What is a de-load? & Why are de-loads Important?

This is how a de-load looks.

Granted, I was on vacation w/ @jamieelevated in an amazing locale, hence my relaxed look.

My point though, is about de-loads. Over the course of my career as a coach, I’ve seen the (awesome) trend from programming coaches, especially in the mixed modal world, to program regular de-loads.

So what is a de-load? Simply put, a reduction in training volume, intensity, frequency, or all three, for a specific period of time. Why? To enhance recovery.

As much as we are enamoured with the “grind and hustle” work ethic, down time is a must. And this goes beyond just the physical. Mentally and emotionally we need de-loads as well. Good coaches understand this, and SMART athletes follow through on it.

Now, if you have the luxury of an astute coach, de-loads will be programmed. But what about the casual or recreational athlete? Well, thats me, as well.

As much as I like to train (6-7x/week, occasionally 2x/day), pushing the envelope on trying to get faster, leaner, stronger requires STRESS. And the body will only adapt so much before it starts to break down.

I know from a personal POV that when I lose my motivation, old injuries start to yell, and everything feels heavy and slow, its time for a break.
This might encompass a couples days off OR a week. Programming coaches will have structured de-load training w/ reduced V/I/F.

I just had 10 days of vaycay away from home, and I lifted once, hit the assault bike once, and biked (and hiked w/ my bike, because @jamieelevated is a MTB savage) a couple times. Thats it.

The hardest part for most? Mentally adhering. Not bashing, but folks that can’t adhere to training 3-4x a week probably don’t need a deload. Athletes training 6+ times a week…they may not WANT to stop or reduce training. But its key for growth, health, and sustainability.

How do YOU structure de-loads/time off if you don’t have a coach? Or better question, does YOUR coach structure de-loads?

 

Author: Mike Kesthely

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