Are you losing motivation? Have your results plateaued? Is your body feeling weak? If you answered yes to one or more of these then a deload week could be for you. Here I explain the benefits of a deload week, why I recently did one and how it benefitted my weight loss.
What is a deload week?
It is a essentially a week when you pull back from the volume/intensity of your usual workouts to allow for recovery. I chose to use the same four push/pull workouts in my programme and use a lighter weight for all of them. For example, instead of trying to deadlift 70kg I opted for a much lighter 30kg. The whole point is not to push yourself. This can definitely feel odd at first.
Why is doing less beneficial?
The deload week allows your body to recover without abandoning your training. Taking a week out to recover will allow your body to rest, your hormones to rebalance and your central nervous system to rest. After you have allowed this rest you will be able to continue with your progress and see better results.
What do I do with my diet?
You can keep your diet exactly the same, or you can choose this week to also include a diet break. This is where you increase your calorie intake to maintenance level. Maintenance level is the amount of calories you need to maintain your weight, as opposed to a deficit that allows you to lose fat. I chose to have a diet break during my deload week. I stopped counting my macros and roughly estimated a higher level of carbs and fat. I also included a couple of ‘treat’ meals.
Why does a diet break help?
For the same reasons a deload week helps your body to recover, a diet break helps your mind to recover (and your body)! You will not continue to lose fat over this week but you will probably get some good sleep in, feel energised and then mentally prepared to carry on with your fat loss diet.
How have I benefited?
I was feeling super weak in the last week or two. I was not loving my workouts and I was not losing any fat. I had stagnated at 61.6kg. I also felt softer. This week of lower weights at the gym and taking a diet break has really helped my body and mind to recover. I am excited to get back into a new workout programme next week and I have calculated new fat loss macros.
Let me know if you try a deload week or diet break, and how it has worked for you.
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