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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

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 a