Comp season is here and i want to propose a challenge. But before i do iíd like to make a couple of points.

I am not calling any coaches out, nor am i passing comment on their skill or strategies.
I donít out of hand believe in good or bad coaches, Why? I think the majority of coaches are out there to help their clients and as such do not aim to do harm. However i will say many coaches lack a general understanding of basic physiology. There knowledge generally comes from under the bar(experience), which i believe is of the highest importance; with the footnote that they understand the basic equations of adaptation and energy balance and transfer. So the basic point iím trying to convey is because many coaches have never studied these basics they are unaware of the harm they are unintentionally causing i.e How do you know, if you donít know?

Ok so now i have said that here is the challenge; All coaches with a competing client offer 8 weeks of FREE post comp dieting and monitoring. If you want to be hipster call it a ďreverse dietĒ either way heres why this is good idea;

Physiological reasons

Endocrine restoration Ė Due to the inherent nature of competition dieting competitors need to have low levels of body fat. Whenís energy intake is restricted for periods of time there is decrease across the board in the anabolic and metabolic hormones. Now before anyone says this doesnt happen on THEIR diet; bull**** (unless you donít come in shredded)! There is only a handful of ways to manipulate the energy equation, so short of using pharmaceutical products(basicly the only way to bypass the bodyís defence mechanisms) what ever way you slice it Ė hormones will be suppressed.
Controlling body fat Ė Remember iím talking to the natural athlete; but post comp if you have hit a very low percentage the body is craving energy and in short it desperate and in survival mode. Although the data is not directly stating this next point there is heaps that infer it and make this point valid. If you go from significant calorie deficit (over a period of time) to surplus in a uncontrolled manner Ė you are going to store body fat quite rapidly. The Anabolic rebound bro? The only thing thats anabolic is your fat cells! Thats a bit of an exaggeration to drive the point home; but what im saying fat will increase at a faster rate than lean body mass.

A better way to to tackle this problem is to plan from point A (day of comp) to point B(orginal maintenance/surplus). This is not magic Ė but its better than the other option.

Physiological Reason

Binge Guilt Ė Its so common that once the goal is complete, the diets over, competition done people go crazy. If you have been around this stuff a little while you have all heard stories of post comp binge. epic feasts where that can last for weeks, what most people donít know and i have had many admit this to me is the guilt they feel after they do binge. Mentally this isnít healthy and it could be setting them up for an eating disorder if its not tackled head on.
Itís not healthy to eat 2 ltrs of gelato in your car, cry, feel guilty and tell no one!
Itís not healthy to ask friends ďDo you mind if i bring my scales to the restaurant?Ē,
Itís not health to get back to 10-12% bodyfat (20% female) and say iím fat.
I believe its the job of a coach to understand these issues and be able to openly discuss and work through them with clients.

I could probably go on with at least half a dozen more reasons why this important: But i think the point is clear the jobs only half done up till the show, and as a coach its your job to leave clients in a better place than they were before you meet them. Itís important to remember a very key point; as a prep coach you are dealing with peoples health and well being Ė and if intelligent strategies are not used damage will be caused. Have you heard horror stories of women missing cycles for over twelve months post comp? or 17 year old male who canít get hard months after his show because of his comp diet? Not cool.

What i love about the idea of setting this challenge is it looks after the competitors Ė also its an example of the industry trying to police itself. Because how size of the local physique community if coaches donít take care of their clients people will talk and we will all know who is the real deal and who needs to go back to school.

Before i make my final point iíll say this; The above reasons/example are highly variable to individuals Ė some people will experience the effects more than other, this is primarily due to genetic differences.

Final point: this may not apply to everyone Ė Lets say you have been experimenting/using pharmaceutical products (Each to their own, no judgement) itís important that you understand the correct protocols for discontinuation of these products. Again this can be highly variable Ė Just remember the body is always aiming for balance and if you abruptly stop using certain products(particularly thyroid and fat loss agents), you will run into problems. This is definitely dependant on the individual, dosage and length of use. Go to a Doctor ask what your best plan is and have him/her monitor you until you are within normal range.

Any way i hope you get behind this.

Phil Hesselman Ė

For any that doubt the points i have mentioned i have provided a reference list of my reference to the be research iíve been able to find that discussí these issues;

1.Mšestu, Jarek; Eliakim, Alon; JŁrimše, Jaak; Valter, Ivo; JŁrimše, Toivo.(2010) .ANABOLIC AND CATABOLIC HORMONES AND ENERGY BALANCE OF THE MALE BODYBUILDERS DURING THE PREPARATION FOR THE COMPETITION Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 24.4: 1074-81.

Eric R Helms*, Alan A Aragon and Peter J Fitschen,2014, .Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 11:20

3.Rossow, L(2013), Natural Bodybuilding Competition Preparation and Recovery: A 12-Month Case Study, International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 2013, 8, 582-59