In the world of weight lifting, the term "deload" refers to a period of time, usually just a week, when you shift your focus away from intense workouts toward recovery. The focus is on rest, sleep, and proper nutrition. The idea is to leverage your recovery time so that gains can be increased in the long term. This is something I haven't done very effectively. I tend to always run on all 8 cylinders. I feel great, so why not push myself? When I started marathoning 6 years ago, I was averaging 4 marathons a year. One year I even did the Richmond and Baltimore marathons on back to back weekends. Why not? What I was overlooking was the enormous stress I was placing on my central nervous system. Even during my years as a student, I tended to push myself too hard. I remember being burned out after my second year at Biola. Thankfully I had the good sense to take a much-needed break from my studies. I went back home, got a job as a busboy in an upscale restaurant in Waikiki, worked every evening and surfed all day. I did this for a semester and a summer. It was just what the doctor ordered. My hiatus sustained me for 2 more years of college, 5 years of masters work, and 3 years of doctoral studies.
Taking a week off from lifting won't kill your gains. As long as it doesn't make you complacent, that is. Don't be like the guy who said, "I love deload weeks. In fact, I've been doing them for the past 52 weeks." Today was my last day at the Y for 7 days.
|Goodbye gym! I'll miss you!
I plan on taking another deload week when I travel to Kentucky next month for Christmas. "Work smarter, not harder" applies here I think. Hopefully after each deload week I'll come back restored and ready to go at at it again.
Friend, planning some recovery time, even if you don't feel like it, isn't a bad idea.