Keynan Natural Olympia champion Meshack Ochieng discusses his natural bodybuilding training variation in-season vs. off-season.
Bodybuilders structure their training routine corresponding to what their goal is. The training for athletes in-season vs. off-season varies. International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA)/Professional Natural Bodybuilding Association (PNBA) Kenyan Natural Olympia champion Meshack Ochieng discussed how his training changes in-season vs. off-season.
Meshack Ochieng is a Keynan PNBA natural bodybuilder standing 5’2”. Despite his size disadvantage, he won Natural Olympia 2020, the 2018 OCB pro bodybuilding Yorton Cup, and the 2018 IPE Worlds. His training regimen didn’t start with luxury training equipment. Instead, Ochieng began lifting weights with stone dumbbells and barbells in his backyard.
Off-Season Training Vs. In-Season Training
Meshack Ochieng was on the Longevity Muscle Podcast discussing various topics and touched on how his training differs in-season vs. out of season. Ochieng says that he trains four days a week during the off-season (each muscle group once a week) and increases the volume during contest prep. Ochieng stated:
“WHEN I’M FOUR WEEKS TO COMPETITION, THAT’S WHEN I MOVE IT TO SIX DAYS A WEEK. WHEN IT COMES TO COMPETITION, WHEN I’M GETTING READY TO COMPETE, I TRAIN EVERYTHING TWICE A WEEK. BUT THEN FOUR WEEKS OUT, THEN IT’S THREE TIMES A WEEK.”
Ochieng claims that 4-6 weeks is all he needs to prep for a show. However, Ochieng admits that he stayed away from American food upon migrating to America. So he could keep on track with his nutrition during the off-season, mainly eating healthy foods.
Ochieng also suggested avoiding heavy lifting as a show approaches. Ochieng noted:
“DOING HEAVY WORKOUTS WHEN YOU ARE APPROACHING A CONTEST IS VERY DANGEROUS. BECAUSE THE MORE YOU GET LEANER, THE MORE YOUR JOINTS GET WEAK. AND SO IF YOU PUT HEAVY LOADS ON WEAK JOINTS, YOU ARE GOING TO GET INJURED.”
Ochieng discussed several other topics on the podcast, including not needing a luxury gym to build a world-class physique and his training philosophy.
Training Without State-of-the-Art Equipment
Ochieng started weightlifting in Kenya with his older brother. They didn’t have a standard gym and made their backyard gym. Ochieng said:
“WE DIDN’T HAVE A FULLY EQUIPPED GYM, SO EVERYTHING IN OUR SMALL GYM WE MADE IT BY OURSELVES. WE CONSTRUCTED THE BENCHES, THE WEIGHTS.”
Now, Ochieng says he trains at a small gym at Anytime Fitness.
In addition, Chieng says it’s essential to find movements that work the best with your genetics; not everyone will respond to each exercise the same.
Ochieng says if you’re a competitor, it’s essential to know when to change things. For example, Ochieng says that supersets are effective before shows. However, he doesn’t recommend them to build muscle. Instead, he suggests picking one or two big compound movements per body part. Ochieng personally picks two workouts with heavy weight (in the 5-8 rep range), then the rest of his training is with light weight performing ten reps.
Ochieng also trains biceps with the chest because he’s found his triceps are toast after training his chest muscles. Therefore, he’ll pair his triceps with his back workout.
Ochieng discusses knowing when to change your workout routine in detail below.