Supplements to Help you Grow in the Offseason
When a lifter enters into what has become known as the “offseason,” this means it is the time of year to make serious gains in muscle mass and improve lagging areas, while allowing for a little extra body fat to accumulate from the added calories necessary to support new growth. However, this should never be used as an excuse to become “sloppy,” or bulk up so excessively that you end up having to “diet off” all of your gains (in lean muscle) once back into the competitive months. With that in mind, here are some supplementation, training, and dieting tips/strategies that will help you maximize progress (building muscle while keeping body fat under control) during the all-important offseason period.
Of course, before ever worrying about what supplements to take, you must first make sure that your diet and training regimens are on point. All of these things work together, in a synergistic manner, with training and diet creating the foundation, and proper supplementation sitting up on top – as the proverbial “icing on the cake.” And while it would be awesome to utilize just about everything in the ALLMAX line, I have decided to provide for you a list of products that are especially beneficial when the main goal is accruing lean muscle mass during the vital offseason.
ISOFLEX – Whey isolate is assimilated faster than any other protein, which means it provides essential amino acids to hungry muscle cells without having to go through lengthy periods of digestion and breakdown. This is the perfect protein source for breakfast and the post workout meal since it is at these times that our amino acids pools are most depleted. Additionally, it’s extremely high BCAA content makes ISOFLEX an anabolic powerhouse.
USE IT LIKE THIS: Take one to two scoops at meal one and the post workout feeding.
AMINOCORE – The University tested 9:6:5 ratio of BCAA’s found in AMINOCORE will help to stave off fatigue, properly rebalance your hormonal profile, foster speedy recovery, enhance anabolism, decrease soreness and provide key amino acids/nutrients so that they are not leeched from muscle tissue during workouts. AMINOCORE contains the highest quality BCAA’s available, with a level of solubility that is second to none.
USE IT LIKE THIS: Take 1-2 scoops upon rising and again during cardio and/or weight training workouts. Extra servings can be used in between meals to keep you in anabolic overdrive all day long.
COLLAGEN – Using a collagen supplement is essential for hard-training athletes to help protect joints from excessive wear and tear when lifting with heavy resistance or in a ballistic manner for CROSSFIT or explosive sports. Additionally, it supports healthy hair, skin and nails, while reducing aches/pains and even halting certain signs of aging, such as lines and wrinkles. ALLMAX COLLAGEN is sourced from grass-fed and pasture raised cows and is fortified with both biotin and vitamin C.
USE IT LIKE THIS: Take 2 scoops daily mixed into protein powder, smoothies, oatmeal, or other beverage of choice.
QUICKMASS – This is not your typical low protein, high sugar mass gaining powder! QUICKMASS contains 1010, nutrient dense calories per 4 scoops serving and provides top quality proteins, carbohydrate and fats, as well as digestive enzymes and a prebiotic. While most gainers skimp on protein, QUICKMASS has a whopping 64 grams from whole sources like whey isolate/concentrate and milk isolate. The complex carbohydrate blend is fueled by such nutritional powerhouses like sweet potato, Quinoa, oat fiber and the scientifically tested Cyclo-D. QUICKMASS contains zero trans fats, and utilizes coconut oil powder, which is a valuable source of MCT’s. If you are serious about adding muscle, then add QUICKMASS to your supplement cabinet.
USE IT LIKE THIS: Depending on your size/weight, take 2-4 scoops at a time, 1-2 times daily. I feel the best times to use QUICKMASS is with meal 1 and the post workout meal.
L-LEUCINE: More and more clinical research is pointing to the fact that leucine is the most anabolic and anticatabolic of the branched chain amino acids, acting primarily through the mTOR pathway. Leucine greatly increases protein synthesis (independent of insulin), decreases protein degradation, stabilizes blood sugar (in a calorie restricted state) and has even shown powerful fat loss properties through increased expression of uncoupling protein 3 (UCP3).
USE IT LIKE THIS: Take 5 grams immediately following your workout.
L-GLUTAMINE: This conditionally essential amino acid is one of the most abundant in the body. It helps to ignite the release of natural growth hormone, enhances nitrogen retention, staves off muscle wasting, increases the number of “Heat Shock Proteins,” and provides a powerful boost to the immune system (perhaps its most profoundly important effect).
USE IT LIKE THIS: Take 5-10 grams upon awakening, 30 minutes before training, and just before retiring at night
CREATINE – Increases creatine phosphate within muscle cells, hastening ATP re-synthesis, allowing for greater strength and power while training. Creatine also helps volumize muscle cells, which creates a more efficient anabolic (muscle building) state. It has also been shown to reduce levels of “myostatin,” a myokine protein that actually interferes with muscle hypertrophy.
USE IT LIKE THIS: For the first five days take 3 servings per day – morning, afternoon and evening. After this “loading phase” take one serving with the pre or post workout meal on training days and one serving with breakfast on off (i.e. non-weight training) days.
Use the following list of proteins, carbohydrates and fats to put together an efficient and effective muscle-building diet regimen.
- Proteins: 93% fat-free (or better) lean beef, 93% fat-free (or better) lean turkey, turkey breast, chicken breast, steak, egg whites, game meats, white fish, salmon, non-fat cottage cheese, and protein powders (which can be utilized for up to 3 meals per day as a protein source).
- Carbohydrates: brown rice, white rice, sweet potato, white potato, red potato, whole grain bread, oatmeal, cream of wheat, cream of rice, quinoa, rice cakes, pasta, carb powder, and all fruits.
- Vegetables: all green and colored types.
- Fats: walnuts, peanuts, almonds, avocado, cheddar cheese, olive oil, fish oil, flax oil coconut oil, nut butters.
Now that we have a list of high quality, energy producing, and muscle-building foods set in place, I will now provide an general example of what a typical day of dieting might look like for someone weighing about 200 lb., carrying moderate body fat, and looking to add lean mass without the addition of useless “bulk” weight.
- P: ALLMAX QUICKMASS (2 scoops) + ALLMAX ISOFLEX (1 scoop)
- C: oatmeal (3 oz. uncooked measure)
- F: no added fats
- P: 93% lean ground beef (7.1 oz. cooked measure)
- C: brown rice (8.3 oz. cooked measure)
- F: no added fats
- P: salmon (8.3 oz. cooked measure)
- C: large mixed salad
- F: olive oil (1 tbsp.) and avocado (2 oz. raw measure)
- P: ALLMAX ISOFLEX (1 scoop) + ALLMAX QUICKMASS (2 scoops)
- C: white rice (9.4 oz. cooked measure)
- F: no added fats
- P: 93% ground turkey or chicken breast (7.1 oz. cooked measure)
- C: sweet potato (6.0 oz. cooked measure) and mixed vegetables
- F: no added fats
- P: ALLMAX ISOFLEX (2 scoops)
- C: none
- F: raw almonds (42 grams weight)
- When training to build muscle mass I recommend 4 days per week in the gym. A good schedule is 2 days on, 1 day off, then 2 days on and 2 days off.
- Emphasize the negative contractions by lowering each repetition over 3-4 seconds. The muscle trauma this produces will quickly get you growing.
- Do enough reps per set to keep the muscles under tension for at least 40 seconds, as this will best stimulate hypertrophy. For example, if you lower the weight in 3 seconds, hold the stretch for 1 second and raise the weight in one second, each rep will take approximately 5 seconds to complete. If you perform 8 repetitions in this manner it will get you into that 40 second “sweet spot.”
- When adding mass is the main goal, utilize mostly multi-joint, free weight movements, as they are the most efficient muscle builders.
- Try to spend no more than 90 minutes in the gym from the first set to the last, which will keep hormones in proper balance for muscle building.
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