Everyone's plan should include Periodization

Monday, March 04, 2013

By Tony Bahia

Personal Trainer, Martial Arts Shifu, TheGym at 99 Sudbury

Periodization is a program of training based in variation of the type of training. This variation is divided into 4 phases that compose the micro cycles inside of a macro cycle of training. A periodized program usually ranges between 6-18 months in duration. The 4 phases of training inside a periodization are: Conditioning, Hypertrophy, Fat loss, and Strength and Power.


Here you will focus on exercises that will improve your balance, cardio resistance, posture, flexibility and other “weak points” that you may have before you start with harder types of exercise. In this phase you will also work on the foundations of proper technique that you will need in the next phase.


This phase is responsible for the increase of lean muscle. This phase focuses on building lean muscle by ways of free-weights, machines, body weight and other types of resistance. This phase might be the most important and the biggest one for many reasons. Once you increase your lean muscle weight you also increase your BMR, and what that means is that you develop a faster metabolism and will burn more calories even at rest. This phase will also help you increase your strength and endurance which will come in handy for Phase 3.

Fat loss: 

The fat loss phase is made up of cardio/endurance training and also focuses on developing muscle definition. Exercises like running, biking, elliptical and rope skipping are most popular. In this phase you can also incorporate cardio boxing, circuit training, and supersets of exercises with low weights and high reps.  This goal of this phase is to keep your heart rate high to aid in burning as many calories as you can during the workout time.


As the name suggests, here the goal is to increase the overall strength and power in the body. In the power phase you can expect to work with heavy lifting (conventional) such as squats, dead lifts, heavy bench press, and weighted chin up/pull-up exercises. Explosive movements like sprints and short rounds of exercises are also incorporate for sport specific or other needs and goals. This phase is important because once you have increased the overall strength in the body you are able to lift more weight and stimulate your muscles better to get better results.

Why work with this variation? When you repeat the same type of training for too long your body adapts and you will hit a wall with your results. This is commonly referred to as a “plateau”. Changing the stimulus on the body with that rotation, strength – endurance – power, will diversify your training and allow you to train for extended periods of time without hitting a plateau.

The diet during each phase is as specific as the training within each phase. As each phase focuses on a different kind of training, yielding a specific result in each phase, your nutrition must be adjusted for your needs during this process. Your Protein, Carbohydrate, Fat ratio must be adjusted to meet the body’s needs as you progress through your training.

Always remember that before starting any kind of workout program you should consult with your doctor and a fitness professional to assess your starting point and develop the best program for your specific needs