The majority of competitors understand the importance of the offseason but with so many conflicting resources, it can be hard to know where to start. This article is written towards physique athletes who have prepped for a competition but these same principles can be applied to strength athletes and non-competitors who have dieted. The following outlines my top four steps to making the most of your offseason!

 

Step One – Have a plan

While this may seem obvious, having a plan for your offseason is so important! Do not feel pressured to stick to the original plan since you will need to be flexible as the offseason progresses – but having an initial plan set up for post competition is crucial to long term success. Consistency rules the offseason. Being consistent day in and day out is above anything else on the totem pole of importance. Will be there be days where you slip up, fall off your diet or training program? Of course. These days should be expected and built into your offseason plan by not setting up something that is unattainable to begin with. If you know that you have 4 days to dedicate to training, don’t write a ‘perfect program’ on a 6 day split just to miss the mark each week (this can also be psychologically damaging). Same goes for diet – if you are someone who cannot see yourself feasibly eating off a meal plan or something very restrictive, why set yourself up for failure? Instead set your plan up for fit your lifestyle and goals – this will in turn make your more consistent which will always produce the optimal results.

Avoiding yo-yoing is also a key component to having a successful offseason. Having a plan eliminates yo-yoing to some degree but only if your plan is sustainable and maintainable. Whether it is yo-yoing with your diet (overeat then under-eat) or training (fall off for a week or two then exercise excessively), these up and down cycles will wreak havoc on your progress. You will be stuck spinning your wheels and hindering consistency to the plan – which we’ve already identified as a key component to your offseason success. Part of having a plan is to create a list of realistic goals you want to hit. Thinking unrealistically will lead you into psychological pitfalls and do more harm than good. For example, as a physique athlete, comparing yourself to your stage physique and thinking you can (and should) maintain that year round can lead to feelings of disappointment, discouragement and ultimately may lead to bingeing and/or binge eating tendencies. This is where having realistic goals falls perfectly into having a plan.

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