from here. Hopefully you have a coach who can guide your decision-making process, or at least a supportive partner or close friend that can assist you. Whether you choose to do another competition in a month or two, take a couple of years off to gain muscle mass, or try competing with another organization, the choice is ultimately yours.
Be proud of what you accomplished.
Always strive to improve yourself as an athlete and be a role model to others.