How to build an exercise program: Part 2
How to build an exercise program: Part 2
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As I said before, a good program takes into consideration all of the measurable parameters of fitness and makes an effort to bring them into balance with one another.
Bringing into balance the components that make up a person’s skill related fitness is often overlooked. Many people focus on one or two of the factors at the detriment to the development of the others.
Someone who trains to increase their physique might develop a significant amount of power, but their agility, coordination, and reactive ability may end up underdeveloped.
Someone who trains to get better at skiing may increase their balance, agility, and coordination, but lack speed and power. It’s important to build a well-rounded program allowing for improvement in all areas of skill related fitness:
A good target for most people to shoot for when losing fat is 1 to 2 pounds per week, with two pounds per week being on the more ambitious side of things.
An important thing to note is that many people lose a significant amount of weight, sometimes up to ten pounds, in the first week of following an exercise and nutrition program. The initial extra weight loss can usually be attributed to the loss of excess water as they clean up their diet and will normalize after a week or so.
Once they are on their plan, exercising regularly and eating within their nutrition plan, the person can expect to lose between one to two pounds per week consistently.
Knowing that if you were to lose two pounds per week, you could just divide the 30 pounds to be lost by two pounds per week, giving you fifteen weeks until you reach your goal.
Something to consider when you are setting your targets is leaving room for the odd hiccup or setback in your training or nutrition adherence.
You may miss a day or two of exercise one week or find yourself overeating at a friends party three weeks into a program. As a way of accounting for these possible hiccups, for my clients, I suggest backing the expected weight loss down to 1.5 pounds per week.
This minor adjustment will increase the time frame slightly to twenty weeks, giving you a larger margin for the inevitable small setbacks most people will experience along the way.
You’ve now set our time frame for losing thirty pounds over the next 20 weeks. If your Macrocycle timeline starts on January 1st and losing 30 pounds was your only goal, then you would mark your end point for the calendar at May 21st.
Now you are getting somewhere, but you still don’t know what you will be doing for the next twenty weeks. To do this, you will fill in your macrocycle with smaller, more manageable and detail oriented sections called mesocycles.
A mesocycle is a chunk of time, usually two to six weeks, in your training devoted to focusing on and improving one parameter of your fitness, such as strength endurance, power, or speed, or anaerobic and aerobic capacity.
I am not saying every exercise in a mesocycle, without exception, will be oriented to one particular parameter of fitness. However, the majority of the exercises in a mesocycle should be selected based on their similar effects on one’s fitness.
A mesocycle typically will last between two and six weeks before moving into the next mesocycle. When to transition from one cycle to the next will be based on Macrocycle timeframe and your overall goal.
As we discussed, the body will only continue to adapt to a particular point with exercises before plateauing. Regularly introducing new mesocycles prevents the body from plateauing by continuously providing new forces necessary for it to adjust.
In the next post, we'll cover how you can start building a program using mesocycles focusing on different components of your fitness in order to help you continually progress toward your goals and prevent plateaus.
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