by Kris Pitcher
It's interesting to watch competitors hit the "panic stage". The point in their preparation where they want to be ready, they aren't ready, and it may not be possible to speed up the process enough to get them where they thought they could get.
It makes me think about where they started. When they started...and what they did during their off season. Were they the one racing to see how much "bad" food and drink they could get in after their last contest? Were they the one who pushed the envelope of how much they could gain?
Did they fool themselves into thinking they were gaining muscle when they were really just getting fat? Did they reach their coach's "weight limit" and then go over...by a lot? Your starting point determines a lot about how your prep is going to go.
That very same person will want things fixed when they don't see the progress they want. They'll want you to work some magic, give them some pill. There is no pill, no magic. It takes as long as it takes. And it takes a lot longer if you've gone off the rails during your off season.
My point, is advocacy for a clean off season. A calculated off season. An off season with your prep in mind. If you find yourself all excited about progress, excessively, during your prep - you might have started in a less than ideal place. What can you do about it? Start in a better place next time.
Each prep is a cycle. We learn, it's a progression. We become better able to tolerate more, we want more. We're able to make the jump in our thinking. Off season isn't about digging in to the food we didn't get during prep. It's about preparing our bodies for the next prep.
For me, it's about a mind-set of opportunity, not oppression. It's not about getting what I couldn't have. It's about making myself better. I don't go into my off season ready to punish the world by eating a bunch of garbage. Uh? What would that do for me?
So, if you go into your off season mad, and raging for food...don't be surprised when your prep is harder than mine. Or when you're not ready in time. Or when all that weight you gained wasn't muscle after all. Don't hit the panic stage. Just do the work. Do it off season and do it during prep. The end.