In the continuation of my #fitblog series on my experiences in natural bodybuilding and my competition season, we move into the realm of what some refer to as the dreaded and often much anticipated “off-season” or “bulking season.”
This point in time for most bodybuilders is not our most “glamorous” time. Don’t expect to see that skimpy swimsuit on us, ripped and stage ready shredded. This is the part of our sport where we go back to being “normal” people with an edge. Still fit and lean with a little extra padding on our muscles while still maintaining a small degree of our definition, compliments of our lifestyle and dietary discipline. #IIFYM!
We allow ourselves to gain weight, some more than others unfortunately. i use the Rule of 10! No more than 10 pounds over the weight of my last competition. Bulking is a horrible misnomer for some, because they immensely interpret it as eat any and everything and get big. When in fact it’s the opposite, yes you eat more, but we still keep it clean with the occasional cheat meal. That’s how you stay within the appropriate weight range for competition prep. Gain slow, true muscle mass grows slowly.
During this time we also begin to train differently. Our workouts change, the schedule changes, our focus is on progressive strength and mass gains. Maximal muscle hypertrophy and endurance. There’s a lot of work at stake. Once you have your feedback from the judges, that becomes the precedence for your building season. Building up the areas you were critiqued on most and maintaining the areas you were praised for the most, making them even better for next season.
Don’t for one think that the “off season” from competing is an inactive one. Hence the reason I like to call it the “building season” and here’s why:
1. Growth – adding additional calories, adds fuel to help the body, specifically your muscles, to grow, hence the moderate weight gain within healthy reason
2. Strength – in the midst added fat free mass, and caloric energy, your body becomes stronger as evidence by being able to lift heavier with each week of your training. I keep the focus of my workouts on the primary big lifts, bench, squat, deadlifts, etc, those compound exercises that facilitate maximal muscle recruitment from multiple muscle groups using more muscle fibers in one rep.
3. Rest – nothing grows under constant stress all of the time. Stress is detrimental to muscular development. This is the season when you rest from your labor, actively of course. Allow yourself an extra rest day from lifting, you should be lifting heavier than during competition prep, so your body will need the additional recovery time to grow.
In this sport the old adage is true: “Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is the body, so Lift Heavy, Lift Often…EatClean, Build Lean. To be continued..I AM CANDICE MARIA