The off season is a tough but rewarding time of year. You grind it out for months on end in the gym and on the field. You have all your nutrition, recovery, and supplements in place to help with the heavy workload. Your results this off season and pre-season have been awesome, you have grown bigger, leaner and stronger. This has been by far the best preparation you have had to date.
Then the footy season starts.
All the training continues on as per normal but now an 80 minute game has been thrown in every weekend along with a battered and beat up body. A few weeks into the season and you’re feeling soft, your muscle isn’t looking as hard and full like it did. The scales are going down every time you stand on them, you’re tired as hell and you feel rubbish.
All that hard work is diminishing before your eyes.
What the hell is going on?
Up until this point the calories you have been consuming have been used to fuel your current performance, muscle recovery and growth. You need to understand your energy demands have just gone up hugely and if you want to keep your hard earned size and strength you’re going to have to meet the increased energy requirements.
Consuming more calories and timing your calories is a massive factor here.
Think of it like this….
Every day for the last 3 or so months you have been putting in $10 worth of fuel in your car to drive 50 km to get to work, then all of the sudden you get a new job and you now need to drive 100 km every day to work. The problem is you’re still only putting $10 worth of fuel in. Now if we were only talking about a car we know the car would just run out of fuel and stop right?
But we are talking about your body and it doesn’t stop, it keeps grinding away to get the job done. It adapts to the new situation and it continues to function and survive. Unfortunately it has to reorganise a few things to meet the extra demand that’s now placed upon it.
Breaking down proteins (your hard earned muscle) is one of the sacrifices it makes to convert to fuel thus why you look smaller. It’s a common scenario and one that’s easily fixed by increasing your intake and timing your calories.
Monitor your body and scale weight, if your scale weight is going down and your looking soft and ragged you need to do something about it.
How to increase calories
I recommend slowly every 2 weeks increasing your carbohydrates by 20-30grams (120 calories) and your fat intake by 10 grams (80 calories) a day for a total of roughly 200 extra calories on top of your current intake. Monitor your body and how it handles the adjustments and make further increases if you’re still not happy. If you’re really flat and smashed you may need to be more aggressive with your increases.
When is the most important time to eat?
Before training meal – good proteins, plenty of good carbs and/or fats depending on the individual.
Check out some good sources here:
- During training drink – drinking branch chain amino acids with a carb powder like cyclic dextrose will ensure muscle doesn’t go anywhere under the heavy workload. You need to hook into water and salts too. Check out this recipe for a cheap very effective homemade gatorade without the sugars here. http://
redzonerugbyleague.com/ 2016/02/17/ could-this-be-the-best-hydr ation-drink/
- After training shake – a protein shake will be quickly absorbed into the body for fast recovery and repair. Include a fast carb powder to restock glucose and glycogen levels preparing them for war the next day.
- After training meal – smash down plenty of fast carbs like white potato and jasmine rice with a good protein source. This meal is where you need to feast.
- Monitor your body and scale weight weekly, if they are going down and you are looking soft and your feeling flat, do something. You’re only going to get smaller and weaker as the season goes on.
- Jack those calories up, decreasing your workload isn’t really an option at this time of season.