Depending on your physique, you typically need only 200 to 350 calories in your off-season diet in order to gain muscle without getting fat.
Many bodybuilders have that misconception that you have to bulk up significantly during the off-season—fat and all. This involves an effort to shake it all off before competition, in order to reveal their hard-earned muscles.
But the main problem with this idea is that they don’t bulk up using the right diet. Some even binge on fast food, chomping down on cheeseburgers and pizza to gain as many calories as they can. Not only is this a bad idea for your health, this can also prevent your muscles from growing and getting sufficient nutrients.
Off Season Doesn’t Mean Being Lazy
In order to make the most out of your off-season, you have to put in the extra effort all year round. And that means trying to keep your body from exceeding 20 pounds more than your in-season weight.
The truth is, you can gain muscle without getting fat by incorporating healthy food choices in your diet during the off-season. Some bodybuilders get discouraged if they don’t see their weight increase every single day. But that’s actually a good sign because it means they’re not getting fat.
Your aim is to build muscle the right away.
Clean Bulking During the Off-Season
Clean bulking is another term for building muscle without storing a lot of fat. Your training habits shouldn’t be all that different during off-season compared to your in-season sessions. Otherwise, you might lose muscle. After all, the body burns off unneeded muscles. Your body will rapidly use those muscles for energy, unless you give it a reason to keep said muscles.
Aside from maintaining the intensity of your workouts, you also need to make sure you’re eating the right stuff. Those who have a higher metabolism may be able to squeeze in a few “cheat” foods—this is the off-season, after all. They can have a looser food selection. Although it’s still not recommended, they might just be able to get away with it.
Stock up on carbohydrates in order to get enough energy to breeze through those workouts and push yourself to the limit. Your choices for carb sources should include brown or white rice, baked potatoes, yams, grits, and oatmeal.
Protein, Carbs, Supplements, Fats, and More
As for protein, the muscle-building nutrient we all need, try chicken or turkey breast, egg whites, and trimmed lean red meat. Tilapia is also a good source of protein. Other bodybuilders opt for protein powders.
Despite our focus on carbs and protein, we shouldn’t forget that the body needs vitamins and minerals as well. For vegetables, try to eat more broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, lettuce, cauliflower, and asparagus. And if you find yourself feeling particularly sore during recovery, we recommend using Ostarine MK 2866 for both its restorative and muscle retention properties.
Good sources of healthy fats include almond butter, extra virgin olive oil, and all-natural peanut butter.
Just because it’s the off-season doesn’t mean you have to get fat. Gaining muscle and shedding off those extra pounds is still possible—with the right diet and continuous exercise.