Everything You Need to Know to Lose Weight and Build Muscle With Renaissance Periodization

Renaissance Periodization — while it may sound like you're taking an art history class, it's actually a diet and training program, one that puts an emphasis on either building or maintaining muscle while decreasing fat. The program is noted for applying scientific methods to its diet and training components to ensure the best results, and for many clients, it's definitely worked. So, what exactly is it, and how does it work? Read on to find out.

What Is Renaissance Periodization?

According to the website, Renaissance Periodization is a diet program that is designed to either help you build muscle or to help you shed fat while maintaining your current muscle. The programs combine scientific principles with nutrition and training. Targeting your efforts for specific results is also a big part of the program, which places focus on what works and what doesn't.

How Does It Work?

Renaissance Periodization is broken down into two distinct programs. For men with 15 percent body fat or more and women with 20 percent body fat or more, the fat-burning program is recommended. For those under that percentage, the muscle-building program is recommended. Whichever program you're on, the diet lays out all of the meals for a particular day as well as the timing and macronutrient amount of each meal. While the diet can be strict — especially if you're looking for maximum results in a short amount of time — it can also be a bit more flexible if you're not on a time crunch.

What Can You Eat?

According to founder Nick Shaw, clients eat a variety of foods both for health purposes and to prevent the diet from becoming stale. The diet lays out a number of acceptable foods for each macronutrient (protein, carbs, and fats) and a list of low-carb veggie options as well. The program also lays out a number of macros per meal depending upon your schedule and when you train; you'll typically plan out your diet around one training session per day. There is also an approved foods list for each category (lean proteins, vegetables, healthy fats, and healthy carbs), as well as a meal plan for vegans, so whatever your lifestyle, there are options developed for you.

Dropping the diet for certain days or meals (aka "cheat meals") is uncommon but can be built into the program depending on the client and the goals. Eating off-plan may increase cravings, however, so the founders don't typically recommend it.

Exercise Component

Physical training is a key aspect in the Renaissance Periodization method. Clients who are newer to weight training will lift weights two to four times per week, while more advanced clients train as much as five to six times per week. The circuits are based on basic exercises, including squats, deadlifts, pressing movements, and pulling movements.

In Summary

Renaissance Periodization may be worth a shot, especially if you work off hours or have trouble sticking to a consistent schedule. The routine not only enables people to be able to decide when they work out, which affects when and what they eat, but also helps even the most off-hours person slide into a healthy weight-loss routine. The founders say consistency is the best way to get optimal results, but unlike other diets (take Whole30, for example), there are ways to relax the diet for special occasions or those days when you just really crave Taco Bell.