One of the most commonly followed, time honoured traditions is the post-contest assault on food commonly known as “The Binge”.
The rubber band of huger and deprivation that has been stretched to its limit by many competitors for three months or more is released, snapping back in an obscene level of fury in the direction of piles of previously forbidden food.
It’s not unheard of for competitors to gain over 20 pounds in a matter of a few days as their faulty leptin signals take time to recalibrate.
At least, that’s what happened to me.
After the Arnold’s my first order of priority was to hit the Expo and sample EVERYTHING I could find in the way of sample protein bars, shakes and everything eatable inbetween. I wasn’t craving donuts or pizza – just protein shakes and bars.
When I returned home it was the same for the next few days. I didn’t go crazy beyond a pack of sushi or two. But I started making a dent in the $1000 worth of Quest Bars I had accumulated in the months proceeding the comp. For the most part, I craved only healthy food; albeit healthy-sized quantities of it.
My calories for the first 3-4 days were between 3-3500 – Most calories were consumed at breakfast (2000 calories for breakfast), and I maintained my normal 12 hour fast/eat pattern to avoid binging around the clock.
In 3 days, I packed on 10kg (22lbs) and thought to myself, “Holy fuck, I haven’t even hit the good stuff yet.”
To top it off I was feeling like absolute dogshit on the rebound. I would go into food comas/stupors. I couldn’t think. The heartburn and reflux were agonising. I’d throw up multiple times a day and felt really sluggish. The headaches were obscene. My heartbeat and blood pressure after eating made me feel like I was due a heart-attack. Not good.
The last 5 days I’ve regained sanity and discipline through intelligent temperance. I’ve lowered the calories to 2000 which still allows me some dietary leeway compared to the poverty macros I was playing with the previous weeks and I feel incredible.
I have enough carbs coming in (between 150g-200) to induce a feel good wave of serotonin and dopamine that makes me love everyone and everything I come in contact with. I’ve usually done 3 good deeds for people by 9am.
My sleep is deep and restful. I’m still getting up every morning at 5 and asleep by 11, but I’m trying to sneak in a nap everyday where I can.
I’ve immediately re-established my pre-contest routine of twice daily workouts, but they’re full-body light HST workouts, using tonnes of variety and 15 rep sets. The pump and post-workout high is amazing.
I could probably count on one hand how many cardio sessions I did pre-contest, but this week I’ve been doing two, 25 min sessions per day and feeling like a god afterwards.
“Feeling good is good enough”, I always say. But I also see no reason to take a hatchet to the artwork I’ve created by blowing things out with dirty binges on shit foods I don’t even feel like. All I’m craving is “clean food” and I’ve been having the time of my life experimenting in the kitchen with a bunch of recipes using prodigious amounts of vegetables.
The last few days I’ve been smashing tonnes of cauliflower chicken tacos, spinach pancakes, slow cooker turkey meatballs, broccoli soup, protein pancakes, blueberry protein powder cheesecake and some restaurant chicken and rice here and there.
When and If I feel like some junk, you bet I’m gonna have it.
But right now I feel like a million bucks.
And with the (now) extra 8kg (17.6lbs) I’ve added to my frame, I think I kinda look like it too…..