Thursday, 19 April 2012

Lean Mass During The Off Season

Q: How do you stay lean during the off season and still put on solid lean muscle? - Pat Guelph

A: The best way to approach this question is to look at your off season as a building phase and not a typical off season. During the off season is your time to build on your weaknesses and continue to put on quality muscle. To do this, you must have a solid training program and diet that matches your goals. You simply can't eat what you want and expect to look good. A lot of people that I see think they can eat whatever they want in the off season and then they question why they are getting fat.

First let's look at the diet. A mass building diet should be a strict clean diet that is comprised of clean food sources. Your overall daily intake of calories should be better 400-500 extra calories above what you burn in a day. This will allow you to gain 0.8 to 1 pound of body weight a week which is the most you should strive to achieve. A lot of the same principles of dieting exist during the mass phase. Carbohydrates should be focused first thing in the morning and post workout from complex carbs such as oatmeal, sweet potato, wild rice and brown rice. Protein supplies should be from a wide range of protein sources including egg protein, beef protein, white fish, and chicken. It's also important to add in vegetables to your diet so that you remain healthy and strong. Green veggies such as spinach, broccoli, green peppers. Healthy fats are also a must in your diet as well, so think about consuming natural nut butters, avocado, and olive oil. Allow yourself to have one cheat meal a week, keep it clean and make sure it doesn't include anything deep fried. Pasta, sushi, pizza, ext. are good muscle building foods that you should consider for your cheat meal.

When it comes to training, it's important to stimulate your muscles on an ongoing basis that allows them just enough time to recover before you hit them again. As a natural athlete, your body stops protein synthesis after 48 hours of stimulating a particular muscle group. This means that you should be hitting every muscle group twice a week to get maximum growth. Lifting heavy is a must and lifting each set as close to failure as possible within your desired rep range is a must. Place your weaker muscle groups at the beginning of the week to make sure that you hit them when your fresh and so that you get them twice a week. Major lifts such as squats, chest press, dead lifts, and rows should be placed at the start of your workout.

Cardio is something that you should do all year around to maintain a healthy heart and keep up your stamina during your lifts. Doing 3 cardio sessions a week after your weight training session will keep you trim and running smoothly.

Train Hard and Keep It Sweaty!  

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