Hey Angels and Alphas,
Deloads are one of those things that are often thrown around in the strength and fitness community, but few people actually pay attention to them because most people follow a “no pain no gain” mentality.
This mentality is ultimately counterproductive, because as we all know, growth happens in the periods of rest between workouts.
That’s why deloads are something most regular gym-goers don’t really take into account when creating their routines, but they’re also something that gym professionals take very, very seriously. And with good reason. A deload, defined as a period of time in which you reduce your training volume, can be one of your most useful tools when it comes to proper recovery, breaking through plateaus, and so much more.
Today, we’re here to talk about deloads – what they are, how powerful they are, and when you should (and shouldn’t) be doing them.
Let’s get started.
What’s a deload?
Deloading is essentially a period of rest or lower intensity workouts in which you allow your body to recover and revitalize.
Of course, things such as your nutrition, supplements, stress management, and sleep are going to be major factors in your day-to-day recovery. But at some point, the stress your body goes through in and outside the gym can add up, block your progress, and get you sick or injured.
Deloading helps you reduce the amount of stress in your body and recharge both your physical and your mental “batteries.”
What could a normal deload look like?
A deload can be 5 days off the gym, 5 days of only foam rolling and light cardio, 5 days of working out with decreased intensity and weight, you name it! Many people have their own idea of what deloading is, but as long as it’s a time when you pull back and rest, I say go for it! A deload is, by definition, any period in which you train at lower intensities in the effort of reducing the overall load your body is experiencing over a longer timeframe, say a month.
That being said, a deload has nothing to do with halting your training altogether.
A deload is defined as a period of time, usually about a week, throughout which you significantly reduce the amount of weight (and subsequently, volume) that you train at. This deload will provide your body with a break from your workouts so, for the period in which you’re deloading, you can recover faster and better. This will, simultaneously, allow your mind some rest time as well.
So when exactly should we do a deload and prioritize rest?
The word on the street in the fitness community is that deloading should be done every 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 weeks. Some people schedule them that way, and some people go by their performance in the gym.
Experts have long said that you should do a deload when you’re feeling overwhelmed and tired, when you’re experiencing more soreness after workouts, when you’re lacking motivation, when you’re not performing at your best several workouts in a row, when your appetite swings back and forth… or when you just feel like you need a little break!
Ultimately, deloads are one of those tools that you can use to your advantage to create even more growth. Contrary to what the regular “gym bro” will tell you, deloads are there to create more growth – not stagnate it. And let’s face it – if you’re in fitness for the long run and you’re trying to maximize the sustainability of your training, a deload is, sooner or later, going to become necessary.
Remember – being fit is a marathon, not a sprint. Do a deload, revitalize, recharge, and get back on that track!