There is a common misconception among bodybuilders that you need to bulk up significantly during the off-season. Yes, fat and all. The idea is that they are going to try and shake it all off before the competition, in order to reveal a toned set of muscles.
While these muscles are surely hard-earned through rigorous training, you definitely do not have to work so hard if you approach your off-season diet the right way.
You usually only need 200 to 350 calories in your off-season diet if you want to gain muscle without getting fat. That’s right—you don’t have to get fat at all. The exact number of calories will still depend on your physique. Do it the right way and you won’t need to “bulk up” with loads of carbs.
The idea is correct: you do need to bulk up one way or another. But if you use the right diet, you’ll be gaining weight by building muscles. So drop those cheeseburgers and pizza slices—you can’t have them just yet. They’re bad for your health anyway. They will also prevent your muscles from getting sufficient nutrients.
Try to keep your body from going 20 pounds over your in-season weight. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see your weight increase every day. Because if you are gaining weight daily, then chances are, you’re getting fat.
Make the most out of your off-season by putting in the effort all year round.
When you say “clean bulking,” this means you are actively trying to build muscle without storing a lot of fat. Do not change your training habits drastically just because you’re in the off-season. You might end up losing muscle.
Remember, your body burns off unneeded muscle. It will use your muscles for energy, and you need to give it reason to keep them.
Maintain high intensity workouts, and make sure you’re eating right. Stock up on just enough carbohydrates to get the energy for your workouts. Push yourself to the limit. Also limit your carb choices to baked potatoes, oatmeal, grits, yams, and either brown or white rice.
If you have a higher metabolism, you may be able to squeeze in a few cheat foods into your diet. You’re allowed to enjoy the off-season, after all. It’s not highly recommended, but there are people who are able to get away with this perfect crime. Try to have a looser food selection, but don’t take your eyes away from the prize.
Your protein sources should include chicken or turkey breast. Also try egg whites, and trimmed lean red meat. For fish, try tilapia—it’s a good source of protein. Some bodybuilders like taking protein powders, and perhaps you can try those too.
Try to focus on these essentials, but don’t forget that your body also needs vitamins and minerals. You don’t want to get sick and lose those all too important training days. Eat more broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, and asparagus.
Also put in some healthy fats into your diet. Try almond butter, extra virgin olive oil, and all-natural peanut butter.
Remember that the off-season is an opportunity for you to get ahead of the competition. You can loosen up by just a tiny bit, but make sure you’re not getting fat, and you’re not skipping those high intensity workouts.
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