The Golden Rules Of The Off-Season

The Golden Rules Of The Off-Season

12
May 2022
Nutrition

A holiday is a precious period to mentally and physically recover from the demands of intense training and competition, and this is as true for amateur athletes as it is for professionals. While this break from the norm can be just what the body and mind needs, it can have a dramatic impact on your body composition if managed poorly with an "anything goes" approach of excessive eating, drinking and late nights. Couple these changes in diet and sleep with the reduction or even complete cessation of training, and you have the perfect storm for an intense period of muscle loss and fat gain. 

The challenge for most of us during this period of rest and recovery is to maintain as much muscle mass as possible and avoid significant increases in fat mass. There may be a slight increase in fat mass due to the reduction in training, but that's nothing to be alarmed about. But to many people's surprise, avoiding significant fat mass gains isn't too tough a task if you maintain a good set of core principles during the break. 

To help get you through this period without doing too much damage, the team at hexis has put together some simple guidelines to still enjoy your break without a dramatic effect on your body composition.

The Golden Rules

1. EAT REGULARLY & CARB CODE

Eating food regularly is still important, so as a base, make sure you're still eating your main meals with a high protein snack or two. Portion sizes of these meals may need to be smaller to take into account your reduced energy expenditure (unfortunately, chilling by the pool doesn't burn that many calories!). Carb Coding your days ensures you know exactly how much you should be aiming for at each meal and snack, not only on the days you decide to do a little training to keep things ticking over but also on those days of complete rest. Obviously, you will still want to unwind and enjoy some meals out, so setting realistic goals is essential and timing some of your bigger meals for the days you're doing some exercise is a good idea. Eating low carb doesn't need to be boring - checkout our free Low Carb Recipe Book for some simple and tasty inspiration.

2. PRIORITISE PROTEIN

Trying to maintain your hard-earned muscle mass during this period is essential. Even when your Carb Codes flux up and down in line with your energy demands, it is crucial to keep your protein intake pretty consistent every day. Aim for high-quality protein sources at each of your main meals and in 1-2 snacks (depending on your overall energy demands) to provide your muscles with the nutrients needed to help maintain themselves. This regular supply of protein will help protect your muscles and help keep you feeling full. Make our Chocolate and Peanut Butter Brownies for a sweet treat that packs 14g of protein!

 

3. FILL UP ON FIBRE

Protein is not the only nutrient that keeps you feeling full, fibre will too and can be fitted easily into your daily routine. Have an easy morning? If your Carb Codes are low or medium, introduce some vegetables with your morning omelette or bowl of fruit, these not only add fibre but boost the vitamins and minerals you are getting first thing. 

4. PLAN YOUR NIGHTS OUT

Having a general plan for the days you want to go out and have a few drinks is always a good idea. At some point during these days, try to get in some exercise to accommodate for the extra calories that will be coming your way that evening. Also, it's a good idea to have a high protein meal before drinking alcohol. To get more insight into what happens to your body when drinking, check out out Bouncing Back after the Bank Holiday.

These minor considerations to your nutrition can make or break your forthcoming preseason and season beyond. Click here to discover how hexis can help you maintain and improve your performance while away from the training pitch.

Dr. Sam Impey

Performance Scientist

1 line bio and interests/awards/achievements

Accreditations

Sports

Dr. Sam Impey