by Jonna Edwinson
I take pride in being a no meat, drug free athlete. The amount of time and effort it takes to build during off season makes muscle a very special product of hard work in the gym. Now a big question that I run into a lot is how do you get from your heavy off season bulking phase to a lean enough bod while ensuring the maximum amount of muscle retention during contest prep? There are tons of programs out there that will get you lean and tight, but you want to train smart so that you aren’t losing all the muscle you’ve worked so hard for, right?
Off season is a very critical part to your competition in that you need to plan your meals accordingly. Proper ratios of carbs, protein, and fat are essential. We all know that protein is what builds muscle, and so everyone is always so fixated on high protein diets. However, Carbohydrates are known for retaining and producing muscle, and maintaining high energy. Be choosey with the timing of your consumption of carbs. The best times to eat high quality carb meals are pre and post work outs and breakfast. And be careful…. As your weight and lean body mass goes up, so does your body fat. Some cardio should be integrated into your program to stay on pace for weight loss.
Maintaining the most muscle possible while dieting has to be planned and measured. This means, counting your macro nutrients daily, and getting body fat tests monthly to see where you need to make changes within your program. My biggest tip I can give to you is to plan your offseason and pre-contest so you don’t have to lose fat too quickly. This means, don’t go overboard during off season thinking you can eat whatever it is that you want, because reality will hit and you will be on the treadmill doing double days to shed 6 lbs a week. You will surely lose everything you’ve worked so hard for very fast. Set carb levels as high as possible while still staying on pace with weight loss and target your carbs to support muscle retention.