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Taking on the Offseason!
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Taking on the Offseason! - 02-28-2013, 08:32 PM

Taking on the off-season.

One of the most common questions I am asked is, “How did you make such a big change in so little time?” Before I take on this question, I will preface with a little bit of my background. In 2011 I competed in the bikini division and placed horribly. I was told that I was too muscular and lean for the division. I was not being rewarded for the amount of time and effort I put into my competition prep, and it was extremely frustrating to say the least. I decided to take a long offseason (7 months) and make the drastic switch to the Women’s Physique Division. It was the correct decision, and I won my division in my first show, then went on to NPC Nationals where I won my pro card. In the time between competing in bikini to competing in WPD I gained roughly 15 lbs of muscle! I don’t think I need to tell you that a change that dramatic is almost unheard of in women. So now, back to the original question: How?

GOALS
Whether you have decided that you’re going to compete for the first time, or you’re a seasoned competitor who is looking forward to the next season, it all starts with goals. When your offseason begins you need to know what exactly you want to improve on. What do you need to bring to the stage next season? If you have competed before, make sure you take the time to talk to the judges to find out what your weaknesses are. I encounter far too many competitors who come looking for me for advice, but have no idea what went wrong last competition season. Furthermore, start planning out what shows you want to compete in next competition season. This makes you more accountable for progress during your off-season. Knowing you have a limited amount of time until your prep starts makes you more likely to stay on your plan. Which brings me to my next point:

HAVE A PLAN

Now that you have goals, how do you get to the endpoint? This is going to vary dramatically from competitor to competitor and even season to season. The plan needs to include every aspect of your prep, including training, cardio, supplementation, and (perhaps most importantly) diet. Begin formulating your plan by looking at your goals. Did the judges tell you to bring your back up? If so, do your research, find out how others have brought up that specific lagging body part. My back development happened to be on my list this year, and after talking to my trainer, John Meadows, we decided the best course of action would be to add in an extra day of just back work. Plan out your training schedule. Which days are off days, how many days a week are you lifting, and how many are cardio days? Talk to a knowledgeable coach or trainer (or if you have the knowledge, set it up yourself) to put together an effective diet and supplement plan based on your goals. If you have a set plan, in writing, you are more likely to stick to it! I see far too many competitors who are flying by the seat of their pants during the off-season, then ask why they keep on placing horribly year after year!

DIET AND TRAINING

Now that you have a plan, execution is KEY!! Start by following your well planned out diet and training plan. The off-season is not a time to take completely off from the gym and diet! I see this far too often in women. They bust ass for 16 weeks up to a competition, then they don’t step in the gym seriously for months until they are ready to prep again! You need to utilize this time to create the muscle you will see on stage next season! Take advantage of being able to eat a little more and train your butt off! Think of this time as prep to your prep! During my last off-season, I never missed a workout, and every time I stepped in that gym, I was going at it with full force! I was training with purpose, and this was because of step one, GOALS!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I do my fair share of getting in all those yummy foods during the off-season that I’m not allowed during prep, but proceed with caution. There is a huge difference between letting yourself enjoy some treats once in a while and binging for days on end. Do the latter, and expect to pack on excessive bodyfat. Keeping a fairly clean diet in the off-season will allow you to build quality muscle without all the extra fluff.
That being said, don’t kill yourself trying to keep that stage ready body! The number one problem I see with seasoned competitors is that they try way too hard to stay stage lean in the off-season. Sure it’s great to be ripped, but you’ll be spinning your wheels all season long if you try and hold this conditioning too long. Your body cannot be in a calorie deficit or at maintenance level to GROW! Putting on those couple extra pounds will do your body good when your training as hard as you need to in order to achieve hypertrophy. The calorie surplus will ensure that every nutrient that could be used to build muscle will be used for just that. In the course of my transformation, I got rather heavy, over 175lbs. I don’t recommend that everybody do this, but it allowed me to make the changes I needed to make in a time much shorter than in would take most people. Did you ever notice that your joints hurt by the end of a prep? Bodyfat provides “cushion” to the joints, the bodyfat you add in the off-season will actually make your joints and ligaments feel better and it will reduce injuries as well.
Don’t skimp on your supplementation during the off-season either. You religiously take your multivitamin, fish oil, creatine, and other supplements during prep, why stop in the off-season? Your peri-workout nutrition and supplementation is just as important in the offseason as it is during contest prep!

PREP FOR YOUR PREP

Once you start to think of your off-season not as a time to take off from your training and diet, but as a stepping-stone to your prep next season you’ll be on your way to your own transformation. Big changes can be accomplished by anyone in an offseason, but only if you are willing to put in the work it requires. Remember, YOU are in complete control of what happens to your body. With proper planning and dedication, you will be on your way to your own personal greatness.
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02-28-2013, 08:59 PM

I enjoy reading your work! The effort you place into everything you do is phenomenal and it shows in your achievements





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03-06-2013, 09:56 PM

I see I gotta start reading more in the female forum because that Anthro is a great read.. Appreciate all or any info you would share because it's straight to the point. Thanks..
   
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03-10-2013, 11:05 AM

Great article!!


Disclaimer: The articles and conversions posted are for entertainment and informational purposes only - experiment at you own risk.
   
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03-10-2013, 11:22 AM

I love reading your articles. You have accomplished what most of us can only dream. You are a wealth of knowledge and thank you for sharing it with us.

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