Staying on a diet too long tends to slow down your metabolism. Cycling your calories or having planned cheat meals are great way to kick-start your metabolism and give your body some nutrients that might be missing from the daily diet. It also gives the mind a break from the rigours of a precontest diet. But binge eating makes it very difficult to get in all the nutrients you need to support muscle retention and fat loss, because such large quantities of fat and sugar will make eating multiple meals per day very difficult.
Sodium is a great mineral that helps to regulate overall balance of vitamins and minerals present in your body. It is a very common misconception that sodium directly leads to bloating. Sodium should be controlled not cut out. Especially when you are low on carbs, as it is responsible for muscle fullness and strong muscle contractions. Being low on carbs stops your muscles drawing fluid into the muscles, and you need sodium to help you keep hydrated. Going too long without it eventually leads to dehydration. Sodium does make you hold water, but when you are training for a contest, doing cardio, tanning and posing, you are losing an enormous amount of sodium in your sweat and urine. This should be replaced through dietary sodium or you will experience cramping, weakness and low blood pressure. Sodium is only your enemy about 24-36 hours away from your show.
I should keep water consumption low to maintain a dry, shredded look. True or false?
False. Aside from perhaps the day of a contest, there is no benefit of being dehydrated. It impairs growth, recovery and ability to train. In fact the best way to avoid looking bloated is to drink plenty of water, limit carbohydrates and consumption and ensure your electrolytes are balanced. Aim to drink about 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day, limit carbs to fewer than 50 grams and supplement with electrolytes while training.