Setting a fat loss goal and working towards it can be extremely motivating! Each week, you’re seeing your measurements drop or watching the scale go down, you’re starting to feel leaner, clothing is fitting you differently, and it’s all very straightforward and empowering.
But… what about when that is all over? What about when you’ve reached your goal and you’re no longer focusing on fat loss? What happens then
As hard as a diet can be, the time that comes afterward can be even harder for some athletes (both bodybuilding competitors and noncompetitors alike). We call this time an “offseason “ when you’re no longer in a caloric deficit and even though it is one of the best times to make progress, it can be a hard animal to tackle!
The offseason is a prime time to build muscle, get stronger in your lifts, restore hormonal levels, and to build up your metabolic capacity with increased calories. All of this sounds amazing (and it is) but when compared to dieting it can feel a little slow. Because of this, those of us in an offseason can often feel like we’re wandering around aimlessly. This can lead to second-guessing the process, unnecessary stress, and possibly thinking about re-entering a diet phase (which is the LAST thing you want to do).
How can you go about conquering the offseason? My best suggestion is to set several different goals. I’ve narrowed it down to these four areas – diet, training, mindset, and life goals.
- Focus on increasing calories to give you the ability to eat more! This will help you to feel stronger in your training, more energetic throughout the day, and will give you the room you need to cut down calories the next time you work towards a fat loss goal
- Really use this time to get a good grip on all the little details of your nutrition like micronutrients and fiber
- Try out some new recipes that didn’t fit your calories during your deficit
- The offseason is the perfect time to really push things in your training. Set some goals to hit new personal records on your lifts or finally get that pull up you’ve been after!
- Incorporate different types of physical activity into your weekly routine. Try a yoga class, dance class, or take up a sport that has interested you!
- Focus on personal development. Read new books, listen to new podcasts, and get into a fresh mental state! During a diet, it’s easy to let these things fall to the wayside
- Take up meditation, yoga, journaling or any activity that helps you to refill and recharge each day
- Go on a trip with a significant other. Heck…go on a trip all by yourself! But do it without having to stress about weighing/measuring the foods you are eating!
- Take off the prep (or diet) goggles and enjoy time with family, friends, and loved ones! It’s nice to not have your diet or goal be at the forefront of your life all the time.
Take the time to sit down and figure out a concrete goal for each of these areas. You will feel much more focused and excited over the offseason period. But remember – it is OK to take actually time OFF – to recover both mentally and physically. Sometimes it takes time to re-energize, rest, and re-ignite that passion you have to compete or work towards fat loss.
Just always keep in mind, “What you do in the offseason will determine how you do in the regular season.” -George Allen