Periodization for a Year

Has anyone had success periodizing their training for a full year?

I’m blessed with a job that allows for ample lifestyle design. As a professor, I’m busy during the spring and fall semesters, but I have an abundance of free time during the winter and summer months. I keep work to an absolute minimum during breaks.

I’m wondering whether it would make sense to use these more flexible seasons (winter/summer breaks in the academic calendar) as my ‘building muscle’ seasons, and focusing on simply maintaining (or cutting BF) during the semesters. It would look something like this:

  • Late January-early May: less volume, less food
  • Early May-late August: more volume, more food
  • Late August-early December: less volume, less food
  • Early December-late January: more volume, more food

What do you think? Good strategy or too much planning ahead?

I am sure that it wouldnt matter that much. As long as basic principles are present, stuff either works or it does not.

Also, at this point, i dont see the reason to guess or self medicate. Experts in every field have posted free programs and books all over the internet. Pick any and just go by it. If it doesnt work, its not the training. In fact, in my experience it’s almost never the training anyways that is the problem.

This sounds like a typical bulk and cut, to which I would say it sounds great!


I would say I like the idea, but I believe that you should spend most of the year in a surplus, as that’s the time you’re really making progress.

I’ve done something similar in the past, but the reverse of you. I actually bulk during my busier parts of the year since I don’t want a cut to further impact recovery, and add additional stress on what is already a hectic period.

I would also say that based on how lean you already are, I would dedicate more of the year to adding mass than just maintaining/cutting if that is a primary goal (not even meaning trying to get huge, but just generally speaking).

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@T3hPwnisher had at least a 6-month plan for getting hyooge if I remember right


I would think most successful strength athletes and bodybuilders do exactly this. No one is bulking for 12 months or peaking fro 12 months. You don’t specify what you are trying to achieve but as you mention building muscle seasons I assume the focus is on this ?

Wait until you see my pics


There is always one. I should have said no one successful :wink:


Check out CT’s The Four Seasons of Lifting.


I think of it the opposite way. When you’re busy in life, stress is high, which is not conducive to muscle gain. So it makes more sense (IMO) to aim for muscle gain when stress in other areas of life is not as high.

If that’s you in the profile picture, you’re pretty damn lean already. Do you really need to do it in what looks like a 4:3 (bulking/cutting) ratio? That seems like way too low a time in a surplus throughout the year in my mind. It looks like you could do slower bulks and either 3:1 or 4:1 it. Bulk slowly, gain ~10lbs over 3-4 months, mini-cut for 4 weeks shaving off 8-10lbs, bulk again.

Mini-cuts don’t affect us in the way longer cuts would. For that reason, timing doesn’t really matter as long as you’re in and out.

Without giving anything away, what type of professor are you? (meaning: discipline, rank, type of University). I’ve been in academia my whole life, with a PhD from USC in Chemistry, and then a postdoc at Caltech before taking a position. Started at as an Assistant Professor in 2002, tenured in 2008, and a Full Professor since 2012. I took an Endowed Chair position at a NorCal University in 2015. One of the only “fit” people you’ll see in our line of work, so it’s great to see others on here. (Re-reading, this sounds like a brag post but in academia it’s just how we give our background).


CT wrote about this:

Autumn: bodybuilding

Winter: powerlifting

Spring: metabolic conditioning or Olympic lifting

Summer: track and field

Saw this after I posted. This immediately came to my mind as well.

I didn’t take it as a brag :slight_smile: Very cool to find another academic here! No surprise that you studied chemistry.

How do you like being a chair? Despite the pay bump, an admin position is unappealing to me. I love the autonomy I currently have…like being able to train for extended periods without lots of meetings on the books.

My interest in hormones is less related to my professional work, more a hobby. I’m an assistant professor in the business school at a “balanced” college in the Northeast. I got my PhD from an R1 and continue to crank out R1 research because I find what I study very interesting, but there’s really no need to do so. The academic life, as you know, is a great one!

It’s interesting. The Endowed Chair part is simply a research-related accomplishment and means my salary is paid for by an endowment. As far as administrative work, I don’t disagree with you. My advice is to get all the way to Full Professor before considering a major administrative role, as your research output will certainly take a hit. I’ve seen too many take one right after tenure and then stall at Associate Professor for decades and sometimes never ascend to Full. My experiences:

Department Chair is absolutely the worst. Why? Sure, you get a few course releases and a modest stipend, but everything is one you and your decisions affect the colleagues you work and live around. I was department chair of Chemistry & Biochemistry for 4 years, and it really weighed on my mental health. Also, I do think chairing a science department is the hardest simply because of the lab curriculum and huge amount of support staff you oversee and the safety concerns. I was so glad to cycle out in 2020.

But, now I’m in the Provost’s Office at a higher level administrator role. I still do research and teach one class a year. I actually much, much prefer this. Even though I now oversee all the University’s research efforts, I have full time administrative help and I’m just not as much in the weeds with everything. If a professor in the Law School asks for funding and I say “No”, it’s just must different from a departmental colleague working right next door to me. Also, the Provost’s Office has all the resources, and my salary is higher while in this role.

My school is an R2. We also have a Business School, Law School, and a School of Engineering with a PhD program (in addition the College of Arts and Sciences, the biggest unit by far). But much of what we do is focused on undergraduate instruction.

Nice that you’re a business professor. Great lifestyle and autonomy, especially once you get tenure. I do find that academia lends itself relatively well to a regimented fitness routine, although you wouldn’t know it from walking the halls. Until recently (the pandemic), I trained at the University gym. It was kinda cool having students in awe by a professor who could easily out-bench and out-squat.

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