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  • The HEALTHIEST offseason approach

    There has been a lot of discussion again lately about what is the better approach for the offseason, so I would like to discuss with an open mind what would be the healthier option ?

    A. Get as heavy as possible while staying relatively lean

    - it ain't pretty
    - it ain't comfortable
    - you are 'big' all year round
    - creating extra stretchmarks ?
    - is it healthy gaining that much weight ?
    - it works !

    B. Back down, give your body some rest and stay as lean as possible, then blow up come contest time

    - look good all your round
    - more comfortable
    - you are relatively small all year round
    - you are primed to 'blow up'
    - it works !

    Both approaches have been proven to work, but which approach would you prefer and why ?

    What would you consider the HEALTHIER option and why ?
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  • #2
    Could you maybe give me an example of someone that uses the latter strategy? I'm not sure how this would work in practice.
    Disclaimer: I am not a DC trainee/expert/guru/coach, anything I say is purely my opinion based on experience and research I've read

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Carlito Gambino View Post
      Could you maybe give me an example of someone that uses the latter strategy? I'm not sure how this would work in practice.
      Kevin Levrone and Evan Centopani (last year) are great examples. Also, old school bodybuilders used to do this often...

      I also met Jay Cutler once in his offseason and he said he was a lot smaller than on the Olympia. But he was still very lean...
      Last edited by jvandemo; 06-21-2011, 07:10 AM.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by Carlito Gambino View Post
        Could you maybe give me an example of someone that uses the latter strategy? I'm not sure how this would work in practice.
        Dusty Hanshaw.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Quadriceps View Post
          Dusty Hanshaw.
          I read in an old issue of Muscle and Fitness that Phil Heath was fairy lean in the off-season as well.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Daniel7908 View Post
            I read in an old issue of Muscle and Fitness that Phil Heath was fairy lean in the off-season as well.
            Yeah, but we're not just talking about just staying lean I think, more like using small amounts of supplements during off season and then much more pre-contest and grow into the show. I think Heath still uses off-season to make gains and pre-contest just to diet down.

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            • #7
              Ah yes I see it now...I recall Levrone doing this yeah. I'm not sure what would be healthier, but I'd probably prefer the latter strategy because I don't really like looking "fat". It would seem that the first strategy would be "easier" though. It also seems a bit like the strategy Dante would recommend for guys that wanna get big fast (http://intensemuscle.com/showpost.ph...30&postcount=2). I'm just wondering how effective number 2 really is for putting on serious size. Obviously when you're at a pro level things work very different, but how would this work for an intermediate level guy (let's say he's 185lbs at 6', with a few years under his belt) that wants to make some serious gains (225+ at around 12% BF).
              Disclaimer: I am not a DC trainee/expert/guru/coach, anything I say is purely my opinion based on experience and research I've read

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Carlito Gambino View Post
                Ah yes I see it now...I recall Levrone doing this yeah. I'm not sure what would be healthier, but I'd probably prefer the latter strategy because I don't really like looking "fat". It would seem that the first strategy would be "easier" though. It also seems a bit like the strategy Dante would recommend for guys that wanna get big fast (http://intensemuscle.com/showpost.ph...30&postcount=2). I'm just wondering how effective number 2 really is for putting on serious size. Obviously when you're at a pro level things work very different, but how would this work for an intermediate level guy (let's say he's 185lbs at 6', with a few years under his belt) that wants to make some serious gains (225+ at around 12% BF).
                Yeah, when you get to a certain level you simply aren't going to put on 10-20 pounds between shows like newbies can, so then method number 2 may be the way to go. But when you're at 190 lbs on stage at 6 feet for example, you need to add overall muscle, and preferably as fast as possible. But at the level Dusty is you can't just eat eat eat and let the muscle fall whereever it does. You need to make quality gains and focus on weaker bodyparts. That's how I see it.

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                • #9
                  Something I have seen come up on the board more lately, especially for those guys over 30, that should be included in keeping your offseason health is paying attention to the little things like mobility, tissue quality, activation work, and core strength. These are all little things that aren't very glamorous to bodybuilders since you don't see the immediate payoff in the mirror or on the scale. But, with all the injuries, and aches & pains, spending more time in your offseason focusing on those and getting into a habit of working on them I think would pay dividends down the road.

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                  • #10
                    Those 2 options are completely opposite, I think the healthiest approach would be a middle ground between both and the reasons are obvious.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Knickerbocker24 View Post
                      Something I have seen come up on the board more lately, especially for those guys over 30, that should be included in keeping your offseason health is paying attention to the little things like mobility, tissue quality, activation work, and core strength. These are all little things that aren't very glamorous to bodybuilders since you don't see the immediate payoff in the mirror or on the scale. But, with all the injuries, and aches & pains, spending more time in your offseason focusing on those and getting into a habit of working on them I think would pay dividends down the road.
                      Good point. (I am currently in a bulk phase). Here is what I'm doing...

                      -Regular Physical exams (making sure all health markers are in check)
                      -Stability Training
                      -Self Myofascial Release
                      -Massage Therapy
                      -Chiropractic Care

                      My current diet is somewhat of a carb cycling approach. My training right now is rather out of the box. Here's how it looks:

                      Day 1 2000 calories - High Protein, Low carbs, moderate fat, and no training.

                      Day 2 4000 Calories-High Protein, High fat, low carbs. This day is a full body stability training day. Core training is naturally part of this. I also use a lot of this workout to concentrate on different forms of Self Myofascial Release and Flexibility. This is a very light day and does not effect recovery (or at least very little). Cardio is 20-30 minutes of very light walking.

                      Day 3 6000 Calories-High Protein, High Carbs, low fat. This day is a full body workout as well, but I alternate between a Maximum Strength day and a Power Day. Think of it as a your normal Power Lifting Max Day and a Speed Day. Cardio is 20-30 minutes of very light walking.

                      Now this approach is specific for my goals. I barely made my class last show so I'm trying to go up a weight class for the next one. That being the case I'm being a little aggressive with calories. I am trying to stay at around 15%.

                      If I was on the lower end of my weight class last show and just needed a few pounds, then I would employ a different approach and try to stay leaner.
                      Last edited by Doberman; 06-21-2011, 10:54 AM.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Quadriceps View Post
                        Yeah, but we're not just talking about just staying lean I think, more like using small amounts of supplements during off season and then much more pre-contest and grow into the show. I think Heath still uses off-season to make gains and pre-contest just to diet down.
                        I didn't mean to say that he tried to stay lean all year round, but just that he'd mentioned something about not gaining that much body fat in the offseason. The article still included his off-season diet which, though extremely clean, contained an amount of whole foods that I might have been able to eat without feeling sick only between my mid teens and early twenties.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Knickerbocker24 View Post
                          Something I have seen come up on the board more lately, especially for those guys over 30, that should be included in keeping your offseason health is paying attention to the little things like mobility, tissue quality, activation work, and core strength. These are all little things that aren't very glamorous to bodybuilders since you don't see the immediate payoff in the mirror or on the scale. But, with all the injuries, and aches & pains, spending more time in your offseason focusing on those and getting into a habit of working on them I think would pay dividends down the road.
                          I think that should go for any lifter, regardless of age. I'm 21 and I do a ton of mobility work after I first realized how fragile my spine is. Honestly if I were to train anyone right now I would always prioritize foam rolling, mobility work, stretching (dynamic and static), McGill approved core work, etc.
                          I ignored it for the first few years of my lifting career and I paid the price for it, and so do a lot of lifters. It may come early, or it may come later but if you're hitting the weights like you should it's bound to come eventually.

                          Originally posted by Quadriceps View Post
                          Yeah, when you get to a certain level you simply aren't going to put on 10-20 pounds between shows like newbies can, so then method number 2 may be the way to go. But when you're at 190 lbs on stage at 6 feet for example, you need to add overall muscle, and preferably as fast as possible. But at the level Dusty is you can't just eat eat eat and let the muscle fall whereever it does. You need to make quality gains and focus on weaker bodyparts. That's how I see it.
                          Absolutely, that's what I was getting at as well. I think method 2 is preferable when you're at a pro level, whereas it probably would be less productive for a newer lifter.
                          Disclaimer: I am not a DC trainee/expert/guru/coach, anything I say is purely my opinion based on experience and research I've read

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                          • #14
                            both strategies CAN work but they have to fit into someone's overall lifestyle. everyone is different.

                            if you are a middleweight trying to jump classes than obviously putting on some serious offseason mass is your best option.

                            if you are a seasoned vet in the bodybuilding world and want to keep competing where you are at (weight wise), than staying somewhat leaner in the offseason is the practical approach.

                            it really depends on the persons history and future goals.
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                            • #15
                              It needs to be said by someone so beginners seeing this thread don't waste their time "resting." -Not sure option 2 would be possible for a natural, aside from the elite superfreak.
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