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I am smack dab in the holiday season with no shows until March and loving every minute of training. I used to consider this time of year as the off-season. Now I consider the entire year my on-season and a much more fun on-season than in the past.
In previous years, I've had trouble with balancing my nutrition. In the on-season, I used to be slightly too restricted. I would achieve the leanness I desired, yet felt very deprived and would often have cravings for unhealthy foods. Once the off-season arrived, I would treat myself a little too often. Even though my weight difference was minimal, the result was not being completely happy with my physique and not feeling as healthy as I'd like. I would often feel guilty when treating myself, and continue to think about the food I thought I shouldn't have ate.
Now my nutrition is perfectly balanced for my physique. I no longer have the varying weight or obsessive thoughts of food. I eat healthy about 95% of the time and anything that I crave about 5% of the time. I never feel deprived and always feel energized for training. A change in thinking made all of the difference. I realized that now I crave healthy foods most of the time to be able to train intensely and feel healthy. I also don't deprive myself of cravings, yet they don't happen as often or as intensely as before. I will now eat a reasonable amount of what I crave and I am over it.
Besides a change in thinking, another helpful tool is supplementing with HMB. I recover faster and can train harder for the next workout. The results are a leaner physique and an even greater passion for training! In terms of not competing for 3 months, it is my off-season, but in terms of my nutrition and training, it is my on-season now and all year round!