Periodization, compensation, over-compensation.

(Image credit: Penny Lomas Personal Training)

When I ask my clients if they are sore, how they feel, if they are tired and so forth, part of the reason is to know how their body is responding to their training session combined with RECOVERY.

Periodization is the systematic organization or scheduling of training periods (in increments of specified time). These training periods help in taking the most effective and efficient path to achieve goals. Periodization should include short and long term goals. If goals change, then training periods may also change to reflect achievement of new goals. Following what your trainer prescribes for the period of time given is necessary to see progressive, safe and effective changes. Adding in an extra three sets of this, an hour of cardio here and a 45 min Kick-Box-TRX-Step-Zumba-Power-Cyle will hinder your progress.

When stimulating the body through exercise and training, the body will go through a response or reaction. This does NOT mean that you should be so sore that getting out of bed in the morning becomes an excruciating ordeal where you want to pummel your personal trainer. Sore muscles mean just that… sore.

If the exercise does not stimulate the body enough, the response or reactions will not create any noticeable change. If the exercise stimulates the body through the right amount of intensity and duration, the body will not only compensate, it will super-compensate. This will occur even from a single training session.

Ok… are you paying attention now? Read this carefully: Super-compensation is when the body goes back to its previous level of performance and will then actually increase in performance during the next training session, given adequate and appropriate recovery/rest time.

During the training session where stimulation is geared at achievement of super-compensation for next session, it is normal for the body to perform at a lower level at the end of the session compared to the start. Kinda like when you’ve been preparing and waiting all afternoon for that Christmas dinner and all the dandy fixins’ that come with. By the time you sit down to eat, your appetite is huge, you start shovelling it all onto your plate and into your gullet. As you and yours continue eating and being merry, the speed and intensity of your fork-fulls decreases significantly. You run out of steam, not to mention you run out of room.

When the stimulation is too much or the intensity is too great or there has not been enough recovery time between training sessions, the result will be decreased performance. Notice how Holiday dinners have a similar pattern? Too much turkey, Nanaimo bars and bevvys in a matter of days with no training in between leads to sore and expanding belly and decreased performance upon gym and exercise re-entry.

Recovery time is paramount.

Recovery periods will allow your body to recover, repair and rest, allowing for better gains. This applies to all forms of physical training: resistance, cardiovascular, flexibility and body composition. Without sufficient recovery, the body will begin to fail and/or will no longer be able to sustain exertion and stimulation.

Recovery and rest mean just that. Rest. Do nothing as far as training. Hydrate and fuel your body like you normally would, with clean food. This is a day when your body will absolutely require all the macro nutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fat) that you normally would consume. Just because you are not training on a rest day, does not mean your body and your metabolism have also taken the day off. Balance is a good way to go at it.

Repairs are happening on a cellular level. There are millions of micro tears in your skeletal muscles that are in need of TLC. When the body is given the opportunity to do so, it will repair those tears and make your muscles even better than before! Ready for action!



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