So when I get to the end of this cut cycle, what am I going to do?
Note that this can change as life progresses, so none of this is in stone, just a reflection of my current thinking.
My original desire was once I was done to start right back rebuilding strength. While I’m enjoying Paul Carter’s programming and really want to explore it more, I have thought about dropping back to 5/3/1 because I know it really works, or even diving into Cube Method. But the more I think about it, this isn’t the right way to go just yet.
I’m pretty tired and drained from all this dieting, and I need to let my body readjust and rebuild itself. As well, I suspect that when I’m done with this cut cycle I won’t be exactly where I want to be bodyfat-wise. I’m close, but I suspect I may need a little more work. I just need a damn break, to eat more, to let my body regain something, and have a little more cycling instead of more months of restriction and loss. And so, training has to be geared towards that. I don’t want to start down the road only to have to stop short.
So I’m pretty sure I’m going to just do some mass building.
Nick @ Renaissance Periodization and I spoke about it, and the current thinking is to do something like 2 months of massing then a month of mid or maybe even a mini-cut. Exact details TBD, but essentially 2-3 months of growing, then we’ll assess. Who knows. I might do 2-3 months of growing then be happy to do 6 months of cutting to really get myself shredded. Dunno yet, just have to see how things are when we get there. But you can see, whatever the lay is, chances are it’s not totally conducive to my next big goal of bench/squat/dead 315/405/495. BUT, building some muscle? Yeah, that will help towards that end, no question. So… mass it is.
Besides, I look in the mirror and tho I look tons better, I also feel so damn small. I wouldn’t mind getting bigger again, but this time a good bigger. 😉
I started looking at Paul’s programming for mass building. Again, I want to continue using Paul’s methodologies because I really want to explore them more. And since it’ll be really trying his stuff, I think it’s good to start with as close to a written program from him as I can, before I start to go it on my own, y’know?
Big-15 and other mass programs from him look great, but just don’t look like they’ll fit my general schedule. So as I look through it all, one existing template is from the Base Building book. It’s a 4x/week program: chest/shoulders, legs, day off, back, arms, day off, repeat. Now thing is, I interpret that as 4x/week, but really it’s just 4x. So it’s probably more like Monday chest, Tuesday legs, Thursday back, Friday arms, Sunday chest, Monday legs, etc… But whatever works best for you. There’s general adherance to his protocols and away you go.
A few months ago I saw an article from Paul on t-nation for “Guaranteed Muscle Mass”. I filed it away, and recently came back to it. Of course it’s based in the core philosophies of his approach, but I took a closer look at the specific program.
The program is basic movements: bench, incline, squat, rows, chins, dips, press, curls, etc.. It’s split simply into an upper body day and a lower body day, but 2 variations of each day. You can click through the article to read the specifics. But some things stood out to me about it:
- volume, but not too much
- day #1 is like a heavy day
- and day #2 is like a light day
- and where have I seen similar loads before…?
Maybe it’s the fact I’m reading Arnold’s “The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding” (never read it before) and I start think about frequency. Heavy and light days are nothing new. And while the #2 days aren’t “light” they sorta are. For example, upper day 1 is bench, incline, heavy bb row, pulldowns. But then upper day 2 is press, then dips, db rows, chins… and everything but the pressing is 350-method, all about the reps. Lower day 1 is pretty heavy stuff, lower day 2 is more about reps. Hrm.
One other thing that struck me was that in some ways this was very similar to 5/3/1. In 5/3/1, and let’s look at the most basic templates of Boring But Big and The Triumvirate, well… basically you’re working upper body one day and lower body another, but then there’s really 2 variations of each day: bench/press, squat/deadlift. Very similar. As well, if you look at the workload presented in those 2 templates and then look at Paul’s template, man… things are really similar.
But one difference is Paul does lay things out to be 3x week, and Wendler is ideally 4x week but you can certainly do it 3x week.
So… it got me wondering.
What if I did Paul’s t-nation article but all within 1 week (Mon/Tue, Thu/Fri). How would that work for me?
I’ve usually done approaches that put me on a weekly basis, but this would be every 4-ish days instead of every 7. Would this work for me? I think it’s worth a try, instead of the more traditional approach.
I’m thinking I’d like to try it and see. I don’t see these sessions being amazingly draining… it’s not digging too deep a hole that’ll be hard to recover out of, but there’s more frequency. Exactly where is my recovery and supercompensation curve, y’know? Do I get more out of doing a lot and taking more time in between? Or might I get more out of doing a little less but taking less time in between.
So… I’m kinda leaning towards Paul’s t-nation approach with the main mod being 4x week instead of 3. Try it for 6 weeks on the massing diet, then assess. I might continue it, or I might switch to something like the Strong-15 short cycle just to do a little assessment of strength. But we’ll take it as it comes.