Reflecting Back on a Frustrating Offseason
This past offseason was by far the hardest I have ever experienced. It was difficult due to the fact I had to deal with so many nagging injuries. I pretty much battled every upper body workout this offseason because of shoulder pain. The pain limited my ability to lift heavy at times and mentally it has been frustrating because it makes you feel like progress is not what it should be. About a month ago, I did some research regarding shoulder pain on the internet and I happily discovered my shoulder problem was possibly not from overuse, but underuse. I came to this conclusion because when I was employed at NUMMI (GM/Toyota auto plant) from 1993-2010, I was always using my shoulders by lifting air guns which weighed anywhere from 2-5 lbs with a wide range of motion. It was typical to build up to 500-550 cars per day at the plant and that added up to a lot of repetitions with the air guns. The movement conditioned my rotator cuff muscles and when I stopped working at the plant back in early April, I was no longer using those muscles in the same manner. In fact, most of my time since then is in front of my computer working on 3DMJ. With my cuff muscles detrained and my delts, pecs and back muscles still receiving stimulus from my workouts it caused a serious burden to my rotator cuff muscles. So, by understanding this problem I began performing rotator cuff exercises and within a week I was back to my previous lifts before the pain set in. I still have some pain, but I would estimate it to be around 75% less than what it was previously. This has allowed my training to be at almost 100% again and I am taking advantage of this with the time I have left before heading into my prep.
Another issue I was dealing with this past offseason was a strained left lat which I injured with a 440lb deadlift. This injury has prevented me from doing any overhead pulling for the past 3-4 months, but as of late it is almost fully healed. The last two upper body workouts I have been able to perform close grip pulldowns, so it is very nice to be able to pull from up top again.
Two weeks ago I sustained another minor injury when I did a set with single leg extensions. As I finished the set my left knee immediately felt a sharp pain. It is strange because I can still squat without pain, but when I lockout the knee it hurts. So, at the moment leg extensions are out of my training and I am being very cautious with my squats.
It seems to me as I have aged a little I am a bit more fragile, but this past offseason has taught me to be resilient and to be even smarter in the gym. I just hope the hard lesson learned this past offseason does not interfere with my progress for 2011. We shall see!
Enough of the bad news and now on to the good news!
This past offseason did have its share of highs especially in regards to a couple of exercises. I incorporated sumo deadlifts into my arsenal and I feel I have made progress with my glute development and also my back. It will be very interesting to see what these two areas will look like once I am dieted down. Not to say they were lacking in 2009, but after a full year of deadlifting these two areas should look different in a good way. I also added in free weight squats in an attempt to improve my quads, hams and glutes. Again, by adding this exercise in I should see improvements to those areas. With both the deadlift and the squat, I set personal records this year. Even at 39 years of age and 24 years in the gym, I know I am still capable of improvements. My deadlift was 440lbs and my squat was 405lbs which are not mind blowing numbers, but for me they are my best and should lead to a better look.
Currently I am at almost 100% and I still have two months to go until 2011, so it is very uplifting to know I can train with more conviction. Yesterday, Eric Helms and I began our training together where we are incorporating HIT (High Intensity Training) and we will stay with this style of training for the next 2 months. Our main focus is on perfect form with rest pause and negative techniques. Training together will allow us to push each other to our limits and hopefully we can make some gains before we head into our contest prep.
2011 Contest Season Plans
It is once again almost that time to begin my journey to the contest stage and to say I am excited is an understatement. This offseason was a struggle and also it was nice to get away from contest dieting. I am not one to overemphasize what I am eating in the offseason. I love food…especially the kind that tastes like chocolate. LOL. My goal after the 2009 season was to not go over 20-30lbs above my contest weight, but that did not happen. For me, it is far too much stress to count macros and to be conformed to a diet year round. Having time to be free of bodybuilding and to eat freely allows me to have balance and to be mentally prepared to start another journey. After eating all the chocolate I can handle, it is time to flip the switch again and achieve my all time best shape for the 2011 contest season.
My Current Condition
As of 10/26/10 I am 199lbs which is roughly 40lbs over my goal weight of 160lbs. I get frustrated at times because my midsection does not look the greatest, but my legs and arms are still somewhat lean.
On 12/06/10 I will begin my prep for the 2011 season. I still have yet to decide which show I will jump into first because the schedule is not out yet, but if Roy Perry holds a pro show in La Jolla, Ca or the US Cup in Sacramento it will be one of the two. Then it will be on to the 2011 WNBF Worlds in November. My goal is to be ready by June and then see what exactly shows up on the contest calendar.
Macros & Mindset
I plan to begin my macros at 300g carbs, 200g protein and 50g fat for the first week without cardio and then I will make adjustments if needed based on my response. Those numbers are very similar to my 2009 start numbers; in fact the carbs are slightly higher, so that will be a good starting point. I generally make adjustments based on weigh-ins, visual look, performance in the gym, energy levels, etc.
The main lesson I really learned in 2009, was to be patient and to not rush the weight loss process. The first 3-4 weeks I tend to drop 10-15 lbs due to the excessive bloat from my chocolate offseason LOL, but I averaged 1-1.5 lb loss per week after those initial 3-4 weeks and that helped me to retain my size and fullness as I got closer to my shows. By starting in December this year as opposed to January like in 2009, I am getting a nice head start which will allow me to remain patient and to be conservative. This eliminates the stress and the desire to push myself too hard with the diet and cardio which all too often flattens a bodybuilder out. I am not saying I will not work hard, but in the past I have tried to go crazy and put the pedal to the metal with my weight training and the cardio in an attempt to push harder than my competitors. That only led to me looking very flat and stringy. Sometimes you have to back off and understand how your body is feeling. For me, I did that in 2009 and it worked perfectly and it led to my best season yet. I firmly believe you should stay within your body’s limits. If you let your ego make the decisions then you are almost certain to make crucial mistakes along the way and one of those mistakes might be a season ending injury.
Goals – Enjoy the Journey
I cannot over emphasize the importance of this goal enough! In my opinion far too many athletes compete for the sake of winning and in the process they put far too much stress on themselves. In the past I have been guilty of competing to win and the stress of that added pressure made some of my shows not so enjoyable. I am going to take each day as they come and really enjoy my training and the progress I will make.
Sharing the Journey
This year my fellow teammates will be taking their journey as I take mine and to share it with them will be a motivating force for me. How great will it be for all of us to be hitting the stage at our very best? Brad Loomis, Alberto Nunez and myself will more than likely be on the same stage at the same time competing against each other. I am so honored to share the stage with them because they all are great bodybuilders and terrific individuals. Leading up to the show these guys will have my back and I will have theirs. Our goal is not to beat one another, but to help each other achieve our best ever. Eric Helms will be gunning for his pro card and I am so very excited to share the journey with him and to see what he brings to the stage in 2011. This journey is not only mine, but it is Team 3DMJ’S! I anticipate a fun filled season!
For 2011, it is my personal goal to step on the WNBF World stage alongside the best lightweights in the world. I have no goals as far as placings because I cannot control the outcomes of a bodybuilding show. It is always my goal to better myself from my previous showing and if I can do that then I will have won regardless of where I place. I recall back in 2000, after I lost the overall at the INBF Northwest Natural I wanted so badly to turn pro and compete someday on the World stage. Since then, I have had some ups and some downs in the sport and to think I am really close to attaining that goal I had 10 years ago is hard to believe. I know I will have to improve from 2009 in order to achieve this goal, but I am ready for the challenge.
Until my next blog keep training hard and naturally!
In : 2009-2010 Off Season
Tags: natural bodybuilding bodybuilding weightlifting fitness jeff alberts 3dmusclejourney team 3dmj
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