What is a deload week? Do I need a deload week?
First lets talk about what a deload week is, a deload week is a pre-programmed period of reduced training stimulus to aid in recovery to get the most benefit from your training. During a deload we see both physiological and psychological benefits including:
- Muscle, tendon and joint recovery
- Nervous system recovery
- Improved hormone levels (decreased cortisol, increased testosterone)
- A mental recharge from the stress of hard training
- Prepare the body for the next phase of training
Although there are obvious benefits to a deload, not everyone will need to have one, if your training volume and intensity over a 6-8 week cycle has been down you more than likely won’t need to worry, as most of us are training for general health and fitness, not athletic performance/competition where training volume and intensity is generally higher.
However, another thing to keep in mind is our overall stress, although exercise is considered a good stress (eustress) it still adds to our overall fatigue and need’s to be recovered from, add into the mix bad stress (distress) that we encounter in our day to day lives such as work, bills etc. then a deload might be a good idea.
So should I have a deload week?
The answer is it depends, it is a very individual thing especially in a group class environment. Have you been following the program with intent 5 days a week and properly monitored your work load, nutrition, sleep and other stressors? Or have been coming into the gym working out and just feeling a bit run down, it's likely a little deload is what you need. Having a week where we can switch off a little, take it easy guilt free, while still working on our health and fitness will help prevent injuries, prevent burn out both physically and mentally, which in turn will help keep you motivated and enjoying your exercise!
As always if you have concerns or questions go and talk to your coach who will be able to guide you in the right direction to match your goals.