Experienced Bodybuilder – Off Season Training

This plan is aimed at the experienced bodybuilder who has competed before, but is currently off season, who wants to 'bulk-up' and increase muscle gains. The idea here though, is not to bulk up too much, so you have a huge amount to lose pre-contest, but to keep to a sensible off-season weight, likely to be 1.5 – 2 stone (20 – 28lbs / 9 – 13 kg) above a stage weight. The key to healthy quality weight gain is to eat big and eat consistently throughout the day following a structured meal plan. Aim to eat six or seven meals / snacks moderately large, rather than three huge meals. Include plenty of high protein food choices, like lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs and milk; high fibre complex carbs like cereals, bread, pasta, rice and potatoes; fruit and vegetables (don't forget nuts and pulses are also good sources of protein); as well as sources of essential fats.

Timing of meals is also important; spread the meals regularly through the day. Especially important is to ensure adequate nutrition to fuel your training, and good amounts of protein and carbs after training. Some protein and weight gain supplements can also be useful aids to packing on the bulk, but not in place of good wholesome food.

Here's a sample meal plan for one day for an experienced competitive bodybuilder to help gain quality lean mass in the off season:

Wake 7.30 am
30g whey protein in water
8.00am Breakfast
Serving of James' Super Smoothie
2 slices granary bread toagsted + olive oil-based spread
2 squares Easy Flapjacks
Large handful mixed nuts
Large banana
Mug green tea
Large chicken breast or 2 mackerel fillets
4 slices granary bread + olive oil spread
Large mixed salad
Low fat yoghurt
6 oatcakes
Tub cottage cheese or quark
45 mins pre-workout
Large bowl unsweetened muesli + 250ml skimmed milk
20g whey protein in water


Immediately post workout
30g scoops whey protein + 30g dextrose + 30g maltodextrin in water
250g lean red meat or 250g chicken / turkey or 300g white fish
70g basmati rice or 90g wholewheat pasta or 5-6 small boiled new potatoes or 1 large sweet potato (dry roasted)
Large serving of vegetables / salad
Low fat yoghurt
Serving of James' Super Smoothie
Tub cottage cheese or quark

As with all the meal plans this is merely a guide and must not be stuck to rigidly! You must eat a variety of different meats / fish / alternatives, complex carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables every day, and drink plenty of water. Adapt the plan to suit your own needs and lifestyle according to your results in order to keep the gains coming and body fat down. Varying portions from day to day, along with hard training will help maximise gains. However, do bear in mind, you carry a lot of muscle, therefore you need to eat good portions of your meals.

Plans for people with illness or medical conditions in no way should override advice provided specifically for you by your doctor, clinical dietitian or other clinician. We advise that you seek the advice of a suitably qualified physician before commencing any exercise regime, following any dietary or nutritional regimen or beginning the use of any dietary supplements, legal or otherwise. The information provided on the Website is intended as information only and does not constitute advice. Therefore, it must not be relied on to assist in making or refraining from making a decision, or to assist in deciding on a course of action.