Guide to a Successful Off-Season with IFBB Pro Brad Rowe
We all want to grow like weeds and achieve something supernatural in a short period of time. But many make mistakes when trying to make progress.
More is not always more, and less is not always more. There is a balance that must be had in order to achieve results, and one of the biggest factors is TIME. We all want things yesterday so we do what we think is needed to get there as fast as possible.
This leads me to one of the first pitfalls of a successful off season. You have the athletes that know you need a caloric surplus to fuel the body to push hard in the gym and to repair that broken down muscle tissue into larger fibers. But this has been taken to extremes by some with such a surplus of calories and lack of that gains snatching cardio that the athlete just packs on excessive fat and slows the body down. Whether it’s an excess of clean or dirty food, those calories still get converted to fat. When the body is handling such an excess of food (especially shit food that people love to pound in the off season) digestion and absorption become compromised, insulin sensitivity becomes compromised, and we become fat building, not muscle building machines.
Then you have the athletes on the opposite spectrum (I am guilty as charged at times) who are not taking in enough calories and doing too much cardio in order to keep out InstaGram worthy physiques. The body needs fuel and it needs to be able to recover. So constantly eating in a maintenance or for some a caloric restriction and doing hours of cardio a week will not result in great progress no matter how much hormones you throw at the body.
There has to be a happy medium of eating above maintenance and keeping in some cardio to keep the body in a productive state. Again too fat is not productive from so many metabolic and health levels nor is too lean. Eat slightly above maintenance and keep some moderate cardio in to improve metabolism and digestion and slowly add food as needed. Cardio should never be cut out as it has too many benefits but keep it to 4-5 20-30 min sessions and don’t be afraid to toss in some HIIT cardio as well.
Products like Ravenous and Matador come in really great for the off season as controlling digestion and your ability to absorb nutrients (the biggest key here) with Ravenous, and controlling blood sugar levels to reduce stress on your own pancreas and shuttle those much needed carbs to storage to use for repairing and pushing through your intense training as opposed to being converted into fat and making you look like the Michelin Man!
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