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August 29, 2011

5 Lessons Learned In My “Off-Season”

By Jillian Teta

A few months ago I blogged about staying lean in the off season, gaining muscle and adding size without compromising my look in skinny jeans and while still maintaining my “eat, drink and be merry” persona.

Originally I thought I’d be taking the whole fall and winter off from shows to train and add size, but my trainers suggested I aim for a November show. So, here I am, about to get back on a contest diet in a few weeks. I’ve had about a solid 4 months off from contest prep and on a building-type plan.

The results of my experiment? I’ve managed to add about 6lbs of muscle while maintaining my bodyfat under 18% (last season, it was 18.5) and my waist under 25 inches. I just spent a week in Arizona in a bikini and didn’t feel too bad about it J

Sooooo, so far, I can say that I have been able to add size while staying fairly lean. After November, I’ll have a few more months of building before I get ready for the spring circuit. We’ll see how it goes with my placements, but I know I’ll bring my best and baddest package yet – that is my ultimate goal: the alchemy of always improving from the last show.

As long as I can do that, I will take last place every time, with a smile.

For this blog, I thought I would share some lessons I have learned over the last few months that have allowed me to add size, indulge in some treats regularly, and still let me be comfortable in a bikini poolside:

  1. Consistent training schedule: Those who know me well know that this is my ultimate number one struggle. This is where I have exerted my most effort for change. I knew to improve, something had to change and I had to be mindful about it. In the offseason, this is my weakest link. So I have a set schedule and I stick to it, period. No matter my travel schedule or how tired I am. This summer was full of travel – I went to LA, Arizona, several weekend trips, hanging out with old friends (booze much?) and parties. I worked out with my split no matter what or where I was: home, hotel gym, hotel room. Whether it hurt or not, whether I was tired and jet-lagged, I did it. I literally think this is the first time I have managed to stay training consistently in the off-season. Here is my split:

M: Legs and shoulders
T: Sprints, Chest and Back
W: Legs
R: Off
F: Shoulders and Core
S: Off
S: Sprints and Core

  1. Mindful indulgence: Once or twice a week, I’ll indulge in something I wouldn’t normally eat: frozen yogurt, peanut butter cookies, etc. Usually something with carbs/sugar. I would plan these treats and eat them strategically, with intention. I have given up the mindless eating of carbs. This has taken me years to get a hold of  :). Anyway, after indulging, I’d also implement damage control – we’ve blogged on this before – I’ll have 24 ounces of water, and take several enzyme capsules. This helps prevent some of the bloat and water retention that I know those foods to create in my body.
  2. Booze well: When I am having alcohol (which is on a weekly basis, I am the first to admit I like a cocktail) I utilize several ground rules. First is the type of alcohol. I drink vodka and soda with lime, or white wine. I stay away from beer, mixed drinks, alcohol combining, shots, juices and syrups. The second important rule is that if I am having cocktails or wine, I do not eat any carbs at all, not even clean carbs. I stick with protein and fats. Lastly, for every cocktail/glass of wine, I have 16 ounces of water. Yes, lots of trips to the bathroom, but better “out” than over my abs :)
  3. Choosing fats over carbs: While eating out, or at parties/bbqs, I avoid the chips, pasta salads, potato salads, breads, buns, etc (except for those mindful cheats) and go for the fats and proteins. I love fatty meats: bacon, sausage, hot dogs, ribeye and cheeses, mayo and rich salad dressings. So, while out, I emphasize fats over starch. This strategy interestingly has been borne out in research – a recent study demonstrated that when fats were substituted for complex carbs in subject’s diets, they burned 56% more fat than the complex carb group. Fats are also totally satisfying so cravings are essentially nonexistent – yay!
  4. Keeping my mind in the game: the older I get, the more people I talk to and train and interact with, the more and more I am convinced that mindset, mindfulness and intention are more than half of what determines whether we “fail or succeed”. Even as I sip a cocktail, my goals are in my mind. I never forget where I am going or what I am creating. It is always there, even in the off season. I guess what I am saying is there is no off season for me anymore, just different stages of the creation of my goals.

All in all, I move forward with my goals, and I am trying to improve my physique and mindset one day at a time. I’ll keep you all posted. Look for me at the NPC Elite :)

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