What is up Gym N Japan Fam! In this week's blog we are talking about when you meat heads should be having a deload week. But first, you may be asking, WTF is a deload week? You just train harder and harder each week 5-7 times a week? VERY VERY WRONG young padawan.
A deload week is essentially an entire week of training where we reduce our workout intensity enough to allow us to maintain our current strength level and size (not that you’ll lose anything after just one week) but enough to let our muscles recover completely. The main aim of a deload week is to avoid overtraining and recover.
If we just constantly grind out heavy working sets, week after week, eventually our muscles and nervous system will begin accumulating too much fatigue and not be able to do as much each session. You may have noticed this rather than just having a bad day in the gym (which happens to all of us), but you start having a bad WEEK in the gym. Not fun and not ideal.
In this case, you need to deload and recover. This goes for bodybuilders and powerlifters. Even runners, which Haydon will talk more about. Most structured programs should incorporate a deload week every 6-8 weeks typically. Sometimes you may need one sooner if things like work, kids or stress build up too much and start affecting your performance in the gym. Training is all about longevity and the grind to get HUGEEEEE (see prime example above ft. Daddy Cbum). In the gym you can do this by just decreasing the weight of all exercises, amount of exercises or having slightly longer rest periods between sessions.
So make sure we program our training right and listen to your bodies! Don’t be a dickhead and think you can “NEVER HAVE A REST DAY.” You will end up weaker, smaller, sorer and more injureder (injured AHAHA).
For all you runners out there! I mean this can be applied to any kind of exercise. Deloading is very important for all sports and the biggest reason is injury! Running can put a lot of strain on the body so it is very important to have some rest periods. Running too much or not resting can cause overuse injuries like shin splints, pulled muscles and tendonitis. You might be wondering why you are getting achy all over and not able to improve? This is a prime example of overtraining. Due to the repetitive nature of running it is recommended to deload every 4-6 weeks which is slightly less time than weight training. This is because when running you use the same muscles every time whereas in the the gym you give each part of your body a rest throughout the week *if training correctly*.
For this deload week, you won’t be going cold turkey by stopping all exercise but could be a good opportunity to swim, ride or just slow down to a walk and take in the scenery. It's more about decreasing the impact/ stress on the body for a little while, so low impact activities could be a good alternative. If you still want to run a few times in the week that is fine, just do less than normal and give yourself a few days between runs. Even if you do go cold turkey you won’t lose any progress/gains, this will actually help you! You may feel like you’ve lost something on your first run back BUT you’ll find you’ll have more energy on the subsequent runs. See image below of how a deload works, the y axis is performance and consistently going up. Think of it as 2 steps forward 1 step back but necessary for your body to recover!
Here’s an example of a runner going into a deload and what it looks like. They have been running 40-50km per week for the last 6 weeks and starting to feel like their training hasn’t been the best for the past 2 weeks (Major sign that they are due for a deload). They may have been feeling more tired than usual as well as a few niggly injuries that have been building up. We would recommend dropping the km back to 20-30km for the week with other low impact exercise instead, this could be a good time for some strength training as well. Remember that runners should still have a good strength training routine because this will also help reduce injury long term. Also note that if you are a newer runner, you may need to have this deload week sooner than a seasoned runner and you’ll have to drop your workload a bit more than them too.
Whether you are a runner, gym bro or do any kind of sport, you will need to have a deload week! Remember less is more.. sometimes. Get those gainz baby!
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