Off Season Dieting Is A Must!

You want to build on what you have accomplished and do even better next year. But for now, its time to chow down and eat the foods you have deprived yourself of for the last 4 months.
Ok…You completed the season and have done very well. You won your class in one contest, even won the overall in the other. You want to build on what you have accomplished and do even better next year. But for now, its time to chow down and eat the foods you have deprived yourself of for the last 4 months. You don't have to worry about what you eat until next year when pre-contest time comes again. Besides its time to put on more mass! But wait….that is a classic mistake that most bodybuilders make.

The Off Season

Controlling your eating habits in the off-season is just as important as pre-contest. This is where some of the best "muscle gaining" can happen. If not done properly, this can be where some of the best "fat gaining" can happen. Take me for example. When I completed the 2000 bodybuilding season I weighed in at the Texas State Bodybuilding Championships, which was held in August, at 144 pounds. By December I was at 170 and when pre-contest time came I was 176 pounds. My body fat had gone from 5.5 to 16 percent. By the time I completed the 2001 season I worked really hard and dieted far to long (Feb through October) to reach the conditioning that I wanted. I lost 28 pounds and in the process. Twenty one of those pounds were fat and 7 was muscle. Not bad, but I really had to diet.

During the off-season I made a commitment to myself to try and stay as lean as possible but also to put on some quality mass. Remember, I put on 32 pounds the previous off-season. My goal during the off-season was to carry no a maximum of 20 pounds of body fat on my frame. In October when I competed in my last show I was at 5 percent again. I weighed in at 148 pounds. So starting out I already had 7.4 pounds of fat. To reach my goal I could not gain more that 13 pounds of fat. I looked at what I had been eating all along and looked at what I could add that was clean. Clean are foods that are not processed or foods that are packaged and contained the word "Hydrolyzed". This is a process that food is placed through to make their shelf life last longer in the stores. Foods that go through this process usually convert to fat easier.

With all that in mind, here is the diet that I came up with and have been following since October of last year:

Current Eating Schedule

Meal 1:
Protein shake (however many scoops it takes to get 40g)
1 tsp flax oil
4 egg whites
1 whole egg
1 cup of dried oats(not the instant packaged to much sugar)
3 packets of splenda sweetener
Dash of cinnamon

Meal 2:
Protein shake (40g) or Protein Bar
1 tsp of Flax oil
1 grapefruit
or
6 oz Chicken Breast
1 cup broccoli

Meal 3:
6-8oz of Chicken breast
3/4 cup of brown rice
2 cups of veggies

Meal 4:
Protein Shake (40g)
1 tsp Flax oil
1 grapefruit
or
6 oz Chicken Breast
1 cup broccoli

Meal 5:
5-6 boiled egg whites
1/2 grapefruit
½ cup of oats
2 packets of splenda sweetener.
dash of cinnamon.

Meal 6:
6-8 oz Chicken Breast
2 cups mixed veggies
or 2 slices of wheat bread
1 slice Fat Free Cheese.

Meal 7:
3 egg whites 1 whole egg
1 slice fat free turkey breast From Deli
1 slice Fat Free cheese
1/2 protein bar.

Water:
1- 2 gallons.

On Saturday only, I had a reward meal that consisted of a king-burger, onion rings, and an order of nachos from Larry's (a local restaurant), and would go out to eat for dinner.

The results,……well I start my pre-contest diet on June 1st and my current weight is 164 pounds, my body fat is currently at 8.6% , my lean mass is 149 pounds, and my fat pounds are at 14.

Year Body Weight Mass Pounds Fat Pounds
2001 176/148 lbs 164 12 lbs
2002 148/141 lbs. 141/149 8 lbs
Difference 28.16/7.4 lbs 14.104 14 lbs

For my efforts, I will not have to diet so hard or do so much cardio to get shredded. I have half the fat pounds that I had last year. That means retaining mass will be easier.

As for the diet above, I plan on using the same diet in my contest preparation for the 2002 season. As the weeks go by I will start making the carb servings smaller and eventually going back to my pre-contest mode.

Example:

Meal 1 - The oatmeal would be lowered to 3/4 cup and then 1/2 cup.

Meal 2 - The brown rice down to 1/2 cup and then eventually eliminated. At this time I would change meal three to Chicken with 2 cups of lettuce, carrots, cucumber, and vinaigrette with one packet of Splenta.

Leafy stuff and fruit (mainly grapefruit) will be the main source of carbs.

As far as supplements go, here they are in order of importance (in my opinion):

Protein powder
Multivitamin
Creatine
Glutamine (mainly during the cutting phase)
BCAAs (mainly during the cutting)

Here are some Misconceptions:

Spices and Pre-Contest Diet:

I used them up until the week of the contest. Your sodium intake must be constant. That doesn't mean go crazy with it. Use it to make the chicken bearable. Last week you will have to lower it

Eating out:

Texas Land & Cattle is a bodybuilders dream. I ate the Chicken Breast with plain sweet potato or baked, with a salad and diet coke. All the way to 1 1/2 weeks out.

Protein Bars:

I ate these even the day of my contest. If my memory is correct, I ate 3 of them......maybe 4. Just make sure to read the label and ensure that the sugar content is 5grams or lower. I recommend the Isopure Solid Protein bars. They are great. Eating 1/2 of one before bed was almost like a cheat meal that really wasn't a cheat meal.

Popsicles:

Sugar free fudge-sickles and bomb-pops where consumed 2 or three days a week until 3 weeks out. Having one with meal 6 only added 20 to 40 calories.

I guess that is it. Some may not agree with me.......but these are the principles that I live by and the result was an overall title. I am competing this yr in Las Vegas to get my pro card in the WNBF and this diet will be what I follow like I did last yr. Some self promotion, check out my website at: www.martinarredondo.com/