Look After Your Body With This Must-Follow Strategy
If you’ve been reading info on exercise programs, you’ve likely heard of the concept of overtraining.
Overtraining is a state where the body isn’t recovering from the workouts you’re doing and because of this, you are forced to take time off.
It’s often said that if you want to avoid this in the first place, you should simply be scheduling down times throughout the year – full weeks off where you simply allow the body to rest and recover.
But, what if there was a way around this? Most people who are serious about their exercise program don’t exactly like staying out of the gym for a full week. In fact, it might feel a little like torture.
Enter the deloading week. Let’s talk about what this is and why it can help you.
What Is A Deload Week?
A deload week is basically one week where you back off the intensity of your workout significantly.
For instance, if you normally do 4 sets of bench press, you might just do two. Likewise, if you normally lift 80kgs, this week you might just lift 40kgs.
Basically, you want things to be easy for the body. You can still lift, but it shouldn’t be feeling like much of a challenge.
And, perhaps the most important rule to go by is that you should be feeling more energised after you leave the gym than when you first went in.
How It Helps
So how does this help? First, it helps you avoid taking one full week off all training.
Some people will find that they lose the ‘feel’ for their exercises when taking a complete week off and come back only to find they need about another week to get back up to speed.
By still doing the exercises, without nearly as much stress on the body, you can maintain the feel for those exercises while giving your body that recovery time that it needs.
Second, it helps burn calories. If you are actively trying to lose weight, taking a week off the gym is only going to halt progress considerably.
While you won’t burn as many calories during a deload week as you normally would since the intensity is much lower, it’s still going to boost your calorie burn slightly, which can help you move forward with your weight loss goals.
Just note that during the deload week, avoid cutting your calories back any further.
Remember that your body does need fuel to recover from training stress and if you go eating a very low calorie diet during this time, you’re almost eliminating the purpose of taking the rest time anyway.
The third benefit of the deload week is that it keeps you mentally in the zone. Many people often find that after a complete week away from the gym, it’s hard to get back into it.
They feel as though they’ve fallen off the wagon and may take another week to get back on.
This helps you avoid this. By still hitting the gym, you’ll stay in that fit-minded mindset, making the transition back to regular training that much easier.
Adding Deloading To Your Protocol
So now that you see the main benefits to doing a deload week, how do you implement it in your own program?
Basically, plan to take one week off every 6-10 weeks of consistent heavy training.
If you feel fine at 6 weeks, you might be able to push it for another 2 weeks, but after 12 weeks (or three months) aim to take one week and do this deload.
You’ll feel far better going back into the gym after – in fact, many people notice they’ve gotten stronger when they come back after the deload.
So keep this concept in mind. If you want to see optimal workout success and avoid overtraining, it’s a terrific concept to start including in your protocol.