Many fitness enthusiast
will enjoy an on-season and an off-season during the year. The on-season is when they diet down, step up their cardio, and aim to get as lean and ripped as possible. Some compete on stage, some diet down for photoshoots, and some simply aim to get ripped for the summer so they can look great on the beach with no shirt on. The real hard work begins during the off-season. Off-season bodybuilding is very different to on-season training. During the off-season bodybuilders aim to build as much muscle mass and strength as possible, so that when they diet down the next year, they look even better while ripped. Off-season bodybuilding
for muscle mass however, is not as easy as you think, so here’s a look at some common training and nutritional mistakes made by fitness enthusiast
trying to bulk up. Not doing cardio –
After spending a good several months performing cardio several times per week, the off-season can provide a welcome break from tedious cardio sessions week in and week out. You don’t want to be lean and ripped when bulking, but that doesn’t mean that you should ignore cardio altogether. Performing a few cardio sessions each week, I.E two or three 30 minute moderate sessions, you certainly won’t lose any muscle, but you may lose a little fat, which is great. Cardio will also boost your metabolism and increase your appetite, so you can take in more calories and gain more size and strength. As you are training heavy during the off-season, you need plenty of energy from calories, so stop ignoring cardio altogether. Dirty bulking –
After coming off of a cut and starting a bulking phase, many bodybuilders will have an all-out binge-eating session. A treat after several months of hard dieting and training is fine, but off-season bodybuilding is not about eating as much junk food as you like. Dirty bulking is basically when people get the majority of their calories from unhealthy foods and drinks. As mentioned, you can relax with your diet and have a treat now and then, but you still need to make sure you are consuming plenty of healthy, wholesome, natural foods full of nutrients. Not performing enough compound exercises –
Compound exercises are exercises which recruit multiple muscle groups at once. This basically means that, by performing one exercise, you are working several parts of your body simultaneously. The key to growth during the off-season is heavy, compound exercises, yet a lot of bodybuilders do not perform enough of them. Instead, they base their training around machines and isolation exercises. Of course isolation exercises and machines should be used when training, but ideally these should be done at the end of your session, once you’ve performed your heavy compound movements. Skipping your meals –
If you want to grow, you need to be in a constant caloric surplus, and there are no two ways about it. To some this may sound like heaven but it’s harder than you may think. During the off-season, you need to get enough calories in each day, no matter what. That means that, even if you’re not hungry, you still need to force a meal down your neck, or drink a mass gain shake or protein shake. If you skip meals, you won’t get the calories and macros and you just will not grow.