This is the best strategy to get bigger and leaner over time. Follow accordingly to see results and keep you in the best shape possible, lean and muscular at the same time.

In the bustling world where careers, hobbies, and personal commitments intertwine, many individuals aspire to enhance their muscularity and lean down over an extended period, perhaps for an entire year. The challenge, however, lies in synchronising these fitness goals with the rhythm of daily life.

To address this, a plan for diet and training that spans the entire year can be an ideal solution. This article delves into a meticulously crafted plan that aligns with seasonal changes, optimising your physique transformation while accommodating real-life engagements.

So what is the best strategy to get bigger and leaner over time? That is what Mike Israetel talked about recently in a video he published.

Dr Mike Israetel, PhD in Sport Physiology and co-founder of Renaissance Periodization, is a well-respected professor in the bodybuilding community. He doesn’t only talk about workouts and fitness tips, he often dives deep into health and nutrition.

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Periodisation isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a strategic approach to fitness that acknowledges the ebb and flow of our lives. Whether it’s the desire to look lean in summer or the indulgences of holiday feasting, a periodised plan respects these phases, offering a pragmatic blueprint for fitness that dances to the tune of your lifestyle. The essence of this approach is not merely about achieving a leaner or more muscular physique but doing so in a manner that’s in harmony with your seasonal preferences and commitments.

Best Strategy to Get Bigger and Leaner Over Time

So the best approach to stay lean over time and to gain muscle over time is to periodize your training. Why? Here is what you get from it.

  1. Holistic Improvement: The goal isn’t just to enhance your physique in isolation but to do so in a way that complements your lifestyle, allowing you to look and feel your best when it matters most.
  2. Seasonal Synergy: Aligning your leanest periods with summer and bulking in the colder months ensures that your fitness journey is in sync with your social calendar and seasonal activities.
  3. Lifestyle Integration: A well-structured plan permits the enjoyment of life’s pleasures, like holiday feasts, without derailing your fitness goals, ensuring a sustainable and enjoyable path to your ideal physique.

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The Year-Round Plan

Spring (March-April-May): The inaugural phase is a meticulously crafted fat loss period, designed to strip away excess fat, sculpting a physique that’s ready to shine in the forthcoming summer months. Spring is the perfect time to shed the winter weight, setting the stage for a summer where you feel confident, strong, and ready to enjoy the sun,” Mike explains.

Here, the focus is on a gradual reduction in body weight, aimed at half to three-quarters of a percent per week. This calculated approach ensures that by the time summer arrives, you’re at your leanest, ready to embrace the warmth and vitality of the season.

Summer (June-July-August): As the temperatures rise, so does the opportunity to subtly build muscle while still enjoying the season’s pleasures. The summer phase is about a slow, steady muscle gain, ensuring you maintain your beach-ready physique while laying the foundations for future growth.

“Summer’s slow gain phase is about walking the fine line – enjoying life to the fullest while making sure every calorie and every rep counts towards your muscle-building goals.”

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Late August: Recognising the need for rest and recovery, late August introduces an active rest phase. This is a time to step back, reduce the intensity of your workouts, and allow your body to recuperate. It’s a strategic pause that ensures you’re mentally and physically primed for the next cycle of your fitness journey.

“Active rest is like hitting the reset button for your body and mind, ensuring you’re not just ready but eager for what’s next in your fitness journey.”

Autumn (September-October): The autumn phase shifts back to fat loss, a strategic decision to trim any summer excess and refine your physique further.

“Autumn’s fat loss phase is about refinement and preparation, ensuring your body is in its prime state to maximise the upcoming bulking season,” Israetel reveals.

This period allows you to enter the colder months leaner, setting a robust foundation for the upcoming bulking phase. It’s a time to embrace the change of seasons, aligning your body’s transformation with the transition into winter.

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Winter (November-December-January-February): Winter is the season of growth, where the focus shifts to a more pronounced muscle gain phase. Leveraging the indulgences of the festive season, this period is about embracing a higher calorie intake to fuel your workouts and muscle growth.

“Winter is your anabolic season, where the cold outside is contrasted by the intense heat you’re generating in the gym, pushing your muscles to grow in the comfort of calorie-rich festive foods.”

It’s a time when the colder weather and hearty meals align perfectly with your bulking goals, creating an optimal environment for growth.

Each season carries a unique theme and focus in this year-long symphony of fitness, meticulously designed to ensure that your physical transformation is in harmony with the rhythm of your life and the changing seasons. By following this periodised approach, you embrace a fitness journey that’s as dynamic and multifaceted as life itself, ensuring that every season brings you closer to your ultimate fitness goals.

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Christmas wod partySource:

Tailoring the Plan: Personalised Adjustments for Optimal Results

The beauty of this periodised plan is its inherent flexibility, allowing you to tweak and adjust based on your personal needs, goals, and life circumstances. Here’s how you can make this plan your own:

Adjusting Phase Durations: Life doesn’t always follow a predictable pattern, and your fitness plan should accommodate this fluidity. Whether it’s a family holiday, a work commitment, or simply a personal preference, feel free to shorten or extend the durations of the various phases. The key is to maintain the overall structure while giving yourself the leeway to adapt to life’s unpredictable nature.

“Flexibility in your plan isn’t just about convenience; it’s about crafting a fitness journey that respects and adapts to the rhythm of your life, ensuring sustainability and long-term success.”

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Modifying Rates of Gain or Loss: Everyone’s body responds differently to diet and exercise. While the recommended rates of weight gain or loss are grounded in general best practices, you might find that your body responds better to slightly different adjustments. “The art of body transformation lies in tuning into your body’s signals and responding with intelligent adjustments, ensuring that every step of your journey is optimised for you,” Israetel reminds us all.

Whether it’s dialing back the pace of muscle gain to stay leaner or accelerating fat loss to reach your goals sooner, listen to your body and adjust accordingly.

Seasonal Considerations: The plan’s default settings align with typical seasonal patterns, but your life might not always align with these. For instance, if you live in a region where the seasons are inverted, or if your peak social season differs from the norm, adjust the timing of your phases to match. The goal is to align your leanest periods with when you want to look your best and your bulking phases with when a little extra body fat is less of a concern.

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vegetarian foods for christmas dinner platter How to Properly Use Cheat Meals to Lose Fat FasterSource: Brooke Lark on Unsplash

By incorporating these tailored adjustments, you transform a generalised plan into a personal roadmap for fitness success. It’s about embracing the principles of periodisation while also recognising the unique aspects of your individual journey, ensuring that each step forward is in perfect harmony with your life’s unique rhythm and cadence.

The beauty of a periodised fitness plan lies in its adaptability and alignment with the rhythm of your life. By structuring your fitness journey around the seasons, you not only optimise your physical transformations but also integrate your fitness pursuits seamlessly with your lifestyle. Whether you’re basking in the summer sun or celebrating festive winter gatherings, this year-round plan ensures that your fitness goals evolve alongside your life’s moments, offering a balanced, sustainable, and enjoyable path to your ideal physique.

Watch Mike Israetel’s video below for more information about the best strategy to get bigger and leaner over time.

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