Periodization programs of all kinds have become the de facto approach to sports strength and speed training. Problems can arise when combining a typical weight loss diet with a periodization program. At all times, you want to ensure that your body can handle the stress placed on it while allowing you to lose weight and make athletic gains.

The typical weight loss program restricts total calories, and most today also restrict total carbohydrates. The idea is to manage the blood sugar response by controlling the release of insulin. This has proven to be an effective form of diet for everyone from bodybuilders to housewives.

Periodization programs recognize that it is impossible to always be gaining strength, speed, or overall endurance. Traditional weightlifting programs talk about doing 3 sets of 10 reps per exercise and then trying to increase the weight from workout to workout. If I were to increase the weight used by 5 pounds per workout and exercise 3 times a week, that would be over 500 pounds of gain! This is clearly not possible.

A typical periodization program divides the schedule into phases such as “recovery,” “strength,” “endurance,” and “maintenance.” The idea is that within a phase you focus your training on a specific type of training. If there is a competition or goal you are working towards, the phases and schedule are adjusted so that you reach your peak just before the event.

You don’t want to be on a 12-week weight loss program and in the middle of a 10-week periodization phase for maximum strength. Your body will be overly stressed and this will hinder, not help, your weight loss efforts. Training for maximal strength requires an adequate intake of carbohydrates and protein and actually works against your efforts to lose fat.

However, the periodization phases do not have to last for months. The duration of a phase can even be reduced to one day! This form of periodization program is called “rolling periodization” and has you working out 3 days a week, usually with a different approach to each workout. One day he focuses on strength, another on speed and another on endurance.

This type of periodization program is perfect for melting fat when combined with adequate protein intake (at least 1 gram per pound of lean body mass) and healthy carbohydrates. The advantage of this approach to weight loss and periodization is that this program causes the body to emphasize a different part of each workout.

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