Macro-cycles Meso-cycles and Micro-cycles


Periodization is the process of dividing an annual training plan into specific time blocks, where each block has a particular goal and provides our body with different types of stress. This allows us to create some hard training periods and some easier periods to facilitate recovery. Periodization also helps us develop different physiological abilities during various phases of training. For instance, during base training you focus on the development of aerobic and muscular endurance. During the intensity phase, this focus switches to lactate threshold and aerobic capacity (i.e., VO2 max) and as we enter the competition phase, greater emphasis is placed on boosting anaerobic capacity and neuromuscular power.

The most significant factor of periodization is the best way to promote the training effect, which consists of changes in our cardiopulmonary and musculoskeletal systems that result in greater speed and endurance on the track. To develop an effective training program, it is important to understand the foundation of periodization. This foundation consists of three cycles: macro-cycles, meso-cycles and micro-cycles.


The macro-cycle is the longest of the three cycles and includes all four stages of a periodized training program (e.g., endurance, intensity, competition and recovery).  Because macro-cycles incorporate all 30 weeks of our annual plan, they provide us with a bird’s-eye view of our training regimen and allows us to facilitate long-range planning. For example, if we want to peak for a national championship event one year from now, we can mark that date on our calendar and work backward to create a program that allows us to peak at that time. We can use the same process to identify several major events throughout the year and develop a plan that facilitates multiple fitness peaks. Remember, because of its length, we will always make changes to our macro-cycle throughout the year.


The meso-cycle represents a specific block of training that is designed to accomplish a particular goal.  For example, during the endurance phase, we might develop a meso-cycle designed to enhance our muscular endurance.  This meso-cycle might consist of six workouts over three weeks focused on 1000M, 900M and 800M repeats with one week of recovery.  And to, we could develop a meso-cycle for the intensity phase that is designed to improve your functional threshold power, or FTP. This meso-cycle might include three weeks of threshold intervals or 400M repeats followed by a week of recovery.  

During the competition phase, you could develop a meso-cycle that improves your neuromuscular power, which is the ability to strike the ground and knee drive, at a very high cadence for a short period of time (i.e., sprinting).  This meso-cycle might include four long sprint interval workouts and four short sprint interval workouts over a three week period.  We can even develop a meso-cycle for the recovery stage of training. Of course, the primary goal of this meso-cycle will be to rest and recuperate. Meso-cycles are typically three or four weeks in length.



A microcycle is the shortest training cycle, typically lasting a week with the goal of facilitating a focused block of training. An example would be an endurance block where a runner strings three or four longer running days together within one week to progressively overload training volume. Another example incorporates block training, which consists of very hard workouts for two or three consecutive days followed by an equal amount of recovery days. This would constitute an intensity micro-cycle where the goal is to improve key physiological abilities such as lactate threshold (the highest intensity a fit runner can maintain for 45 minutes) and aerobic capacity (the maximum amount of oxygen the body can consume during high intensity exercise). Generally, three or four micro-cycles are stringed together to form a meso-cycle.  


Dynamic vs. Static Stretching:

1.      Dynamic stretches use movement; static stretches don’t. 

Dynamic means active, energetic, or vigorous, so dynamic stretching involves movement – usually of more than one muscle group. Think of arm circles, hip hinges and circles, twisted lunges, leg swings, high kicks, and moving quad or hamstring stretches. These stretches take the body through a near-full range of motion that mimics the same movements you go through while exercising.

Static means stationary, so static stretches isolate one muscle group at a time and hold a position rather than moving through a range of motion. Static stretching is likely what comes to mind when you think of stretching, in general – calf stretches, toe touches, standing hamstring and quad stretches, and many yoga poses.

2.      Dynamic stretching boosts athletic performance; static stretching reduces it.

Next to a good warm-up, dynamic stretching is a proven way to boost your performance during a demanding fitness gym workout or athletic even because it activates muscles for what they’re about to do. Studies show that, after dynamic stretching, you’re likely to feel stronger and have better muscle endurance and speed.

Many studies also show that static stretching before a workout, on the other hand, decreases these same abilities. A few reasons could be that it decreases blood flow and places its own demands on your muscles. In any case, most athletic trainers now encourage only dynamic stretching prior to a workout.

3.      Dynamic stretching is best pre-workout; static stretching is best post-workout.

The purpose of dynamic stretching is to gently engage muscles and prepare them for more demanding movements, so it’s most ideal to include 5 to 10 minutes of it in your warmup routine. Always hit key areas like the ankles, hips, shoulders and spine, and then spend some time on dynamic stretches that are specific to the muscles you’re getting ready to work. It could even be the same movements with less depth and speed.

Static stretching might not be best to do before a workout, but it’s still beneficial, especially for lengthening muscles back out after a weight-lifting session, relieving tension, and relaxing the body, overall. Hold each static stretch for 10 to 30 seconds each and repeat until you’ve spend a full minute in each move.

4.      Both dynamic and static stretching improve range of motion, balance, and body awareness and reduce your risk of injury.

Dynamic and static stretching may serve difference purposes around your fitness center workouts, but they’re both an important part of keeping your body limber and healthy. Both types of stretching improve your ability to move your muscles the way they were intended to be moved, increasing your stability and preparing you for anything that comes your way.


“Parable of the Africans and the Foreign Oasis”


Esmeralda Simmons


Several hundred years ago, Africa was green, fertile, and flourishing.  During the intervening years, the MAAFA occurred.  When the world was in chaos, many “natural” disasters visited our people.  Our lands were dry, our people were thirsty, and our societies were weakened.


Our people then regrouped and planned and strategized.  They made water the utmost priority in order to not only survive but to also prosper.  They knew of a great watering hole that was located very, very, far away in an area that was once a part of their land.  It was located in the middle of the same vast natural and cultural desert that had encroached upon their land and had been taken over by enemies.  A major oasis had been formed around the watering hole, which was controlled by their enemies.


But our people were clever.  They trained a small group of talented boys and girls to become experts in their society’s knowledge of hydraulic engineering.  They knew that the enemy had great knowledge of transporting water and were willing to trade water for other goods.  The young people had a singular mission: to go as a group to the watering hole, learn as much as they could and then create a system for getting a supply of water to their homeland that would last for, at least, a dozen generations.  The young people learned well.


The mission was to be long term and very expensive.  The people were heavily taxed for many years in order to finance this mission but gave willingly for they understood the importance of the mission.  They knew that the future of their society depended in great part on the success of the mission.


The people spared no expense in outfitting, stocking, and preparing the youth for their mission so when they departed, they successfully traversed the long and treacherous desert and reached the watering hole without problem.


The enemy immediately recognized the talents of the youth and invited the youth to study with their master professors.  They charged a very high tuition, however.


Life at the oasis was extremely different from life at home for the African youth.  Everyone lived well, ate well, dressed well, and had a high standard of living, even the peasants and former slaves.  No one had to worry about the basic necessities of life and everyone had access to the latest technology and many forms of entertainment.  The rich people at the oasis had all the luxuries that could be imagined as well as an incredible number of possessions.  They had stores of currency so vast that no one could accurately count them, not even the brilliant African youth.


At the school, all the students, including the African students, had human and technical servants.  They studied and worked only four days a week and dined daily on rich foods and wines imported from the homes of the oasis owners.  The other students greatly admired the Africans, who they considered exotic, and regularly sought their company.  Despite these distractions, the African students were still the top students in the academy.  They met weekly to study and to discuss the implementation of the major part of their mission.  After a few years, their studies at the academy in the desert were complete. 


At their graduation, they all received scholastic honors and were among the few students to earn full scholarships and fellowships to continue their studies for additional years.  Each African student was offered a fellowship in a different subspecialty of hydraulic engineering.


At their weekly meeting after graduation, they had a long discussion about whether they should accept the fellowships; because if they did it would delay the completion of their mission and delay their return home.  Although none of the students had visited home during their years of study, they had all received news that the conditions had worsened and the climate at home had become increasingly arid.  The news was verified by the oasis’ satellite which regularly predicted climactic conditions.  It also gave information regarding the location of deep crust water tables, indicating that several major water tables were located under their homeland.  Mining and extracting water from such low water tables was at an experimental stage and the environmental effects of a massive extraction effort were unknown.  Most of the students would be conducting experiments on some aspect of this new field if they stayed and accepted the fellowships.  The discussion was heated but in the end, the African students reached a consensus to continue their studies.  The rationale was that they had been told to learn all that they could while at the academy.  They reasoned that the higher level of knowledge would make each of them a specialist in his or her area and specialization was the direction of the future in their profession.  They asked, why be a skilled generalist when one could be a well trained specialist?


They years passed quickly and the African students completed their specialization studies.  More than five years had passed since they first arrived at the oasis.  Many of them had developed intimate relationships with students from other places and residents of the oasis.  They had long stopped having their weekly meetings because their conflicting work schedules and busy private lives afforded little time for such long meetings.  When they did meet, about every three months, everyone did not come as they had previously.  Those who did come usually had deep philosophical differences regarding which model they should develop in order to implement their mission.  These conflicts had their roots in the general competition and methodological disagreements that existed between their specialties and their mentors and advisors.


They were offered a prestigious grant, from a rich, major corporation to fund the project.  Several of the students wanted to accept the money, especially since they had spent most of the money that they had brought from home and the rest was being depleted by low exchange rates, the high cost of health emergencies and other life crises at the oasis.


Finally, after a year of fruitless squabbling, a few of the students accepted the grant along with employment at the major water corporation.  They also agreed to negotiate with the leaders of their homeland on behalf of the corporation, which wanted the land and water rights of the experimental deep well, if it was to be built.


The remaining African students disagreed with this turn of events but without the complementary skills of the students who were no longer meeting with them, they didn’t have all the knowledge needed, as a group, to construct and secure an overland water main.  They also didn’t have enough workers or money to complete the project.  At any rate, several of them were in serious relationships that would not survive if they moved back home.


A few months later, a messenger form home came to bring news to the “students” and inquire about their much anticipated progress.  A group meeting was called but only a few of the “students” actually showed up.  Most of the others sent letters of greetings and regrets that they were tied up with personal obligations.  They also sent money and gifts for the messenger to take to their families when he returned.  The few that attended told the messenger that the group no longer existed.  Few of those present were willing to assist in any water project; they believed that asking the few to do the entire project was too unreasonable.  They were willing to “give back” in some way but each of them felt that the people back home had no right to dictate how they decided to spend their lives and that neither the group or the folks back home could force them to do years of hard work without salary on a community project.  The messenger listened intently.


When the last of the students had spoken, the messenger said, “You, who have been sent to fetch the watering hole have been sitting too long at the hole drinking its cool life.  While your bodies have grown accustomed to the water, your spirits have withered and now they cannot be seen.  As your families and your people slowly die of thirst, waiting for you to bring forth water, you continue your gluttonous drinking and the excess water dribbles from your chins.  When you came here, you were already professional water seekers – persons trained to tell the people how, where and when to obtain water.  Now, even though you know even better how, where and when to bring the water to your people, and you are able, you will not attempt it.  Now you will only serve yourself and those who pay you in dollars.  You refuse to be of service to your people: to give your people the power over the water.  You have lost the way of your professions.”


As the messenger turned to leave, the few stopped him and promised to seek UNESCO assistance for “home”.  Without comment, the messenger turned and began the long, dry journey home.


Africans today are experiencing the great drought!  Our lands and societies are quite parched and desert-like.  Collectively, Africans have sufficient professionals to stop this disaster.  We must remember our original purpose.  We must remember To Be African!


Warrior Children Reading List


• Verna Aardema, Koi & The Kola Nuts

• Veronica Ellis, Afro-Bets First Book About Africa

• Michael Faul, The Story of Africa and Her Flags to Color

• Muriel Feelings, Jambo Means Hello and Moja Means One

• Virginia Hamilton, The People Could Fly

• Arthur Lewin, Africa is Not a Country, It’s a Continent

• Sundaria Morninghouse, Harbari Gani? What’s the News?

• Sherley Anne Williams, Working Cotton

• Jane Yolen, Encounter


Warrior Youth Reading List


• S.E. Anderson, The Black Holocaust for Beginners

• Jacob H. Carruthers, The Irritated Genie

• Akil, From Niggas to Gods, Part One

• Chike Akua, A Treasure Within

• Molefi Kete Asante, Classical Africa

• Ayi Kwei Armah, Two Thousand Seasons

• Mwalimu Baruti, The Sex Imperative

• Anthony Browder, From the Browder Files

• Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower

• James Cameron, A Time of Terror

• John Henrik Clarke, Africans at the Crossroads

• Gaidi Faraj, Ourstory: Afrikans from Antiquity to the 21st Century

• Sam Greenlee,The Spook Who Sat by the Door

• Asa G. Hilliard, Larry Williams and Nia Damali (eds), The Teachings of Ptahhotep

• Jacqueline Johnson, Stokely Carmichael

• Indus Khamit-Kush, What They Never Told You in History Class

• Zak A. Kondo, The Black Student’s Guide to Positive Education and His-storical Lies and Myths that Miseducate Black People

• Joseph Marshall, Street Soldier

• Patricia & Frederick McKissach, Rebels Against Slavery

• Erriel D. Roberson, The Maafa & Beyond

• J.A. Rogers, Great Men of Color, Vols. I & II

• Sister Souljah, The Coldest Winter Ever

• Carter G. Woodson, The Miseducation of the Negro

• Amos N. Wilson, The Falsification of Afrikan Consciousness

• Bobby E. Wright, The Psychopathic Racial Personality

• Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X


Asafo Reading List


• Kwame Agyei Akoto, Nationbulding

• Manu Ampim, Towards Black Community Development

• Marimba Ani, YURUGU

• Mwalimu Baruti, The Sex Imperative and Homosexuality and the Effeminization of Afrikan Males

• Yosef A.A. ben-Jochannan, Africa: Mother of Western Civilization

• Michael Bradley, The Iceman Inheritance

• Jacob H. Carruthers, Intellectual Warfare

• John Henrik Clarke, Notes Toward an African World Revolution

• Anthony Ephirim-Donkor, African Spirituality: On Becoming Ancestors

• George G.M. James, Stolen Legacy

• Kamau R. Kambon, Black Guerrilla Warfare in amerika

• Richard King, African Origin of Biological Psychiatry

• Chancellor Williams, The Destruction of Black Civilization