I am finally ready to move forward.  I managed to stay away from all things bodybuilding for just over 8 weeks and my head is now in a place where I want to get back at it.  If you haven't had times like this, you haven't been training long enough.

I have a plan and rest assured it is not at all impulsive or spontaneous.  I have had plenty of time to think about it over the last couple of months.

I do still want to compete because I am absolutely certain that I can fix the problems that I encountered.  However, I will not compete in 2019.  After some thought, I realized I will be 50 early in 2020 and I will struggle with this chronological milestone much less if I am focused on a prep and am in great condition.  When I do prep, though, I will not say a word during the prep and no one will know; I will do it in obscurity.   A big part of the problem this last prep was my own doing in that I put way too much pressure on myself thinking "everyone was watching."  If I do it without the fanfare and it being public, I end up doing it all for me and not feeling the added pressure.

Everyone who knows me knows that I want to be conditioned all the time.  This is part of the reason I gave up the quest for more size (that, and I didn't want to continue putting my body through what it took to get that size) but this next phase is going to be me going back again to basics and enjoying an off season and seeing if I can grow.  I will give up some conditioning to do this but not so much that I get fat or big in the gut.  Because I am rarely in a caloric surplus over the last 10 years or so for any type of "off season," I hold out hope that I still have some growing to do.  

Before I go that route, though, I am incredibly out of shape and need to get lean again.  For those who laugh and say, "Your out of shape is my in shape," you haven't seen me.  Though I can get into shape quickly, I also get out of shape quickly, as well.  I look horrible and I will take pictures to prove it.  I just won't post the pictures until I have the "after" pics to contrast them. 🙂
I am white, fat, small and hairy.  It is horrible and you will agree when you see the pics.

So this is kind of a 6-month phase, I guess you could say.  The first 3 months will be me getting very lean again by January 1st and then the following 3 months I will slowly be adding calories to try to add some muscle and size for once.  I will then take a 6-8 month break to make sure that I am healthy (not running myself into the ground) and go back again for another 6 month run of off season.  At that point, it will be late 2019 and I will decide which show or shows I want to shoot for in 2020 after my March birthday. 

I am going to also focus on my digestion moving forward, as well.  I am going to play around with some things and try to compare gaining while no carb and also with moderate carbs.  My Skiploads will take on a much more orderly and structured look where things like wheat and shitty food are minimized.  I will also work on minimizing the volume of my skiploads to see if less volume may be just as effective and allow my stomach/midsection to not distend as much.  Distention has become concerning for me as I age and I want to see if I can fix this with diet and improving digestion through better gut health.

It took a while to get my head straight, but I am now in a place where the gym sounds exciting and I am looking forward to getting back at it.