Thursday, August 9, 2012

Parallels between D/s and Periodization

In the world of fitness training there is a concept that is scientifically based called 'Periodization' of training.  It is based off of Hans Selye's discovery of the General Adaptation Syndrome that he first published in 1947.  Basically his theory stated that whenever we encounter a stress (good or bad) it shocks the body but we adapt to that stress and make internal changes both physiologically and/or psychologically to cope with the stressor.  However, if the stress continues our resistance to it will weaken and eventually overcome us, leading ultimately to death.

In it's most simplistic form with respect to weight training we know that if you do 3 sets of 10 of  a select set of exercises you will get stronger, but because the stressor never changes (eg, the reps, sets, and exercises performed remains constant) your body adapts to that and gets use to it. As a result, the rate of strength increase slows significantly.  The Russians and Eastern Block Countries (pre Berlin Wall time) learned that by constantly changing weights, sets, reps, and exercises, strength gains occurred much faster.  This concept became known as the concept of periodization.  Fitness programs were broken up into big segments (periods), little segments (periods) and even tiny segments (day to day periods).

I was doing some reading on this again and looked at it from the perspective of living under Katie's control.  I talked to her about this mentioning that when we do the same things in life (regardless of what they are) it is easy to get ourselves into ruts.  Yes routine is good but routine is like doing 3 sets of 10 all the time.  It leads to reduced performance output. It leads to stagnation. It leads to resistance on the part of the sub.  The goal of periodization is to put off resistance (which in fitness terms we call plateaus) by constantly changing routines so they do not become stagnant.

I will say that Katie and I are stagnant.  I'm not saying it's bad but I am saying that it is routine.  We have our bedtime routine. We have our morning routine. We have our after dinner routine.  I have my work routine and I am sure she has her time alone while I am at work routine too.  Relationships grow not because of routine but because they are kept fresh.  When we go out to a movie it breaks routine. When we visit with friends, sit outside instead of watching TV, take a walk, or work on a new project together, routines are broken.  It's just like fitness. If you want to grow you need to work at injecting change into the routine of the daily life.

There is a balance that needs to exist, in my opinion between change and routine.  Routines have their place but I'm not sure that it is best if there is routine without change every so often.  The purpose of this post is to talk about the need for change an not routine. There is something to be said about the value of routine that builds discipline and structure but that is a post for another time.

So there you have it. The next time your partner injects change into your life take a private moment to thank Hans Selye the endocrinologist.  How appropriate that a doc dealing with glands (hormones) would be the one to enlighten us all in such profound ways.

I'm Hers


  1. In weight training I get on a plateau - no improvement, etc. I then try to "mix it up" by doing different exercises. Don't most in the "lifestyle" prefer rituals? How does one maintain the power-exchange rites and keep from stagnating?

  2. Dave,
    I think that the power exchange can always be maintained regardless of whether there is nothing but 'rituals and routine' or if there is lots of variety interjected into one's day/week/month. Allowing one to orgasm is a difference, enjoying scene play, taking a vacation, staying home while your mistress leaves for vacation all are changes from the norm. I really don't see where one will cause a power exchange issue as long as both know and understand their place in the relationship.