T Nation

Jen's Off-Season Plan

A lot of people who have posted on my thread in the physique and performance photos forum have mentioned they would like to know more about my training and nutrition. Several have asked about what I did to get ready for my contest, and several about wht I am doing now. 

I will start with what I am doing now. After my contest was over, I took advantage of extra calories as all bb’s do, but quickly got back on the horse…not to diet but to see waht I could accomplish muscle wise as the dry sponge we become after a contest.

The first thing I did was modify my nutrition. I upped my calories from pre contest style to barely over maintenance style. There was no need to pig out, as I have kind of a freakish metabolism that actually allow me to build muscle on a calorie deficit if I eat a lot of clean foods with high protien.

I do model though, thus necessitating periods of deficits to trim and deplete a bit, the muscle gaining phases are filled with calories. Just a few rules for my off season muscle building weeks…

  1. at least 160-185 grams of prtotien a day
  2. roughly 2000-2200 calores on my weight training days (which you will read later lack no hardcore qualities
  3. about 1800-2000 calories on cardio days
  4. eat lots of carbs around my workouts - no ifs and or butts about it
  5. supplement with vitamins and a BCAA/Creatine water drink during and after my workouts

For me, keeping my fat intake somewhere around 20% and NO MORE than 30% seems to work well for me. Any more than that and my body starts storing unecessary fat.

For training, there are two schemes that I alternate between. The first invloves a split and looks something like this:

M: Heavy CHest and Back, light Bi’s, tri’s and delt’s
T: cardio - Low intensity intervals only while building up my muscle mass
W: Quads, Hams/Glutes, Calves with a possible widowmaker set of squats
TH: Cardio
F: Heavy Shoulders and Arms, light chest and back
S: Light legs (as a recovery workout) and/or cardio

I use this scheme to properly stimulate my nervous system to maximize recovery and growth. It works incredibly well. As I progress from week to week on this scheme, I will in crease my sets and decrease reps. by keeping volume up but varying your load, you can continue to get growth more effectively for a longer time frame.

I firmly believe that switching your workout too often will minimize potential gains from any training time frame. Yet people are plateau-phobic. This scheme allows for maximum gains.

The other scheme I use is one that only a ceratin type of genetic/metabolism can handle without overreaching/overtraining.

If I could not handle three full body workouts in one week, after my first cycle I would just go on the exact same plan, only on a two day split
(working LOWER heavy and upper light on Monday, then work UPPER heavy and lower very light Wednesday) and when I say ‘light’ I really mean light - like 1-2 sets per body part, light weight 12-15 reps…just for some muscle stimulation.

HOWEVER, for me…

I am a FULL BODY WORKOUT LOVER. Right now, I am doing three full body workouts per week. However, they vary in intensity. Let me describe…

M: POWER/STRENGTH DAY - Heavy weights, low reps, basic movements
Week 1 and 2: 3 sets, 5-6 reps
Week 3 and 4: 4 sets, 4-5 reps
Week 5 and 6: 5 sets, 3-4 reps

(does the volume load idea look familiar?)

W: PUMP-DENSITY/REST PAUSE DAY - 5 sets, 5-12 reps with 20 seconds in between sets, going down in weight if I can’t pump out 5 reps at any given set

Week 1 and 2: 2-3 sets, 10-12 reps
Week 3 and 4: 3 sets, 8-10 reps
Week 5 and 6: 4 sets, 6-8 reps

Plus, 1 intensity technique set on the last set i.e. partials, flushing, drop set etc…I do not like to use intensity techniques a whole lot, because they mostly just make you more susceptible to injury, but when not over utilized, used in moderation, (i.e.when you have two days to rest) they can be very effective.

By now, that volume variation should look real familiar :slight_smile:

I do this workout one of three ways:

1- Standard straight sets
2 - Different exercises for each muscle each and every set
3- Supersetting appropriate uscle groups

This full body workout scheme works well for someone whose nervous system can stand that kind of stimulation and who is willing to eat the calories/macros necessary to build muscle mass! The various intensities and muscle fibers that are hit my training this way can seriously instigate enourmous growth.

Conversley it can throw one into a state of overtraining in a fast hurry if they are not genetically suited to handle it, do not rest or eat sufficient calories.

One other thing, even I do not repeat the full body workouts for more than one cycle. Switching back to plan 1 not only gives me a break, but the immense response I will get by going back to plan 1 makes it all worthwhile!

I’ll cut every few/four weeks and up my reps and lower my weights for a break (typically before a photoshoot, then back on the muscle building train…

I hope it wasn’t too long, but there you have it folks, Jen’s official off season plans!

Train smart…train hard…but most importantly - have fun!

You’ll never ever become the target of flamers if your posts keep making so doggone much sense Jen. Besides, you do splits AND full body workouts so you can’t be trusted. Obviously a double counter espionage agent working for the Japanese Sumo Society.

Nice program. Thanks for sharing. Why don’t you paste onto the Vixen forum in case some of the women don’t venture out to the more hardcore forums like “Building a Better Body”?

I am glad you liked what you read. This plan works well for anyone, even men (well, particularly men - I suppose just by the fact that men trying to build muscle out number women trying to build muscle!)Ha - not that there’s anything wrong with that!

All you out there wanting to put on mass could adopt this and make great gains…no doubt about it!

Wow, lots of good info on your training and nutrition there.

I just started taking BCAA’s, and have read a lot of different oppinions about them (mostly people thinking that they don’t need them if they’re getting enough protein).

It’s good to see someone else who obviously knows what she’s doing, using them. It makes me feel a little better about my choice to supplement with them.

Great work!

I think in your other thread you said you’re going to compete again in a few months right?

thanks for posting this jen!!

I have nothing to contribute but my thanks for this great information. You have your shit together, and the quality of this info is extremely high.

I will be directing many people I know to this thread.

Thanks again.

To answer the question aout competing in the Spring. I will compete in a local show here in Idaho Falls, which will hopefully make me pristinely ready for the PRO show in April in Boise, ID (28th of April)…and man am I excited.

I am formulating a perfect pre contest scheme already (my mind tends to plan ahead-a must have quality for someone doing this with 4 little monkeys on her back…lol

Hi Jen-

Thanks for posting your log. I was wondering what a full body workout looks like for you? How many exercises typically?


Here are my full body workout schemes from above. I will give an example of each one below:


Week 1 and 2: 2-3 sets, 10-12 reps
Week 3 and 4: 3 sets, 8-10 reps
Week 5 and 6: 4 sets, 6-8 reps

Plus, 1 intensity technique set on the last set i.e. partials, flushing, drop set etc…I do not like to use intensity techniques a whole lot, because they mostly just make you more susceptible to injury, but when not over utilized, used in moderation, (i.e. when you have two days to rest) they can be very effective.

By now, that volume variation should look real familiar :slight_smile:

I do this workout one of three ways:

Keep in mind I am listing 4 exercises here, which is the most I would do for a different exercise for every set. Weeks 1 and 2 only call for 2-3 sets, thus only need to do 2 of the exercises listed with the respective rep count

1- Standard straight sets: (following the set and rep scheme listed above from week to week - EXAMPLE: I have a larger exercise pool to choose from, but this will serve as a good example of what I might do

Chest - Bench Press
Back - Bent Over Rows
Delts - Bradford Presses or BNP Presses
Quads - Squats: pistol, sissys, or traditional

Hams/Glutes: Glute Ham raises or single leg bent leg deadlifts
Biceps: Incline curls
Triceps: Close Grip bench
Abs: Whatever exercise you want
Low back: wide bench grip hyperextensions

Calves: Seated calve raises or running calve raises

2 - Different exercises for each muscle each and every set

Bench Press 1 set
DB Bench Press 1 set
Incline Flys 1 set
Cable crossovers 1 set with
3 triple rest pause intensity
sets at the end

Close Grip Low rows 1 set
PU’s 1 set
Bent Over Rows 1 set
Bent over rows reverse Grip 1 set
with partials

Squats 1 set
Sissy squats 1 set
Leg extensions 1 set
Stationary alternating lunges 1 set
1 pump set of low weight
bulgarian splits

Stiff Leg Dead lifts 1 set
Traditional Dead lifts 1 set
Bent Leg single leg DB Dead 1set
Hamstring Curls 1 set with drop

Running Calves 1 set
Seated Calves 1 set
Standing Calves 1 set
Running calves 1 set with a
pump set, lower weight 20-30 r

Standard Barbell curls 1 set
Hammer CUrls 1 set
Incline Curls 1 set
Preacher Curls 1 set
with a few partials

Modified French Press 1 set
Triceps Dips 1 set
Decline close grip bench 1 set
Pressdowns 1 set w/ drops

Military press 1 set
Incline side laterals 1 set
Front raises one set
Rear laterals 1 set with drops

Decline Crunch 1 set
Decline Twist w/ med ball
Lower abs 1 set
Swiss ball exercise 1 set

Low back: 2 sets of extensions

Finish up with 2 sets of rotator cuffs, and any other exercise you might want such as shrugs, or forearms (I do not do these)


3- Supersetting appropriate muscle groups

For this style, you would just take any of the exercises I listed or whatever you like and follow style #1, but alternate your back and chest sets, quads and hams, bi and tris, abs and low back sets.

These workouts are killer and the two days rest are very helpful before loading again on Monday. And remember, my nervous system can take enormous stimulation and does not get fatigued so long as I am eating and resting! If I do anything on Saturday, it would be MAX 30 minutes of just WALKING or light elliptical, simply to bring a little blood to the area for recovery purposes.

Have a good one all…Jen

Jen, thanks for this great info!

Jen, great info. Any chance you could give an example of a day of eating for you offseason/pre contest?

A day of eating for off season bulking for me has a calorie count around or BARELY above maintenance. I have my mancros all figured out so that I do not put on much (if any) fat while still effectively maximizing muscle growth.

First off, my supplementation:

  1. vanadyl sulfate 1-2 tablets daily (more for carb loading)

  2. bcaa/creatine drink mix during and post workout

  3. Animal Pak multi vitamins, potassium, additional fish oil caplets

There are others, but these are my staples

A daily meal intake looks somthing like this:

A.M. (pre-workout) 1/2 C. cottage cheese with frozen bananas (or other fruit)

Post workout: Champion nutrition banana ultramet with added scoop of protien, plus 2 servings oatmeal

(this is my BIG meal…I am not one to lose ANY advantage of post workout eating)

Lunch: Chicken breast on spinach mixed salad w veggies

Mid afternoon: Oh Yeah Peanut Butter wafer protien bar or a 2 servings of shrimp

Dinner: Chicken or lean steak on 1/2 or 2 serving of rice

Before Bed: 1 C Cottage Cheese

These meals can very with typical substitutes we all know of depending on my macro needs for the day. However, these days tend to be around 2000 calories

Ask away if you have more questions!

A pre contest diet nutrition day for a WEIGHTS DAY would look something similiar to my post above, maybe with slightly smaller servings to get the calories down around 1850 and maybe substituting rice with more chicken, to keep my protien up. I always eat carbs after my workout to preserve all of that muscle.

On a diet (cardio days) it woud look something like this:

A.M. 1/2 C cottage cheese or a 100 calorie protien shake

Post Workout: 1 serving oatmeal and Ultra Met MRP with additional scoop of protien

Lunch: 1/2 chicken breast on spinach w/veggies

Mid afternoon: 2 serving of shrimp

Dinner: salmon fillet on small amount of rice

Pre-Bed: 1/2 C Cottage Cheeese

This comes out somewhere in the neighborhood of 1350 Calories. So…

my Pre Contest Training consists of two tpypes of days

  1. weights day nutrition - this day is dedicated to eating a few more calories (still a deficit for the day) but more of a focus on maintenance of muscle mass and careful macro selection to lose fat

2)cardio days nutrition - these days consist of a pretty severe calorie deficit with concentrated carbs around my workout to keep my muscles full and a few interspersed throughout the rest of the day in conjunction with the high protien intake.

For EFA’s I sometime mix in flax with things, but mostly take fish oil caplets. I enjoy nuts, but theya re hust so high in clories that I reserve them for my bulking phases most of the time.

OH!!! and the most important thing. I DO NOT mess around with water intake. By noon each day I have already consumed 3/4 to 1 gallon and try to get an additional gallon down by the end of the day!! 1 3/4 gallons to 2 gallons fo water! You pee a lot at first, but the you get used to it. Remember, creatine, plus BCAA’s, plus a lot of reakin water = full muscles…and full muscles are anabolic folks…so drink it up!


Solid plan Jen. Animal Pak huh? Nice, so many people hate on the Pak on this site, it is and has been the foundation of my supplement plan.

Some questions. Have you identified any target areas you “need” to address for your next show? And if so, what is your plan to bring up these areas?

Also, I have friends that compete figure and model. This is not easy as the shredded look is usually not what the agencies are looking for unless they are geared towards BB/figure of course. There is usually a need to be a little “softer”. From talking to them, it usually take a bit to soften up. How do you deal with that? And how do you alter you plan based on assignments?


To answer your modeling questions…I have an advantage in my off season, because I have no desire to stay at 6-7% bodyfat if I don’t have to! :slight_smile:

I intentionally IMMEDIATLEY raise my bf level to 10-11% (which is ideal for modeling of any kind) and then switch to a maintenance diet that still allows muscle growth. Before any shoots, I will definitley diet a little and take off the correct amount of water during the week to come in lookng just how I need to (you can all stay tuned for some modeling portfolio pics, as I get a new set mid-December)

As far as Body parts being brought up for next competition. I imagine that my glute ham tie in is really pretty under there. We all got a pretty decent glimpse of it at my comp, but that is where the other 2% points will come off. The plan for that is just carefully planned out dieting just like before, but maybe start a little sooner (the longer the better as we all know) and or a litle more deficit at the end. I fully intend to come in a couple percents lower than even this last show!

I am also doing a little specialization in my front delts. Some concentrated load, rest pause, and traditional sets on front raise variations for that muscle should do some good!