How do I use Flexible Dieting to Prep for a Competition?

Wow!  I can’t believe I have been utilizing the flexible dieting (FD) approach for over two years now!  It has made such a HUGE difference in my life and has changed my perspective on my relationship with food two-fold!  Not only was the FD lifestyle difficult at first for me, but it has taught me to learn how to truly be “flexible” with my food choices – if I wanted ice cream every night, then I planned ahead earlier in the day to make sure I had more carbohydrates left over in order to eat that ice cream!  It truly is a NO FOODS OFF LIMITS approach – it just takes some time, patience, and planning ahead in order to achieve your long-term goals!  Recently, I have been doing some self-experimentation on using the FD approach during certain training periods – so keep on scrolling below to read all about it!

JANUARY 2017 CROSSFIT COMPETITION:

To prep for the first of the year, I was utilizing the FD approach in an “every-other” week concept – meaning I would have one week of structured FD and the other week I would base it off of how I was feeling.  I started this about three months prior to my CrossFit competition date.  After going through this, I felt like I was too flexible with my nutrition – meaning I would get off the train a little too early and felt less in control of my food intake levels – the accountability wasn’t there for me.  When my training came around, I didn’t feel as efficient as I would have liked.  Although the competition in January 2017 was a success (placing 2nd in Team SuperFit Charlotte 2-person team), I was not satisfied with my performance.  I knew that my nutrition was not where I wanted it to be – my pull ups were slow and sluggish, my snatches weren’t as efficient, etc. – the list could go on and on.  I just needed a slight change in my body composition to be about one pound lighter…that would have made a world’s difference in all the gymnastic movements, which then would have carried over to the weight lifting.  My consistency was off….way off.  So the next competition, I was going to approach it just a little bit different and hold myself accountable – I WANTED to come in first place this time….no excuses.

Coach Amy & teammate Michelle @ Team SuperFit Charlotte (2-person) Novice Division 2ND PLACE

JULY 2017 CROSSFIT COMPETITION:

This time I began my prep again about five weeks out from competition date at the end of July 2017.  I told myself that accountability was key and that I was not going to utilize a cycle of on-off this go around.  Well – it paid off (we got 1st place at Team SuperFit Charlotte 4-person team)!  Truthfully, I felt the best I have in over two years – I was more effective with all my movements; I wasn’t fatigued; I had energy; I felt “lighter” (because my pull ups were ON POINT – butterfly all the way)!  However, I must say that when the weekends rolled around, I did not track my macros much because I FELT great (EXPERIENCE is key here) – I was going out for dinners, drinking wine (staying MINDFUL – I limited myself to one drink over the weekend), eating ice cream + cereal more often (about five nights a week), etc.  And not to mention that my mother was visiting for the summer so you know eating out for meals was a must!

I will point out and say that when I started my first week of FD back up, I cut my macros a little too aggressively and my protein intake was too low for my liking – so I was hungry literally ALL THE TIME!  I played the rest of the first week out and then going into the second week, I adjusted my protein level to 1 gram per body weight and increased my carbohydrates by about 10% – that was so much better!  I pretty much kept those macros from the second week up until a week prior to competition.  But…I think this go around I paid more attention to the way I felt – if I was hungry prior to a training session, then I ate some carbohydrates (typically a Quest bar).  I structured my eating around my training sessions more so – utilizing intermittent fasting more frequently (especially on weekends) and eating about two main meals over the weekends with two snack meals (ice cream included here lol).

Coach Amy with teammates Jackie, Michelle, & Esther @ Team SuperFit Charlotte (4-person) Novice Division 1ST PLACE

MACRO COMPARISON – JANUARY 2017 vs. JULY 2017:

January 2017

Training days:  56F / 166C / 128P (1,680calories)

Rest days:  66F / 140C / 128P (1,666calories)

July 2017

Training days:  54F / 196C / 140P (1,830 calories)

Rest days:  66F / 168C / 140P (1,826 calories)

CONCLUSIONS & FINAL THOUGHTS:

There comes a point when you are keeping your nutrition in check and start to loosen the chains up on yourself – your performance won’t be as good as you’d like it to be, you feel sluggish, you’re not enjoying foods like you have been, you just feel….blah.  So, at that point you need to do s self-check and change your mindset!  MINDSET is KEY – that’s truly what I have learned during this process.  If you have a strong mindset, then you can achieve anything – even if it’s something other than first place at a competition.  It’s great to have goals to set – both short-term and long-term; this helps create adherence to something that is a priority to you!  Life has it’s ups and downs, but remember to always keep your goals at that end of the tunnel.  Don’t punish yourself…that’s just going to make things worse.  Instead, put the past behind you and focus on the NOW!  You have control of the NOW!  Good luck and remember to enjoy the process #teambullseyenutrition!  Trust the process!

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