You have to always start any prep or cut with a few things in mind:
1- What are your current numbers (diet) and training (cardio) like? Because if you’re already eating almost nothing, and doing a ton of cardio,… seriously, you think you can cut more food and hit the treadmill more and it will be a good idea? -lol
2- How much time do you have? Rushing to the finish line, just to get there asap, but with less than the optimal results you could have achieved if you had kept a steadier pace, is usually not a great idea, and can leave you regretting your haste in hindsight.
3- The body adjusts, and as my clients know I like to say, you “always want to have cards to play.” As you progress, your body will react, sometimes well, sometimes not what you want, BUT, you always need to have options as you assess after each week and make plans/changes for the coming one. If you play all your cards at once,… well, like I said with #1, just eating nothing and doing as much cardio as you can without dying isn’t usually the best idea to achieve your optimal physique.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t be more strict, and not planning as slow and steady a pace as someone who has 20 weeks to prep, and only 15-20 lbs to lose, BUT, it should never be haphazard and crazy if the plan is to achieve a physique that displays conditioning and size. I’ve seen plenty of amateurs give up size in pursuit of conditioning, and in the end, even the conditioning isn’t that impressive because they killed themselves in the process and the body shows it (poor lines, no crispness etc).