IFBB Pro Joe Mackey reflects on his bodybuilding prep and a looks ahead to off-season.

Prep Reflection and a Look Ahead to Off-Season

My goal is to win every show for which I prep. When people ask me what shows I’m doing after my planned competition, I always say that my goal is to the win the show I’ll be doing and then start prep for the Olympia. I don’t believe in having a backup plan because, for me, it takes my focus away from the goal I have at hand.

At the beginning of the season, I was at the heaviest I’ve been going into a prep. I was a lean 275 lb. One of the many things this past season taught me is that your off-season will be a huge factor in how your prep will be. In previous years, I would take off-season as a time to rest and not eat many meals. My weight would drop to 255, and when I started prep my weight would increase back to 275. This off-season was the first year I took it seriously. I also kept the workouts with heavy weight and high intensity. 

Toward the beginning of the season, I teamed up with Chad Nicholls as my coach and Dennis James as my trainer. Working with these two individuals was like a dream come true. I’ve known both Chad and Dennis since I was a kid. I still remember having my first conversation with Chad where he told me that I reminded him a lot of the great Olympian Ronnie Coleman. He said that he would enjoy working with me now and in the years to come, and I told him the same thing. After not placing well at the Chicago Pro, I talked to Chad in order to understand my body and how it responds better. In this previous prep, I was the leanest and hardest I’ve ever been with a top weight of 286 lb.

With the competition season over, we both know this is only the beginning. We’re confident I can put on 15-20 lb this next off-season. I’m also looking to break some records as an IFBB Pro bodybuilder by beating the 864 lb deadlift and becoming the world’s strongest IFBB Pro in deadlifting. My best numbers currently are 805 x 2 reps, and now that I’ve teamed up with Josh Bryant/Jailhouse Strong, we believe that I can easily beat that number. 

I’m going into this off-season with the intention of adding more quality size and tissue for the 2022 competition season and with a clear mindset of breaking some powerlifting records as an IFBB pro. I want to make history.

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