Why You Should De-load From Time to Time

Do you want to be big and shredded ? What you need to do: work hard, heavy and work your a*s off constantly, right? Wrong !!! Yes, you need to train heavy and hard, but training without taking some time to rest can lead to overtraining, decreased strength, decreased muscle mass and ultimately a disaster. Rest has a big role in recovery, strength and muscle building – it’s not just a break from training.

Deload time is defined as the time you spend recovering from training. The main purpose of the deload is to give your body a break from intense exercise. You grow bigger and stronger outside the gym, not during exercise.

The basic principles of muscle growth are:

1. Stimulus – You send signals to the muscles, telling them to become stronger and bigger (Usually in the form of intense training)

2. Rest and nutrition – remove the stimulus and give the body material to repair itself.

3. Supercompensation – The body recovers and  adapts so it can handle bigger stress.

The second principle is very often neglected by both experienced and inexperienced trainees. What happens when your body is constantly pushed to work hard ? Instead of getting better, you’ll end up getting worse – decreased strength and decreased muscle mass are just the beginning of the whole cycle of overtraining, which can eventually result in a physical injury or even CNS damage.

During the time you deload you don’t have to stay away from exercise completely. Instead you can concentrate on one or several things from the list:

– conditioning
– flexibility
– proper form and technique
– fixing/working on injuries

Deloading doesn’t mean that you should break your diet though. This period of rest or active recovery is the time the body is repairing itself, sticking to your nutrition plan is even more important during your deload week. Provide the body with all the quality materials so it can repair itself.

Some signs it’s time to deload:

– Feeling tired all the time
– Irritability
– Loss of appetite
– Insomnia
– High resting heart rate
– Feeling cold all the time

Planning a deload week

1. Drop the heavy lifting – use lower weights during the deload week. I like to drop the weights to about 50% from my 1RM or use body-weight training
2. Low volume sessions – lower the number of sets/reps/exercises
3. Keep the sessions short

Taking a deload week every 5-6 weeks is not only required, it should be a part of your workout routine because that way you get bigger and stronger.

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