Skip's 2019 Off-Season Manifesto

In my elitefts.com coach logs, I have detailed pretty much everything I have done over the last 12 months of my off season as I have stepped back into full-blown “off season” mode for the first time in years.  Not only do I detail everything I do with my training but all nutrition adjustments, as well.  I have discussed every adjustment and change that I have made (and why) over the last 12 months.  The problem, if there is one with giving away free, very detailed information, is that all of this information is scattered over roughly 52 different coach logs and that makes finding all of the information very difficult if someone wanted to compare and contrast everything I have done in that time.

 

In this coach log – that I will call “Skip’s Off-Season Manifesto,” I am going to put as much of that information into this one coach log that I possibly can.  Yes, it will be quite lengthy and to save time for myself, I will also provide a few links to coach logs where I detail something so that I don’t have to simply retype it. If you are interested in what I have done and it’s free, it would be a bit of a dick move to complain about it being too lengthy.  So, don’t be a dick.

 

Here is some background for those who don’t know me very well:

I will turn 50 in March.  I have been training since I was 14-years old and that means I have logged roughly 35 years of training.  I also started competing when I was 19 so I have competed for almost 30 years.  Admittedly, I have not competed since 2012, though I have done 2 preps that I had to pull out of since 2012, due to health concerns that arose during prep.  These issues were primarily due to me going overboard and simply driving myself into the ground.  However, they were pretty concerning and pretty dangerous.  I also was forced to go TRT in 2013 due to having blood numbers that were ridiculously high and chose my health over continuing on as I was, and putting myself in a vulnerable position.  After being TRT until 2017, I gassed again and have not had any of the blood markers that were concerning in 2013, since.  

 

This current off season phase is something that I didn’t think I would get another run at, due to my blood markers being so bad in 2013.  For that reason, I found a new motivation and have been excited to be able to pour myself into making gains again while, of course, being cautious at the same time.  I continue to get blood work done every 6 months and everything continues to look great. 

 

 

I started my off season after a 3-month break from everything bodybuilding.  I did not train or diet and simply ate whatever I wanted to eat for almost 14 weeks, last fall.  I was burned out on bodybuilding and had lost most of my motivation.  I was eating, usually, only once per day and that was later at night.  Of course, you can imagine what this did to my condition and appearance.  Ultimately, stepping away allowed me to psychologically recharge and, arguably, physically, as well.

 

 

Before I get into my diet and training protocols, I want to make it clear that I am a fat boy, by definition.  I am not ripped or lean, genetically.  I am predisposed to be a fat kid with titties and lower-back fat.  Because I have always stayed quite lean, people tend to think that I come by being lean quite easily and that is simply just not the case.  I also am quite sedentary and when you combine that with my age, my metabolism is not what you would consider “gifted.”  I work from home, so I do not move very much, at all.  Still, it should be noted that everything I have done in the last year has been without ANY cardio, at all – not even one session.

 

 

 

My Starting Plan and Goals:

 

 

My main goal as I got back into the gym was to get into great condition as quickly as possible.  Building muscle was going to happen but my main focus was to get lean and secondarily, to be rebuild muscle and strength.  I planned to break up the next year (15 months) into 2 main phases with the first being 12 weeks where I would get as lean as I could, and then the next phase would be roughly 1 year (2 phases of 24 weeks each) to add as much muscle as I could while maintaining leanness as much as possible.  I would also schedule “cruises” where I would break from being gassed and only be TRT during that time.

 

 

The starting training program split was simple (I’m usually quite simple with my approach to training):

 

M/T/Th/F were my training days and my split would look like this:

 

 

Monday:

Chest/side and front delts

 

Tuesday:

Back/rear delts/traps

 

Thursday:

Legs and abs

 

Friday:

Arms

 

 

This split has worked incredibly well for me for years and even while I was TRT.  It allowed me to be able to pound muscle groups and recovery quite well by only training each muscle group once per week.  Plus, I knew I would be in a caloric deficit and that always compromises recovery, so I didn’t want to go with a training plan that was too frequent and risk recovery.

 

 

 

I will not detail my diet as far as macros, calories, types of foods, etc. and here is why:
I have given out a TON of free information for years and sometimes I swear I give out too much free information.  People tend to think when they see results from a specific plan that they can just use that plan and get similar results.  Obviously, this is not true but tons of people do it.  Now, I am going to still be detailed, but I am also not going to spoon-feed the information, either.  As I have stated before, all of this information I have already put out for a year for free in my coach logs, so I have no real obligation even for simplifying a year’s worth of information into one log but I am willing to do that.

 

You will see that I will detail the adjustments that I made to all of my diet changes, but I will not give away the base diet in detail.  Suffice it to say that it isn’t anything terribly rocket-sciency or complicated.  Carbs were low at around 80g per day and protein was normal along with fat intake, as well.  I didn’t do high fat, high carb, low carb, etc.. I found a balance with my macros that I felt would work well for me to get lean, quickly, and it worked incredibly well for the entire 12-week phase.  It was typical in that I have used similar diets for my cutting phases in the past with great success.

 

 

My weight changed only 4 pounds from the start to the finish (I lost 4 pounds) but you can see the composition changes were dramatic.

 

Here is the coach log entry that includes my before and after DEXA scan and my before and after pictures:

https://www.elitefts.com/coaching-logs/skips-before-and-after-pictures/

 

 

 

 

Going into the next phase (12 more weeks) where I wanted to start adding muscle while keeping my body fat levels as stable as possible (or at least very low), I was cautious with the addition of calories.  Again, I do not have a gifted metabolism and I was not going to do cardio, so I wanted to be careful and make sure that I didn’t add too many calories, too soon, figuring I could always add calories if I hadn’t added enough.  This would keep me lean without waking up one day like most people do and thinking, “fuck me, I’m fat again.”

 

 

Here is the entire coach log entry of the changes that I made to my training and diet when I started the 2nd phase:

 

https://www.elitefts.com/coaching-logs/my-detailed-plan-for-the-next-12-weeks/

 

 

 

 

This is my coach log entry 4 weeks into the gaining phase with pictures to show condition as I started to gain weight and fill out:

 

https://www.elitefts.com/coaching-logs/4-weeks-into-this-gaining-phase-and-up-to-225-pounds/

 

 

 

At roughly 8 weeks in, I felt that I was stalling out and not adding more weight while basically ripping through everything I was eating.  So, I decided to try to Skipload twice per week with one being Sunday and the other being on Wednesday.  I did not do this very long because I didn’t like being so full (stomach) for most of the week due to doing this.  I also didn’t like the added water weight that, because of loading twice per week, never seemed to completely clear before the next Skipload.  So, I went with this adjustment to the diet, instead, and progress pictures are included to show condition:

 

 

https://www.elitefts.com/coaching-logs/227-pounds-with-progress-pictures/

 

 

 

I ended up finishing the first off season “bulk” phase (12 weeks) in a condition that I was happy with, but I want to break the 230 mark this next blast phase after I take 10-12 weeks of “cruising” on TRT.  I was pretty sure that I was going to break the 230 mark this last phase but my caloric adjustments proved to be too minimal.  In my defense, this type of caloric intake would usually have me pretty fat so the small increases in calories were clearly feeding my metabolism quite well (and, again, without any cardio).

 

 

 

After cruising for 12 weeks, I gassed again and started this next 24-week phase with the same diet that I ended the last phase with.  You might see this pattern playing out because this is typically what I do and then when I feel my body has adjusted after a handful of weeks, I can then start adding more calories if needed.

 

 

Here is my detailed coach log at 8 weeks into this 24-week blast phase:

 

https://www.elitefts.com/coaching-logs/my-diet-laid-out-in-detail/

 

 

 

Only 1 week later I realize that the last diet change did absolutely nothing.  So, I made an aggressive diet change that is detailed in this coach log, below.  I am getting to the point now where I am forcing food and it is beginning to suck.  I hate eating this amount of food, but I have little choice if I want to improve and push harder for the gains that I feel are possible.

 

https://www.elitefts.com/coaching-logs/results-of-my-diet-changes/

 

 

 

The last training plan change that I made is detailed in this coach log, below.  It is far more of a complicated rotation than I normally would do and it took some thought and planning to get it right but every aspect of the plan is there for a reason and it is working very well. 

 

Here is the plan in detail:

 

https://www.elitefts.com/coaching-logs/sick-as-a-dog/

 

 

When I made this new training plan while sick, I also decided that I was going to do a high-carb day on every non-training day so that meant every 3rd day.  I didn’t want to continue to order the high-carb meals listed in the above coach log because at 125 bucks a day, it was going to be too expensive to do that so frequently.  I figured I could make these meals at home for a fraction of the cost.  Here is the meal and the macro breakdown:

 

IMG_0144 

IMG_0145

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until this point, I was been unable to get to the 230-pound mark or really feel like my gains were where they should be.  The results of my last diet change are in this coach log and it finally worked to keep my weight at or above 230, consistently: 

 

https://www.elitefts.com/coaching-logs/this-is-what-it-feels-like-to-break-230-pounds/

 

IMG_0121 

 

Right now, I am riding out this last diet and training plan without any changes.  Momma said you don’t fix what ain’t broke, so I’m not touching a thing.  Plus, the thought of more food makes me want to puke.  The training rotation is also working incredibly well with the higher frequency and less time between training the same muscle groups.

 

 

You might think that it took me far too long to get to the caloric intake that I needed to break the 230 mark and then maintain it BUT… it is very possible that had I made those caloric jumps sooner, I could have also gained body fat.  Taking my time to make those incremental jumps in calories allowed my body to adjust, over time, and handle the larger amount of food and calories.

 

I am not as lean as I was at the start of the 24-week blast, but I am certainly not adding much in the way of body fat and the body fat I have added, seems to be necessary in that I wasn’t growing as well as I could have been, while I was on the lower calories.  So, I feel it’s a fair trade.

 

Right now, I have not been this lean at this weight, ever.  That means that while I close in on hitting the 50-year mark in March, I am arguably in my biggest and best condition.  I have been stronger and I have been bigger in my legs, but overall I am better than I have ever been.  I understand that a lot of us old guys like to lie to ourselves and say things like, “I’ve never been this big” or “I’ve never been this shredded before,” etc.. However, I have been doing this for a long time and I am a realist when it comes to assessing myself.  Plus, just to be sure that I wasn’t becoming one of “those guys,” I also asked for critiques from a few people that I trust to give it to me straight and they have agreed that I am probably at my best at 49-years old.

I have roughly 2 more months of this current building phase and then I will shift to TRT, again, before going into my first cutting phase in 2 years.  The plan is not to compete but to just see how lean I can get without any cardio and see how much of this muscle I can hold, at the same time.  I feel that with my calories at an all-time high and while maintaining my best condition at this weight of 230, ever, I should be able to get pretty damn lean without having to starve myself.  Obviously, I am looking forward to eating less and not stuffing so much food in my face.

 

 

I will continue to detail my progress and all changes moving forward from here.  If you are interested in following along, I post a new coach log on elitefts.com every week at:

 

 

https://www.elitefts.com/author/skip-hill/

 

 

 

Skip

shaker-cup-home

Loading Comments... Loading Comments...