Thriving with your fitness requires a great deal of deliberation and phasing in order to see continuous, healthy and positive results of body composition as well as physical ability.
Educating yourself and applying the philosophy of fitness program phasing will keep you in the positive margin of progress.
Designing a fitness program, which provides continuous improvement in body composition and ability requires the use of principal, identity of self / current ability, as well as constant review through assessment. This will require a considerable level of commitment and initiative, although this is certainly not disconcerting when compared with the risk of losing the progress of your hard work. It is indeed possible to not only hit a plateau, but see a declining fitness level if you continue with the same routine for long enough. Learning and putting to use the philosophy of phasing your training plan will help you improve upon low fitness levels or weaknesses as well as progress and maintain high fitness levels.
Phase 1: Systemic Acquaintance (Beginner or Rehabilitation of poor habits)
In this phase, you will build a basic fitness level, adapt to the body’s movement patterns and build your systemic ability. Systemic acquaintance involves improving the response and integrity of the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and neurological systems. The digestive and lymphatic systems will also benefit. Do not be intimidated, though! A well plotted fitness routine will cover all of these areas naturally.
In your fitness program, you will need to start by learning and incorporating the body’s 7 primal movement patterns (curated by Paul Chek). These movements are the Squat, Lunge, Push, Pull, Bend, Twist and Gait (hip and leg movement such as running). Learning and advancing with proper form technique is imperative to strengthen the body safely and prevent future injury. In the first phase, efforts of medial stature will present themselves as high intensity, relative to your fitness level. Assessing and detecting weak points of movement is crucial now and so corrective or rehabilitative movements are necessary at this time, before building further within those motions.
Your body needs a base of exercise and healthy nutrition before it is strong enough to handle high intensity workload. This phase will improve the integrity of bones and connective tissue, build strong muscle fibers, strengthen the relationship between the heart and lungs for the purpose of oxygen distribution and waste exhalation. Lastly it will familiarize neurotransmitters with movement requests. By approximately 4-6 weeks; when your bones, muscles and connective tissue are stronger, your ability to use oxygen is improved, and your neurotransmitters are firing faster- you will be healthily equipped to reach phase two.
Phase 2: Uptaking Intensity (Intermediate – 4 weeks)
In this phase, it is time to uptake relative intensity. Movements which have been previously posed as a challenge are now more familiar, beaconing the opportunity to progress. Why? Because after roughly 4-6 weeks of a fitness routine (6 weeks only applying to a staggered begginer phase), the body adjusts, and contunuing with the same plan will be met with a progress plateau or, if enough time elapses, negative detraining effects- meaning an actual decline in fitness levels.
An uptake of intensity can be achieved through various means, such as adding additional weight, faster speed, making adjustments to the manner of movement and more. The way in which you uptake intensity will depend on your personal fitness levels and capabilities (*Have you successfully rehabilitated faulty movement patterns? If not, do not progress them!) as well as goals. Focus on getting stronger by building lean muscle mass, working functionally on all plains of movement and improving your cardio vascular capacity (preferably with shorter, more intense sessions over long-period steady state training). Body fat loss and an increase in systemic integrity will naturally follow.
Phase 3: (Intermediate – Advanced – Athletic)
Pahse 3 is the last one listed; this phase will be repeated every 4 weeks with new progressions and goal focuses. In this phase, the objective is to keep relative intensity and effort appropriately high in order to continue on an upward trend of fitness progression. It is a time to build on corrected weaknesses, to become more lean and to clarify more specific outcomes which will be measured after each phase.
The role of rest, nutrition and proper execution
Although these topics are beyond the scope of this specific article, the following needs to be noted: A fitness program needs to be matched with adequate and proper nutrition, it should include accute variance of intensity and rest in order to recover the muscles fully and to see optimal benefit (planned within a ‘microcycle’ or week of each phase) and lastly, it should be executed from a standpoint of knowledge, formulated format and consideration of abilities as well as limitations. If any of these areas are unclear, seek out the aid of a health and fitness professional, such as a personal trainer or nutritionist.
Now that you are equipped with the former information, you are in the right mindframe to start your fitness program in a manner which drastically decreases risk of injury and equally increases your chances for success for accomplishing your goals. Also in affect is the ability to optimize and sustain your body’s systemic health, wellness and ability long into the future. Seek out any assistance you need, set a plan and the rest is up to you!