Training Principles: Maintenance

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"You can do anything, but not everything." 

- David Allen


You know I believe you can do anything. I really do. Dream big! Shoot for the stars! Rock your goals and claim your vision!

You just can't do everything, at once. My friend, athlete and Journey Coach,Sarah Erikksonsays this ALL the time. And I love it!


Enter the Maintenance Principle.

There are many different areas that we want to improve through conditioning: endurance, strength, speed, power and everything in between. But, we cannot improve them all at once. If we try and fill our weeks with everything, then we will not allow for adequate time/volume, to create optimal improvement in any of the areas. A professional, periodized training plan follows the principle of Periodization, which includes different phases of training that allow the athlete to focus on specific components of fitness, while maintaining others and not losing gains in the process.
How? Read on!




But first...let's go to Central America for 3 weeks! Yippeee! A holiday! 

Ugh. Now we are home...and feeling REALLY out of shape. Lame.

Remember that last holiday you took, when you took a complete break from your routine and came back feeling like you were starting all over? Ugh!


Sad but true, the moment we stop training, we start de-training. The training effect is very fragile. And this is even more so for those new to the exercise. There is plenty of individual variation and the rate and severity of de-training is determined by our genetics, level of conditioning and experience (years) with the activity itself. One thing is for certain, if you don't use it, you lose it. 

There is nothing worse than taking an extended break from your training regime only to discover that you have to start way back at the beginning. The same applies when you take a break from specific components of your fitness- when you stop climbing hills, running long or lifting heavy in the gym. But it doesn't have to be this way! The next time you want / need to take a break or shift your focus to other components of your fitness, be sure to follow the Maintenance Principle prescription below and you won't lose an inch:). You will see that it is more than possible, by maintaining the intensity but manipulating the other FITT variables (Frequency, Intensity, Time, Time). 

Maintenance Principle Prescription:

2-3 weeks
A training effect can be maintained if the duration is reduced to 2/3rds but the intensity and the frequency are maintained at the same level that produced the training effect. 

Example: 
I have built my aerobic fitness by running 3 days per week for 60 minutes. I can maintain this fitness for 2-3 weeks when I drop to 40minutes, 3 days per week at the same intensity. 
I have built my muscular strength by lifting weights 3 days per week, 3 sets of 8-12 reps. I can maintain this fitness for 2-3 weeks when I drop to 2 sets of the same intensity. 

2-3 months
A training effect can be maintained if the frequency is reduced to 2/3rds but the intensity and the duration are maintained at the same level that produced the training effect. 

Example: 
I have built my aerobic fitness by running 3 days per week for 60 minutes. I can maintain this fitness for 2-3 months when I drop to 1 day per week for 60 minutes at the same intensity. 
I have built my muscular strength by lifting weights 3 days per week, 3 sets of 8-12 reps. I can maintain this fitness for 2-3 months when I drop to 1 day per week but keep the same reps, sets and weight I have been using. 

WOW!

How cool is that? Well...it is pretty awesome stuff for exercise physiology geeks like myself. And that, is why I love creating personalized, professional training plans that follow the Physiological Principles of Conditioning! 

Looking for help with your training plan and want to take the guesswork out of your training? Give me a call and check out my Online Training services!

Train smart, work hard, get strong!

SS 

More like this:

Overload Principle

Rest Principle

Overtraining Principle