CPT Fitness NASM CPT Podcast

The NASM-CPT Podcast: Exercise Programming and Periodization

National Academy of Sports Medicine
National Academy of Sports Medicine
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This week we look at the differences between periodization, programming, and routines. These are often used interchangeably and should not be. There is a mean of delineating the three and refining not only how we speak to them, but also how we implement them. Briefly, the following are discussed:


Periodization – division of a training program into smaller, progressive stages

Macrocycle: long-term training period, usually between six months and one year

My macrocycle might be my timeline to get someone through the OPT Model

Mesocycle: smaller phases within the macrocycle, usually several weeks to a few months

Maybe one phase of the OPT Model

Microcycle: each part of the mesocycle, usually one week

A one-to-two-week look at changes that need to be made to a program. This area is where true programming takes place.


Programming is how the acute training variables change within that period of training to optimize training outcomes.


What is an exercise ROUTINE then?

  • When you workout
  • What days you workout
  • What time you workout
  • It can be what you do
    • Cardio
    • Strength
  • It can be what isn’t changing that will eventually need periodization
    • Split routines only
    • Same sets / reps / exercises on repeat

Enjoy this episode, and as always please provide feedback and let us know what you would like to hear more about. It can be exercise, programming, industry, business, etc. regarding the needs, goals, and desires for the NASM Certified Personal Trainer.

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The Author

National Academy of Sports Medicine

National Academy of Sports Medicine

Since 1987 the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) has been the global leader in delivering evidence-based certifications and advanced specializations to health and fitness professionals. Our products and services are scientifically and clinically proven. They are revered and utilized by leading brands and programs around the world and have launched thousands of successful careers.

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