What is a deload?
A deload is the act of taking a step back in your intensity. Specific to workouts, this means reducing the load (weight) and the repetitions (volume).
Why do it?
In order for the body to rest, rebuild, and repair. This applies to the mind and spirit as well.
Why rest? Why can't I just continue as I was, everything felt fine?
If in fact everything felt fine, one of two things may be happening:
1) You're not challenging yourself in your workouts.
Are you reaching fatigue in workouts? Are you reaching failure or never getting close to it? Are you no longer experiencing soreness? Have you been using the same weights for months at a time now?
2) You've built a tolerance to overtraining (yes, this is possible) and you never see results. You workout day in and day out but nothing is shifting.
The art of the deload...how to rest and yet not kill yourself mentally.
A deload week is probably more of a challenge to most of us than the actual workouts. Why's that? Simply put: we think we are machines and need to be constantly doing in order to feel good about ourselves. So anytime we take a day off, never mind 5-7, we usually go into a negative tail spin of thoughts and wind up feeling shitty about ourselves.
Here are some thoughts to consider to shift that:
-Rest is crucial for growth. Consider a deload week your shot at preparing yourself for your continued growth.
-Muscles need time to repair. It is through these repairs that new tissue is formed and growth happens. Remember that muscle growth doesn't mean you'll get bulky!!! Muscle growth revs your metabolism, helps build a strong badass structure, and allows you to play in life with a lower risk of injury.
-A week off will not make you 'soft', 'fat', 'lazy', 'unattractive', etc. Whatever your negative thoughts are about time off, please realize that they are absurd thoughts fed to you by society and the industries that monopolize on our insecurities. A week off will leave you radiant and full of energy!
-Rest is a form of self care, and you are worthy of self care. Self care can look like many different things. Again, I know that most of us prefer the 'doing' of a workout over the 'being' of rest, but here's your chance to test it out and feel into you and your 'being'.
Lastly I'd like to support you in this process of a deload week by reminding you that I was the queen of go, go, go. I was very much so in my masculine energy of 'doing' and felt really icky being in my feminine energy of 'being'. For me, 'doing' helped me to avoid facing my internal feelings of discomfort. I can tell when I am stepping back into this energy and out of balance because I refuse to sit and just be.
I wouldn't expect you to have a week of just sitting around doing nothing, but notice yourself and your desire to move. Ask yourself what that desire feels like in your body? Is that desire a true desire or an escape?
I will post some yoga flows in the On Demand library for the week of March 29-April 2. Why yoga? Because yoga, like fitness, is a tool that can help us connect to our being, yet is gentler on the body. One of my underlying goals in all that I do is to HELP YOU CONNECT TO YOUR BODY, YOUR MIND, AND YOUR SPIRIT. These workouts are hardly about getting ripped and fit. They are the catalyst for your internal growth.