The Benefits of a Deload Week

It might seem counter-intuitive that taking time away from MVMT42 would assist you in progressing towards your fitness goal in the long term, but that’s exactly what a “deload week” can help you achieve. It's really a fad work for 'rest'. 

Your body is set on a scale, one side is stress, the other side is recovery. When you train you are stressing the system, that's the desired response. But it must be matched with rest and recovery. If not its only a matter of time before your body will tell you to take a few days out. 

Ask yourself some questions around overtraining and underrecovering. 

  • Do your joints feel fine, or are you starting to experience minor aches and pains?
  • Are your energy levels still going strong, or do you find yourself feeling rundown and fatigued throughout the day?
  • Is your motivation to train still there, or is the thought of hitting the gym starting to become a turn-off?
  • Is your progress in the gym continuing to climb, or are your numbers starting to stagnate?
  • Have you lost your appetite and or libido? 

 

What Is A Deload?

Simply put, a “deload” is a scheduled break that is taken from your regular training program as a way to fully rest and recuperate. 

If you work with a coach 1-1 , this may be lower intensity and/or volume, if you are in a class setting it may be taking a period of time off from the MVMT42 altogether. Family holidays are perfect for this. A time to unwind, rest and downregulate the stress hormones that life and training build up. Let's not forget, training hard is a stress. 

As your coach, we want to see you, but quality training is always preached over quantity. If you haven't been recovering and are overworked then see a few days deload as a 'resting detox'. Still come in and use the mobility room, or sit on cardio hit for 60min at low intensity. 

 

The Benefits Of Deloading

Deloads give your central nervous system, joints and muscles a chance to fully recover from all the previous weeks of hard training you’ve put in. Especially if training is not the only cause of stress, but work, family and everyday life cause a stress. 

Although common wisdom simply tells us that “the more work we put into something, the better results we’ll achieve”, this is only true up to a point.

CrossFit training is fairly stressful to the body as a whole, and you can only go so hard for so long before you end up “hitting the wall”. A strategically placed deload phase will help to prevent sticking points in your training and reduce the risk for injury by ensuring that you don’t overtrain yourself. You know what this feel mentally when the build-up of work is causing a pressure cooker in your mind, you can't sleep and crave a holiday. The same thing is going on physically, so listen to your body - training through pain isn't smart in the long run. 

Deloading gives you a chance to “let go” for a little bit and focus your mind on things outside of the gym to prevent mental burnout and increase your overall motivation.

 

What factors to consider when taking a deload week:

Calorie Intake: Those who are bulking and eating in a calorie surplus can get away with longer stretches of consistent training before requiring a deload in comparison to those who are eating in a calorie deficit and training to lose fat.

Experience level: Since beginners won’t be handling very heavy weights in comparison to more advanced athletes, they can get away with fewer deloads since the overall stress on the body isn’t quite as high. Once you become more experienced and are moving greater and greater loads, more frequent breaks will likely be needed.

Age: Those in the 40+ age category will usually be best off incorporating deloads more often since recovery ability declines with age. Younger athletes can usually get away with training for a higher number of consistent weeks without over-training themselves.

Lifestyle: If you live a generally stressful day to day life (physically and/or mentally), more frequent deloads will probably benefit you, and vice versa.

Sex: Females tend to experience overtraining less frequently as their CNS is more resistant (sorry chaps). Men can dig deeper into the CNS, but with that ability comes at consequence, longer recovery times. 

 

Does it work? 

Yes. Countless members come back this time of year from vacation and hit PB's in class. They are well rested and hungry to refocus towards their goal. The mental rest from everyday life helps with motivation and the physical rest helps the body catch up and repair. 

Got any questions? Speak to a coach in class, that's what we are here for. To listen to you and make sure the work you do in class is appropriate and in line with your goals for the long term. 

 

Coach Nathan

 

 

 

Smart Performance