Off-Season: this is that beautiful period of a year that allows you to get into a rhythm with your exercise and you are actually interested in eating well. If often is sparked by some motivating factor, lasts a few months and increase as you get towards the end, just like an athlete training for their upcoming sports season. With this added commitment it is the perfect time to give it your all and go for big goals in performance, body composition, etc. Go for it but know that for every Off-Season there is an In-Season so expect it and plan for it, otherwise you might just fall out of the game entirely.
In-Season: this is your busy season at work or with travel or whatever so you have less time to train and prepare meals. If you are In-Season you recognize that this is not the time to try to really change your body or fitness level, you are simply maintaining. The focus is squarely on keeping some basic routine and eating clean to keep your body, mind and calories in balance. The human tendency is to be all or nothing about training and eating which is terrible because we all end up missing workouts. Expect to break from your routine but ensure that you keep coming back to your In-Season plan/mindset, no matter how many days you miss. This is the difference between maintaining and losing everything you gained in your Off-Season.
Out of the Game: Year over year weight creep comes primarily from extended “Out of the Game” periods, where eating, exercise and mindsets go out the window completely. After a long season or injuries athletes often take a break to recover and reenergize but don’t be confused with a week or two break, and dropping out of the game all together. The Fall/Winter series of holidays is often times one of these periods, because people get “too busy” and parties are abundant so overeating ensures and workouts get missed. Don’t let the holidays pull you “Out of the Game” completely. Stay In-Season and hit it hard in your Off-Season. Which season are you in now?