Deload week is just taking a break from continuous intensive training. In detail, it is reducing the intensity of weekly training and volume of workouts.
Let’s say you are on a routine of five workouts in a week summing to 70 to 80 reps of heavy and strenuous weightlifting, a deload week might cut on the number of reps (volume) by half so that the deload week you will have a sum of 35 to 4o reps. Or it might also mean that you reduce the intensity of workout to 50 to 60 percent instead of 80 to 90%.
Deloading serves four vital purposes which includes; managing psychological stress, reducing joint and ligament strain, reducing the accumulated fatigue on central nervous system, and reducing the injury risks. Lastly but not as vital as the other four is that deload week helps reduce demands placed by muscles.
How Necessary Is Deload Week?
Deloading bases its necessity on science by defining how the body cushions the physical stress that accumulates within. For example, it provides a stimulus during exercise, removes the stimulus during rest and recovery and body undergoes adaptation to deal with the next stimulus better. This adaptation is called super-compensation. It allows your body to gain muscle and strength.
Why Deload Workouts Do Not Work
With a weak stimulus your body is likely to produce very weak results, that is, low super-compensatory response. Powerful stimuli, oppositely from weaker stimuli, is likely to produce powerful results, that is, a high super-compensatory response. We can measure the stimulus of training in qualitative and quantitative concepts. In qualitative concept, stimulus is the intensity or amount of weight lifted, progressive overload and metabolic stress of the workouts while in quantitative concepts, stimulus is the frequency and volume and of training or it may be how many sets and reps you for each muscle group per week.
Knowledge behind deloading maintains that the core of body composition and performance improvement over long periods of time is to push your body slightly beyond its limits regularly (overreaching method) and then backing off from the process in short periods after intensive days (deloading). Though, many people still don’t do this. Rather, they rush through the motions in their training. They fail to track their numbers and unsoberly strive to arise above the previous workouts in a vague competition mode. They as well fail to strictly follow their diets to deliver them their desired achievement. Unfortunately, deloading may not work with them.
With guys not following a well-programmed training routine that supports and reinforces the progressive overload and overreaching. Also if you do not strive as much as possible to make this happen, your deload is bound to fail. If you keenly follow on the training program designed and work hard to improve in your workouts, you have a heap of benefits. Let alone that, you are basically ready to deload. Note that if your training programme gives no room for deloading periods, then it means that it is sub-standard training, or sub-optimal.
My Deloading Reasons
I never experienced any suggestive danger symptoms on my long, high rep workouts which would go for four to six months without a deload week. The only breaks I took were of traveling or work. But later in my journey of fitness, I had experienced the transformative power of heavy and compound weightlifting. I learnt very few but quick lessons that certain workouts accrues a much more strain or stress in the body. In a few weeks’ time, I noticed strange aches and pains in my joints, reduced levels of energy, reduced zeal to train and a heaviness feeling during the workout. I learnt that there was a solution, yes. To take some rest from the straining work – deload week.
From that time, I had known how to give my body rest from tedious workout. I would then alternate a deload week with 8 to 10 weeks of heavy workout – I had found my deload routine. The deload routines are very necessary and refreshing. They preserved my strength a great deal. I can take the deload week and come back much stronger than before.
Plan a deload week after every 8 to 10 weeks of heavy and intense training. With calorie-deficit guys, reduce deloading to once after every 6 to 8 weeks. Continue training heavily when in a calorie deficit condition. Age and history one has in training is also a determinant of how often one should deload. At the age of 40 years and above, one may need to give attention to recovery processes before wearing off his body strength. If you train harder as guys in their 20s, your recovery may be so slow.
Also, new weightlifters need to deload less frequently than the known veteran weightlifters. The new weightlifters may go even to 10 months before deloading and it is okay. But, as they progress in training, workouts are likely to intensify in weight moved, confidence to reach your limits and willingness to brave on. All this creates more stress on the body and deloading becomes very required. New weightlifters can just put a strict deload week and stick to it even when they feel worse. It does ensure that one does not roll over to overtraining.
How About Effect of A Rest Week?
When you deload, your body replenishes and you get back energized. Attempt a deload week note how you feel being back onto the program. Analyze your body in that first week of coming back from a deload week; how does it feel? Then do the same in the next week. Remember to choose a workout that suits your body best.
However, you cannot lose muscles by staying away completely from the weights. It might take several weeks of inactivity for someone to lose muscles.
What About Cardio on a Deload Week?
You might do cardio yes, but remember the goal of the week is to reduce on muscle stress, joint stress, ligaments stress, and stress on central nervous system. However you need to know that too much of high intensity cardio type will not help you reduce on the general body stress. Just keep walking and light physical activity as you can.
Diet for the Deload Week
What you eat is determined by what you do with your body during the week of deloading. If you are on a nutrition plan of dieting to lose fats, then maintain the calorie deficit while on deloading week. Do not worry about losing muscles or having worse side effect surprises, because it is not going to happen.
If you are on a plan to gain muscles, maintain a slight amount of calorie surplus. If your objective is to gain muscles or maximize muscle growth, don’t run into a diet deficit on the download week – it is not necessary. You may have no fats to reduce in the first place. It is therefore wise to just continue the muscle building process.
For that monotony of eating a bunch of food, try setting TDEE for the deload week and make a refreshing break of gastrointestinal and psychological excess usage.
Deload week is very essential rest-period for a remarkable long-term progress and results. It completely minimizes strenuous overtraining, fatigue, injury and the most induced burnouts. Without deloading in your training schedule, you are training on a rough sketch without professional back-up. You are overtraining unaware. This is danger or damage creeping in unaware.