There is something both the fitness and the outdoor industry have in common, and that is numerous people stating what they do is their “lifestyle.” Whether it be spending hours on the shooting rage each week, practicing speed reloads in the dark for IDPA Indoor Nationals, running 15 miles per week, or eliminating fast foods from your diet, what you are doing is creating a lifestyle that will set you apart from the rest of the crowd. In this article I will be discussing the importance of “Periodization” throughout the year for your fitness lifestyle, that way you are able to maintain a focused, motivated, and healthy lifestyle year around.
WHAT IS PERIODIZATION?
Periodization is a form of organizing workouts used to promote long-term training improvements. It is a way to pre-plan as much as a year or more timeframe of systematic training techniques and styles to keep an individual from an athletic plateau as well as to encourage continual increased performance and proper time of peak performance.
You may be thinking, “How does this apply to my lifestyle? I’m just a weekend shooter.” Or “I’m only getting ready for a week long elk hunt this September.” This system of training completely applies to you! Instead over stressing your body and mind by working out and training for six to ten weeks prior to your event, learning to break down an entire year will ensure you to stay motivated for the entire year, and start living a healthier lifestyle! This is how you do it!
The main portion of my hunting season ends in the middle of January, this takes me to what is called the “postseason.” This time of year is very important, the goal for me is to recuperate and heal both physically and psychologically from a long in-season. I don’t follow any pre planned workouts, but instead make sure to enjoy activities that keep me moving such as, winter hiking, basketball pick up games, ice fishing and coyote hunting. These are my postseason activities that get me out of my pre-planned routines and enable me to relax, refocus, and enjoy getting back to a grounded state of mind. Don’t overlook your postseason; it is a time of active rest. Mine lasts around four to six weeks.
The word “off-season” has a bad reputation, most people believe this is a time when you sit on your butt and don’t do anything. I don’t know how this ever came about, but it is completely false. A proper off-season is the transition time after your postseason, and before your preseason. It is a time when you should be rested enough from your postseason to start your preparation period of building a solid base of strength and conditioning. I do this to prepare my body for increased training methods that will occur in later phases. My main focus during the off-season is resistant training four to five days per week, but I do add in one to two days of endurance training as well. I also take pre and post-testing records on some of my main lifts like dead lifts, squats, bench press, and 100 meter sprint time to track improvements. My off-season goes from the beginning of March till the end of May.
Following the off-season comes the “preseason.” During this time of year my goal is to increase the intensity of my workouts. I focus on hunt-specific exercises as well as my strength and power. This means my resistant training is heavy and remains at least four times per week. My conditioning and endurance training switches over to a higher intensity routine that takes less time from start to finish, but increases to three to four times per week. This is the time of year when the module of my training is so much fun! My hunting season is right around the corner, and you can truly hear the wilderness calling! Get excited, and give this time of year a ton of energy and focus! My preseason spans from the beginning of June till the middle of September.
Lastly, the in-season! The time of year when all of your training is being put to the test out in the field! Commonly one mistake is made, and that is your training stops because of a busy schedule of work and hunting. This needs to be adjusted so you don’t lose all the progress you have built over the past eight months! The goal of my in-season is to maintain or even improve on my strength, conditioning, and flexibility. I do this by continuing a strength-training regimen at least four days per week; the difference is that my sessions are shorter, but more intense. The conditioning portion of the regimen is brought to two to three days per week and focuses on high intensity and short duration routines. I incorporate stretching pre and post workouts to improve my flexibility. Don’t get lazy during your in-season, if you do, your hunts later in the year will suffer, and so will your motivation going into your postseason.
Done correctly, this style of periodization is very successful in helping you maintain a healthy lifestyle year round! It will keep your motivation high, and your focus clear on your goals. With this, you are truly creating a lifestyle that very few will replicate and you will surely set yourself apart from the crowd. Welcome to the Run2Gun lifestyle.
For help on creating your very own periodized workout plan, visit www.run2gun.com.
By Jordan Miller. Originally published in the April 2014 issue of GunUp the Magazine.