When I started getting into bodybuilding and competing one thing I read about and also heard from different people was that in the off season you should stay within 10% of comp weight. I’d also heard that rebounding too quickly and piling on a lot of weight in a short amount of time is when you screw up your system, so I was determined that wasn’t going to happen to me! I was going to be different and show that you could get back to a healthy weight, sensibly.
I thought I’d just check in and see how my best intentions have been going…
lets start by back tracking a way. In the weeks immediately following my last comp I felt like I was going mad. I had all the good intentions of staying on comp diet and re-introducing foods such as nuts, eggs, fruit and dairy slowly so that I didn’t overload my system and pile on the weight in an uncontrolled fashion. But try as I might there were times when I just couldn’t help myself – a packet of biscuits here, the odd ice cream there, chips with my chicken and salad, a few beers with dinner, the odd beer at pub lunch with work, desert after dinner…a whole block of chocolate…and I don’t even LIKE chocolate!
Suddenly I had this incredible sweet tooth which I’ve never had in my whole life! and CRAVINGS (especially for dried fruit) – where did they come from??? I had one particularly bad day where I consumed nearly 3500 calories!! chips, lollies, 2 breakfasts, pub lunch you name it! I couldn’t believe it either!
There were foods that I used to love – natural yoghurt and berries, milk in my tea -in fact my favourite cheat meal on comp diet was natural yoghurt and berries! but now I just can’t handle dairy at all – it puffs me up like you wouldn’t believe (too much information??) so I think dairy is permanently off the menu.
Egg white pancakes – hmm.. will have to give those another go, had a bad epiisode with them a while ago.
I have re-introduced fruit – with a vengence! I love fruit so I have that every day – but not all fruit. Berries, apples, pears and stone fruit are the go.
There are still some foods that I haven’t re-introduced, I did have a pizza once and that was the 1st one for 2 years! and I have had pasta…once but after both I felt so bloated I haven’t had them since. Quinoa…well thats never coming back!
The upshot of this was that within 8 weeks I’d piled on 5kg, and by Christmas I tipped the scales at 58.7kg…
Thats nearly 20% above comp weight!
uh-oh need to get this under control and quickly!
I wasn’t feeling at all happy with my body, I just didn’t feel clean anymore, alot of the time I was feeling fat and bloated and the more I thought about it the more I seemed to need to rebel against any sort of restrictions. The thing here is that I’ve always been interested in food and nutrition. I’m a full blown coeliac (gluten), I spent a year doing Biosignature Modulation (Charles Poliquin), I’ve read and studied a lot recently about paleo eating, blood type eating, alkaline/acid base eating and I’m studying for my IAPC certification – so it’s not like I’m a complete dummy when it comes to knowing what to eat, but it just seemed to me like my body had other ideas and I constantly felt like I was battling with myself.
Hence the need for an off season plan!
At Christmas I decided to let it all go, enjoy myself and relax – what will be will be. And you know what, once I made that decision all the angst and stress I’ve been feeling all went away. I didn’t go mad on Christmas day, I didn’t go crazy at New Year and in the last 2 weeks I’ve put myself back on a less restricted version of comp diet and its working wonders, I’ve lost 1 kg – I think I’m back into efficient metabolism mode – some of my new off season clothes are looking much looser now!
so here’s what I’m doing:
100g sweet potato/brown rice
75 – 100g fish/chicken
10 almonds or apple/pear/nectarine depending on whether its high carb or high fat day
green salad – spinach/rocket, cucumber, tomatoes, capsicum, uddo’s oil/flaxseed oil/olive oil vinegrette
avocado (if high fat day)
100g sweet potato/brown rice (I take this out on low carb day)
as meal 2 but no salad
steamed green veggies – broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, snow peas, green beans
Nut butter – NOT peanut butter though.
I let myself have 3 ‘free’ meals a week (I not going to use the word cheat anymore!) and up to 7 glasses of red wine a week (so far i’m averaging about 0.5/week) and you know what? now that I’m allowing myself to have the odd freebie here and there I don’t feel the need to anymore – I haven’t had a piece of chocolate, or biscuits or cakes since Christmas. I did have some gelato last sunday though as a freebie and I had a few glasses of wine when out the other day, but thats it. The cravings have gone, my raging sweet tooth has gone (good riddance!) and now that I’ve put some structure into my eating I’m feeling a lot more relaxed and in control.
I’m averaging about 1500 calories a day, roughly 50% protein, 30% fat, 20% carbs. The good thing about this plan is that if I want a skinny day I just take out the lunch carbs or nut butter, and when I’m able to get back into training properly I can add in an extra portion of brown rice/sweet potato/berries for a quick extra 100 – 200 calories. Easy.
so what is your off season plan? Do you have one? Are you fighting yourself about your food choices? Are you beating yourself up every time you look at a piece of chocolate?
If you don’t know where to start then I recommend you get this months Oxygen Magazine - its the workout special with Lindy Olsen on the cover looking amazing!
Towards the back is a very clear, sensible approach to off season – it includes a suggested meal plan and ideas on training setup and it should keep you at a state where preparing for comps becomes easy.
What are you waiting for? Try it – you’ll probably be glad you did!
Lindys Lunch Lessons