What Does Off-Season Look Like?

Hello!  It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything.  I’ve made the choice to wait until December to start my next prep, and so I’ve just been cruising for the last four months in a nice, long off-season.

I reverse dieted.  I got over my post-show blues.  I’m doing If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) and life is good.  I’m adjusting to normal life again, and it’s nice.  I have enough energy and macros to go out and hang out with friends.

Since most of y’all’s competition seasons are wrapping up, you guys are probably wondering what the off-season looks like.  Spoiler alert: It turns out that when you don’t have a competition to prep for, there aren’t a ton of changes.  It’s monotonous.  It’s boring.  I’m still training with the same lifting schedule that I was during prep – six days a week.  Legs, plyo, chest/tris, legs, back/bis, rest, repeat.  It’s also the same training plan that I’ve just beat to hell for the last nine months I’ve been with my coach.  I’m still doing 35 min of cardio a day.  I’m eating ~1600 cals now, and not gaining a ton of fat.

After four months of trying to get the leanest you’ve ever been in your life, it’s so hard to change that mindset into “I have to grow and put on weight.”  Since I don’t have that anxious push to work out, I haven’t been feeling as motivated.  If you plan on competing for a long time, this really doesn’t matter – you gotta get it done and stay disciplined.

Winners are made in the off season.

So I’ve just changed my goals.  My mindset has changed into one where I am trying to be an athlete – because when I build more muscle, it’ll be much easier to cut down fat due to the higher metabolism.  If you don’t push yourself and focus your energy, you won’t grow.  I like feeling stronger (didn’t you miss being able to actually lift on prep?) and getting more muscular as a result.  The effort doesn’t feel as wasted.

I’m up 27 lbs since show, and thankfully, it’s not all fat.  It can get downright uncomfortable though – I’ve gone from a size 0 to 4 this year, and I’ve learned not to donate any clothes that ‘don’t fit.’  Because they will, just at a different point in the year.  I really try not to be bothered by the increase in thickness in my midsection, and I have to just acknowledge that it’s a healthier look overall.

L to R: June to September. 127 to 141 lbs.

I bulked HARD. I think the weight gain will pay off though, and at the end of the day, it’s just a number. Always go with what the progress photos show.

But really, this off-season hasn’t been too bad for me.  I got freaking married.

I went on an awesome vacation to the Bay Area and enjoyed some beautiful scenery with new friends.

Competing has taken up so much of my energy and brain-space, and I’m kind of glad that I had the chance to slow it down.  Bodybuilding is a marathon, and you have to just enjoy the entire journey for what it is.  This doesn’t have to become a career.  I don’t have to become an IFBB Pro if it just stresses me out and doesn’t add joy to my life.  Just be.

I have four more months to enjoy – eating well, lifting heavy, and just being a functional human.  I’m also just looking forward to cutting down and seeing what I’ve managed to build.  Hopefully I’ll chase a National Qualification and step on a National stage, ready to slay.  We’ll see.

I’m also going to make more of a concerted effort to post. Recipes. Skincare. Research reviews. All the good stuff a bikini competitor would want to know. If you’ve got any suggestions, drop me a comment and I’ll see what I can do.

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