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Exercise Program Design

General Adaptive Syndrome (GAS)

GAS describes the body’s specific response to stress, either physical or mental. When a training stress is introduced, the initial response is called the Alarm Phase. During this phase, the stress (exercise) reduces performance, and as a result fatigue, soreness, stiffness, and reduction in energy occur.

Following the Alarm Phase, the body moves into the Resistance Phase. If the stressor (exercise) is not excessive and is planned appropriately, the body will begin to adapt to the stress and start to make changes to better deal with the added workload.


As the body changes (improved fitness), it begins to enter the Supercompensation Phase. During this phase, your fitness level will begin to see small incremental improvements as you better cope with the stress of exercise.

This repeated process of stress, resistance, and eventual improvement is the basis for improved fitness through regular, regimented training sessions.

Training Periods


The Macrocycle is considered an “annual training plan”, targeting specific training and fitness objectives that meet the overall goals established by you and your Trainer.


These objectives are met by manipulating specific training activities at both the Mesocycle and Microcycle levels.



The Mesocycle is considered the medium-duration training plan (1 month). It is generally comprised of 2-6 interlocking Microcycles, lasting around four weeks. After about four weeks of consistent training under a Mesocycle, the body’s adaptive responses begin to slow down. At that point, your Trainer will introduce a new Mesocycle to re-challenge the body, and begin the process over again.



The Microcycle is the smallest of the training units. Typically, a Microcycle consists of one or more interconnected training sessions that perform in accordance with the Mesocycle plan. For our purposes, a Microcycle will be defined as a single training session.

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