Lately the fitness and physique world has been a battle ground when it comes to the best way to nutritionally prepare for a competition. Although most people are still following some form of meal plan it has become harder and harder to ignore athletes showing up at competitions eating pop tarts and talking about the ice cream they ate during prep. What has made it even harder to ignore is that these “flexible dieters” or “macro people” are showing up totally shredded. how devastating an unregulated “cheat meal” can be to your overall progress. Meals that put you 2000 to 3000 calories over your caloric deficit can prove disastrous to your overall progress. As a matter of fact they can erase all the progress made over a weeks’ time. Instead of “cheat meals” or days, flexible dieters often incorporate high carb days one or more times a week. Essentially these are days where the athlete will eat a higher number of carbohydrates in order to prevent binge eating and increase leptin production. The mechanism of high carb days aiding in the diet process is immensely complicated, and beyond the scope of this article. What is important to note is that some athletes eat up to double their regular carbohydrate intake on these high carb days, and let’s face it, who doesn’t love that. The primary advantage of Flexible dieting is that it is a dynamic method. Adjustments are easy to make, simply adjust one or more of your macro nutrients to ensure the ball keeps rolling in the right direction. Perhaps accompany these changes with a slight modification of cardio protocol and you are back in the game making progress. What happens when one is “clean eating” and the results stall? Does one simply eat “cleaner”? Many of you may be thinking that macro measuring may sound like an effective process after reading this article. Unfortunately it is difficult to know where to start and how to progress through a flexible contest prep without proper coaching. Questions like: How much protein, carbs, and fats should one eat? How to manage high carb days? How long should one contest prep for? And when should macros be adjusted? Are the most common questions and concerns that a qualified coach must answer. It is for this reason that it is a great idea to hire a coach who follows these evidence based and modern approaches to nutritional guidance. One major advantage of flexible dieting is that you are not dealing with an arbitrary meal plan, but actual numbers, you learn so much more about how your body works. This means that every time you prep you get better and better, and of course my fellow physique athletes this is why we do what we do. By: Mark and Lou - Owners of Ripped Geek Fitness - 2016 BC coaches of the year. 39.