PNBA bikini pro Amanda Martin recounts the adverse effects of prepping for a bodybuilding show.
When bodybuilders pose on stage, we see the tip of the iceberg but not all the groundwork for developing their physique. Prepping for bodybuilding competitions puts your body under a lot of stress. Bodybuilders follow rigid diets as competition approaches to hold the muscle mass they do at such low body fat levels. Professional Natural Bodybuilding Association (PNBA) bikini athlete Amanda Martin shared many repercussions of contest prep.
Amanda Martin competes out of INBA Australia in the bikini category. She also has a coaching service specialing in helping others prep for competitions. In a recent social media post, Amanda Martin was open about the side effects of contest prep. Amanda Martin stated:
“THROUGHOUT CONTEST PREP WE ARE FOCUSED ON ONE GOAL, TO GET ON THAT STAGE IN THE BEST POSSIBLE CONDITIONING.
WHAT CAN HAPPEN IN THE PROCESS OF ACHIEVING THIS ARE MANY THINGS – INCREASE IN IRRITABILITY, POTENTIAL LOSS OF MENSTRUAL CYCLE FOR WOMEN, LOWERED TESTOSTERONE IN MEN, SLEEP DISRUPTION, MOOD DISTURBANCE, STRENGTH LOSSES IN THE GYM, INCREASED FOOD FOCUS, LOW ENERGY LEVELS”
Reversing the Repercussions of Contest Prep
According to Amanda Martin, bodybuilders suffer many health consequences when conditioning their bodies for competition. However, although side effects such as low energy levels, disturbed sleep, and hormone issues are prevalent for bodybuilders during in-season, Martin says the aftermath is reversible.
Martin says that you can reverse the effects of contest prepping through a recovery diet. She says you need to bring your calories back up to gain weight to implement a recovery diet. Which Martin claims is different from slowly raising your calories to avoid gaining fat (reverse dieting). Amanda Martin says fat gain is the goal of a recovery diet.
That’s because Martin indicates that the level of body fat bodybuilders has for shows is not healthy or sustainable. As stated by Amanda Martin, a recovery diet is:
“A STRUCTURED AND MONITORED APPROACH TO COMING OUT OF A DEFICIT, REDUCING NEGATIVE ADAPTION’S AS FAST AS POSSIBLE, GET BACK TO A HEALTHY STATE, GET OUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE BACK, AND GET BACK TO MAKING PROGRESS IN YOUR OFF SEASON.”
You can see Amanda Martin’s full post on the side effects of contest prep and how to reverse the impact on Instagram below.
Amanda Martin isn’t the only natural bodybuilder to disclose the dark side of contest prepping. PNBA natural bodybuilder Ben Howard exhibited how his body suffered after over-dieting for a competition.
Body Fat Levels to Prevent Repercussions of Contest Prep
Healthy body fat is vital for your body to function correctly. The American Council of Exercise (ACE) says that 2-5% body fat is essential for men and 10-12% body fat is necessary for women. Bodybuilders hover around these numbers for shows. Although, sustainable and healthy body fat is much higher than that. For men, 10-20% body fat, and for women, 20-30% body fat is healthy, fit, and sustainable for most people.
Bodybuilders have low body fat during contest prep, which is unhealthy and causes many side effects. Incorporating a recovery diet – a period of higher calories with intentional fat gain – will offset the side effects.