How to Plan for Fitness Success

The other day I laid down the foundation (hopefully) in the pros of writing down and plotting goals.  Specifically, plotting those goals in an intermediate (short-term) and long-term manner.  Today, we are getting into detail for the project management outline for athletics and fitness known as Periodization.


To put it simply, a periodization plan is a written plan of goals for exercise.  There is an overall goal (macrocyle), intermediate goal(s) known as (mesocycle), a week to 2 week plan of action (microcycle), the time frame and exercises in one setting (session) and the individual exercises of a session (unit).   To be thorough, here is an itemized look at each component below.

Components of Periodization

Macrocycle - The long-term plan (example - lose 30lbs)

Mesocycle - The short-term plan. A segment of time with a specific goal in mind (stability & mobility, coordination, technique, strength, fat loss , etc)

Microcycle - Plan usually for 1-2 weeks. This depends on the length of the plotted mesocycle

Session - the "workout". The combination of exercises, sets, & repetitions performed in one bout.

Unit - the individual exercise

Periodization can be 1 month to 1 year.

The chart above is a sample in how periodization can be plotted. For a beginner, 1 year can be seen as daunting. So for the example below, I cut it in half  to make a 6-month goal. We begin with the periodization components,

Macrocycle - 6 Months (overall goal)
Mesocycle - 6 weeks (6 specific intermediate goals)
Microcycle - 2 Weeks (specific execution of intermediate goal)
Session - Exercise plan for a single workout
Unit - individual exercise

Outlining Goals using Periodization

Now that we have an idea of the time frame from smallest to largest component, we can develop a plan utilizing the SMART goals.

S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Achievable
R - Relevant
T - Time

SMART Fitness Goal

In a 6-month period, using specific exercise within intermediate goals, approximately every 2 weeks, I will lose 30lbs in fat weight.  Within the intermediate goals, joint stability, mobility, coordination, strength, nutritional intake, and stress management techniques will be addressed on and progressed as the body will allow.

The SMART goal statement doesn't have to be lengthy. It simply needs to be specific and in a time frame that plots your plan(s) of action.  A word of advice though,

Do Not Be "Married" to the Plan

Do not think the plan is set in stone. To be realistic, life happens. Using realistic scenarios such as injury, illness, family issues, car issues, etc. can occur and disrupt your routine. Allow  yourself space to be flexible with your time frame. Additionally, techniques exercises may be not be the appropriate needs at the moment. Allow time and be open to adjustments rather than plowing through to achieve a goal at a certain amount of time. This your health and life....let's make them both a great and long one.

Health is a Marathon Pace, Not a Sprint

Again, if you have already decided to take action, CONGRATULATIONS! You've taken the hardest step there is to attain a goal. If you did it without have much or any plan, now is the time to make adjustments and CONTINUE on.

You may have been a little zealous and full of excitement (nothing wrong with that). Now it is a matter of channeling that energy into planning that can assist you in attain those goals (and more). Adjust and keep at it! You're going to make it!!!! 🙂


Looking for assistance in achieving your goals? Subscribe to my blog and newsletter

BONUS: I have a FREE report - "Sustainable Fat Loss" as a token of appreciation on the homepage.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *