Ikea, Calorie Cycling And Periodization: Random Thoughts
Day light savings made me sleep like a baby last night. There's a very soothing feeling after looking your alarm clock and then checking your phone (who updates the time change automatically) when you realize you still have an extra hour to chill. After a week that had me exhausted for most of it, the extra rest was welcomed.
For the first time in months, I felt exhausted due to training. Even though I got a minimum of 6 hours of sleep (most nights were more like 7 hours), I just felt like there were canon balls attached to my feet when I was walking around and I constantly felt like I needed more sleep. I limit my coffee consumption to 2-3 cups a day and felt like that didn't even help me get energized. I haven't been able to do anything else apart from work this week, just crashing on on my couch every time I get home...
When you feel this way, it's just your body telling you that something needs to change. It can be the signal for a deload/recovery week or simply to change your routine. It is a signal to rest up for a few days though and I would strongly urge you to take a few days off to replenish your energy.
Sleep is the one metric I use to gauge over training. Over training refers to the negative physiological changes that happen when you train too much and result in fatigue and underperformance. Over training is greatly debated amongst the sport science world and I am on the side that it can be a real thing if you don't take care of your training routine with appropriate nutrition and periodization. We all know what nutrition is all about, but I find a shocking amount of people unaware of how to use periodization properly.
The basis of periodization is to optimize the training stimulus according to pre defined goals. It all started with sports training when teams or athletes train throughout the season to reach their final event in top condition. You can imagine that for any sports event, it wouldn't make much sense to do volume training on squats with 100 reps the night before a big event, Athletes wouldn't be able to walk. So in comes periodization, where strength coaches look at the season ahead and plan out the training plans, varying reps, loads, recovery between sets and other variables that will change throughout the season to produce the best possible outcome for the athletes.
The golden rule of periodization is that if the volume of the workout is high (defined by the amount of reps timed by the amount of sets) then the intensity is low (defined by the weight lifted) and vice versa. Periodization usually starts in the off season with high volume, which gradually decreases as the season unfolds.
I can keep on writing for ever about this (and I will in a later post) but for now, my point is that this approach is the best one to progress physically. You alternate between periods of high volume - low intensity and low volume - high intensity.
Not only does is this method the best for progress, it's very refreshing mentally AND it can prevent over training. I am currently experimenting alternating those periods every three weeks. By doing this every three weeks, it pushes me to outdo myself in the gym because I only repeat the same workout 3-6 times per period and want to see improvements in that time.
Calorie cycling is when you alternate periods of low calories with periods of high calories. The periods vary, I've done in the past 3 days low cal and then 1 day high cal. Now I am trying 3 weeks high cal and 1 week low cal. I have started tracking my foods with my fitness pall and realized that I'm typically not eating enough. This upcoming week is my low cal week so at least I won't have to worry about that. I will keep my protein intake the same during this week and will drop carbs and fats to bring the calories down.
I do this to see if like training, it can bring me a mental break from eating all the time and make me ready to eat even more after the low cal week. After regaining 20 pounds in a matter of days after the show, my weight has remained the same, so something needs to change. I've never tried this method before and am hoping it will help. The past 3 weeks have been 4000 cal/day, easily reached when I wake up at 5am and eat throughout the whole day but very hard to do on weekends when I get out of bed around 9 and miss that 5:30am meal. The low cal week will be around 2500cal/day. When I go back on the high cal days, the goal is to be at 4250 cal/day which is just a PB and jam toast more per day.
I am moving in 10 days! And the gf and I survived our first trip to Ikea together! I see that as a good omen. I was pretty proud of us, sticking to our initial plan of only buying a coach and bed frame and not succumbing to all the other extra little things that Ikea is so good at selling you.
That's essentially the only thing that happened last week, I'll tell you guys how my low cal week went next Sunday!