My off-season is quickly coming to an end as my official show prep begins April 1st, 2014.
What does this mean in regards to my training? NOTHING – I still lift as heavy as possible during each workout session. I mentally and physically work towards improving strength and increasing muscle mass. My trainer, Anthony Vorachak, has taught me to be more mentally aggressive going into lifts. I cannot start a lift thinking OH MY GOD THIS IS HEAVY ARE YOU SURE I CAN DO THIS. Physically the work does become harder as my calories and body fat decreases but Anthony helps push me through it. I’ve become a lot stronger during this off-season and am working on becoming a better overall athlete. Anthony has incorporated some Olympic lifting into my program and CrossFit. I train at the River Valley Club and they post a RVC Record Board. During this off-season I’ve taken the records for bench press, back squats, deadlifts, cleans and bench press for reps (75# x 33 reps). I am most proud of my deadlift record. I wanted to get 300# for so long and finally got 305!!
What does this mean for my nutrition? EVERYTHING – I track my macros and am 100% SPOT on with nutrition. EVERYTHING that enters my mouth is weighed, measured and accounted for. The goal here is strip away the fat that I put on my body which was needed to build muscle. I am feeling eager to peel away the layer and see what has been created. I know I worked harder and lifted heavier this off-season so I am very excited to see the results.
What lesson did I learn this off-season? SEVERAL – I learned the off-season transition is the hardest part of bodybuilding for me. YES – that sounds a bit backwards – but it is true! I love the training/lifting, during show prep I am in the zone, focused and determined. I would never think to waiver from my given macros. During the off-season I remain that driven with my training but my nutrition is not always perfect. My coach, Eric Helms, and I are already strategizing for a better off-season transition in November 2014. Let me share what Eric has taught me in hopes of helping newer competitors. Tracking your macros and sticking to them is just as important in the off-season. This lets your body (metabolism) heal and ensures you don’t put on too much body fat. Reverse dieting is absolutely necessary, slowing increasing your calories back up (check out the link below, it’s another great article by Cliff Wilson). However, you can enjoy a more relaxed approach allowing yourself a little extra here and there as long as you track it. I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to be so black and white and I can enjoy treats and have a drink or two with my family and friends. Bodybuilding is a lifestyle, year round, regardless of what training stage you are in or what season. I think I’ve finally found the happy balance but hope the next transition is easier. As Eric stated “Competitions are won in the off-season”.