Periodization refers to breaking something up into blocks or stages. With athletes, training is almost always periodized; meaning they have specific stages in training; each of which has a different goal. For example, these stages may look like:
During the competition season, there is usually not as much intense activity and conditioning going on. However, because the reason for competition season is, well um, competition; the athlete may have back to back weekends or even back to back days of competition. Therefore, during the competition season recovery becomes extremely important, so that athletes are ready to perform at their best for their next competition.
I realize that most athletes no longer have a dedicated “offseason”; however, what does fit into the offseason is injury. Obviously, activity level and goals change during injury. The number one goal should be to get the athlete better, so they can come back to their sport as strong or stronger than before.
The demands of these specific training periods put different strain and stress on the body; which means the nutrition needs change as well. Let’s use the example of a young gymnast, to see how nutrition needs change, based on the phase of training.
Allison Tropf, MS, RD, CSSD
Allison is a Sports Dietitian in Michigan. She enjoys helping others reach their nutrition and fitness goals through reliable and trustworthy recommendations.
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