Preparing for your first- or any- figure show can be overwhelming. As an amateur competitor, I’ve tried a variety of different competition diets that wielded just as varied results.

Below are a few figure competition diet mistakes to avoid that will save you time- and your metabolism!

Mistake #1: Copying a diet plan from the Internet

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Although you could get lucky with this one, competition diets are unique to each competitor. Diets need to be created based on your individual needs, including health conditions, height, weight, body fat percentage, etc.

This is one area in particular that you DON’T want to chance. Spending hours in the gym can’t override an incorrect meal plan.

Find a registered dietitian that can create specific meal plans for your body and your goals.  You’ll maintain your sanity and your svelte physique!

Mistake #2: Remove all carbohydrates

Eliminating carbohydrates in your figure competition diet is a quick way to lose weight and remove excess water weight. But even in competition prep, removing an entire macronutrient group is a no-no.

Your muscles need carbohydrates for your tough weightlifting and cardio workouts-more importantly, carbs are the only source of energy for your brain. This is why having a registered dietitian on-hand is key.

Make sure you’re consuming carbohydrates before and after workouts for adequate fuel and recovery. During non-workout periods, carbs can be restricted.

Mistake #3: Only eat 1200 kilocalories per day

New figure competitors will think that they must limit calories down to the recommended minimum daily intake. However, prepping for a figure competition is a daunting task and requires lots of energy!

Be sure to measure your BMR, basal metabolic rate, to see what your specific calorie intake should be.

If you’re working out daily, you should be eating more than you probably think. Many new competitors find it difficult to eat all of their required meals throughout the day- imagine that!

Mistake #4: Always use a 12-week prep

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Figure competition diets are probably very different from how you would eat on a normal day-to-day basis. If three months seems like a long time to prepare for a figure competition, think again.

I know competitors who followed their figure competition diet for an entire year before they picked a show to compete in! Be realistic.

This preparation takes time and patience. Evaluate where you are, how much weight/body fat you would need to lose, and how quickly you think you can get to where you need to be.

The longer the prep, the less drastic your figure competition diet needs to be. My advice- take your time and then take some extra. Your sanity and metabolism will thank you!

Mistake #5: I can do it by myself

The best advice I can give you is to find a coach or mentor for your figure competition preparation.

Even as a personal trainer, it’s invaluable to have someone else to help guide me through the process, especially since they’ve been doing it longer than I have!

If you don’t think you can afford a coach, try finding a seasoned competitor that wouldn’t mind stepping in as a mentor to help guide you.

They might not be there for you 24/7, but their advice could save you a lot of time and headache.

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