What is the typical weight fluctuation that one should experience on-season versus off-season? This debate is ongoing. I feel there should not be a clear cut answer. This is based upon the different life styles of all us competitors. Some make the case that Men’s Physique competitor are not body builders and should look like Fitness Model year round. Others argue that the off-season this is the time to get as big as possible. If you are making money as a fitness model and/or required to shoot on a regular basis then you would obviously want to keep the body fat close to shoot ready and not really have an “off season.” If you are trying to put on as much mass as possible then you would want to eat as much as you can to help those muscle grow.Gaining muscle is the result when a force or resistance is applied to a muscle group, the muscle is broken down stretched and other wise altered. This however is just the initial phase of gaining muscles. It is actually during the body’s attempt to heal that altered muscle that it actually grows. So if you’re looking to pack on muscle post workout, what do you need to know?
People make most of their gains when they are in a caloric surplus. IE: When they eat more calories than they burn. In an elementary look: protein is what you body uses first for growth of tissue, carbohydrates are a quick source of energy, and fats are a back up source of energy. If you were to consume more than your maintenance required calories then you should by theory have all the tools to make gains. This is of course if you are putting in the time strength training and working out. If you just eat more calories than what your body requires and do not workout then you will be like most Americans and have a battle with the bulge. Most competitors spent half of the year on a diet that is calorie restrictive. This is when the competitors are losing weight and trying to hold on to all their gains that they have made when they were in a caloric surplus (off-season).
On-season life can be very taxing on the body. For those that choose to observe an Off-Season, they may experience a time where their bodies get the chance to regulate into a more normal functioning state. These competitors who find a good balance between eating clean and eating big in the off-season will obviously make the most lean gains in their off season.
When off-season keep in mind that the macro nutrient ratio is key when dieting as well as bulking. This is where a good nutritionist/diet coach is worth every penny. I was one of the guys early in my career that took the off season bulking phases literally and would consume everything that I could stomach. I would make great strength gains and I would make great strides on the scale; however, I was not lean. I was bulking up 20 -30 plus pounds, but I was gaining more fat than muscle and it was apparent when I dropped back down to my stage weight that I had only gained a pound or two if I were lucky. This year I went on an actual off season plan and have gained nearly the same amount of weight that I had in the past; however, it has been much more lean and I will plan on coming to the stage bigger and better than last year. Smart training AND eating goes along way. Make a plan and train with purpose.