12-week bulks. 4-week mini-cuts. 8-week chest specialization phases.
Stop the Insanity!
Breaking down your training (and diet) into phases is good planning and usually more effective in the long run.
But these convenient deadlines are self-imposed and often totally arbitrary.
It’s far wiser to LET RESULTS DICTATE WHAT YOU DO.
If you’re 12 weeks into a 16-week bulk and already well past “bulky” and aggressively flirting with sloppy, then just shift back towards maintenance. Who cares if it messes up your timetable?
Or even more importantly, if the program you’re on feels great, you’re making progress, and you’re in a fun groove, then why the heck change things just because its the magic 4 or 6 or 8-week “deadline?”
It seems so obvious it makes you wonder why this is even a thing.
In part it’s a byproduct of bodybuilding contest prep mentality (when the deadline ISN’T arbitrary), and of course fitness marketing, where the featured benefit is often “a new workout every month.”
But it also stems back to a need to feel in control. Which isn’t surprising, considering how out of control every day life is today.
However, this is NOT an area where you want to force a false sense of control.
Those that try to meet their psychological “needs” by controlling their bodies typically press too hard and get frustrated or burn out entirely.
One of the best things I learned was to stop focusing so much on outcomes and goals and arbitrary deadlines and instead drill down on my daily process — and then seeing what body gives me in return. And adjust accordingly.
It made training and nutrition a lot less restrictive but also more fluid, dare I say a holistic (for lack of a better word).
Don’t get me wrong, deadlines have their place and a well thought out plan is a good thing.
But plans are only on paper for a reason.