Since competing in the Men’s physique division after my kidney transplant, I’ve never had a proper offseason until now working with Rob. The main reason for this being that I have competed in 12 shows in just under 2 and a half years, at both amateur and pro level.
I had my kidney transplant in March 2018 and spent the summer recovering before getting back into some form of serious training in the September of that year. I competed for the first time in men’s physique in April 2019 and went onto do a total of 7 shows that year, the last being in October 19. The new year of 2020 rolled around and prep had begun already for the 2Bros Kingdom Classic so I had only had 2 months of downtime which I didn’t consider to an offseason at all. I turned pro later that year in September after prepping for over 9 months and all through the summer lockdowns of covid but then it was time to get ready for a pro debut which was set to be Portugal 2021 where I first met Rob as mentioned in my last article.
So 3 pro shows came and went with the final one of the season being The Arnold Classic UK where I had already decided that it was time for a rest from prep and to go into a proper offseason with Rob’s guidance. I was interested to see what was in store for me and I wasn’t disappointed.
In the past I’d competed as a bodybuilder. Not a particularly successful one but I’d had some regional wins and featured in a few British finals but back then, to me offseason was all about chasing the weight on the scales. It was almost a free for all in terms of food. There was some structure to it but it was always a case of the more calories the better! I topped the scales at just under 21 stone at my heaviest point but looking back I wouldn’t want to do that again. I’ve learned so much from Rob in the sense that offseason to a degree is just as important as prep in the way that we approach each phase. Knowing when to push and also when to back off.
After the Arnold’s I had a few days to relax but then it was back to business. I’d received my offseason plan from Rob and was super excited. The first thing that struck me compared to other offseason plans that I’d had was how detailed it was, all the way down to the last calorie which were significantly higher than prep. Rob provided me with a daily planner and a daily tracker, again something that I’d never been given before. I found that these tools really helped me to stay on track and still be accountable even though I was now in offseason. Each meal had a full breakdown of calories and macro nutrients so that I knew exactly what I was consuming each time I ate. Again, more carbs were timed around workouts but I now had carbs in every meal of the day along with more dietary fats. Foods was high and had a great variety throughout the day which meant I never crave anything at all. We’ve got some dark chocolate in there, some peanut butter, coco pops after training, why would I want to cheat on anything? There’s just no need to with foods like these. The daily tracker allows me to enter my bodyweight each and every morning which I still do. Why? Because it gives me an average weight over the week and over a period of time so that Rob can see a better overview of what is happening with my weight as it climbs and at what speed. After the short relaxing period after the Arnold’s my weight was 104kg due to an initial rebound from the show and over the weeks my weight began to climb gradually where Rob pushed my calories slightly in certain meals until we reached a weight of 111kg. With not wanting to sacrifice too much condition in the offseason, this is where Rob decided to pull me back a little and bring the weight down by a couple of kilos so that we can then push on again. He did this by firstly reducing calories mainly in the form of carbs but also by using another tool that I had previously never done until now and that was step counting. We’d used this through prep which I felt the benefits of massively but this keeps you extremely accountable during the offseason too. Like I said in the past I’d eat as much as possible and do as little as possible in order to gain as much weight as I could but I’ve realised now thanks to Rob that this isn’t the way to do it. So, by making me monitor steps this is still keeping my movement high which ultimately allows me to consume more food and to stay in better condition through the offseason. My daily steps during prep were 14-15k and in offseason Rob still had them high for me at 10k. But I liked it because again it kept me motivated to hit a daily target which is normally unfamiliar for an offseason. So when we hit the 111kg mark it was time to pull things in a little and up the steps to 11-12k a day. By doing this for a couple of weeks I was quickly back down to around 108.5kg. A nice weight for me to maintain before pushing on again after Christmas but also the timing of this has also allowed for a little freedom over Christmas too.
Check in’s were also something that were new to me in the offseason. In the past I was kind of given a plan and left to my own devices for 2 weeks at a time, but not with Rob. Check in’s are still done twice a week even through the offseason in the form of videos so there’s no hiding. This is good for me because again it provides that great deal of accountability where I can’t afford to slip up because Rob will immediately know that I’ve been up to no good!
Now around 3 months into this offseason plan and it’s been great for me both physically and mentally for keeping me on track for what I’m sure will be one of my most productive offseason periods to date. We’ve still got a good few months to go before thinking about any sort of prep but I’m sure when that time arrives we’ll be in a great place ready to see the improvements made for 2022!