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Periodization……..What Is It? By Eric Noyes

Have you ever thought that your workouts were boring? Do you find yourself doing the EXACT SAME THING every time you step foot in a gym? Do you feel like you’re just not progressing? Do you spend an hour in the gym 5 days a week for 6 months and lose 5 pounds?

Chances are that most of you reading this right now just answered yes to at least one or two of those questions I just asked. If you did that’s OK, that means you probably have not heard of periodization before.

Can you remember back to when you first stepped foot in a gym? Whatever your goal was, you probably saw drastic results very quickly. The reason for the quick results was because the involvement of an exercise routine “shocked” your body. Now I’m going to refer you to the questions I started this article off with, did you answer yes to any of them? Do you spend hours a week in the gym and spend months in the same pant size? Well that’s because you’re probably doing the same old thing over and over again. Periodization is based on the scenario I just described to you. You must periodically make changes to your exercise program to continue to progress toward your goal. You must place new challenges upon your body at regular intervals or “periods”. Now I don’t mean you have to flip your exercise routine completely and give it a 360 overhaul. Small changes to sets, reps, weight, tempo, rest time and exercise choice are all it takes. Now you’re probably thinking that is a lot to change. The wonderful thing is, you don’t have to change all of these at the same time. Over the course of a 3 week “period” you can choose lunges over barbell squats, you are targeting the same muscle group, but in a different way that your body is not accustomed to.

The Results Are In The Research

The research shows us that following a progressive periodized program produces better results than following a non-periodized program. The study in the table below was conducted with a group of 34 women over a 12-week period to determine the effects of following a periodized training program. As you can see, the results show that the women who followed a structured and periodized program saw greater results.MarkerPeriodizedNon-PeriodizedLean Muscle+ 4.6 lbs+ 2.2 lbsBody Fat %-4%– 1.8 %Leg Press+ 44 lbs+ 18 lbsBench Press+ 11.21 lbs+ 6 lbs

Marx, J.O et al. (2001). Low-volume circuit versus high-volume periodized resistance training in women. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 33, 635–643.

Now I know it may seem like a lot of work, but if you’re serious about seeing results, don’t be afraid to put in the hard work. Here at Body Fit, our training program we use with our clients is designed as a structured and progressive periodization training program.

If you have any questions regarding anything in this article or would like to schedule a consultation to find out how working with a trainer can help you get the results you want, please email me at


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