Journey Back To Strength 23

Post-Competition Diet & Cardio

Back home

Well, it has been a week since I competed, and I am home still adapting to the time change and recovering from the intense jet lag. Thankfully, the trip going to Australia was a breeze in terms of jetlag. Unfortunately, coming home has not been an easy transition. A nice topper was that I came home to a computer virus that took three days to resolve. I have been awake most nights this week, and if I do sleep, I am still waking up at all hours of the night. I do force myself to stay awake during the day hoping to adapt to the time change. So this week has been pretty stressful, because I don’t do too well without sleep. I am hopeful that by tomorrow (crossing fingers) that I will be all set. Swollen kankles, crazy dry skin from the tan and no sleep is not a good look. You know I keep the blogs real, and I cannot report anything but the truth. Next week, I will be fresh as can be, you know how I bounce back by now.

Cleaning house

And I mean literally all week. For the past few months, actually since I moved back to Florida, it’s been a nonstop race to the gym, grocery shopping, cooking, measuring food, workouts, work and trying making weight. I have been going nonstop. Of course I cleaned the house every day, but in the mad dash between going to the Arnold, coming home for one day and then flying right out to Australia, I left this place destroyed. Then coming home with tanned clothes, sheets, suits, etc., it takes a while with limited energy to get everything washed and in its place. Computer is up and running, I am finally organized and made it to the gym yesterday (last Friday) for the first time. Though I did do cardio here at home, I had no time or energy to train. The computer situation kept me on lockdown. But I am back, and it’s time to get things going!

What’s Next?

I have a shoot in mid-April, and I can promise you that I am not interested in gaining weight back. I have gained three lbs since the trip, but my ankles are still a bit swollen from the flight, so I am in a good position. I did eat a few extra things, since I have been home, but it was some rice cakes, some extra peanut butter and oatmeal and, yesterday, I had sushi. I knew it was coming to an end, so I had a few rolls. But, I am very aware that because I dieted so hard for the Arnold, I HAVE to be very careful. It will be very easy for me to gain back body fat. I am much more interested in staying in great shape, I am not throwing this body away!

The Beginning of A Reverse Diet

My plan is to eat a certain fixed number of macros to begin. [Protein 150, Carbs 120, Fat 40] From this baseline, we can see how I respond to those numbers. I caught up with Layne, as he is still in Australia, and he gave me some totals and I started with those today on Sunday. I feel so relieved to have the beginning of a game plan. I also have my first goal, which is the photo shoot. Now that I have those two things in place, that is a great starting point. I also need to figure out what is next in terms of my competition schedule. I really have no idea, but I don’t need to know today. The only thing I need to accomplish today is to stick to my totals and not go over them. This is when, because the goal changes, so must my new level of commitment. Being that there is no pending show on the horizon, yes, it’s much easier to go off. So the plan is to take one day at a time, and it means I need to refocus and recommit on a daily basis. Much like everyone else must do. I have a choice, and for today, I am hitting those numbers. I will think about tomorrow…well, tomorrow.

To give you a sense of my macros while competing, here is a sample macro plan from my Arnold prep.

9 Weeks Out – 2014 Arnold (Please Note: This changed as my needs and metabolism changed.)

Day 1
Protein 170
Carbs 60
Fat 41

Day 2
Protein 160
carbs 105
Fat 38

Day 3
Protein 150
Carbs 160
Fat 35

Current Cardio

3 Days of HIIT. This is also specific to me and my metabolism, and you can see why having a coach to monitor what would be best for you is so critical. Takes the guesswork out.

My Kitchen Today

Here was my kitchen today. Everything is ready to go. I have a list of supplements I need to replenish. I keep my iPad in the kitchen to reference it as I cook and throughout the day, so there are no mistakes made. It takes planning and a game plan. Anything less, and I find it’s challenging to stay on track.

Now taking new clients!

I am back from my travels and many of you have asked about personally working with me. I am now taking applicants on a case-by-case basis. Slots are filling up fast, as I am only able to take on a limited number of women. To be considered, please contact me immediately at Also, if the timing isn’t right, you can always be put on my waiting list and this way you’ll be included with my latest specials and updates, please kindly send me an email to

Thank you!

Ava Cowan is an IFBB Figure Professional, a CPTS® and full time online coach and consultant for women of all fitness levels.

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