While we all love to come into the gym and get after it, it is really important to maintain balance in your fitness life. In this post, I’m highlighting the main points from a great Juggernaut Strength video on managing training stress.
- Deloading: Deload weeks are extremely important in managing your overall fitness progression. Basically, if you are working hard in the gym day after day, week after week, you never give your body a chance to adapt to your training. Without adaptation, there is never improvement. Unfortunately, most people don’t take the time to deload, most likely because they don’t know how to do it. Let’s start with what NOT to do during a deload:
- Don’t just sit around all day for a week.
- Don’t go on some extreme diet because your intensity is lower.
- Don’t cut out entire portions of training.
The training in a deload is still extremely important, because light activity actually helps your body to recover. This is why many people get confused, though. “If I’m not supposed to train hard, but I’m not supposed to sit around either, what am I supposed to do?” you may ask. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:
- Use 60-70% of your normal volume, with 80-90% of your normal intensity.
- Hydrotherapy such as cold tubs and contrast showers help to get rid of fatigue.
So, let’s say you have been following a 5×5 program for strength building. Your deload week would be a 3×3 at 80-90% of the weight you have been using during your standard program. Or, if you have been doing a significant amount of CrossFit style WODs, you can cut out 2-3 of them during your deload, and make the ones you do short and fast. Say a 7 minute AMRAP instead something closer to Filthy Fifty or 16.1.
At first, because you have accumulated fatigue in the prior weeks, your deload week is going to feel uncomfortable and strangely heavy. But, by the end of your deload you will be feeling refreshed and ready to get after the next training cycle. So spend some time under a lighter barbell, and enjoy your time in a nice sauna, ice bath or hot tub. You’ve earned it.