How do you get big? I get this question all the time. Is it training? Is it food? It’s gotta be drugs right? The truth is yes, all those are contributing factors to gaining size and strength but the number one component in the equation is by far, by far food and nutrition. You can take all the test and gh in the world, and train your ass off but if you dont take in the necessary amount of calories to grow and spark new muscle growth, you might as well be twiddling your thumbs in the corner. Now with that out of the way, I’ll go into detail on an effective offseason eating plan for the average male looking to gain muscle.
Breakfast, the most important meal of the day. Or so they say. There are two times during the day where your body is more absorbent to the calories you take in. First thing in the morning and post workout. These two meals are where you should be consuming a very high number of protein, carbs, and fats. I hate to say they’re the two most important meals because every meal is important. But these meals need to have special emphasis on them. For breakfast, I recommend a fatty protein (steak or eggs) with a complex carb source (oats, whole grain toast) as well as fast carbs in the form of a drink (gatorade, orange juice etc) This seems to be a perfect combo to start the day with adequate hydration and energy.
During the offseason, no macros should be slighted upon. You should be consuming all three macros heavily throughout the day. The only meal that you should watch your fat intake on (healthy fat) is the post workout meal. Reason being fat slows down digestion, and after your workout you want the highest absorption of nutrients necessary. Fat would hinder this process. I usually have my clients consume an intra-workout drink with fast carbs and bcaa, and repeat the same drink postworkout, then about an hr later have a meal with a lean protein source and complex carbs. I am not big on whey postworkout. I feel that bcaas alone trigger protein synthesis and the meal an hour later is adequate to start the recovery process. I solely like whey for replacing whole food meals.
One huge problem in the offseason is appetite. A lot of guys dont have the desire to eat, either because of eating a lot of junk or certain supplements they may be on. I know for myself, when I’m not eating 100 % clean, my appetite dwindles. The best way to remedy this is by doing more shakes to get your calories in. You can always down a shake even if you hunger is null. I recommend mixing oats and a source of fat (nut butter, oils) into your shake to make it a complete meal. You never want to have just protein.
Lastly, the big question I get is when do I have cheat meals? Once a week? I’ll say this, if you’re having cheat meals only once a week in the offseason, then you are either way too lean or just not a big guy. Most national heavy and superheavyweight guys are having junk at least once a day in the form of burger and fries or a big sushi platter or something similar. It is near impossible to grow to astronomically proportions by eating clean food alone. Note, I am talking strictly offseason here, but I recommend a cheat meal once a day at the minimum to start. If youre getting too fat, cut it back. If you’re not gaining at a steady rate, increase it. I know some guys who do a dessert with every meal. Every meal! It all depends on your genetics and how your body responds. But the bottom line is, do not be afraid to eat in the offseason!
-Lukas B. Duncan