==== ====For great tips on weight traing check this out:bit.ly/zDN9nh==== ====By now, most folks have heard of the term "periodization", which is the scientific term for splitting atriathlon training year into periods and focusing on a specific performance or fitness goal for eachspecific period. Most triathlon programs that you find in books, magazines and the internet alreadyuse some form of periodization, but there are two sorely neglected components of a periodizedmodel that do not receive adequate attention in triathlon programs: nutrition periodization andweight training periodization.Since this article is being released in what for most folks is the off-season, now is a perfect time tobriefly put a discussion of swimming, cycling and running on the back-burner, and instead focus onunderstanding how to properly structure weight training (for enhancing muscle recruitment, powerand injury prevention) and nutrition (for enhancing weight loss, health and adequate energy).Although there are a multitude of variations on the concept, a triathlon season is generally splitinto four periods: off-season, base training, build training and race peak/taper. If you use the sameweight training volume and intensity, the same weight and the same number of repetitions all yearlong, youÂ¹ll experience burnout and subpar weight training benefits. So just as you should makeslight alterations or major changes to your swimming, cycling, and running routine, you should alsomodify (or "periodize") your weight training routine as the time of year changes. If you properlydecrease sets, increase power, and incorporate more explosiveness as your high priority racesdraw near, you can allow your weight trained muscles to achieve peak performance on race day.The same concept holds true for nutrition. Fueling your body for triathlon is not as simple asfueling a car. With a car, you simply put fuel in the gas tank when youÂ¹re running low or whenyouÂ¹re preparing for a long trip. But your body is different, since is has several differentphysiological systems, or Â³enginesÂ², that youÂ¹re fueling, and also three different types of fuel: fat,protein, and carbs. The key to nutrition periodization is to match the amount and timing of thesethree fuel types with the volume and intensity of your training and the seasonal time of year.If this sounds complicated, then keep reading, because you can use the rules below to help guideyou in properly periodizing both weight training and nutrition.Off-Season Period:Weight Training Periodization: If your goal is to develop muscle mass, tone muscle in a specificbody area or part, or build significantly greater strength, this is the time to do it. Traditionally, theoff-season is a time of year when there are few or no triathlons, and a triathlete is often engaged inother cross-training activities that go beyond swimming, cycling or running. Off-season weighttraining workouts should be performed in a set and repetition range designed for strength andmuscular growth (hypertrophy), two crucial keys to injury prevention and foundation building.
Because swimming, cycling and running are de-emphasized in the off-season, it is not asimportant during weight training to reduce overly fatiguing a muscle or producing soreness Â-instead, these effects are often necessary to achieve significant growth in muscle mass orstrength. In the off-season, most weight training should include 3-6 sets of 10-15 reps, with thegoal of completing 2-3 weight training sessions each week.Nutrition Periodization: For most athletes, the off-season takes place during the winter. Not onlydoes total training volume and intensity typically decrease during this time, but there is alsoincreased prevalence of fatty foods, feasts and caloric excess. For cold weather athletes, there isalso a completely natural propensity to gain body fat for insulation. Finally, most athletes who staylean year-round have increased injury propensity and lower energy levels as they move forwardinto more focused training later in the season. Therefore, it is acceptable for the off-seasonnutrition period to allow slightly higher fat and total calorie intake (preferably from healthy, plant-based or non-processed fat sources), moderate protein intake, and relatively low carbohydrateintake. During the off-season period, carbohydrate/protein/fat percentage ratio should beapproximately 30-40% carbs, 30-40% protein, and 30-40% fat.Base Period:Weight Training Periodizaton: A triathleteÂ¹s weight training goal during the base season should beto develop strength and muscular coordination, while considering the added focus that will beplaced on triathlon specific training, and the need for decreased soreness. Most triathlon trainingprograms incorporate high amounts of swimming, cycling and running volume during base training(there are some exceptions to this rule, in which case, you may need to intelligently re-arrange theorder of periods in this article), so the number of weight training workouts should decrease.Plyometrics, an explosive form of weight training, should not yet be introduced, as this method oftraining does increase risk of injury. Most workouts should include 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps, with aheaver weight than used in the off-season, and the goal of completing 1-2 weight training sessionseach week.Nutrition Periodization: This is traditionally the time of the season when you should be laying downthe groundwork of aerobic conditioning (again, there are exceptions to this model, and theinformation in this article can be modified accordingly). Workouts are typically long and intensityfairly low, meaning that youÂ¹re using quite a bit of fat for fuel, and a moderate amount ofcarbohydrates. The lower the intensity of your exercise, the more fat is used as a fuel for yourÂ³low-intensity engineÂ², and the harder you work, the more you turn to carbs as a fuel for your"high-intensity engine". Aside from weight training, not a significant amount of speed and forcework is taking place during base training, so since there is decreased muscle damage and repairdemand, protein needs are slightly lower. Compared to the off-season, however, the amount of fatshould also be lowered as carbohydrate energy needs are increasing. Therefore, during basetraining, carbohydrate/protein/fat percentage ratio should be approximately 50% carbs, 20-30%protein, and 20-30% fat.Build Period:Weight Training Periodization: The build period of a triathlon training season typically increases inboth the intensity and the volume of swimming, cycling and running. While it may seem logical tosimultaneously increase intensity and volume of weight training, this can detract from triathlon
sessions and increase risk of overtraining. Instead, like base training, weight training frequencyshould be maintained at 1-2 sessions each week, but with the flexibility to lift as infrequently asonce per week. Most workouts should include 2-3 sets of 6-8 reps, with a heavier weight thanused in base training, and should also begin to include a plyometric, explosive component Â- eitherperformed separately or at the same time as the weight training session.Nutrition Periodization: Your longer, harder triathlon training efforts are increasing in frequency,and you are spending a greater period of time at lactate threshold, at which the bodys engine isengaged near peak carbohydrate utilization. As a result, fat needs will decrease, muscle recoveryand protein needs will increase, and total caloric and carbohydrate needs will peak during the buildphase. At this point in the triathlon season, carbohydrate/protein/fat percentage ratio should beapproximately 55-65% carbs, 20-25% protein, and 15-20% fat.Peak and Taper Period:Weight Training Periodization: While strength and increased recruitment of muscle motor units canbe built and maintained during off-season, build and base weight training periods, the goal duringthe peak and taper period prior to a race is simply to maintain neuromuscular coordination andpeak power. During this period, when weight training sessions are performed properly, thereshould be little to no soreness or muscle failure, but a high amount of muscle fiber stimulation. Allexercises should be performed explosively, with a lighter weight than used in previous periods.Most workouts should include 1-3 sets of 4-6 reps, with a continued plyometric component and aweight training frequency of 1-2 sessions each week.Nutrition Periodization: Similar to build training, a continued need for higher carbohydrate intakewill be present, with carbohydrate loading in the final days prior to the race bringing the triathleteclose to maximum carbohydrate intake. In a traditional carbohydrate loading model, several daysprior to the race, a higher fat and protein diet pre-dominate, followed by a gradual build incarbohydrate intake as the race draws near, so there can be a great deal of fluctuation in actualpercentages during this period of the triathlon season. Therefore, 7-14 days from the race,carbohydrate/protein/fat percentage ratio should be approximately 30-40% carbs, 30-40% protein,and 30-40% fat, and gradually build to 75-80% carbohydrate, 10-15% protein and 10-15% fat 1-6days from the race.To summarize, weight training periodization for the triathlete should involve building a strength andinjury prevention foundation, progress to a focus on strength and power, and finish withexplosiveness and maintenance of maximum muscle recruitment. Nutrition periodization shouldinvolve increasing carbohydrate intake as energy needs increase, increasing protein intake asmuscle damage increases, and gradually decreasing fat and protein intake as a race draws near.Get even more information on this hot topic over at http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com, whereyou can grab a free book from author Ben Greenfield, jam-packed with over 75 pages of fitness,nutrition and human performance content. Youll also get instant access to a free weekly audiopodcast, videos, free iPhone app and more!
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