Dr Susan Baxter
Do you need to have a break / or deload?
Updated: Mar 2
By the principal of Seyles law: “General Adaptation Syndrome”, it is important to allow an organism to recover to the demands placed on it. I place high demands on my body so that I am “overreaching” in my programmes (note not “overtraining” is different entirely). Then I scale back every approximately 5 weeks to allow my body to catch up before training in another way.
I systematically structure a deload into my program for my training every 5 weeks. This is being done to give the body the time it needs to fully recover from the demands of my most recent demanding programming before I start another.
Occasionally I use the new program during my deload and use the week to feel out how the exercises are (it always takes longer when you do something for the first time right?) but mainly I take the program that I have been using the past 5 weeks and do approx. 60% of it. I either reduce the weight to 60%… same reps and sets, or I reduce the reps and sets to 60%. (or if it is a timed session I do only 60% of the time and call it a day).
Nutrition during deload
During the deload week I follow the same nutrition as I did in the weeks before. Other people might reduce it but the whole point to me is that my body is prioritizing recovery so I need the food!!!
Put it this way, if you are someone who adjusts their food for if you lie in an extra hour, or if you stay up late… then maybe your would change your food (ok I'm exaggerating but the principle is the same).
Note that things would be different for sure if say, you were taking an extremely extended break, yes you would want to change your food around a little…. BUT for a deload week? I personally keep it the same.
Thank you for reading :)
To find out more about the laws that govern training, and how to prevent plateaus, please check out my eBooks here, and feel free to reach out if you have anything on your mind.