Akash Vaghela’s Off Season Blog: October Update

Akash Vaghela’s Off Season Blog: October Update

If you haven’t read the last blog where I outline the entire 8 week ‘reverse diet’ coming out of my show this year, you can read it here.

If you’d like to read the step-by-step 21 week diary of my bodybuilding prep, where I outline every single change made, you can read the blog here.

It’s been six weeks since I’ve last updated things, but what a six weeks it’s been. While progress in bodybuilding has been pretty slow, business and life has been great. I’ve been away twice in October, travelling to Toronto and Mumbai for a week at the start and end of the month. Because of this, my focus has been on maintaining decent condition while training as hard as I can with what I have available to me.

It’s now 14 weeks since competing and I’m 14lbs up in total. While my goal for October was to maintain 75-76kg, I let the reigns go a little when in Toronto and have been holding in the 78kg region instead. Not ideal, but not a disaster at the same time. The experiences gained over the trips far outweigh any small worries about a little extra body fat.

Off season is now in full swing, and except for 2 long weekends in November & December, I’ve got a pretty clear stretch until February now to really push some progression in both the gym and my physique.

Diet:

Since the last update, the base diet hasn’t really changed. When I’ve been home, it’s been the same 220P / 80F / 415C diet.

OPTION 1 

M1: 3 whole eggs, 50g smoked salmon, 160g Sourdough
M2: 133g chicken, 110g rice, 1 tsp olive oil
TRAINING: 1 scoop aminotaur
M3: 30g whey, 120g oats, 15g peanut butter, 25g 85% dark chocolate
M4: 133g chicken breast, 110g rice, 1 tsp olive oil
M5: 133g chicken breast, 1 whole egg, 110g rice, 1 tsp olive oil, 5g butter

OPTION 2

M1: 2 Salmon Fillets, 10g butter, 160g Sourdough
M2: 130g chicken, 110g rice, 1 tsp olive oil
TRAINING: 1 scoop aminotaur
M3: 30g whey, 120g oats, 15g peanut butter, 25g 85% dark chocolate
M4: 130g chicken breast, 110g rice, 1 tsp olive oil
M5: 160g Lean Lamb, 110g rice, 1 tsp olive oil, 5g butter

When I’ve been away, I’ve made good choices and buffers where necessary, but have also made sure to enjoy myself too and try out all the different cuisines.

Two particular meals that stood out. The first being a 24oz bone-in rib eye at a steakhouse called Michael’s in Toronto, which was definitely up there in my top five steaks of all time.

The second was a great family meal at a spot called Trishna’s in Mumbai – the fish was excellent here.

After the India trip, I did try two things with my diet:

1) 24 hour fast – I’ve never done one of these, but thought after the indulgence in India, this would be a good way to ‘reset’ my digestive system and give my body a break. I started this from around 4pm before our flight back home, till 4pm the next day.

2) Mini 5 day diet – After this fast, I dropped down to 4 meals a day, and followed a macro set up of 175P / 40F / 200C. Again, this was just to provide a bit of a reset, regain some appetite and help balance out calories from the previous week in India.

Cardio:

No real cardio per se – I still go for my morning walks and aim to reach 8-10K steps a day. Because of renovations at the studio and travelling, I haven’t made it to hot yoga in October.

While out in India though, I managed to get 4-5 10-15 min HIIT sessions in throughout the week each morning before breakfast. I think this, combined with the dieting strategies listed above helped keep condition in check, and not take any steps in the wrong direction.

To read more travelling strategies, check out this guide here.

Supplements:

Still the usual daily staples – 30g whey, 2K IU D3, 5g creatine and when I train, 1 scoop of aminotaur.

I’ve had a few 3-4 days spurts of mega dosing vitamin D3 just to keep my immune system strong. When I’ve been away, I’ve also been using a greens powder from Anabolic Designs called Grazed. I think it’s been useful to take when away, so I’ll continue to take this with me when travelling.

Training:

Training has been good this past month. I took a full week off when out in Toronto as planned and followed it up by transitioning to an upper / lower split, on a 2 on, 1 off training schedule.

Upper 1:

  1. DB Floor Press 3×6-8
  2. T-Bar Deadstop Rows 3×6-8 (This is a new exercise added into the rotation)
  3. Machine Deadstop Shoulder Press 2×6-8,1×8-12
  4. Varied Grip Chin Ups 30-50 total reps
  5. PJR Pullover 2×10-12
  6. Incline DB Curl 2×10-12

Lower 1: (This workout is done at Xplosive Ape Gym in Watford – they’ve got great leg equipment so 1 in 3 leg workouts will be done here to make the most of it)

  1. Standing Calf Raises w/ Tibialis Raises 5×8-10 / 15-20
  2. Single Leg Leg Curl  3×8-12
  3. V Squat Machine 2×6-8,1×8-12
  4. Cybex Leg Press 2×10-15
  5. Glute Ham Raise / Back Extension Hybrid 3×10-15
  6. Adductor Machine 1xRP 25-35

Upper 2:

  1. Paused Dip 3×5-8
  2. Wide Pull Up 4-5×5
  3. Seated DB Shoulder Press 3×5-8
  4. Machine Row 3×5-8
  5. BB Close Grip Floor Press 2×6-10
  6. Seated DB Hammer Curl 2×6-10

Lower 2:

  1. RDL 3×6-8 (last set is paused)
  2. Hack Squat 3×6-8
  3. Walking Lunges 3×8-12
  4. Wide Stance Paused Leg Press 1xRP 20-30
  5. Adductor Machine 1xRP 25-35
  6. Leg Press Calf Raises w/ Tibialis Raises 5×8-10 / 15-20

Upper 3:

  1. Standing Military Press 3×6-8
  2. Bent Row 3×6-8
  3. DB Floor Press 3×6-8
  4. Underhand Pulldown 3×6-8
  5. Dips 2×8-10
  6. EZ Curl 2×8-10

Lower 3:

  1. Decline Lying DB Leg Curl 3×8-12
  2. Bulgarian Split Squat 3×8-12
  3. Wide Stance Leg Press 1×50% set (take a set to failure in the 15-20 rep range, rest 1 minute, aim to reach at least 50% of the reps in the second set)
  4. DB Paused RDL 3×8-12
  5. Adductor Machine 1xRP 25-35
  6. Seated Calf Raise 1×3-4 minute song (Play a song and calf raise till the end…)

There’s a few new things here:

  1. 3 way rotation: I’ve not done this since I was training DC style back in 2015, so it’ll be fun to do this again.
  2. New leg day at Xplosive Ape: I really like their V squat and Cybex leg press machines and can only think that getting progressive on these will benefit my leg development.
  3. Arm supersets: While I didn’t write it on the program above, the arm work (exercises 5 and 6) in each upper body workout is performed in antagonist superset fashion.
  4. Shoulder isolation work: I finish each upper body workout with either leaning forward lateral raises, rear delt raises or face pulls done for 3 sets of 10-20 reps with 30 seconds rest. This is to get a ton of blood into the delts and keep them healthy.

I’m still maintaining my 2 minute rest periods on the compound lifts, and keeping each set clean with minimal intra-set pauses. These two ‘standards’ in my training have been great in maintaining focus and intensity during training, as well as providing me with true measures to test progressive overload against.

Condition:

Fourteen weeks post show, bodyweight is 6.4kg/14lbs up. Derek reckons I will soften up a little more in the off season, but sees no reason to go above ~81kg and get sloppy like I’ve done previously. I agree with this approach, so the next few months will be interesting to see what happens.

This was my condition just before flying out to India on the 20th October:

Related Articles:

Akash’s 2017 Bodybuilding Prep Diary

Akash’s 2017 Reverse Diet Blog

 

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Akash Vaghela
akash@rntfitness.co.uk

Akash Vaghela is the Founder of RNT Fitness, where his mission is to see a world where everyone experiences the power of a physical body transformation to act as a vehicle for the greater good in their lives. Akash has produced 200+ blogs, 100+ videos and hosts the RNT Fitness Radio podcast, which has amassed over 110,000 downloads in 90+ countries across 100+ episodes. Alongside this, he's been seen in Men's Health, BBC, T-Nation, Elite FTS and the PTDC, while also regularly speaking nationally and internationally on all things transformation.