I’m seeking advice on how to taper off from bodybuilding and return to a normal diet and maintenance workouts without looking . . . odd. You all know the look: big shoulders and pencil neck; big upper arms and atrophied forearms.[/quote]
What’s your current height, weight, and general fat level?
Check these for some ideas:
Basically: Lift according to some kind of organized plan 2-3 days a week, be “active” for a half-hour or so the other days (doesn’t have to be a “workout”. Freeze tag with the kids is great). Eat three good meals a day, expecting dinner to be family-time and probably “looser” with the macro content, so at least have breakfast and lunch relatively-dialed in.
Also, just because you’re “winding down”, I’d still be sure to set specific goals. Unless you plan on never improving, or being happy with sporadic and random progress whenever it happens to occur.
You’re only 25, man. It almost sounds like you’re a retired pro hanging up your belt because you’ve squatted 675 and you’re done with it all. I totally understand wanting to balance real life and gym life, but I’d wager that an easy 75% of the guys on this site have full time jobs and families and children and some kind of nagging injury and still train hard several days a week while reaching their goals.
Especially if you’re just a recreational (non-professional/non-competitive lifter), there is absolutely always a way to find balance without necessarily having to "wind down"
Pain like from an actual injury that affects your training?