Thursday, December 15, 2011

Off Season Journal

So you’ve got yourself in the groove and you are clicking on all cylinders in the gym now. You have your anaerobic workouts all set up and you have your aerobic workouts all set. Yeah you feel it every time you step into the gym, because your goals and your gains are being met right? Ok nobody thinks like this all the time and more often than not most people find themselves taking the opposite approach. I hear you, and trust me I hear you more this time of the year than any time of the year, since I am in off season and packing on some fat. THIS IS NOT A BAD THING! Well it depends on who you are and what your goals are anyway. I want men and women to differentiate what I am about to say now because this is not sexism, it is realism, and if you accept this it will make your life a whole lot better.

God wasn’t very kind to the woman when it comes to diet and exercise. We all know it, and often we accept this as a fact but there are distinct advantages to being a woman as well despite the fact that there are a lot more to being a man. I also want to put you in a different mindset as to what the disadvantages of both are too. First and we all know it, men can shed weight a lot faster than women can if they try. It’s unfair, but you need to look at the opposite end of that as well, because women can put on weight a lot faster and not just on the hips. It’s a double edged sword because to be a woman that makes the cover of Cosmopolitan you need to be scrawny with a few minor curves, which a man can do easy enough, but to be on the cover of Men’s Health it is quite the opposite.

My symmetry which can be reasonably impressive at times came from many years of dedication to bodybuilding and it is generally as taxing as trying to diet if not a hell of a lot worse. I can scrawny out my waist fast enough, but can I get my arms bigger and my chest to stand out impressively without a lot of hard work? Well hell no I can’t, and neither can anyone. Women can actually pack on some pounds but never in the right places, but believe it or not they can also gain really good musculature and definition without having to pack on calories. In lies the dirty little secret, but if I don’t “bulk up” and let myself get a bit out of shape every year in my eating habits I will never make significant muscle gains. My body will continually cannibalize my muscles in order to get the “right kind of calories” during the times I diet. Thus I have an “off season” when it is too cold to show off my body anyway where I pack on the back boobs {the fat rolls on your lower back above your belt line that overweight men allow to push their pants down and then brag about how they can’t keep their pants up} and then have to spend the spring taking them off for the beach. Its life and once you accept it you have a better life and a better body for the summer when it matters.

Women on the other hand can get into a total state of thermogenesis in which they work damn hard to get to a point they want to be at, and then they simply can maintain it. They have no need to “bulk up” to be attractive and feel better about themselves, and also can get sinewy along the way without going mental over protein to fat balances. It becomes a pure calorie thing with them and how they manage those and what they eat doesn’t exactly effect how they look. Some women will argue that they can’t just eat anything they want, which is only partially true. You can have chocolate, you just have to subtract the 200 calories of a Hershey bar from your daily out take. Many find it more prudent to eat an entire bag of carrots for about the same calories and not be craven for more food, but the effects afterwards are identical if the calories are. Hell the chocolate might even have better vitamins in it for a female’s metabolism.

Now if you are a man reading this I want you to know that the best thing to do when packing on muscle in the off season is to find those spots in your routine that just don’t work right. Given my recent neck injury I have taken time to truly isolate my muscles and find the points that just don’t work. In my case for an example it would be the incline bench press. I can flat bench in the upper 200s but can only incline in the lower 100s and that is a sick drop off. In my case it is important to be realistic and remember that most men {and myself at one time} can bench MORE in an incline, so now I am working on strengthening that and at least gaining some balance there. It was something that dropped off because my mind was worried about injury. If you have one of these points, then welcome to the off season. Get working on it like you get working on the muscles for next summer.