What to Eat in the Off Season

What to Eat in the Off Season

What to Eat in the Off Season

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  • January 28, 2017

Making the transition from your racing season into the off season can be a challenge when it comes to eating.

No more can you finish off a rack of ribs with 2 sides without feeling some guilt.

This is normal and most competitive athletes go through this when they are used to seeing their body look a certian way.

It is often more of a psychological problem then and actual physical one. It would take a lot of excessive eating of nutrient deficient food and monumental volumes of beer consumption spread over the course of months to cause any significant damage that you couldn't reverse in a short period of time.

Don't feel ashamed to relax a little and enjoy yourself from time to time. You probably put so much pressure on yourself in the long OCR season that a little brain rewriing for a few months is not that bad of an idea.

Saying that however, a life without some discipline can create bad habits, which are challenging to break. Here are some loose guidelines to follow in the off season:

First, increase your protein consumption. While doing more endurance based activities in season the rate of muscle breakdown is much lower. Moderate protein in season is better as to provide your body with what it needs and not excessively more. Protein takes a lot of energy to digest, and as a result it will drain you if you consume too much. Great for weight lost, not great for racing. In the off season we should focus on increasing strength. If you did the season right, and you got into the 2 hour + distance races, you probalby would of shed a couple extra lbs of muscle. Now its time to pack it back on. If a goal for you is .5-.75 grams per lb of body weight in season, increase you intake by another 25%. This will reduce your carb percentage which is optimal with a decrease in overall endurance activity. For example in season at 155lbs I will aim for about 110 grams of protein per day. Right now I will try to get closer to 155 grams.

For days you are doing long runs, focus on getting more carbs in post workout and that evening. During my run I may or may not have 30 grams of carbs through a gel. After finishing my run I might eat a banana and a Larabar (~50 grams of carbs). Later that night I could finish a whole 12 inch pizza, 2-3 trays of sushi or a foot long sub and cookies (~150 grams of carbs). Given my body will store upwards of 500 grams, a slight increase on those longer days in conjuction of my regular diet will be enough to top it off. A long run of course consisting of 1.5 hours +. 

During the rest of the week most meals would consist about a palm and half size worth or protein, a cup to a cup and a half of carbs, a thumb size piece of fat and as many veggies as I feel like I could physically eat.

The real challenge in terms of body comp in the off season is when you spend multiple days in a row drinking alcohol or eating too many processed carbs and fat. If you have a bad day and you didn't get more than a hour of some what vigourous movement, try not to repeat the behavior 2 days in a row.

When it comes down to it, it is all about habits, and it's important for you to ask yourself tough questions from time to time. For example, do you really need wine every night during the week? Probably not, find other ways to relax and reduce stress in your life.

To conclude and to go back to my first point it will take a lot of destructive behavior to make any significant impact on your health. And as you get closer to your season your fitness will come back with the proper training. Relax, give yourself a few guidelines, and start ramping up the discipline 2-3 months before the race, becoming stricter in the last month and most importanly in the last week before competetion.  

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Josh Stryde B.Kin (Hons), CSNN Holistic Nutrition Consultantâ„¢, Precision Nutrition Level 1, PTS

Josh has been working and educating in the fitness Industry for over 10 years. He has seen his greatest success by arming his clients with knowledge and allowing them to active role when working towards their goals. Without knowing why you are eating the way you are eating, or why you are following a particular workout routine it becomes difficult to stay consistent.

Spartan Team Canada 2017
Team PVL 2017/2018
20+ OCR podium finishes


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