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Nutritional Periodization: How It Works

Nutritional Periodization is an interesting concept that athletes at all levels of every sport should be familiar with. It is a concept that involves the fluctuation of macro-nutrient intake to match the intensity, volume, duration, and specificity of training as it changes throughout the year.This suggests devising a nutrition plan that correlates with the strength and training goals that you have at a particular point during the training cycle.This requires fluctuating the amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats so that they are in sync with training needs to maximize strength, muscle mass, endurance, and recovery.For example, in football, during the preseason, the periodization plan would call for a diet to achieve a certain body composition, meaning moderate carbohydrates, and more protein to prevent muscle break down and building strength.

During the season, however, maintaining energy and mass are of extreme importance, so increased calories from carbohydrates are critical, while increased protein to help prevent muscle breakdown and injury are important as well.

Below you can see an example of a nutritional periodization program for a football athlete. It should also be noted that nutritional needs vary by position, and the amount of carbohydrate, protein, and fat intake will vary depending on the specific position and goals of the athlete.


While this is an example of how nutritional periodization works for the football season(s), all athlete dieting plans should have some sort of fluctuation to match the demands of training as well as the intended goal.

Proper nutrition is tantamount for optimizing not only strength, speed, and body composition, but also recovery.