You must have seen me talking a lot on training periodization on my Instagram. If not? then go follow me, as you are missing a lot. Now before I talk about training and nutrition periodization, let’s see what’s periodization means in general.
“The act or process of dividing history into periods” that’s the basic definition you will get online.
What’s Training Periodization?
A planned systematic management of training variables like volume, intensity, frequency, etc in an attempt for maximum results and achieve high performance. It was developed by Russian coaches for their athletes.
In simple terms designing a training plan for a specific long-term goal and achieving it via small blocks which focus on an end goal. This helps you to understand how it works so that you can see changes over time by just tweaking sets, reps and intensity.
For example, you’re running a hypertrophy block and doing moderate to high rep work. but if you keep doing it all the time then you will get bored and get adapted to it. So running a strength block is also important or even both can be implemented in a weekly cycle, something like DUP (daily undulating periodization) where certain rep range fluctuates for upper and lower body.
Some folks periodize and most folks even practice this even if they don’t realize it because they’re either paying a coach to do the thinking.
Ever seen an individual that does the smith machine bench press, EZ-bar curls, every single day, a week after week or month after month and probably year after year, if you waiting long enough to watch. But the individual never really look any different? Well, that “bro” does not practice periodization.
But there are individuals out there who just switch things up each time they go. Maybe they lift heavy on Monday and then back off on Wednesday, doing lighter weights and higher reps because Monday was a dead sore day well, technically that’s a form of periodization on a smaller scale because they’re planning it out and changing adaptations throughout the week.
It clearly states that one has to auto-regulate their training according to their mood, stress, energy level, etc. So you know training periodization is important to keep performing better always.
Why Nutrition Periodization Is Important?
Same scenario is in nutrition. You need to periodize it to feel better and keep performance high.
Here are my reasons why you need to periodize your nutrition:
1) Demand for different phases
Different energy balance has its own demands and nutrition protocols. Your performance will spin according to it. It also means that your recovery demands will change, the level of central nervous system fatigue will change, and your hormones will actually change slightly as well. All the following would change how your body sees results:
1) Period of sleep
2) Fat metabolism
3) To rebuild tissue (muscle),
4) To repair damages,
5) To produce requisite hormones (testosterone, cortisol, growth hormone, metabolism, etc).
So this clearly states that you need to adjust your nutrition to see changes with your training throughout your journey.
2) The durability of dieting
Whenever a client signs up with me, I ask them what is your goal? why do you want to get lean? what’s the reason? These are few questions which I generally ask.
Now if a client comes in, he or she will generally be with you for 12-16 weeks for the time period and for package service he or she paid. As you’re a coach, it’s your duty to explain to your client the strategy to get their goals easily achieve.
You cannot sustain to a diet (fat loss) for a stretch of 12-16 weeks or more without taking a few breaks in between. It’s a journey you need to refuel your body with more calories in between so that you keep progressing further.
For example, you have a bike trip and you planned to ride 400km straight and back 400 km. So you refuelled your tank and reached 200kms, now you realised that you just have more 2 litres left and your bike needs more fuel to complete the other 200 so that you and your bike reaches the destination. Here your bikes need more fuel to continue the process again.
That’s the case with a human body too. Now you’re fat(a ton of energy in you to burn) and you started with some calories and ended up losing a good amount of weight for a few weeks. But you’re hungry, stressed, mentally and physically fatigued, etc. Your body needs more food so that it can refuel for upcoming weeks.
Taking 1-3 weeks off dieting after 5-8 weeks of straight dieting. Breaks in between your dieting phase will also help you lower down your stress levels.
3) Spend more timing on gaining muscle
The last recommendation is to gain muscle. Your mindset should be always to gain rather than losing all the time. Gaining muscle can increase your peak performance by eating more food and progressing with overall training. Gaining muscle which comes from eating more calories above your maintenance which will give you a ton of food varieties to play within a week. You have to periodize your nutrition well to make sure you’re gaining maximum muscle and minimum body fat (except fat gain when eating more calories).
4) Maintenance Phase
The last recommendation is to take a maintenance phase in your nutrition and training cycle. As you diet down or plan to gain muscle, you put lots of stress to your body physically and mentally to achieve your goals.
So taking a maintenance phase is ideal to hold the current condition of your body. It helps you in recovery, keeps you away from stress, boosts your hormonal levels, resynthesizes your muscle fibres for the next upcoming phase or block of training. You can enjoy social events without worrying too much. You will spend less time in the gym because of low volume work(load x sets x reps). I ideally suggest plugging this phase after 16- 18weeks of proper productive work.
No matter what your goal is
a) Fat Loss
b) Gain Muscle
c) or Recomposition
You need to periodize your nutrition. You need to listen to your body to keep progressing all the time. Always remember one thing consistency > perfection.
Yashovardhan Singh is a fitness coach with GetSetGo Fitness and a former national football player. He likes to keep a no-nonsense approach to fitness by applying scientific literature to provide results to his clients. Reach him at [email protected] for coaching and follow him on Instagram and Facebook.