Whether beginning an exercise program for the first time, or continuing your fitness journey, charting the fitness pathways that you will follow is crucial to the success of the program. Utilizing the micro, meso and macro approach to charting your fitness path creates an organizational component to the process which promotes program successes. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Micro – this is the daily plan – this specifically addresses the program for that day. For example, on Mondays you intend to attend a 6AM Cycle/Abs class. This would be reflected on the grid for Mondays and perhaps you will also plan to perform the stretching/flexibility and myosfascial release program that your trainer designed for you. Therefore, this would be noted on that specific day as well. As the weeks progress, your Monday program may change as you progress and this would be reflected accordingly on that day.
Meso – this is the plan charted out for the entire week which is made up of the micro plans for each day. The complete weekly plan specifically identifies what that weekly plan will include, such as attend the 6AM Cycle/Abs class on Mondays, meet with your trainer and perform the exercise program they designed for you on Tuesdays and Thursdays, perform your training run/cycle/swim on Wednesdays and Fridays and attend the 9:15AM Cycle/Abs class on Saturdays with Sunday reserved for a recovery day. Recreational activities that are unstructured, enjoyable and do not stress the body so it has time to grow and repair from the exertion of the week would be considered a recovery day. Or, literally a day or two of quiet and rest may be specifically scheduled particularly when the weekly plan is rigorous.
Macro – this is the total 12-week plan – planning out a full 12 weeks is well worth the effort. The macro plan consists of the micro and meso plans and the macro program reflects the goal for the entire 12 weeks by addressing the progressions, regressions or tapering that may occur during this 12-week period. The end of the macro program should culminate with specific goals achieved that were determined prior to beginning the 12-weeks. When we are training marathoners, our macro plan may be 19 weeks or if a client has a longer term goal, such as an event they choose to participate in which is perhaps a year or more down the road, often the macro plan will be divided into three to four 12-week increments with each concentrating on that specific time frame which eventually leads to the client being well prepared for their event. And, macro programs do not have to be structured toward specific events. In fact, many of the macro programs that we design address general fitness goals rather than a specific event preparation component.
Additionally, the charting of your fitness path should be somewhat flexible to allow for the inevitable changes that may need to be made due to the unpredictable elements of our lives. You may need to modify the micro program which will require the meso program to be modified as well as the macro outcomes. An example might be a client whose work schedule changes and they need to reconfigure the plan to accommodate their new schedule.