I probably get on some people's nerves when I say that getting lean is incredibly easy. Before you blast me and say that I am always lean or it's only easy for me, you're wrong; don't say it. If it is easy for me, it should be easy for the vast majority of people because I have a shitty metabolism. I have just been doing this a lot longer than you have. Momma said that if you do something long enough, "even you can get good at it." Mom could be a dick, but she was usually right.
Even the worst metabolisms can be built. If you say that's not true, you either don't know enough to be able to do it, or you don't have the discipline needed to find out. If you treat your off season with the same structure and importance that you do your preps or cut phases, you can control your metabolism and manipulate it to handle large amounts of calories while amping your metabolism at the same time.
Most people approach their off season with the thought that if they miss a meal or they have a cheat meal, it's no big deal. The reasoning is usually because their next show or their next cut phase is months away. Taking a vacation and eating whatever you want for a week will not keep your metabolism amped. To truly build a strong metabolism you need to structure your meals as if you are in prep mode, missing no meals, not substituting meals, and damn sure not blowing off a week while you are out of town.
I am of the opinion that it takes more psychological effort to stay locked-in 100% on your diet in the off season than it does for a prep or cut phase. Why? When you are in a cut phase, you gain the results of your "discipline" by watching your body get leaner in response to your dedication to the diet and cardio. I don't consider people to be disciplined if the reward is a direct result of their actions. People are disciplined when they do something because it will benefit them later down the road—again, in my opinion. It takes discipline to stay 100% focused on your diet when the results of your actions won't be seen for many months and sometimes a year or longer.
3 Things You Need To Build A Metabolism
How do you build a metabolism? This coach log isn't about the details involved as much as it is about how great my cut phase is starting. However, I will throw you a bone and outline the 3 main things that it takes to build a metabolism over time:
As I touched on before, you need to be locked-in even during the off season. Your diet should be adhered to with the precision that you would use during a cut phase.
2. Get Lean (and insulin sensitive)
Every single person who trains can build a better metabolism by first getting very lean. Once you are very lean, your insulin sensitivity is high and that will allow you to slowly build in calories, over time. This will feed muscle growth while minimizing fat storage. It may sound simple, and it is. The hard part is doing it for every meal for your off season, and not veering off path. Once you get into a surplus of calories and start gaining body fat, insulin sensitivity decreases and the metabolism won't be as strong. You need to make a diet adjustment and then wait for the body to "settle" on that adjustment.
3. Be Patient
Adding calories has to be slow, incremental, and methodical. You will not build a strong metabolism in 8 weeks. In 2019, it took me just over 14 months. It was the equivalent of prepping for 14 months but taking in more calories than a normal prep phase. Even though I love prepping and have prepped in the past for shows for an entire year, I still found it very challenging month after month, during that time. The pay off was incredible, though.
I went into a cut phase in 2020 that was arguably my best cut phase in my almost 40 years of training. I started that prep phase at almost double my usual calories for the start of a prep and leaner, as well. I also was on cruise control for almost the entire cut phase, and I did ZERO cardio to get lean for the first time, ever. Had it not been for tearing my glute at 5 weeks out, I likely would have been in my best condition ever, on stage, at 50 years old. I say this with confidence because I was in my best condition ever at 5 weeks out.
My point is that if I can do this with my shitty metabolism (I'm a natural fat kid), almost anyone can do what I did. I have proven this with numerous clients, as well. I hope to prove it again this year at 52. I won't compete because my legs won't be good enough due to the injuries sustained over the last 2 years. Still, I am confident that I will be in great condition at the end of this cut phase.
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