off-season trainingWalk into any gym in America, head to the dumbbell rack where the beginner trainers are completing set after set of alternate dumbbell curls, and wait until the conversation turns to nutrition. Well, actually we could label that conversation “supplementation”. New bodybuilders will devote a great deal of their discussion to how many teaspoons or scoops of what new supplement they consumed religiously before each workout. They’ll spend many hours online, reading about the benefits of supplements, knowing exactly what powder does what. But they very rarely think about nutrition, a key component of the muscle building process which is so much more important than supplement use.

Part of the reason for this phenomenon is that you don’t typically see chicken, beef, and pasta placing ads in muscle magazines highlighting their key roles in the muscle-building process. But you do see advertisements from dozens or hundreds of other companies, all promising to deliver that much-needed boost in muscle gain that we all desire so much. So, the new bodybuilder, after completing a decent workout in the gym following a routine he read in the magazine, will go to the store (or favorite informative bodybuilding website, such as ( and will consume supplements with the same intensity that was used in the training.

This poor misguided soul will consume his powders, measuring every gram meticulously. Then, since nutrition hasn’t been emphasized to him with the same intensity as training and supplementation, he will eat a sandwich or some junk food, and go about his day. Despite the fact that he just completed a brutal workout and the muscles are ready to grow, he won’t provide his muscles with adequate levels of the nutrients from food (fats, protein, and carbohydrates) that it needs. So his growth will be limited.

Let’s not forget that supplements are very useful. They deliver an added 5% to an already successful training and diet routine, and can be the difference between 1st and second place once all the other aspects of muscle building have been properly covered. However, when they are used INSTEAD of good nutritional habits, muscle gaining is very quickly short-circuited.

This off-season, plan your bodybuilding growth plan in the correct order. Write out your daily nutritional plan FIRST. Then, conjure up a creative, effective weight lifting plan to properly train each body part. Only after you have completed those should you engage in the supplement chase, searching for those compounds which can give you an edge.

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