It’s October! One of my favourite times of year. Why you ask? Well its the middle of the second competitive season for body building in Australia for 2016. Some have competed already, others are just ramping up for, or going through their peak weeks. It’s an exciting time and as a coach and professional body builder, I am filled with nerves and excitement for my athletes.
I have been competing and coaching for years so I am accustomed to the highs and lows of competitive body building- the exhilarating feeling of stepping on stage and knowing that you are presenting the best version of you, and the not so exhilarating times overcoming injury or the challenges of any prep.
I have always been someone who is self-aware and accepting of all that life presents me, the good, the bad and the ugly. I have learned over the years, particularly during my professional sporting career, that you have to be self-accepting of all stages of your journey. Some parts are definitely more fun than others but all parts of the journey combine to make the whole experience worthwhile.
A lot of people and athletes get caught up trying to maintain their ‘on season’ body all the time. They place enormous pressure on themselves to be stage ready all year round but in doing so they overlook that the journey ‘post’ stage is just as important as the journey ‘to’ stage. Forgetting about the importance of reversing out and undertaking a solid development season.
This means reversing out with structure and a solid growth plan. Being patient and giving your body time to recharge after the rigours of peak week and prep. I see a lot of people either not reversing out properly, or jumping straight into another prep season and overlooking the gains that can be achieved immediately post comp with the right structure and good supps.
Too often people try to hang on to the body they have on stage and sacrifice progress in the process. In doing so though, they forget that in order to gain something new, you have to give up something old. So in order to gain that extra mass, a bigger back, glutes or whatever your goal may be, you may need to say good bye (temporarily!) to your six pack. But trust me, it will be worth it in the long run.
For me in my off-season, rather than getting caught up about losing my conditioning, I accept that gaining a ‘little fluff’ is necessary in order to grow. I still stay lean but I give myself the flexibility to enjoy some of the simple pleasures in life. I choose to look at my off-season as a chance to reset and work on my goals, rather than an opportunity to berate myself for not having stage conditioning, and I focus on doing the work to improve my development zones and planning the next version of me that I will rock on stage.
Key to my off season, just like during my competitive ‘on season’, is using the right supplements to achieve maximum results. So where I would normally be focused on cutting and using products like Bulk nutrients [thermowhey], [AM-PM Burner], [Acetyl Carnitine] and [Green Tea Extract], I shift to more growth focused supps [BCAAs], [Creatine], [WPI] and [total meal replacement] shakes for when I’m on the run. Good supplementation is important all year round!
Body building and competing is a journey and one of its most important lessons is that of self-acceptance throughout the whole process. Being proud of your off season body just as important as being proud of the package you bring to stage. That doesn’t mean you have to settle for anything than your best, but it does mean accepting that your ‘best’ will change as you cycle throughout the competitive season. Each part of your journey requires a different version of you, and those who are successful in being their best and accepting themselves at all stages of the process, well, they are the ones who truly succeed!