That may seem like a bold statement, but it’s 1000% true. Yes…1000%!
Let me tell you how I discovered this undeniable and under-appreciated truth…
By word of mouth, my coaching services have exploded off the charts. I’m actually having to turn people down because I’m overloaded. This isn’t a complaint – I love getting people dialed in and I’m very grateful that people trust me to get them in the best shape of their life, but what I’m realizing more and more is that had these people approached me earlier than 8-12 weeks out (heck I have some people come to me 2 weeks out expecting miracles!), I’d be able to do soooo much more for them. I feel very limited and frustrated.
Let me explain…
The truth is, it’s fairly easy to get someone lean (if they listen). That’s really not the issue IMO. What I see as being the potential problem though is what’s left after all the fat is gone?! I.e. do you look more like a distance runner than a physique competitor? If so, something’s wrong! (And I’m not talking about when a client or coach screws up and ends up dieting off a bunch of muscle – that’s a whole different problem)
You need to remember that once you begin the reduced calorie stage of your pre-contest prep, you’re not going to put on any muscle! If you slacked prior to this point (and I’ve been guilty of this too), it’s going to show onstage.
Think of it this way:
A sculptor can’t make a masterpiece if there’s not enough clay!
Sure you can win contests on conditioning alone, but that’s only going to get you so far. Once you get past the smaller local shows, you need to have both size and conditioning.
There are two big places where people can drop the ball – training and correct food intake. In my experience, it’s been the latter that is the problem with most people. A lot of competitors can train hard year round, but eat like crap (either not enough or not the right foods) when not in a pre-contest phase.
Now listen…TRUST ME….I know how hard it is to eat to grow in the “offseason” without an impending contest date in sight (I’ve been blessed with the appetite of a small bird). But the harsh reality is that we need to put in our time in during this phase if we want to excel in this sport.
Forget about the whole concept of the “offseason” completely. There’s no such thing in our sport!
Approach the mass accumulation phase of your season in an organized and disciplined fashion. Use this time to make the gains you need. You’re sowing seeds of progress that you’ll later harvest onstage!
Taking this approach will not only allow you (1.) to gain muscle, (2.) a smooth, gradual transition into your contest diet, and (3.) an easier diet overall since you’ll have less bodyfat to lose due to eating pretty clean in advance. It’s a win-win-win-win…
(the fourth “win” is that it makes my job a whole lot easier too!)