Importance of a Deload

Dec 8, 2020

 by Karina Wait

The past couple of cycles have been challenging; many opportunities for new 1 rep maxes in various lifts, increased volume with movements, and more aerobic work. Many of you have adjusted swellingly to the change and are doing well. But, in every training program- even if it's just with classes, there needs to be some sort of Deload. This deload can be met with the lowering of volume, weights, sessions attended, and intensity. In the exercise training world, a deload week is usually incorporated into the 4th week of a training block. However, you don't need to back off on the 4th week of every block. Rather, pay attention to your body in the gym and outside. For many who do take a deload, sometimes a few days of lower training, full deload week, or an entire week off, they come back refreshed and stronger because their body has had time to recover. 

I found inspiration to write this blog because I'm currently doing a deload week. The reason why is because I felt worn down, constantly cold, I'd wake up exhausted (even with 7+ hours of sleep), and just unrecovered. However, everyone is different and deload weeks can't be programmed into the class schedule since every member has a different schedule. Thus, this calls for you to individually assess and talk to a coach on how you should personally deload. Below are a few rules on how to approach and apply a deload week to your training. 

  1. Every 4-6 weeks check in with yourself and consider the volume of your training and how you feel? If you’re worn out, constantly sore, mentally drained, then perhaps a deload is necessary.
  2. A deload doesn’t have to mean doing nothing at all. Just lower the 3 variables we mentioned earlier: Volume, Load, Intensity. If you always go RX, then drop the weight. If it’s a back squat day, go at 50-60% instead of your usual. Come in and do more mobility or skill work rather than a challenging WOD.
  3. Talk to a coach and get some feedback on how to deload for the class. We understand, we’ve been there. 100% intensity has it’s time and place.
  4. Emphasize recovery. Get a massage, take a yoga class, go for a hike. You shouldn’t be working out every day. If you eat a calorie restricted diet or an ultra low carb diet, then take a break from that for a couple of days.
  5. Be kind to yourself. Many people labor under the misconception that if they take a day off or lower the intensity of their training that they will either lose fitness or gain weight. Nothing could be further from the truth. Give yourself a break.
  6. Lastly, a deload period can be of varying durations. It can be a long weekend or it can 7 full days. I have a friend who has been hitting wods non-stop for 3 months and was starting to wear himself out. He took a week off and did nothing but skillwork and mobility. When he returned a week later to full training volume he PR’ed 3 of his lifts in the first week.

We want you to be successful and prevent any injuries or shortcomings inside and outside of the gym. Your fitness is a lifelong project, not a quick sprint therefore, listen to yourself and your body. If you have questions on how to do this in the parameters of your membership, feel free to talk to a coach.