Just three weeks or so now until the next weigh-in, and unless something changes between now and then, the plan is to up the density of my workouts and start a cut. Hence, my attention is slowly shifting to what that workout and diet will look like and how I’ll approach the overall process.
Based on what I’ve learned over the last year or so of training, here’s what I’m envisioning as the key tenets of my cutting regimen:
- Build an enjoyable program
- Focus on density
- Eat as much as possible while still making progress
- Minimize cardio
Unless you are a particularly advanced trainee, or working around unique personal constraints, the bottom line is that pretty much any program can work. The key to success with a program is consistency. And unless you are a glutton for punishment, consistency will be a whole lot easier to achieve if the program is something you’ll enjoy.
That could end-up looking like a simple alternating upper/lower split (6 days), or a legs, chest/back and shoulders/arms split (also 6 days). The variations are endless, of course.
But that’s the plan. Pick a suite of exercises I love to perform, settle on a split and attack it for a minumum of month, and more likely six to eight weeks.
There are a number of training variables we can manipulate as part of our programming, including frequeny, load, volume, density and more. But given I am planning to burn most, if not all, of my fat by lifting weights, I’ll be focusing on increasing overall density.
Density is increased primarily through three vectors:
- Reduced rest intervals
- Chaining sets (supersets, staggered sets, giant sets etc.)
- Rep patterns (linear, rest-pause, myo-reps etc.)
Initially, I plan to take a fairly simplistic approach to increased density, focusing primaily on reducing rest intervals and super-setting or staggering different exercises. Weights will be moderate (~60% of 1RM) and reps not lower than 8 and maybe as high as 20. Exact rep patterns will depend somewhat on split, exercise selection and sequencing.
Last time I cut, I shed 12lbs of fat in just 12 weeks and reduced intake and carbs dramatically. Sure, I got pretty shredded, but I was also borderline dead, with Testosterone and thyroid levels through the floor. I was constantly tired, cold and had zero sex-drive. And worst of all, I still had stubborn body-fat in all the normal places.
This time will be different.
This time, I will eat as much as humanly possible during the cut while still maintaining progress. Sure, I’ll tighten the belt a little, reducing portion sizes and cutting out some of the excessive snacking and treats I’ve been pounding on this bulk. But in general, I want to eat and feel good on this cut.
I have the slight advantage that this cut is not for anything in particular, it really is to just trim the excess fat before I push again for a few more lean pounds.
There’s now a substantial body of evidence to support the position that cardio is not “necessary” for fat loss. Hence, I will be working with weights as much as possible during this cut. However, I may add in some “finishers” to the end of workouts; short bouts of HIIT to burn some extra kcal and stimualte the metabolism. I may also add in some LISS/MISS once or twice a week, largely for heart health and aid in recovery.
Anyway, that’s as far as I’ve got right now. I’ll share more as the programming firms-up.
Of course, if you have questions or comments, send them my way!