How Does Your Training Regimen Change With The Seasons?

How does your training regimen change with the seasons? Our forum members share their opinion about what they change in the spring, how the transition from winter to summer impacts their training and which season they like the most! Learn more...

TOPIC: How Does Your Training Regimen Change With The Seasons?

The Question:

Bodybuilding is an all year sport. Between bulking in the winter and cutting in the spring it seems as if a bodybuilder's regimen is based around the time of year. Now that summer is approaching, days are longer, vacations are being taken, and the world just seems brighter.

How does your bodybuilding regimen change with the seasons?

How does the transition from winter to summer impact your bodybuilding progress?

Which is your favorite season? Why?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:


        1st place - 75 in store credit.

        2nd place - 50 in store credit.

      3rd place - 25 in store credit.

1st Place - LJ57
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

Changes With Seasons
How Does Your Bodybuilding Regimen Change With The Seasons?

I use the seasons to help me keep my training regimen fresh and prevent myself from getting trapped into the same routine year round. For me the seasons offer a useful symbolism for real life training goals that I have set for myself.

You can often see how this works when you look at the goals of many other bodybuilders who work with the seasons. They establish and work toward a particular goal during different seasons.

It is advisable to avoid continuing the same regimen for too long a period of time. Your body needs the occasional change of pace in order to maximize recovery and keep your routine from getting stale as well as just plain boring. There's no better way to do this than by working with the seasons. Change and variety are important concepts in bodybuilding and we can use the seasons to ensure we are reminded of this fact.

In the Winter I worry little about gaining fat and stay focused on gaining as much mass as I possibly can. This is the time of year when I'm wearing baggy clothes and jackets so a few extra pounds is likely to go unnoticed.

This season is the apex of my bulking. I am eating more calories than any other time during the year and I am generally minimizing the cardio I do. It's far too cold to be performing any kind of cardio in an outdoor environment so I usually limit myself to a few minutes on the treadmill prior to weight training. This is simply to get warmed up and not to control weight.

Many people, myself included, feel like they have a free pass to overindulge in food during the winter months. It is very tempting during this time to justify eating anything and everything you want. After all it's the holiday season and to top that off your trying to eat more and pack on mass.

It is important to realize that just because you are bulking doesn't mean you should eat excessively and consume unhealthy foods that provide no nutritional benefit. Use common sense and good judgment when determining what foods you will eat as well as how much.

That said, you do not need to torture yourself by avoiding the foods you enjoy all of the time. It is fine to enjoy the occasional sugar-laden desert without feeling guilty.

My winter training usually entails following a program like HST. Every few weeks I will throw in volume training just to keep my body from getting adjusted to anything. I'm concerned with adding muscle so I keep my training very intense and my nutrition meticulous to make sure I avoid overtraining and stay in an anabolic state.

HST Programs:


The spring is the time I start to implement a cutting program that will allow me to lose the fat I accumulated while bulking in the winter, and minimizing loss of the muscle I managed to add.

With the beginning of spring there is no rush to shed the fat off at a rapid rate. It's still relatively cold outside and it will still be some time before I need to hit the beach or some other place where I will have to wear clothing that reveals my physique.

The coming of spring means it is time to add more cardio to the mix. Even when cutting is a priority, I do not let myself get caught up in the trap of thinking more is better when it comes to burning fat with cardio. I believe in high intensity cardio, such as running, performed for a maximum of thirty minutes per day and no more than four days per week. I do not want to sacrifice muscle at the expense of burning additional calories.

My weight training in the spring involves using heavy weight in the 4-6 rep range. Not only does this increase strength but it also burns significantly more calories than higher rep ranges with less weight. This can increase the basal metabolic rate throughout the day even long after my weight training session comes to an end. With more cardio and heavy weights my body is primed to lose the fat that has come from winter bulking and I'm closer to being ready for the summer.


The summer is the season that I consider the height of my training. In addition, I look it as the ultimate test of how well the year has turned out as a whole. It is the time of the year when you find yourself going to places such as the beach, river, lake, pool, etc. and being in a position where you have little choice but to reveal what kind of physique you possess.

Many people go on vacations where they will be putting on display the kind of bodies they have been developing. I want to ensure that I have planned my bodybuilding regimen meticulously and that the results I have obtained reflect this. Viewing myself in front of a mirror I can get a very good indication of how much mass I have been able to gain as well as how much I retained during the cutting process.

As far as weight training goes, I alternate between the heavy weight training I employed during the spring along with volume training. I have been using German Volume Training (GVT) for years as a way to keep my body from getting stale and it has worked wonders.

I never use GVT for more than four consecutive weeks but it has really accelerated my gains when employed occasionally in my regimen. I feel like the combination of heavy weight training and volume training serves to increase my strength and enhance fat loss which are important during the summer when I will be eating less in order to stave off any fat gain.

Cardio in the summer, in contrast to the colder seasons, is actually a fun activity for me. It gives me the opportunity to swim and run outdoors which are two physical activities I really enjoy. I know of very few people who enjoy aerobic activity in freezing temperatures. Performing cardio without breaking a sweat just doesn't feel right anyway. I would rather be enjoying the summer sun and being outdoors getting exercise.

Upon reaching my goal for the summer, however, I do not sit back and rest with a simple satisfaction that my body is beach-ready and where it needs to be. My goals must continue and I have to ensure that I push myself to improve continuously. The training, the proper diet, and the overall careful attention to details must still dominate my concern. I want to continue gaining new muscle while avoiding fat gain while the summer season goes on.

Summer Snacks
Click Image To Enlarge.
I Do Not Sit Back & Rest With A Simple Satisfaction
That My Body Is Beach-Ready.


Fall marks a period of transition in which I try to begin the process of bulking while avoiding fat gain. To do this I incorporate a strategy of clean bulking. I eat slightly above maintenance but stick to clean foods that will help me keep the fat off.

Protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats enable me to ease back into bulking without having to worry too much. There are still warm days left and I usually have the opportunity to do many of the things I did during the summer like spending time outdoors and even swimming until the weather really starts getting cool.

My training in the fall begins with high volume which I follow for four weeks. I then switch to HST for about six weeks. With the leaves beginning to pour down off the trees, the fall feels like a true season of changes and always encourages me to keep variety in my training.

Due to my work, the middle of fall is the time of year when my job is the most strenuous and I find myself very exhausted after a day's work. I have to take this into consideration and ensure that I don't overtrain. If I need to lower the volume or frequency then I do so accordingly.

Many people have jobs where there is a certain time of the year when there is more laborious work or more stress-related work than others. This is important to factor into the equation so you do not let the combination of work and working out lead you to burnout or overtraining.

Winter To Summer
How Does The Transition From Winter To Summer Impact Your Bodybuilding Progress?

The transition from winter to summer is the most rewarding of all for me. This is a period of time when the fat I have added while bulking gets carefully disposed of. I make sure that I grant myself plenty of time to lose fat while maintaining the muscle I have put on. I do not want to lose any more than two pounds per week in order to prevent loss of muscle.

The spring season, however, gives me a sufficient amount of time to do this. I can carefully lose fat at the rate of about two pounds per week maximum. This ensures that I can avoid the loss of muscle that happens to many while cutting. As weather of spring makes the temperature more comfortable I can get outside and do some running for cardio.

Seeing the grass become green once again and the flowers start to bloom makes me realize that summer is just around the corner and I need to be prepared to be in the best condition I can. I love the symbolism of the seasons when it comes to my bodybuilding progress because it serves as a constant reminder of important concepts such as change, variety, and the need for timely preparation.

Favorite Season
Which Is Your Favorite Season? Why?

Despite the fact that summer is, in my opinion, representative of the year's accomplishments, I must say that winter is my favorite season when it comes to bodybuilding training.

I love bulking not just because it allows me to eat more than usual, but because I have an opportunity to pack on as much mass as possible. It's rewarding to be able to see the muscle being added as a result of good training and a good diet. It is difficult to do this during the spring and summer when cutting and staying lean become the top priorities.

Although I begin a very clean bulk in the fall, it is not until the winter months that bulking becomes my dominant goal. There are still some heated days in the fall so I'm never ready to risk putting on much fat at this point in time.

The new year begins in winter and this gives me a chance to do what most others do and make resolutions that will help me accomplish my goals for the rest of the year. I can reflect on what I did the previous year and how satisfied I am with the results. I can make changes based on what I've learned and implement them into my training so as to improve even more.

As I mentioned earlier there is great symbolism in the seasons when it comes to bodybuilding. Winter symbolizes to me the need to train indoors with weights while avoiding excessive cardio which could hinder my ability to add as much muscle as possible.

2nd Place - redhawk76
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

In a perfect world, we would be able to eat like a true bodybuilder year round. Never having to worry about exact macros and calories, or constantly looking at the clock waiting for the next meal. This would make our lives much more enjoyable, but this is not a perfect world. Being a bodybuilder my diet and training changes along with the seasons.

Change With Seasons
How Does Your Bodybuilding Regimen Change With The Seasons?

My bodybuilding regimen changes quite a bit as the seasons change. My training changes, but the most dramatic transition is my diet. As soon as the weather gets cold, which is earlier in Cleveland than other places, I loosen up my diet and start to eat more.

In general bodybuilding terms, "bulking" is done during the winter, and cutting is done during the spring. So when the cold weather comes along, and you are no longer expected to show off your abs on the beach, you can risk adding a little body fat without anybody noticing.

This is not to say that I go on a 4 month binge, or would ever recommend doing so. However, there is certainly more freedom during these months considering you will be wearing hoodies and sweatpants often.

When the winter begins, I slowly transition into my "bulk." I personally never go on an all out bulk, but will definitely up my calories. Along with extra calories comes extra carbohydrates, leading to an increase in training intensity, since my energy levels are sure to rise.

My training changes into a program that is more hypertrophy based. My sets go up to the 8-12 range area, and I usually add extra volume. This works well to add mass during the off season. When adding muscle, you are sure to add some fat, no matter how clean your diet is. This is best done when you won't be taking off your shirt any time soon.

During the winter there are many holidays as well (i.e. Thanksgiving, Christmas etc.) Being in a mass building stage will allow you to splurge a little with your family, and not feel so guilty about it.

When the New Year rolls around, many people begin worrying about their body fat and begin to cut. As a bodybuilder, I wait a little longer. It is still very cold during these months, so the "bulk" continues. When March/April rolls around, however, it is time to get shredded for summer.

My diet begins to get very strict, and my training is aimed at maintaining my strength, and therefore my hard earned muscle. I drop the calories very gradually, and eventually count everything. I will eat slightly under maintenance, with occasional re-feeds, until the summer. My carbohydrates are lowered, and my fat intake is raised, along with protein.

Training is generally in the 4-6 rep range in order to concentrate on maintaining strength. Another major change in my program at this time period is cardio. I am a huge believer in doing cardio year round, and therefore never cut it out completely.

When the spring time comes, however, I up it considerably to help shed some extra fat. Later in this period, I will add in some type of energy/stimulant product in order to maintain intense workouts, and high energy levels. I do not like to rely on these year round, and they are best utilized when in a calorie deficit.

By the time the summer finally reaches good old Cleveland, I am ready to show off my abs. During this time period I generally continue to lift heavy, and eat right at maintenance. This is because I do not want to risk gaining any additional body fat while the sun is still shining, but also have no need to drop any more weight, and risk losing some precious muscle.

Throughout the whole summer I will attempt to maintain my weight, or gain extremely slow. I naturally get plenty of additional cardio during these months playing basketball and sand volleyball. Because of this, I am able to enjoy good barbeque food from time to time, and not worry about gaining fat.

Winter To Summer
How Does The Transition From Winter To Summer Impact Your Bodybuilding Progress?

The transition from winter to summer is an extremely important time period for the average bodybuilder. This is when we become extremely worried about our body fat levels. The diet becomes much stricter, and the cardio increases.

Almost all bodybuilders despise cardio, but it is essential to shedding body fat. It is a major concern to hold on to the muscle that was built throughout the winter, so it is very important to ease into this phase.

It is no good to drop calories drastically and increase activity right away. You will burn out very soon, and lose muscle in the process. Your progress on the scale might be solid, but the mirror will most definitely tell a different story.

This time period can certainly have a negative effect on your ego and mood. It is not always fun to be worrying about everything that passes your lips. You also will not be shattering any personal records in the gym, which will lead to minor disappointment. It is all worth it when the summer months come around, but it is extremely important to stay on track, and to stay motivated on your track to get shredded.

Favorite Season
Which Is Your Favorite Season? Why?

My favorite season is winter by far. This is because I am a bodybuilder, and I love building mass. The extra energy and the freedom to enjoy myself with my family from time to time is very appealing. The training sessions are also much more satisfying.

During this season I tend to break many personal records, and my strength sky rockets. This is very motivational, and leads to even more dedication. I get excited just thinking of this time period, as all that seems to matter is MASS.

I am very careful with my diet during this time period, and eat very clean. However, I eat more so I am always satiated, and this leads to a better mood. There is nothing like beating your previous best on a given workout. If your diet is on, you can progress each and every week. It is truly a great feeling.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is what you will have to do down the line. If you completely let yourself go and gain plenty of mass, along with some body fat, you will have that much more work to do come spring time. You can still progress very well, and not add tons of body fat, leaving your "cutting" phase much shorter than it could be. With that said, if you do mess up and go wild on Thanksgiving, you have all spring to make up for it, which is why I love this season.

Good luck with your goals, and have fun getting shredded for the summer!

3rd Place - FootballJoey16
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

A person's training regimen may change from season to season. The usual person bulks during the winter and cuts in the spring to try to have a sexy body for the summer. However, not all people necessarily follow this trend.

Even though my training regimen does change from season to season, I am one of the few who do not follow the "winter-bulk and spring-cut" trend. The change in my training regimen is because of the sport of football.

Changing Regimen

Football significantly changes my training regimen. While the average person's seasons may be cut into summer, fall, winter, and spring, my seasons are cut into Football-Season and Off-Season. Between these two seasons, my training regimen changes dramatically. These two seasons have a change in Intensity, Frequency, and Number of Repetitions.


During the Off-Season, my workouts are as intense as they can possibly be. I constantly do supersets, giant-sets, and drop-sets. I basically work till I drop. I'm the guy at the gym who gets pissed if you ask for a spot or where the bathroom is. The Off-Season means getting big for the Football-Season. My daily schedule only consists of school, eating, working out, and sleeping.

During the Football-Season, my workouts are almost at a polar opposite. I have more relaxed, laid-back workouts. The weights aren't at a maximum and I intentionally am sure to keep the intensity down to save energy for my football practices. I'm aware that it is important to workout year round to insure you do not loose any strength, which is the reason for my low-intensity workouts.


During the Off-Season, my workouts are on a six-days-a-week schedule where I hit every muscle group real hard twice a week. Wednesday is my off day each week considering I work a seven-hour work-shift after six hours of school. I have very few other things on my daily schedule and can always fit in an easy hour-long session of hardcore lifting.

During the Football-Season, my workouts are on a two-days-a-week schedule where I do an arm routine and a leg routine once a week. The workouts usually fall on Saturday and Sunday, considering on Saturdays I have a short "post-game" practice, and Sundays are the only day of the week with no practices.

I will usually do arms on Saturday because my legs are normally still sore from the game I had on Friday night. On Sunday I hit legs at a low intensity.


Number Of Repetitions:

During the Off-Season, my workouts consist of low rep exercises. The reason behind this is because of the focus of my training. The Off-Season is a time to gain the maximum amount of strength possible before Football-Season. My repetitions vary between 3-5 repetition workouts and 6-8 repetition workouts.

As we all know, 3-5 repetitions would be the best rep-range to gain strength. The problem with this is the fact that a person is sure to plateau by only staying in one rep-range. Even though most "bodybuilding experts" suggest going from the 3-5 rep-range to the 6-8 rep-range and then to the 10-12 rep-range, it is safe to say only cycling between two of these rep-ranges is an effective plateau-buster.

Another misinterpreted thing about these "bodybuilding experts" is that for the most part, a football player is not necessarily trying to follow a bodybuilding routine. Instead, a football player should be trying to follow a strength-building routine. Cycling between a 3-5 repetition workout and a 6-8 repetition workout on the Off-Season is the best possible way to boost your strength gains.

During the Football-Season, my workouts consist of much higher reps in my exercises. The reason behind this is because rather than focusing on gaining strength, I try to tone up, which means losing weight and can result in being faster.

While the Off-Season is for gaining strength, the Football-Season is for maintaining that strength (rather than improving it) and losing easy excess fat. My repetitions during the Football season consist of a 12-15 repetition workout.

This works out great for me because I am not trying to bust any plateaus (remember, I'm maintaining strength, not gaining). Sticking with a 12-15 rep-range workout during the Football-Season is the best possible way to maintain strength and tone-up.

Winter To Summer Vs. Progression

The progression in my workouts does vary a lot from winter to summer. For most people, this progression change may be that they see the most progression at the end of winter as summer is approaching. This is mostly because they have a set amount of time before they begin to show off their bodies and want to get as big/cut as possible before the summer is actually there.

This progression change also happens with me. However, I have noticed my progression is usually the worst directly after football season and simply gets better and better until practices start where it goes back down to its low and flat-lines to the end of football season.

The reason for this is because directly after football season, I am pretty much in the state of overtraining. I had practiced 6 days a week and lifted two days a week for the past 3 months and am completely burnt out. However, as football season approaches, I begin to increase my intensity because I begin regaining energy I didn't have directly after football season.

There is a sharp increase in my progression right around April because it is the time when football season is getting close and it really hits me that I need to get strong fast!

My intensity picks up to a pace where I work out at most 4 days a week because when I do more than that, I simply overtrain. This high progression stays at a high until the beginning of June where it slowly winds down to its low by mid-August when the teams first football game. The chart below illustrates my progression through the twelve months of the year.

Click Image To Enlarge.
My Progression.

My Favorite Season

My favorite season is the same as many other bodybuilders. Spring is the time where my intensity picks up. I see the most progression during this season and nearly all my 1RM's skyrocket. It's the time where the weathers starting to look good, most everyone is in a good mood, and I simply find it easiest to work my butt of in the gym.

Spring is not only the favorite season of a football player, but I also believe it is the average bodybuilders favorite season. Spring is the first sign of summer and summer means hot weather, days at the beach, vacations, and any other excuse to show off the body you've been working so hard to sculpt to perfection. Spring is definitely my favorite season.

Any questions or concerns with any part of the workout routine, email me at (or AIM me on "mmm Joey 16" or PM me on this site)

By: Joseph A.