My off-season training and eats

October 13, 2015

Now I’m back in the groove of blogging, let’s talk bodybuilding.

Even though – as explained in my “comeback post” 😉 – I don’t have any definite plans for competing again, I’m still training and (mostly) living like a bodybuilder. Just not one that’s prepping for a show.

I’m in the gym 4-5 times per week, and still doing a BB-type training split. I experimented with a DUP-style training approach for a while (bench, squat and deadlift) but felt restricted and missed the variety and volume. I also limited myself to just one leg session per week for a while, but started pining for a separate hams/glutes session.

So, basically, I’m back to the same split as when I’m competing. The only difference now is that I’m a bit more flexible and intuitive. I always know which “bits” I’m training, and usually know what my main lifts will be, but I play it by ear after that. And if I end up training with someone, I’ll change things about to make the most of having a partner.

Here’s a sample week:

Mon: legs (squats/quads)
Tues: back
Weds: chest & triceps
Fri: shoulders & a bit more back
Sat: legs (hams/glutes)

I’m terrible about training arms. I find it really boring. I know, what a bad bodybuilder. I don’t mind training triceps to be fair, but bicep training bores me to death. I’ll usually tag along with Some Bloke in the gym (because almost every Bloke In The Gym seems to love training biceps). I also don’t really train calves although I know I should. I rarely train abs in the gym – I go boxing twice a week and we do a lot there, and I think my abs get a decent workout from deadlifts too.

In terms of cardio, I do a fair bit just because I really enjoy it. Don’t forget, I work at home and sit on my arse all day long. And I come from an endurance-sport background. So I actually like working up a sweat and doing huffing-and-puffing stuff.

I walk (fast) with the dog twice a day. I don’t count this as cardio, but I know some would (walking the dog before breakfast = “fasted LISS cardio” in bodybuilder-speak 😉 )

I then go boxing twice a week (Tues and Thurs) which is most definitely cardio, trust me! I try to get out on my road bike 2-3 times per week for 1-2 hours (although this is currently down to once a week given the short daylight hours). I run hill sprints, or flat sprints on the footie pitch out the back of my house… “sometimes”. At one point I was doing it twice a week. I really should get back to it. If my sister, or my friend Lou is reading this… let’s get a regular sprint session in the diary?

I do NOT go on my bloody cross-trainer! I put it in the shed when I moved house and have not re-assembled it.

Current favourite sessions in order of bestest-most-favourite:

1) hamstrings (currently loving SLDL with dumbbells)
2) squats (currently loving/hating front squats)
3) back
4) shoulders

And least fave:
– chest (because my weights are trash and it frustrates me)
– biceps (because boring)

And the food side of my off-season/not competing bodybuilding life?

I try to eat “well” but I also refuse to impose any kind of restriction or rules on myself. Partly because I am living life, and not dieting for a show, and there’s much more to life (IMO) than eating to a set of rules.
(I had birthday cake on my birthday this year for the first time since 2010.) But also partly because I know I’m still recovering (mentally) from several years of pretty restrictive dieting. I know not everyone is affected by the rigours of dieting but I was! And it’s taken me a while to get to a good place re: food and food behaviours, and it’s still a work in progress. I don’t want to upset the good balance I’ve manage to achieve. And I know that if I am going to grow and make physique improvements as a bodybuilder, I need to eat and not diet!

So I have moved away from the “bodybuilder” style of 6 meals a day, and I try to eat 3-4 times a day (basically breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack usually mid-afternoon). In other words, like a normal person.
What’s probably not so “normal” is my meal choices. I still eat bodybuilder-type meals, some of which people may find a bit weird. Breakfast is often fish and veg, or meat. I don’t do cereal, toast or breakfasty stuff. I just don’t want to, I got out of the habit when I first started bodybuilding, and I like my way better 🙂

My lunches and dinners are some combo of meat, fish (I genuinely like fish – so would you if you lived on the coast and had access to the fresh fish I can buy straight off the boats), veg and spuds. It doesn’t have to be spuds, but I like them.
I try to eat carbs with every meal, because I’m just trying to get my body used to a nice steady balance and consistent intake. No high/medium/low carb days and certainly no low-carb eating. Just a reasonable balance.

Bodybuildery foods I do not eat:
– oats. I don’t like them and they don’t like me *burp*
– asparagus. I like it but it’s so expensive and I don’t need to eat it.
– protein powder. I rarely need to. I just come home after training and eat my next meal.
– egg whites. At least, not just egg whites. I might use them to bulk up my eggs, but I no longer eat just the whites.
– nut butter. I don’t get the hype, and can’t remember the last time I had it.
– rice. I like it, but it’s a faff to cook and I just never really think about it.

Bodybuildery foods I do eat:
– eggs, broccoli, white fish, chicken, potatoes (although these days I usually go for the humble white spud rather than sweet pots), spinach and other leafy greens, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, coffee!

Things I have enjoyed reintroducing to my kitchen:
– fruit (I am still loving the joy of the simple Braeburn apple), bread, milky coffee, pork, lentils (yes, really), ice-cream, spaghetti, cheese (halloumi is a current fave).

Well, I feel like that was a pretty boring post. I’ve also realised that I’ve got out of the habit of taking photos “for the blog”, sorry about the wall of text (and recycled Instagram photos!)

Please let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to write about! Next up I’d like to tell you about my boxing sessions, or the bike events/sportives I’ve been doing, or perhaps (!) something about copywriting and work.

Whaddya reckon?

Here’s where you’ll find me:

My off-season training and eats is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

You know you’re a dieting bodybuilder when….

June 11, 2013

Yesterday was one of those days. The effects of sleep deprivation, low carbs (I carb cycle so don’t fret, not every day is like this) and… well. It was one of those days.

Prompted by my Monday misadventures, here’s a list a few of you might recognise 😉

You know you’re a dieting bodybuilder when…

You set fire to a tea towel, melt your blender and drop 1 litre egg whites on the floor. Within the space of five minutes.

To explain: I now have a very small kitchen, not much surface space. I also have a hob with electric rings (I’ve never had one before and am still not used to its sneaky ways). I often put a tea towel over half of the hob surface, for drying my washing up, and just use two rings for cooking.

You can see where this is heading… (shame I couldn’t! 😉 )

I turned the hob on, to boil the kettle. Idly wondered why the kettle wasn’t boiling. Idly wondered what that weird smell was. Slightly less idly wondered WHY THE HELL MY TEA TOWEL WAS AFLAME! Yeah, I’d turned on the ring under the tea towel, not the ring under the kettle.

The melted blender? I’ve been addicted to ice slushies recently, so my blender cup was part of the washing up drying on the tea towel. It melted. All over the flaming tea towel, the electric hob ring… oh, god.

The egg whites? Oh, I just dropped them. No long story there. Just tired.

You also know you’re a dieting bodybuilder when…

… running out of broccoli is a very real, urgent and problematic occurrence.
… you buy three types of broccoli (fresh, frozen, tenderstem) and feel this somehow illustrates a varied dietary intake. Three types! Three ways!
… you swing by the supermarket straight from the gym but feel you should put a jumper [American readers – “a sweater” 😉 ] on, because last time you went in with bare arms, a group of girls stared and pointed
… you get competitive with other walkers whilst you’re walking your dog. Never mind that they have no idea about your two-person power walking footrace. Are they seriously trying to pull ahead of you, over there on the opposite side of the canal? We’ll see about that! HAHAHAHA I MADE IT TO THE END FIRST!
… you need “a little nap” at around 3:43pm (give or take a few minutes) every damn day
… you pour water down your sleeve by mistake whilst filling a drinks bottle and actually cry real tears because “I don’t want water in my sleeve! No! I don’t want!” (<<< embarrassing)
… you burn yourself with your own oats – because you were trying to make them as exciting as possible (by baking them to new heights of scorching temperatures)
… then the next day you drop a dumbbell on your foot

And with that I'm going to bed. Because I am 100 years old dieting for a bodybuilding comp.

Competitors – or anyone who’s had to diet down for any reason – what are some of your funniest “diet brain” stories? I know I’m not the only one…

You know you’re a dieting bodybuilder when…. is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

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