Vacation During Contest Prep?

When potential clients tell us that they have a vacation booked in the middle of their contest prep it is almost always a “let’s look at another show” response. Such clients are convinced that such a break will actually aid in their motivation and may even boost their slowed metabolism. Both of these beliefs are false. Planning a vacation in the middle of prep really does the exact opposite of what the client has in mind. With over 15 years of contest prep experience I can honestly count on one hand the number of clients who went away during their prep phase and didn’t entirely derail their initial efforts. The ones who are able to maintain their conditioning always admit that it came at a cost. Being away on vacation is about letting loose and being shackled to a strict diet regime restricts this. Why spend all that money on a vacation when you would be so heavily restricted? It makes no sense to us. It is true that an extended calorie restricted diet will lower metabolism but going all out at the buffet for an entire week at an all exclusive resort will certainly do more than “reset” the metabolism. That’s just a poor excuse for lack of willpower. Let’s face it a spike meal/day may be beneficial to some clients and at certain points in their prep but it is not needed as often as most keyboard gurus recommend.

It is only under extremely rare circumstances that Michelle and I take on a client who insists on a vacation during their planned prep. In most cases we’ll propose an alternate show which doesn’t conflict with the client’s vacation plans. If this doesn’t work we simply won’t take on the client. I know it sounds harsh but we are not crash dieters. As the majority of our clients are life-time naturals crash dieting is the kiss of death when holding onto hard earned muscle while getting shredded is a priority. Prep is hard enough when everything runs smoothly. Adding in hurdles will only make prep that much harder. It’s a hurdle that Michelle and I and the client don’t need to contend with.

You may be thinking that we are hard asses when it comes to contest prep and in some aspects we are. Our clients pay good money to get in shape and we take their goals very seriously. We want the best for our clients. In the past I may have been a little more relaxed with our vacationing prep clients. We would get a feel for them first and I would say 100% of the clients all swore that they could do it. No probs. 100%. You don’t have to worry about me. Words that sound to me like the client is actually trying to convince themselves that all will be ok. Almost all of them struggled they got back on their diet and training plans.

What does one do if they have had a week binge and need to get back on track right away? It is a situation that, as a coach, I hate to be in. Contest dieting is like successfully studying for an exam. You give yourself plenty of time and study a bit each night. Each night builds on the previous night until finally exam day comes and you ace it! Crash studying rarely works and crash dieting will yield similar results.

I’m writing this blog post sitting in a Boeing 737 coming back from Mexico. We were away at an all exclusive resort for 7 days. That’s 7 days of buffets. There was no weighing of food. Lots of alcohol. No macro counting. Lots of alcohol. No workouts. Lots of alcohol. And very limited cardio. This is exactly what a client who plans a vacation during prep would have to contend with. In my next few blog posts I’ll detail my plans to get back on track, (yes, I went buffet crazy but it was all to prove a point to our clients), and return to my pre-vacation conditioning. I expect the process to take about 2 weeks to be back in fat burning mode and essentially be where I left off. It may require less time but I’ll error on the side of caution. So keep following this blog and I’ll let you know if my little experiment worked. I’ll go over EVERYTHING…yes, even some dirty dieting tricks!