How many times do you go to the gym and see that one athlete who looks amazing all the time? The one person who seems to be always lean and yet they seem to be growing constantly. Too often we as competitors let what we call our off-season consume us, or rather an excuse to consume whatever we want! Very rarely do you see athletes who stay lean and are able grow year round. These athletes dedicate themselves to the gym and their diet even in the off-season. They are able to cut their diets from 14 week long to as short as 8 weeks and look amazing doing so.
Go a head and call it your off-season but remember there is still a goal. The goal should be eating to grow, not eat whatever you want and skip meals. Both will make you fat! There is a myth that you cannot be lean and grow at the same time. Well I am no expert in diet and nutrition but I can tell you that’s a lie from my own personal experience. Now I’m not saying you have to eat a strict “contest like” diet but you should know what you are putting into your body at all times. You should have a daily percentage you are shooting for, macros can match with your goal to grow and stay lean.
Here is what I have done in the past and has helped me to gain over 6-10 pounds of lean mass and just have to do a 8 week diet for contest. I don’t have to be super strict with it either, so no big “holly shit this is hard” changes! During my contest prep I like to stick with a Protein, Carb and fat percentage of 40/40/20. With the proper cardio and this Macro percentage I have achieved a contest ready body in as little as six weeks.
Now the million-dollar question… How do I consume the right amount of fats, protein, and carbs for ME to grow and not gain fat? Well you will gain fat but how much is up to you. First things first, everyone is different. I can tell you to eat what I eat but since our bodies are different and activity levels are different, there is no telling that what I consume would be the same as what you would need to consume. What you need to do is decide how many calories you need to consume a day to maintain your current body weight then start adding slowly to grow. There are multiple calculators online will help you do so. Next find a good macro percentage that works for you. Many people I have encountered since I have been in the industry do better with different variations. I personally like to keep my carbs around 45-50% and protein to be around 30-40% then fill in fats from there. Although this may not seem like much, I do increase my caloric intake substantially. During my contest prep I average the 40/40/20 with calories pushing the 3,000 to 3,600 mark. Now when I am eating for a lean bulk I increase my caloric intake to around 4,500 to 5,500. With minor cardio added to this I am able to gain the pounds needed for me to make the changes and see the results I want. For me personally a great macro percentage for leaning out is 40/40/20.
I can’t overstate enough the most important thing to do is slowly make changes to see what works best with your body. Small changes over a long period of time make a BIG difference. Keep in mind the food you eat will directly relate how your body looks, maybe not today but it all counts come contest day!
A few tips to remember whether your in the “off-season” or contest prep mode:
-Eat meals every 2-3 hours. This makes it easier to get in your extra calories when bulking. It also keeps your metabolism on high, and doesn’t overtax your digestive system like a few massive meals would.
-Water, Water, Water, oh and don’t forget to keep your water intake up! If you want to look dry, hydrate.
-Supplements, use them they work, but don’t expect to be able to supplement yourself out of a crappy diet. Supplements should be thought of like turbo charging your already great diet! In or off season I use, Amino Rev, Lipo N-3, Lipo-Shred and RestStor. I will mix in some others as my goals change.
Whether it’s a trip to the stage or a trip to the beach, good luck in your Contest Prep!