You show up 5 days a week a hit your workout super hard. However after a few weeks you start feeling super beat up and want to take some time off. During this time your brain is still in it's daily routine and needs the gym. It wants the daily stress release, to stay in it's daily groove, to come in the gym and sweat off those cookies. However, every few weeks your body needs a deload week.
But, what is a deload week and why should you care about it? If you're ever feeling beat up, unmotivated, or just stuck on a plateau then a deload week maybe just what you need.
There are a few different ways to deload:
The first preference is to reduce all of your loads:
Basically is becomes the most popular because nothing in your daily schedule changes. Show up to the gym and go through your normal routine but cut all of your lifts to 40-60%. This allows you to break down all your lifts and focus on form.
The second option is to reduce volume:
This is the opposite of the first option. Keeping all of your loads the exact same as you typically would but cutting all of your reps in half to keep the volume really low. This will work best for competitive athletes that need to stay under heavy loads all the time.
The third preference and one of my favorites is to change your exercise selection:
This is a little harder for CrossFit athletes as we tend to encompass as many exercises as possible but it's a great time to get out of the gym and try new sports. Maybe spending a week going to Hot 4 Yoga, Upper Limits, Sky Zone, or the new KOR Komplex.
So with this new information how do you put it to good use. Any time that you feel like:
You're missing your lifts. Nobody enjoys missing numbers that they know they should be hitting, but it's a good indication that your central nervous system is getting a little fried.
You're joints are sore. In any type of fitness routine you're going to get a little beat up and body parts will begin to ache. However, if everytime you squat your knees are screaming or your shoulders and elbows hurt on every press out, then it's a good indication that you need a good week of stretching and some foam rolling.
If you just did a competition. If you've just trained more than normal and then crammed a bunch of workouts into one day or a weekend then it's a good idea to take a couple light days after.
Most people wont consider how much stress your body goes through on a daily basis. This tends to be why healthy people get sick. They push really hard and don't every give their body a break. I understand that deload weeks are not fun. Nobody enjoys going into the gym and taking it easy. It just feels weird to most of us, but your body and mind will thank you for it. With that being said being a member of a CrossFit gym makes it harder since you're not in charge of the programming but here at CrossFit 557 we want to take this into consideration. So now every few weeks you'll see a note of deload week and an option on all the lifts if you're feeling beat up. That way if you feel good you can hit it hard as usually but if you're feeling beat up you have the option to back off and give you're body the rest it deserves.