Off Season Week 1
So I’ve officially completed week 1 of my off season training. It’s not really anything to brag about really considering there are tons and tons of people that do this, not to mention their actual contest prep which is insanely difficult in comparison. So I’m not here to gloat about the “impossible circumstances that I’ve overcome in the past week” or some shit like that. Nothing like that. I want to use this as a means to track progress and reflect as I go forward.
I’ve blogged about this before not only here but in other places, and I live this constantly as part of my career. I think it’s absolutely crucial for doing your best. You need to reflect on what you’ve just done, try to tune it, and then try again. Constantly. You need to constantly be trying to improve yourself. That’s what this series of posts is going to be about.
The diet was easy and hard. Different aspects about transitioning into this diet made it really easy, and different aspects made it hard to be consistent with it.
- Familiar foods
- Enough variety (not that I actually need any) with some flexibility in protein sources
- Easy to meal prep
- Easy to store, transport, and heat up
- General sense that the food options are healthy
- Number of meals is only slightly more than what I’m used to so it fits into my schedule well
- Supplementation stack was nothing I couldn’t manage, and nothing that makes me feel ill (or that I’m allergic to)
- Total volume of food per meal is a LOT. Amount of veggies takes up a lot of space that I’m not used to.
- Amount of water I need to be drinking is much more than I’m used to. I’m trying to get close to 6L a day and it’s been hard to adjust.
With all of that said, it hasn’t been too bad to be honest. I haven’t missed a single meal yet, and feeling accountable to a coach really helps for that. Historically I could slip up and make up macros some other way, but it throws off the consistency factor. I’ve been extremely consistent, which feels great.
I’m not yet sure how to adjust to my first challenge of a lot of food volume at every meal. I think I might need to just tough it up and let my body acclimate to this. For the second challenge of getting enough water, this could very well be the same thing. However, I think I can do a bitttttt better on timing.
One of the big challenges with my water consumption is that it’s not yet a habit. I catch myself throughout the day going “Shit, you didn’t drink enough!” and then I try to guzzle some water down between meals. This gets me pretty full of fluid really fast, and makes consuming water difficult. I think I need to get a bit smarter of how much water I can expect to drink at various parts of the day, sort of like setting check points.
- Establish water consumption check points and re-evaluate next week
I knew starting into my off season of bodybuilding was going to be very different for training. Like… a total mind fuck. I’ve you’ve seen anything on this blog, you know I lift like a powerlifter. If you haven’t seen anything on this blog (which is very likely) then maybe you can just tell that from how I look.
Training was hard. Like really fucking hard. But it wasn’t hard in the sense that I felt like I had to somehow do a million burpees in 30 seconds or something stuipid… It was hard because I had a plan and I couldn’t deviate no matter how tired I got. It was hard because of the total amount of volume in a single session.
So like the diet stuff before, let’s have a look over the easy/challenging stuff:
- No exercise/movement/machine requests that were not available to me
- Workouts were sometimes exactly the same length or only slightly longer than before
- Added cardio surprisingly didn’t make me want to die
- (Surprisingly) Forgetting the number on the bar, on my back, or in my hands was a simple transition
- Felt that some exercises it was really easy to get a mind-muscle connection and just focus on the beautiful beautiful pain
- Recovery between workouts has gone very well
- The total amount of volume in some of the workouts left me sweating my ass off and almost in tears (likely from the sweat, brah)
- The exercise/movement order! Coach moved this around on me on purpose and it hurts my poor poor ego
- Some of the movements are very new to me, so after a particular exercise I might have exhausted a muscle or bodypart completely
- The two numbers I had to worry about now were sets and reps instead of the weight… And THAT was hard
- Having a rest day is unusual to me, but I do what I’m told 🙂
- Hitting legs only once a week goes against almost everything I stand for 😉 but after barely completing one of my leg workouts, I understand why it’s once a week
- Hard to focus on the muscle contraction for some of the new exercises (or exercises I’ve dropped out of my arsenal, on purpose)
So a big difference between diet and training… Training was much more challenging. I think the biggest challenge right now is having my muscles adjust to the total volume in a single session and the new movements. These two things together made for some discomfort during workouts, but I was always able to recover for my next one. Unfortunately for these two things, the best thing I can do is probably have my body acclimate, and I think the whole point of this phase is to have my body NOT acclimate 🙂
- Provide coach with feedback on exercise selection so that he can offer insight as to how to get more out of the movement (or perhaps replace it with another)
- Really take my time with the new movements and try to create a good mind-muscle connection from the start (instead of chasing weight).