Gary Roberts Off-Season Goals

The following article was written by Gary Roberts, NHL veteran forward who now owns and operates Gary Roberts Training

Roberts will contribute more information to Neutral Zone readers. Click here to access Gary’s at-home training programs delivered on the Gary Roberts training appNeutral Zone readers earn 10% discount when applying Neutral Zone promo code NZ10 at checkout. Athlete’s living in America should note, the Canadian dollar is 40 cents to the American dollar! This means close to 50% savings!!!

Set goals for off-season success

Setting goals for training is a must during the off-season but it is also crucial to align those goals with your nutrition regime. Every individual has unique nutritional needs, but the concepts and approach can be very simple.

Before getting detailed with goal-based nutrition it is important to start with the basics in following the checklist with each meal (protein, fiber, healthy fats, and colour), staying hydrated, and focusing on recovery in between workouts.

The first step in order to follow goal-based nutrition is to set a target. Examples of goals to focus on in the off-season could be:

  1. Boost performance in sport or training
  2. Increase strength
  3. Build lean muscle mass (hypertrophy)
  4. Body re-composition (decrease body fat)
  5. Support the body through rehabilitation/ healing process

The off-season is a time to focus on achieving goals which will help drive performance in the in-season. When setting training goals, we focus on different phases in order to optimize results in the off-season. The first phase going into the off-season will typically focus on building general strength and creating good habits. The second phase typically focuses on individual goals such as building lean muscle mass and body re-composition (decreasing body fat).

During the first phase, focus on building good habits like eating consistently throughout the day, staying hydrated, and focusing on the recovery process in between workouts. Focus on small goals every day like eating two more servings of vegetables per day or increasing water by 500ml.

The second phase will be the bulk of the off-season. Once you have created good habits of following the checklist (protein, fiber, healthy fats, and colour), staying hydrated and boosting recovery in between training sessions you want to hone in on your specific goal. The most common goals during the bulk of the off-season are to build lean muscle mass or body- re-composition (decrease body fat).

The focus for building lean muscle mass centers around:
• Eating real whole foods including protein, fiber, fats and lots of colour/ variety with every meal/snack
• Starting your day off with a large protein-rich breakfast like overnight oats and a 3-egg vegetables scramble with ½ an avocado. Aim for 700-1000 calories for your first meal.
• Include nutrient-rich shakes throughout the day with quality protein, greens, healthy fats (nut butter, seeds, etc.) and fruit like berries.
• Optimize gut health to ensure absorption and assimilation of nutrients. Focus on slowing down when you eat, eating probiotic-rich foods (yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, etc.), eating fiber-rich foods (fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts/ seeds, etc.)

The focus for body recomposition centers around:

• Eating real whole foods including protein, fiber, fats and lots of colour/ variety with every meal/snack
• Eating starchy carbohydrates (rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, oats, etc.) around training sessions.
• Pay attention to hunger cues and eating when physically hungry.
• Prioritize protein and fats to boost satiety and help to balance blood sugar levels throughout the day
• Drink spring water consistently throughout the day and not just around workouts.

Tracking your progress is very important, record what you eat and how you are feeling around your workouts.

Tip: Create a Goal Setting Workbook
In order to align your training goals with your nutrition goals, it is important to record your goals and progress.

Ask the following questions:
What are your top 3 goals for the off-season for training (hypertrophy, fat loss, strength, increase size, speed/agility, etc.)

  1. ____________________________________________________________
  2. ____________________________________________________________
  3. ____________________________________________________________

What is your biggest struggle with nutrition?

The overall goal is to make sure to create a healthy sustainable lifestyle with good habits to adjust with goals at different phases of training and performance.