As a competitive body builder prepping for a show is always intense. The excessive cardio, those extra training sessions (even when you don’t feel like it), the diet (well that says it all) and all the other things- routine making, practicing posing, tan, bikinis, pre show anxiety the lot.
However, one thing that is just as intense and important as a prep is the contrasting offseason period. That period in-between shows where you want to build, craft and improve on your weaknesses.
A lot of competitors use the ‘off-season’ to binge on junk food and take time off which is fine, we have all deserved a break! But, it’s how you recover from that which makes you better the following year / show.
A lot of males and females struggle with the offseason because training becomes harder and more of a chore due to the increase in calories and the goal is much further away which creates a mentality of ‘im not in prep so I can do what I want’…
Don’t! Your offseason should be just as structured as your prep! An offseason is always going to be difficult because your not as lean as you used to be and your not ‘stage ready’ and we get used to being and looking great and then feeling the complete opposite.
The hard truth is… don’t shy away in your offseason. Put a diet in place with yes more calories to build muscle but the right calories- not pizzas and burgers but home cooked food like spaghetti pasta and cooked dinners. It is not an opportunity to eat junk food and hope for the best. Regardless of the same calories it is still a lot more saturated fat that your body doesn’t need and it will make your next prep 10x harder.
Try and get out of the mentality that ‘you’ve gained weight’ and your ‘not lean enough’ because you cannot grow without food and you can’t improve without training.
To overcome this I make sure I follow my offseason plan from my coach and get all of the protein in that I need to grow. Yes I socialise and go out for food on the odd occasion I’m not saying turn an off season into a prep. I am saying enjoy your offseason by sticking to what you know and that is good food and a balance!
Putting the work in during the off season will pay off in the prep. Don’t cut corners and don’t make prep harder than it needs to be. Train smart, eat right and remember. You and you alone are responsible for your choices and successes.