Here’s your problem… are you a REAL 10-12% … at 10% you have full abs, good muscle definition, veins. A TRUE 10% is what the average gym person would call “ripped” (even though it’s not ripped). At a true 10% you would be one of the leanest in the gym. In the first picture I was a true 9.1%. In the second picture 7.4%. So unless you have the same degree of leanness as in my first pic, you are not 10%.
The thing is that most people who think they are 10% really are 15% or so. And a caliper measure is not a lot better (it can be OK to evaluate progress but not the actual body fat)… I was once tested at 4.1% by a high level coach and I had at least 15lbs to lose to be in really good condition.
If you are a TRUE 10%, then yeah your approach might work.
But what if it is an “approximation” and you really are 13-15%… the thing is that at that level you can be 1-2% higher and not notice it. And if every bulking cycle it happens, then you might be gradually getting fatter.
So unless you have your measurements taken by a truly effective measure like DEXA on a regular basis I can’t see how you would regular your phases based on an actual body fat percentage.
A smarter approach is to go from a baseline. What I mean by that is get to the degree of leanness you want to be at the end of the year, take pics, and every time you “diet down” go back to state level.
This has several advantages:
You get to know if you are capable of dieting and getting lean. If you are not capable of doing what is necessary to get lean, and you bulk up expecting to diet the fat off afterwards, you will be in trouble.
The leaner you are, the more insulin sensitive you are. The more insulin sensitive you are the more slanted toward muscle growth will your nutrients portioning be. This means that for an equivalent diet you will build more muscle and less fat.
You can more easily assess your physique while lean and it makes it easier to know what you need to focus on.
You will stay leaner year round. I will use percentages for illustration purposes even though I’m not a big fan of them. Let’s say that your starting point is 14%.
Start by a “growth phase” (I hate the word bulking with a vengeance) … you add some good muscle and around 3% body fat. You are now 17%
You decide to do a mini cut and get back down to 14%
You then switch to another growth phase in which you add some more muscle but also add 2% body fat. You are now 16%
Now if you want to get lean (10% or less) you have 6% to drop… in reality it will be a lot more weight than the simple % calculation because with each pound of fat you lose you normally will drop 0.5lbs of water and other things. Not to mention the initial 3-5llbs drop which is water and glycogen. You will likely have to diet for 10-12 weeks to get into really good shape.
You decide to start with a solid cut and you diet down (and do cardio, energy system work) to get down to 8%. Should take you 10-12 weeks if you know what you are doing (assuming the TRUE 14% starting point)
From there you decide to increase calories, reduce cardio to build more muscle. You are successful in doing it but in the process you also add 2% body fat (you will gain more “weight” because of more muscle and water retention). You are now 10%.
You go on a mini cut to get back to your ripped condition. It shouldn’t be long this time because you only have 2% to lose and your insulin sensitivity is good because of your leanness. You might need only 4 weeks to get there.
Then you decide to do another growth phase. You really want to put on the mass so you make that phase a little longer and have more calories. You indeed build more muscle but add 3% body fat. But you are still only 11%. Still looking pretty good.
Finally you decide to get truly ripped (6-7%). From 11% it’s not that hard. Should take you 8 weeks. BUT you look lean pretty much all the time.
In the first option you spend most of the year between 14-17% and when you decide to try to get ripped you start from 16%.
In the second option you spend most of the year between 8 and 11% (so except for the initial phase you look good year round) and when you decide to get ripped you start from 11%
Which makes more sense???