Off-Season Gains


Your guide to playing (and winning) the off-season gains game

As winter sets in, many bodybuilders will use the colder months as an opportunity to bulk up with an off-season mass gain plan.

Banking those off-season gains requires a comprehensive approach that ticks the right training, nutrition and supplement boxes.

Your main aim during this phase is to stimulate muscle growth, limit muscle breakdown, and shift the muscle-building process into high gear with proper recovery between hard training sessions.

Train to gain

Adding serious size starts in the gym with an intense weight training programme built around the core compound lifts, with some muscle isolation work targeting a key muscle group a day.

A good rule of thumb is to increase your training volume to 20 sets a week per major muscle group and 12 sets a week for smaller or accessory muscles.

Splitting your programme into an upper-body, lower-body routine can support the higher volume training approach as you train major muscle groups twice a week.

An ideal intensity is 85% of your maximum weight for 8-10 reps per set. You can also add another rest day to your weekly schedule during your bulking phase to support recovery due to the high training volume.

A performance-enhancing supplement like Primal Creatine Charge can support this increased training volume and elevate the intensity of every session to promote better gains.

Primal Creatine Charge is scientifically formulated with pure creatine monohydrate, dextrose monohydrate and alpha-lipoic acid to maximise creatine absorption to support the strength and performance gains that can increase muscle size.

Cutting down on your daily cardio is a sensible idea during the off-season to limit potential muscle loss and conserve energy for those super-heavy weight training sessions.

Eat big to get big

You also need to support recovery and muscle growth by consuming sufficient calories and the right combination of macronutrients to support mass gains.

That means giving the hollow calories from fast foods, processed ingredients and convenience products in the conventional ‘dirty bulk’ a skip. Instead, focus on quality nutrients and calorie-dense foods from natural sources to provide the building blocks your body needs to add more muscle mass.

Your food choices should include lean meats, eggs and natural plant-based protein sources like grains and legumes to get sufficient protein.

Carbohydrates are also really important during a bulking phase. Ideal sources include whole foods such as rice, sweet potatoes, whole grains and pasta.

And don’t forget to include natural fats, including some saturated fat, as they play important roles in hormone production, including the powerful anabolic hormones that support muscle growth and recovery.

Bulk up your diet

Physically consuming the calories required to fuel serious muscle gains can become a challenge during an off-season bulking phase.

Recommended calorie intakes for those looking to add significant mass, particularly hard gainers, can exceed 3500 calories a day during a bulking phase, which is a significant amount of food.

A mass gainer supplement offers a tasty and convenient way to support – not replace – a predominantly wholefood diet, helping you hit your daily calorie target and meet your macronutrient requirements.

The ideal macronutrient mix:

In addition to providing a generous dose of calories in every serving, the ideal mass gainer provides sufficient energy from a mix of carbohydrates to train hard, and sufficient protein to repair damaged muscle tissue and support muscle growth.

Mass builders are typically formulated with whey protein to support the muscle-building process, delivering 30-60g of bioavailable protein per serving. For example, Primal Mass Gain is formulated using high-quality whey protein concentrate.

The ideal mix of carbohydrates generally includes faster-digesting and more complex carbs that break down more slowly. This combination helps fuel intense training with a more immediate energy release and a more sustained release of glucose to support the post-exercise muscle growth and recovery processes.

For instance, Primal Mass Gain has a triple-action carb blend that includes maltodextrin, brown rice powder, and ground oatmeal powder, with added Tolerase to aid digestion.

This carb blend can also support the anabolic muscle-building process after exercise by exploiting the post-exercise insulin response, which is vital to ensure that muscle cells absorb the circulating amino acids from the protein in your shake. Carbs also keep levels of the stress hormone cortisol in check after training, which can limit muscle breakdown.

Ultimately, building muscle mass during the off-season requires a strategic combination of dedicated weight training, a diet rich in whole foods that creates a calorie-surplus, and supplements that support your goals.

By following a well-structured plan that prioritises progressive overload, proper nutrition, and sufficient recovery, you can maximise your muscle gains and emerge from the off-season bigger and stronger than before. Trust the process and remain consistent to make insane gains this winter.