Psychology and Contest Preparation

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Remember competition dieting puts extreme stress on your body and takes a lot of mental discipline. Despite the fact that you will be more defined as you lose body fat, you may experience psychological changes due to the fact that you'll be craving carbohydrate foods, and will be very tired. Your mental state may be worsened by the use of stimulant and lipogenic supplements like ephedra.

As the contest preparation will be the most important thing in your life you may also become 'obsessed' with your physique and with what you are eating. This will be worsened by the confusion that you are now trying to lose weight, when you are usually striving to gain weight. Psychologists have associated this condition with bodybuilders, and named it muscle dysmorphia (Hurst, et al 2000). It is more pronounced during contest preparation.

With low glycogen stores in your muscles you will appear 'flat', making you feel smaller, when this is not actually the case. If you have a day of eating increased amounts of carbohydrates you may be a little fuller, with the spin off of positive mental effects. If the negative psychology becomes too much, and thoughts start to adversely affect your performance, I suggest wearing long sleeve baggy clothes at all times, especially when working out. Only strip off to let your trusted friends look at your progress, which is important to assess how well you are doing and to see if you need to hold back a bit, or diet a bit harder.

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