I am about to embark on my second bodybuilding competition in just 3 days. In my preparation for both contests I have been told about a rebound effect that one can take advantage of after a prolonged period of contest dieting. For me, I've been on a contest diet for 6 months. This concept of a rebound effect is one that is very interesting to me, but I wondered if it was real, so I did some research. This is what I found out.
Six Week Opportunity
Most of the research I did shows that there is a six week period where you can capitalize on the rebound effect. You can take advantage of this six week window to pack on mass as a result of the rebound effect.
Use Carbs to Help Build Muscle Post-contest
Anyone who has ever dieted down for a contest knows the sacrifices that have to be made. Sometimes these sacrifices include a loss of muscle. The body has mechanisms to cope with drastic and extreme changes that it undergoes. The rebound effect is the result of one of these mechanisms the body uses. This is why it is essential to use carbs post-contest to help build muscle. It is essential to continue eating clean to avoid a large amount of fat gain, but a sufficient amount of good carbs and fats must be introduced post-contest. Your body will be craving those things. It will respond to their introduction by using those things to put on muscle mass.
Follow the “150” Rule
During the competition diet every bodybuilder has consumed a different amount of carbs. The rebound effect includes a rule that is called the “150” rule that says you should just add 150 grams of carbs to what you were eating during your diet and you will gain muscle. Thus, if you were eating 120 grams of carbs during your contest diet you would up that to 270 grams of carbs post-contest. It is important that most of those come from slow burning carb sources (oatmeal, brown rice, etc.)
Add More Carbs Four Weeks In
At the start of the fourth week post-contest, add more carbs (100 grams). Your body adjusts to what you do, so adding even more carbs at this point will help your body continue to produce muscle mass gains.
Don't Be Shy About Fat
Dietary fat helps keep testosterone levels high. When trying to build muscle post-contest, fat is going to play an important role. Dieting tends to cause testosterone levels to drop dramatically. Adding back the right fats to your diet will help to counteract that issue and help you take advantage of the rebound effect.
Protein is Your Friend–To An Extent
Post-contest diets should include about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. This may sound crazy, but the reason is simple–efficiency. By increasing the amount of carbs and fats you are eating your body increases testosterone levels which makes it more efficient at using protein. Thus, you won't be wasting as much protein. More of it will be available for muscle growth.
Change to Heavy Training
The first thing you should do is take a week off of training. After that, start lifting heavy weights for low repetitions. You will see that there is an increase in strength and that will lead to an increase in size as well. Push your workouts hard during this six week period of time and you will be amazed at the results.