The off-season is the perfect time to revamp your current eating habits and to rest your body after several months of hard training. Typically, the off-season means there’s a reduced training load. Whether you’re cutting back on the intensity, length, or duration of your workouts, your overall calorie burn will likely be much lower than during season.
To avoid unwanted weight gain in the offseason, portion sizes and the amount of carbohydrates will need to be decreased compared to your in-season routine. Because training load is decreased during this time, you won’t need as many calories or additional carbohydrates. Decreasing portion sizes at lunch and dinner and making sure the majority of your carbohydrates are coming from fruits and vegetables are both great ways to avoid weight gain.
If your overall goal is to gain weight over the off-season, increase the frequency of higher calorie snacks and meals. There are plenty of simple ways to increase calories without feeling like you’re constantly eating. A few include adding high-calorie ingredients to foods, such as peanut butter to shakes/smoothies (200 calories/2 Tbsp), half of a sliced avocado to sandwiches (160 calories), or snacking on high-calorie mixed nuts (170 calories per handful).
Athletes often find they have a lot more free time in the off-season to prepare their own meals, rather than having to rely on convenient sports products such as bars and shakes. Although these are recommended during season to assure you get enough carbohydrates and total calories to fuel you throughout your game or event, the off-season should be spent bringing whole foods back into your diet. Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats should all be included in your daily routine. This is also the time to avoid eating “extras” as frequently, such as dressings, packaged sweets, desserts, and fried foods.
Whether your goal is to lose weight or gain weight, the off-season is the ideal time to make changes to your body composition. Schedule an appointment with me to create a personalized nutrition plan and to assist you in reaching your goals so you’re ready to perform at your best once season starts.