Comp prep is designed to bring out the best of what you already have, so if you have a good training history, specifically for competing, then you can possibly go straight into prep for a competition, but for me, the offseason is the key to competing.
Once your competition has finished, post comp blues are common, possible anti climax, no longer having an imminent goal to keep you focused, disappointment, or a mix of all three. Its really important to start planning your post comp phase before your last competition so you don't go off the rails and suffer rebound weight gain or start feeling down.
This is key to a healthy competition life year on year- some of your best gains will come as you gradually come out of comp diet and change training style, so why miss this great opportunity for the sake of a little discipline now? Your body will thank you when it comes to next seasons diet!
If you only believe the prep is the important aspect... ask yourself, were you totally happy with your results /physique, did you reach your goals? Did you get feedback from judges? Did they recommend you build more muscle / shape? If you flounder in the off season and only get back on track ready to diet again, how will you make those improvements? Its really important that you make the most of the non dieting time of the year in order to not come back next year looking exactly the same. The competitors that make the biggest improvements are those that use the offseason wisely!
This is really common post comp, so why not set yourself some mini goals, this can be other sports, max reps, a charity fundraising event, something not even physique related, but you need to find some focus to help you stay positive and not feel lost in the first few weeks post comp. Just setting plans for next year and focusing on reverse diet and setting training plans can be enough but think about this before your last competition so you are ready and organised!
SO my advise... don't lose this great opportunity over the winter to make the improvements to bring the best version of you next year! Happy winter training!
Pic shows 3 years progression where ive competed multiple times and had a short offseason Ive competed for 5 years and always aim to work on weaknesses, building a better shape each year, my conditioning wasn't as good in middle pic, but each year I have built a better V taper, worked on shape of glutes / quad sweep and building the shoulders and arms. Gradual progress followed by conditioning during the comp prep phase! The middle pic, my conditioning was off- life can get in the way sometimes, so its important to factor in time for illness / injury or just life events that can get in the way! 5 years and no post comp rebounds - down to post comp planning!