Deload week: what is it? And, Why do we do it?

It might seem counter-intuitive that taking time away from Lōzen would assist you in progressing toward your fitness goals in the long term, but that’s exactly what a “deload week” can help you achieve. Here at CrossFit Lōzen, we purposely program deload weeks to allow our bodies to recover while maintaining the important routine of showing up to the gym to move our bodies.

Your body is set on a scale: one side is stress, the other side is recovery. When you train you are stressing the system, the desired response, but it must be matched with rest and recovery. If it’s not then it’s only a matter of time before your body will tell you to take a few days off.

Ask yourself some questions around overtraining and under recovering.

  • Do your joints feel fine, or are you starting to experience minor aches and pains?

  • Are your energy levels still going strong, or do you find yourself feeling run down and fatigued throughout the day?

  • Is your motivation to train still there, or is the thought of hitting the gym starting to become a turn-off?

  • Is your progress in the gym continuing to climb, or are your numbers starting to stagnate?

  • Have you lost your appetite and/or libido?

What Is A Deload?

Simply put, a “deload” is a scheduled break that is taken from your regular training program as a way to fully rest and recuperate.

If you come to our classes this means lower intensity and/or volume, if you are working with a 1 on 1 coach this may mean something similar, or even in some cases, it may be taking a period of time off from the gym altogether. Family holidays are perfect for this. A time to unwind, rest, and downregulate the stress hormones that life and training build-up. Let's not forget, working out hard is stress.

As your coaches, we want to see you, but quality training is always preached over quantity. If you haven't been recovering and are overworked then take a few days on your own to deload as a 'resting detox'. Still come in and use the mobility tools or ROMWOD, or sit on a cardio machine for 20-30min at low intensity. Or even utilize the Chiropractice or massage opportunities at Muscle and Movement Therapy Who we share a building with.

The Benefits Of Deloading

Deloads give your central nervous system, joints, and muscles a chance to fully recover from all the previous weeks of hard training you’ve put in. Especially if training is not the only cause of stress, but work, family, and everyday life cause us stress.

Although commonly our society simply tells us that “the more work we put into something, the better results we’ll achieve”, this is only true up to a point.

CrossFit training is fairly stressful to the body as a whole, and you can only go so hard for so long before you end up “hitting the wall”. A strategically placed deload phase will help to prevent sticking points in your training and reduce the risk for injury by ensuring that you don’t overtrain yourself. You know what this feels like mentally when the build-up of work or school is causing a feeling in you that’s exactly relatable to a hot tea kettle whistling on the stove in your mind, you can't sleep and crave a holiday or vacation. The same thing is going on physically, so listen to your body - training through pain isn't smart in the long run.

Deloading gives you a chance to “let go” for a little bit and focus your mind on things outside of the gym to prevent mental burnout and increase your overall motivation. You of course can still come in and attend classes but really focus on quality movement at lighter loads.

What factors to consider:

Experience level: Since beginners won’t be handling very heavy weights in comparison to more advanced athletes, they can get away with fewer deloads since the overall stress on the body isn’t quite as high. Once you become more experienced and are moving greater and greater loads, more frequent breaks will likely be needed.

Age: Those in the 40+ age category will usually be best off incorporating deloads more often since recovery ability declines with age. Younger athletes can usually get away with training for a higher number of consistent weeks without over-training themselves.

Lifestyle: If you live a generally stressful day to day life (physically and/or mentally), more frequent deloads will probably benefit you, and vice versa.

Sex: Females tend to experience overtraining less frequently as their CNS is more resistant (sorry chaps). Men can dig deeper into the CNS, but with that ability comes a consequence, longer recovery times.

Happy Holidays!

Coach Lexi