Your big day.

Not much of a difference, so depleting wasn't worth it for me.

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So your big day is upon you, and whether it’s an audition, a competition, a photo shoot, or a wedding, your instinct is probably to starve yourself.  Well, your instinct couldn’t be more wrong.  My big day has come and gone (side note: incredible photo shoot, can’t wait to share the pics), so I thought I would share my day of event diet guidelines with you.

The week of your event is an important time, nutrition wise.  What you consume during this week can make or break you.  That’s why it is IMPERATIVE that you follow my next bit of advice:

This week is NOT the time to try something new and it is NOT when you want to make big changes to your diet and exercise.

My first year in grad school, I was an assistant for Dan Benardot, Ph.D., R.D., L.D., FACSM’s general sports nutrition class.  He’s a brilliant man, and has worked with some of the world’s most elite athletes, so his teachings are my religion.  Much of what he said in the class helped me to develop my pre-contest diet.  One thing in particular stuck with me and changed my competition prep for good.  It was something along the lines of, “why would you train and prepare for months to get to where you are and then the week of your event, change everything?”  It was the best thing I had heard pertaining to contest dieting and it made so much sense.  Why, if I’ve been doing one thing to reach a certain point, would I change things once I’ve reached that point?  Duh!!  It was at that moment that I left depleting (both carb and water) in the dust.

Now that you know where I’m coming from, here are my guidelines for day of event eating:

  • Eat breakfast!  Make sure it’s a food that you’re used to.  Don’t skimp on breakfast just because you’re going to be in a tiny outfit or bikini.  That is the worst thing you can do, as it can lead to bloating later on, perhaps while you’re on stage or in front of the camera.
  • Eat foods that are familiar to you.  You should know what foods bloat you so you can avoid them; this is where keeping a log comes in handy.
  • Eat every 2 1/2 to 3 hours!  Skimping on meals could lead to bloating as well.
  • Drink the same amount of water that you drink every other day.  Again, skimping on water and messing around with water intake, can cause bloating.
  • 3 hours before your event, you should have your last pre-event meal or snack, mine is usually a bar of some sort.  Chug some water.  Once you have excreted the liquid (trying not to be graphic), sip a sports drink every 20 minutes to keep your blood sugar regulated and your energy levels up.
  • And as for physical activity, a quick low impact total body workout with resistance bands or body weight would be ideal.  You’ll find fitness competitors doing body weight calisthenics like squats and push ups in their heels right before they walk out on stage, very entertaining.

There you have it, my simple guidelines for day of event eating.  Remember, these are guidelines, everyone’s day of event diet is going to be different.  I am very different from other fitness competitors.  As I said, I base my diet on my experiences and education.  The only way to figure out your perfect diet, is by trial and error.  Every body is different, which means everyone’s diet will be as well.

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