Most competitors look at the week or two following a contest as a time to cheat and eat junk foods. This is actually wasting a very unique period of time where the body can be an anabolic machine. Muscle gains may still occur even with a higher fat diet, however, a higher level of fat tissue is also very likely to form. After dieting for 10-12 weeks, the body is extremely insulin sensitive., and insulin is the most anabolic hormone. So this is a time to keep good carbohydrate sources high, protein high and fat low in order to turn those workouts into muscle. Not to mention the strength levels are starting to sky rocket due to the increase in overall caloric intake.
The reasons of extreme pumps in the gym is a result of many different variables including muscle restoration due to water restoration and super compensation glycogen storage. However these factors causing the huge pumps during workouts following a competition brings in more nutrients into the muscle tissue which in return could result in solid muscle gains. Considering the huge pumps in the gym, the timing of taking in your protein shakes and other supplementation becomes even more crucial for optimum muscle recovery.
This window of opportunity is estimated as the 45 minutes following a training session. The unique qualities of this phase include the body’s need to replenish itself and its improved ability do to so. Ivy and Portman summarize the characteristics and goals of this phase as a shift from catabolism to anabolism. Enhancement of muscle blood flow, replenishment of glycogen stores repair and growth of tissue and reduction of muscle damage and bolstering of the immune system. Immediately following exercises, a myriad of factors create an environment for glycogen repletion and muscle tissue growth and repair. Thus anabolic hormonal increase.
As far as training intensity goes, at this stage it is recommended to use high volume training techniques. Using drop sets, super sets, MBF (maximum blood flow training system), and FST-7 style training technique etc… These techniques are mostly performed with moderate to moderately heavy weight and allow for a lot of blood to be pushed into the muscles, which help prevent injury. This makes the few weeks followed by a contest safer for the athlete since the body fat levels are still considerably low and the body is more susceptible to injury especially with the body being stronger due to caloric increase.
Post contest or post dieting (for those who do not compete)
- Increase good carb sources
- Avoid junk foods
- Keep fats fairly low
- Keep Protein High
- Make sure to immediately drink post workout shakes and take supplementation
- Use high volume lifting techniques
- Do not lift too heavy and remember your body fat levels are still low making injury more likely to occur
- Many research studies have been done on having more blood in muscles lets muscles use nutrients more efficiently so take advantage of this window!
During this phase add the most muscle tissue possible along with the
minimum fat tissue possible.
References: Ivy, J. & Portman, R. Nutrient Timing: The Future of Sports Nutrition. North Bergen, NJ: Basic Health Publications Inc.
Written by: MELIH F. COLOGLU – Team Grenande Sponsored Athlete – owner of www.covermodelphysique.com