The Crossover Between Performance and Aesthetic Training and Eating

Jordan Zobrist
Racing expert
Jordan Zobrist
More from this author
Jordan Zobrist
More from this author

I spent my off season from professional Obstacle Course racing to cross something off of my fitness bucket list— a figure competition. Yes, where you stand on a stage with a spray tan, clear heels and a bikini and flex. Sorry—pose.  Although this was seemingly out of character, the mental and physical challenge was actually right up my ally. I was intrigued with the task of figuring out how to change from 24/7 performance eating and training to aesthetic eating and training. Although I didn’t train for this competition traditionally (performance remained important in my training oftentimes and my pescatarian diet would be scoffed at by some) I tried to adhere to the world of bodybuilding to see what it is all about. Here’s what I found:

Training similarities and differences

  1. Lifting heavy for less than 8 reps. This is a staple of bodybuilding. I also keep this in my regime year round probably more than the average performance athlete because I think it is important to keep a good base of raw strength. The movements I chose, however are always compound, whereas bodybuilders love to isolate.
  2. I completely omitted the classic 12-15 rep “feel the burn” lifting sessions as I think they are superfluous, inefficient, and completely non functional. I just could’t do it.
  3. Interval training. I do high intensity interval training year round using a multitude of body weight and sports specific movements in various timing schemes. Bodybuilders use cardio, often in the form of long, low intensity. I maintained my HIIT training as I found it to be a more efficient way to “do cardio” while remaining functional and maintaining muscle while getting conditioned.
  1. The quality of my workout for performance is MUCH better because I care more and I am not depleted while doing them.
  2. I have reintroduced key specific running workouts designed to make me faster at running.

Diet Similarities and Differences

  1. I eat no dairy products accept fish and eggs. Although I was warned this would be extremely difficult, I maintain this in performance and aesthetic training.
  2. While training for figure I had to be much more intentional about eating protein. I ate 1.2grams of protein per pound of body weight whereas year round I eat about .8-1g per pound of body weight.
  3. Carbohydrates are extremely important in both realms for similar reasons of fuel and muscle repair. In performance training I eat carbohydrates much more liberally, knowing I will use every gram in my workouts or recovery and never be depleted of glycogen.
  4. The hardest part of eating for physique is the trace amounts of fat allowed. Training for performance I am glad to eat (healthy) fats with reckless abandon once again! These fats give me the energy (most caloric food and great fuel source), usually protein and keep me a happy athlete because they are delicious.
  5. The supplementation I use for both stays similar. Gnary Vegan Protein helped me immensely while training for figure. I was able to hit those high protein macro numbers without animal sources. I still recover with Gnarly Vegan after my performance workouts as an assurance that I am getting quick and clean recovery before I can have my next meal. I use Gnarly BCAAs in both cases as well, giving me energy for my workouts and minimal breakdown.
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